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Reconditioning a barrel.

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Rocky

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This has probably been asked and answered a number of time on the forum so one more time won't hurt. How would you go about reconditioning a barrel that has been out of service for 4 or so years, i.e. what is you M.O. to get a barrel back into action?

Seems to me, I would start with a strong K-meta solution and personally, I would add it before swelling the barrel against leaks to get the K-meta between the staves. I would then flush with hot water. After flushing, I would tighten the hoops and fill it with hot water to swell the wood and top all leaks. The hard part will be chancing 6 gallons of wine with the high probability of ruining it.

Funny, when we made wine from California grapes years ago at home and used barrels, we would simply burn a sulfur strip inside the barrel and then flush it with hot water. Can't remember having a major problem with the wine in doing this and these were 20, 30 and 53 gallon barrels that had stood bunged and empty in a crawl space since the previous year.
 

ibglowin

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Hey Rocky,
Its good to see you back online after being away for a few years! Hope you are doing well. The Morewine guide is a good one. If this is a 6G Vadai leaking may be more of a problem than spoilage organisms. Hopefully you rinsed it well with water the last time you emptied it. If so letting it sit for a week in the Citric acid KMETA solution would be my go to start. Work on any leaks. Drain it, rinse it well, smell it. If it smells good with no off odors your probably good to go.
 

Rocky

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Thanks, Fred. That is a good read and jives with what I remember. MoreWine is a good site.

Thanks, Mike. I have four barrels (all 23 liter size) and I will try that on at least one, if not all. I am toying with the idea of disassembling one of them and sanding, scrubbing, sterilizing and charring the staves, then re-assembling. If it goes poorly, not much would be lost.

It is good to be back on the forum and to see that so many of my old friends are still here. I'm 77 now but still going (reasonably) strong. It is a little more trouble lifting the carboys (found a new appreciation for Better Bottles!) and moving them around. Can't lift the demijohns any longer so I have them on dollies.
 

mainshipfred

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Thanks, Fred. That is a good read and jives with what I remember. MoreWine is a good site.

Thanks, Mike. I have four barrels (all 23 liter size) and I will try that on at least one, if not all. I am toying with the idea of disassembling one of them and sanding, scrubbing, sterilizing and charring the staves, then re-assembling. If it goes poorly, not much would be lost.

It is good to be back on the forum and to see that so many of my old friends are still here. I'm 77 now but still going (reasonably) strong. It is a little more trouble lifting the carboys (found a new appreciation for Better Bottles!) and moving them around. Can't lift the demijohns any longer so I have them on dollies.
I'm only 63 and have everything on dollies 3 gallons and up.
 
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pete1325

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I inherited a small barrel, maybe a 20 gallon barrel, that was used to age home made Bourbon. The inside was charred to give the Bourbon a smokey flavor. Has anyone ever dismantled a barrel and sand down the staves? Also, the PO cut a 6" diameter hole in one of the ends, why I have no idea, but will need to be replaced or repaired. I like the idea of using the toasted bourbon barrel, just not sure if the burnt pieces of oak will damage the wine and will need to be filtered.
 
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