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 Post subject: Oak beer barrel advice
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 3:54 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:23 am
Posts: 72
Hello beer folk,

I've had the BABA barrel for a while now (the brown one) and in three days time I was hoping to age an old ale beer that I've almost fermented. The idea was to add it for five days with the intention of imparting some oak flavour.

I say was hoping because I'm not sure if I want to risk it based on the awful smell this barrel is emitting. It's like a horrible sweet eggy sulphuric smell and I'm not sure if I want me beer to taste (or smell) of that!

I've not aged a beer before so this is completely new territory for me and I was wondering if this smell is normal or if I should have done something to the barrel to prepare it for beer. The barrel has been brimmed with water while I've stored it and I've changed it over several times now.

Any advice would be most appreciated.

Simon.


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 Post subject: Re: Oak beer barrel advice
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 4:26 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:06 pm
Posts: 2279
Location: Bristol
Keeping water in it will, almost certainly have made it worse, bearing in mind it was probably full of some fairly nasty gunk to start off with....

Drop it off to me and when I get chance I can steam it out and burn a Sulphur candle in it.

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 Post subject: Re: Oak beer barrel advice
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 4:34 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:23 am
Posts: 72
I was told to keep water in it to stop it from drying and contracting. Have I done the wrong thing here?

I will liaise with you and get the barrel to you ASAP, thanks Roger.


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 Post subject: Re: Oak beer barrel advice
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 5:51 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:06 pm
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Location: Bristol
Water on it's own is not good. It will stop the staves shrinking, but you need some sodium metabisulphite and citric acid in there for long term storage or you'll end up with soup, which you did :)

Did the barrels come with a care sheet? Plenty of info on t'web https://winemakermag.com/84-barrel-care-techniques

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”spɹɐʍʞɔɐq spɹoɔǝɹ ɹnoʎ ʎɐld”

This year I think that I will finally develop an invisible cardigan and my project to extract gold from spiders legs will also reap great rewards.


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 Post subject: Re: Oak beer barrel advice
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 7:08 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:49 pm
Posts: 849
Roger's advice is pertinent. Alternatively you can cheat with a few cubes or chips of oak in a secondary fermenter or keg. These may or may not be innoculated with brett depending if you're after that character or not. I think the style guidelines for Old Ale allow for some sourness and possibly brett but too lazy to check..

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 Post subject: Re: Oak beer barrel advice
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:46 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:23 am
Posts: 72
Thanks Roger. I am genuinely sorry for not adding metabisulphite or citric acid while storing it full of water and thought what I was doing was correct. I wasn't given a care sheet with instructions. Hopefully there is hope for the barrel and it can be clawed back to a good standard? If I've totally f*^%ed it I will pay for it to be replaced.

And thanks for the pointers Steve, I'll look into sourcing some oak chips and give them a try.

Simon.


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 Post subject: Re: Oak beer barrel advice
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 9:45 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:49 pm
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some timely info here

https://www.reddit.com/r/Homebrewing/comments/4m748p/advanced_topics_thursday_wood_and_wood_aging/

and a new book out on wood and beer (mixed reviews so far..)

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 Post subject: Re: Oak beer barrel advice
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:14 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:06 pm
Posts: 2279
Location: Bristol
I've got some Jim Beam Oak cask chunks, soak them in some vodka or a short spell in the oven and they will be fine to use if you want to try them.

The barrel will be fine.

_________________
”spɹɐʍʞɔɐq spɹoɔǝɹ ɹnoʎ ʎɐld”

This year I think that I will finally develop an invisible cardigan and my project to extract gold from spiders legs will also reap great rewards.


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 Post subject: Re: Oak beer barrel advice
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 9:09 am 
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Location: Bristol
Simon, don't worry, you won't have fucked it. It would take years to permanently ruin an oak barrel.

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