New Barrel

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SLM

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So I acquired a new barrel, looks like 3G. Probably a few years old but unused, still in wrapper. I've been adding water for over a week because it has a slow leak that's not sealing. After several days it stinks of rotten egg sulfur. I added SO2 to the water thinking it would prevent such problems. It's unlikely I will use the barrel because of the leak, but why did this happen? How do I prevent it in future barrels?
 
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@SLM, regarding the swelling, don't give up yet. I have a ~0.5 US gallon barrel I purchased as a novelty, supposed to be a party decanter. It sat in my attic for 25 years and was a dry as is possible -- wide cracks were visible between the staves. My attic is hotter than the sun during the summer, even with ridge vents and a strong vent fan. I decided to see if it would seal -- it took nearly 3 week, IIRC. [No, I'm not using it for wine. I have no idea what oak it is and swelled it as an experiment.]

Here's one site with tips for sealing barrels:

Barrel-Aging 101: How to Swell a Dry or Leaking Barrel - Midwest Barrel Company

Regarding the smell, rotten eggs in wine means H2S, which is a serious problem. I searched for smells in barrels, and found nothing more than a sulfur being an after-effect of K-meta or burning sulfur.

My barrels were purchased used so I have no direct experience; hopefully those with experience can chime in.
 

SLM

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...which brings up another question. If you burn sulfur in a barrel for storage, aren't you introducing a sulfur smell? Do you need to do something to neutralize it?
 

sour_grapes

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Burning sulfur produces SO2 (sulfite), a burnt-match smell. Rotten egg is H2S (sulfide). I cannot imagine what caused that in your barrel.
 
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If it's a new barrel I can't imagine why it would have H2S. If you were burning a sulfur stick you want to make sure the barrel is dry, otherwise I believe it produced sulfuric acid. Now as far as a 3 gallon barrel make sure it's toasted and not charred. That size barrel makes me believe it's a spirits barrel which are normally charred.
 

SLM

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Now as far as a 3 gallon barrel make sure it's toasted and not charred.
How do I tell the difference? I would guess toast is brown, char is black. It certainly looks black to me, so I would guess char. Is there such thing as medium char?
IMG_9634.jpg
 
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Black water is definitely a sign of a charred barrel. I don't know much about charred barrels but I believe they do come with different chars. Bourbon barrel wines are becoming more popular but I believe they are put in barrels that has already aged the spirit.
 
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SLM

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I have a Bochart Special Edition 20L and a Vadai 20L. I like them both. Bochart is French oak and they will engrave for only $20. Stave thickness is the same on both.
Yes, I read your other thread on the subject. I'll be interested to know how well the Bochart seals up. Their return window is 14 days. Please keep us posted on your progress.
 

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