Our club (Kansas City Bier Meisters) is getting ready to fill a newly acquired wine barrel with what we hope will be Flanders Red Ale. The plan is to fill the barrel in the next few weeks and age it so that it is ready for our 30th anniversary competition in Feb 2013.
It seems we are having a little trouble with the new barrel. This is the info from one of our members who is spearheading our barrel aged beer project. Can any of you with experience in this area comment on this. Any help would be appreciated.
[i]"So I checked the barrel and it smells a little different than before. Before had a lot of great wine and oak smells, and now it has a boiled egg smell (maybe sulfur?). Here is what has gone on with the barrel up to this point. Les, the vintner, from Holy Field Winery said he had strong sulfite solution in it. He gave me potash to put in it (I will be googling in a minute to see what pot ash is, etc). So I filled it with water and put in the pot ash. I have been keeping it topped up with water. So, I will at least run some Starsan through it, rinse, and change the water. Any other suggestions? I am hoping that I don’t have to find another barrel, but if we must, we must, and better that than having to dump the beer. Should I just fill it with a starsan solution or add a bunch of campden tablets? Any thoughts?
So I found this article on using sulfite, and it says to use 2 grams of potassium metabisulfite (campdden tablets) and 1 gram citric acid for sanitary long term storage of wine barrels. I also found this article on off-flavors and it mentions Hydrogen Sulfide as a rotten egg smell, mostly blaming sulfur for the smell, along with yeast autolosys. So, adding Copper Sulfate may clear up the problem, and it may be scrubbed during fermentation like it is during beer fermentation. Hmmm… So, I rinsed the barrel, threw in about 277 grams of Campden tablets (all I had on hand), and a little less than 226 grams of acid blend, and filled it back up again. I also boiled the silicone bung. At the moment I am suspecting some form of yeast fermentation in the water-filled barrel along with some sulfur left from its earlier wash."[/i]