Refurbishing oak barrels?

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phanmo
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Refurbishing oak barrels?

Post by phanmo » Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:06 am

Does anybody know the best way to refurbish old oak barrels? I got my hands on 2 small oak barrels that were used at a now defunct cognac distillery. The problem is that it went bust almost 50 years ago, and I don't know what they've been used for since. They both seem to be watertight. I'm planning on doing a scotch and I'd like to put some aside to age properly. Any suggestions would be appreciated!
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Uncle Remus
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Re: Refurbishing oak barrels?

Post by Uncle Remus » Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:41 am

From what I've read, most of the scotch distillers want used barrels to age their wares in. They like old rum barrels and sometimes old sherry barrels. Why don't you throw your whiskey in the barrels the way they are and see what happens?
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Re: Refurbishing oak barrels?

Post by Dnderhead » Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:54 am

Soda ash, can be bout as " barrel clean" from wine shops , they do refurbish barrels but not something most people can do

punkin
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Re: Refurbishing oak barrels?

Post by punkin » Thu Apr 17, 2008 11:28 am

Some care needs to be taken. I bought a 10 litre used barrell from ebay a while back and filled it with my Peach Brandy. It has a disgusting sorta old leather or old book kinda mustiness to it now that has pretty much ruined the spirit. I've left it in there for 6 months or so, but i reckon it's destined for redistilling... :cry:

You can send your barrell away to the coopers for refurbishing, the cooperage i buy my barrells from only charges $55au to disassemble, scrape and rechar the barrell. It's definately what i'll be doing when the tme comes with my other barrells. You might try a google search for cooperages in your area. :wink:

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Re: Refurbishing oak barrels?

Post by Ricky » Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:43 pm

if you decide to try this yourself here are a few tips. number the staves and orient what is the top. make sure to make a mark on the head and corasponding stave to make sure the heads go back on the right way( this is where i messed up)! after you take it apart a wire brush on a bench grinder will remove most of the old charr. then use a propane torch to recharr the staves. i brought mine to a light glow with a little smoke after the flame is removed. i feel like this would have worked great except the heads would not reseal for me. this was a freinds 1 gal keg which was his fathers so i didnt want to mess it up any more than i had. dont forget to mark the barrel bands either. good luck.
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Husker
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Re: Refurbishing oak barrels?

Post by Husker » Thu Apr 17, 2008 4:15 pm

I was thinking that barrels were refurbished without dismantling them. I have seen a grinder doohicky, that was like a HUGE wire-brush / morning star type thing. It was grinding balls attached to flexible rods or chains. They were attached to a 1" steel rod. Then they were used like a big wire brush on the end of a drill. The balls would scrape off the old char (and off flavors), then new barrel ends were attached and I think brandy or cognac was added. I am pretty sure I saw something like this on history channel, or some other "how to distill" type show.

I would think that dismantled barrels would not seal right. They "might" if staves were properly ordered, but I still think that once you bust it apart, it will not be right again.

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phanmo
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Re: Refurbishing oak barrels?

Post by phanmo » Fri Apr 18, 2008 1:47 am

I did a little more research and apparently there are a few different ways to do it... The main ones seem to be: dissasemble then plane/sand/grind and reassemble, grind while the barrel is still assembled, and sandblasting but with dry ice instead of sand. The problem is that I live in the Poitou-Charentes region of France, which, being a major barrel producing region, doesn't really do refurbishing. One of the barrels seems ok but the other one smells a little musty and when I peek inside with a flashlight it looks like it was used for red wine. I figure I'll try disassembling, sanding and then refiring it. If it smells even a little off, or isn't watertight, I'll use it as a planter or something. One of the things I came across was that apparently a barrel that has been used more than a couple of times has already had most of the tannins etc etc leached out of it, so I dunno if it's even worth the trouble. I'll probably put a good handful of oak chips in, just to be sure. I also came across this PDF on barrel care: http://www.morebeer.com/public/pdf/wbarrel.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow
I think I'll convince my girlfriend that we need a little vacation and drive down to Cognac next wkend(again!). On the way is Jarnac, which has the french cooperage museum and a lot of cooperages. The problem is that they all pretty much make only 226L or bigger which is a little out of my league!
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junkyard dawg
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Re: Refurbishing oak barrels?

Post by junkyard dawg » Fri Apr 18, 2008 7:10 am

try checking out recoop.

http://www.recoop.net/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

They show their process there.
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MountedGoat
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Re: Refurbishing oak barrels?

Post by MountedGoat » Fri Apr 18, 2008 11:46 am

If still looking to refurbish, you might want to get some SO2 (potassium metabisulphate, the powdered kind works best) and fill the barrel with water and then add about 20g of the stuff in. This will do two things, first is that it will make sure the barrel holds water and second is that the SO2 will kill off a lot of the surface crap that might really effect your whiskey. Let it sit a while and then you will want to empty the water (not into anything that you don't want to die, like flowers) and then rinse thruroughly with the garden hose (barrel upside down for this part so that the water flows). Hope this helps
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phanmo
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Re: Refurbishing oak barrels?

