Where to buy used barrel?

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Aug 26, 2015
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I was thinking about buying a small used neutral wine barrel for home use. I would just add stix/chips etc... for the flavor and have the barrel for the micro oxidation purposes.

Anyone have any reputable dealers? I have seen many for sale on the net.
I was thinking about buying a small used neutral wine barrel for home use. I would just add stix/chips etc... for the flavor and have the barrel for the micro oxidation purposes.

Anyone have any reputable dealers? I have seen many for sale on the net.

I bought a couple of used barrels from North American Barrel, one was a gift to use as decoration, the other I converted into a trash can in my wine room. They were both used whiskey barrels and smelled awesome.

Personally, I'd be too concerned about buying a neutral, empty, wine barrel because of the potential for bacterial infection and the difficulty in removing bacteria from an empty, used wine barrel. Long sulfite/citric acid soaks, burning sulfur in them are methods that are supposed to work, but I'm too chicken to risk a batch of wine when I can buy a new 6 gallon barrel for $175 and use it for 5+ years............
Second johns chicken sentiment. And new barrels smell great. Being in charge of how they develop the wine is great too
Another possibility for you would be to use a FlexTank (brand) of a special plastic tank made just for wine. While it imparts no oak it provides the same micro-oxygenation as a barrel. You just use staves in it to provide the oak. They make smaller ones than they used to but I think the smallest are 15 gallons so may be too large for you. The website lists the Tankenstein for beer but others have bought ones for wine. The small wood barrels aren't that expensive as John states.
The idea of a small barrel is usually better than it's practicality. I'm sure there are some that are successful with them, but I'd venture to say most are not.

Every one that I've seen lacks in tight construction and impart oak so fast that you are left with maintenance issues with an empty barrel and did not get the micro-ox and flavor concentration that you were hoping for.

Until I was doing 60 gallons at a time, I would stick to carboys or as @grapeman said, a flex. I have a barrel, flex and carboys. Note: I've never owned a small barrel (unless you consider 30 gallons small), just my experience with those that I talked to that have.
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What Norcal said may be true.

However, I bought one off Amazon that has worked well. I've had it for full for about 9 months (second batch in there now). I first filled it on April 15 of last year come to think of it. The only leaking I had was due to accidentally hitting the petcock and valve dripped a little. I do think they look cool as conversation pieces though.

My only complaint is that the bung is too small to really add more oak after it is spent. Anything added will likely never come out unless I enlarge it.

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I was wondering about the smaller barrels. I'm not in position to have one, but I thought the main thing about barrels was the micro-oxygenation (as you can use other ways to impart oak), but I always read that you really need a very large barrel to get proper micro-oxygenation.

Also, the smaller the barrel the more oak is in contact with less wine. That would risk over-oaking if you left it in long term in attempt to get micro-oxygenation?

So why get a barrel if you do not get proper micro-oxygenation and you can use oak chips/cubes/etc to get the oak?
I was thinking more for next season. Thanks for the input I may look into a flex tank.
Smaller (ie: 23 liter) barrels are just fine, from my experience. The trick is to make sure you have a few batches lined up when starting with a new one. Your first batch will only be in 3-5 weeks before you will likely achieve your desired oak levels. 2nd batch 6-8, third batch maybe 10+ weeks or more. By the time you've run 3 or 4 batches through, you can let a wine sit in there for 3-4 months without overoaking. I've never heard about needing a large barrel for 'proper' micro-ox, so I can't speak to that (other than I feel I've gotten good results with mine). But I can say that a 23 liter barrel is beneficial and completely manageable if you plan ahead for it's arrival.

I have 3, 23 liter Vadai barrels and am very happy that I do.
As a "small" barrel user (have four 6 gallons and two 12 gallons), I can agree that, in the early stages, they aren't as productive as the later stages. In a 6, you can typically get all of the oak you need in about a month and therefore don't take advantage of all of the microx that you could. Second wine for two months, a little better. Third for three, better yet. Now that some of the barrels have reached the age that wine can sit for six months, much more benefit. In fact, in tasting, even the wines that get only a short sit are improved. Not to say that you can't do that with a flex and staves........

While the 50-60 gallon size is probably the "holy grail" where you can leave wines in new and once used barrels for a year or two, the practicality of producing that quantity of wine to fill one of those, at least for me, in my current home wine making situation, is impractical.

It may very well be that one day my production will change to a couple of big batches per year and use the big boy barrels, but thus far, have been very satisfied with the level of investment and return delivered by the small barrels, but hey, I'm just one dude with little barrels, YMMV..............
Not that we are wealthy but I would gladly pay the 15gal price for a 5 gal flexi tank! We are small and do not have the room to have 15gal batches or barrel(s) to hold that much, but desire the effects of the micro ox that everyone talks about. Also the less maintenance than a barrel is attractive too and we live in Texas the land of no basements for our wine production!!

I have all sizes... None leak and small need to be broken in before they can work hard for you... But I think 15 and 30 is the perfect size for home use.

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