Just discovered bung blew off of barrel

Discussion in 'Barrels & Oaking' started by George Burgin, May 12, 2019.

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  1. May 12, 2019 #1

    George Burgin

    George Burgin

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    Looking for some advise/council...

    I just discovered a bung blown off of a 15 gallon barrel. I filled those barrels a week ago. I checked them before I left on a business trip on Sunday, 6 days ago. The longest it could have been off the barrel is that amount of time.

    When I noticed it, there were a bunch of fruit flies buzzing around and had landed on the bung hold. I added a tablespoon of K-Meta and replaced the bung.

    Questions:
    1. Is the wine ruined? So much for micro-oxygenation...
    2. What about the fruit flies? Did they ruin the wine?
    3. What do you suggest I do?
    4. Do I have an award winner or a drain filler?
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
  2. May 12, 2019 #2

    cmason1957

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    I think you did the right thing, heavy dosage of kmeta, replace the bung. Time will tell.
    I would certainly be checking that bung frequently.
     
  3. May 12, 2019 #3

    George Burgin

    George Burgin

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    I weighted it down after I moved the barrel into my pump house. It’s cooler in there because that’s where water is flowing. I had the barrels just sitting in my garage and it got 90 degrees today. And, it’s been hot while I was gone.

    More later...
     
  4. May 12, 2019 #4

    Boatboy24

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    Oh no! Think you did the right thing and all you can do now is hope and pray.
     
  5. May 12, 2019 #5

    sour_grapes

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    At least as I understand it, for the wine to be spoiled it would require three things: presence of acetobacter, oxygen, and a lack of sulfites (to keep the first two in check). You probably have the first of these (thanks, fruit flies!), but you can control the last two. Time will tell.
     
  6. May 12, 2019 #6

    mainshipfred

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    If it were me I would splash rack and return it followed by the heavy sulfite addition.
     
  7. May 12, 2019 #7

    NorCal

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    I would keep it topped up, with the correct sulfite levels and minimize any future oxygen exposure. I’d look to bottle as soon as I thought it was done throwing off sediment, to minimize future oxygen exposure.
     
  8. May 12, 2019 #8

    George Burgin

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    Ok, Paul - let's assume I have an acetobacter because of the fruit flies. Has that set this wine on the dark path to vinegar? Does bottling help, as Fred suggested? (Fred, feel free to weigh in here)

    And, is this barrel ruined? If so, ouch...

    In short, I'm super bummed. Hard and potentially expensive lesson learned.
     
  9. May 12, 2019 #9

    sour_grapes

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    I guess you missed my point. Even if you have acetobacter, they need oxygen. And they need no sulfites. You have control over those factors.
     
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  10. May 12, 2019 #10

    George Burgin

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    Very good as I did miss your point. Just learning...
     
  11. May 12, 2019 #11

    G259

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    Good info, I only do 1 and 3 gallon batches, but will file that away for future reference. I was wondering, if flies got into the barrel, would it be prudent to rack this through a filter of some sort, to remove any that slipped in, or is that not needed for the above reasons? I would hate to have a fruit fly in my wine glass, that would ruin it, lol!
     
  12. May 13, 2019 #12

    stickman

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    I've seen this question several times regarding contamination by a fruit fly. Kit wines start out with a much lower microbial load than fresh grapes, so a few bacteria cells are certainly not a problem as long as standard practices are followed.

    Note that when making wine from fresh grapes, vinegar bacteria is always present in the wine. Studies have shown that even healthy grapes come into the winery with vinegar bacteria cell counts between 100 and 1000 cells per gram, damaged grapes may have upwards of a million cells per gram. Even the typical use of kmeta doesn't completely prevent wine damage by vinegar bacteria. The vinegar bacteria are always there, but they need oxygen to convert the ethanol to vinegar.

    The main point is to not worry about a few bacteria cells of contamination, but prevent the cells from multiplying by keeping containers topped up and minimizing oxygen contact.


    Here is an example cell count graph from Lallemand. Gluconobacter (a type of vinegar bacteria) is at 1000cells/ml as the must is just walking through the door at the winery. Acetobacter (another type of vinegar bacteria) is near 10,000cells/ml during storage conditions.

    Bacteria Cell Count.png
     
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  13. May 13, 2019 #13

    buzi

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    I have had this happen in primary fermentation. As a preventative measure I started putting an old bath towel over my carboys in case the airlock comes out. I also use this method if I open ferment grapes. I supose you could on use that theory on a barrel too. Any thoughts on negative impacts to the batch or barrel?
     
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  14. May 13, 2019 #14

    George Burgin

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    Stickman, thank you for the powerful and informative reply. Although this event has been an incredible learning experience, no real damage done. I'll keep everyone posted.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019 at 4:49 AM
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  15. May 13, 2019 #15

    sour_grapes

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    I agree: awesome post, Stick.
     
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