Post by phanmo » Fri May 23, 2008 12:23 am

Just to update.... I ended up taken off about 2mm of the inside of the staves after I broke down the barrel. It was a bit of a pain in the ass because of the curve in both directions but I finally made a tool from the blade of a pair of secateurs that worked ok. I got impatient before I finished and am now aging my apple distillate on oak in bottles but I've got another apple wash fermenting that'll go in the barrel, assuming it's still watertight. To be continued...
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Re: Refurbishing oak barrels?

Post by jdonly1 » Fri May 23, 2008 12:35 am

punkin wrote:Some care needs to be taken. I bought a 10 litre used barrell from ebay a while back and filled it with my Peach Brandy. It has a disgusting sorta old leather or old book kinda mustiness to it now that has pretty much ruined the spirit. I've left it in there for 6 months or so, but i reckon it's destined for redistilling... :cry:

You can send your barrell away to the coopers for refurbishing, the cooperage i buy my barrells from only charges $55au to disassemble, scrape and rechar the barrell. It's definately what i'll be doing when the tme comes with my other barrells. You might try a google search for cooperages in your area. :wink:
Where do you get your barrels from mate :wink:

Uncle Jesse
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Re: Refurbishing oak barrels?

Post by Uncle Jesse » Fri May 23, 2008 6:36 am

Scotch is often aged in used bourbon barrels these days.

Old timers used to throw oats into the barrel and burn it that way. I've never tried any type of refurbishing though so I can't speak from experience.
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Dnderhead
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Re: Refurbishing oak barrels?

Post by Dnderhead » Fri May 23, 2008 8:29 am

Being unused for that long I believe Id wash out with barrel kleen mite be mold or other bad stuff in there

punkin
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Re: Refurbishing oak barrels?

Post by punkin » Fri May 23, 2008 11:03 am

jdonly1 wrote:
punkin wrote:Some care needs to be taken. I bought a 10 litre used barrell from ebay a while back and filled it with my Peach Brandy. It has a disgusting sorta old leather or old book kinda mustiness to it now that has pretty much ruined the spirit. I've left it in there for 6 months or so, but i reckon it's destined for redistilling... :cry:

You can send your barrell away to the coopers for refurbishing, the cooperage i buy my barrells from only charges $55au to disassemble, scrape and rechar the barrell. It's definately what i'll be doing when the tme comes with my other barrells. You might try a google search for cooperages in your area. :wink:
Where do you get your barrels from mate :wink:

Not too far from you....

http://www.rolloutthebarrel.com.au/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

Good people.

jdonly1
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Re: Refurbishing oak barrels?

Post by jdonly1 » Fri May 23, 2008 3:37 pm

punkin wrote:
jdonly1 wrote:
punkin wrote:Some care needs to be taken. I bought a 10 litre used barrell from ebay a while back and filled it with my Peach Brandy. It has a disgusting sorta old leather or old book kinda mustiness to it now that has pretty much ruined the spirit. I've left it in there for 6 months or so, but i reckon it's destined for redistilling... :cry:

You can send your barrell away to the coopers for refurbishing, the cooperage i buy my barrells from only charges $55au to disassemble, scrape and rechar the barrell. It's definately what i'll be doing when the tme comes with my other barrells. You might try a google search for cooperages in your area. :wink:
Where do you get your barrels from mate :wink:

Not too far from you....

http://www.rolloutthebarrel.com.au/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

Good people.
Thanks for the link :wink:
I just got 2 used barrels from another bloke for $170 bucks,1 French oak and 1 American oak,these will be used for toasted oak sticks.
I will get in contact with those guys in Queensland,I bet the shipping will be a killer though,Im in Victoria

punkin
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Re: Refurbishing oak barrels?

Post by punkin » Fri May 23, 2008 7:30 pm

Sorry, thought it was you that said Gold coast.

Shipping is only thirty or forty bucks to NSW so won't be much dearer.

There is cooperages closer to you though.









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Bootliquor
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Re: Refurbishing oak barrels?

Post by Bootliquor » Sun Oct 26, 2014 2:23 pm

There is an easy way to refurbish the barrels. The rings are press-fit onto the barrel, and you can take a chisel and knock them off (towards the small end, of course)...leave the last ring on both ends of the barrel. Then remove the ring from the end that the bung is in. Set the barrel up vertically, and slightly tap the staves around the rim...1/4" or so. Do this until the end can be removed...then replace the end ring. You now have a barrel without a top that is supported by the two end rings, and is structurally sound. Hand scrape(sand/grind etc.) the interior to your requirements, and then use a portable propane burner to char the interior to your desired char. Remove the end ring, again tap the staves out to where you can replace the bung end of the barrel. When the end seats, replace the end ring, and then pound the second and third rings into position (you can easily see the witness marks where they belong.). Fill the barrel up with water and monitor it daily for a week or so, and then when proven tight, re-use.
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