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Whiskey Barrel Questions

I just got a recently emptied 10 gallon whiskey barrel which smells fantastic. I am planning on doing a handful of clean beers (still deciding between porter, stout/RIS, barley wine, wee heavy, old ale) before eventually turning this into a sour barrel. This weekend I was going to be waxing the barrel, building a stand, and hopefully brewing a big Baltic Porter to fill it with.

I had a few questions regarding barrel maintenance.

(1) Waxing - With this being a relatively smaller barrel, I was going to wax it. I was thinking of waxing about 75% and that should cut down on risk of oxidization and acetobacter. Any thoughts on waxing a higher/lower % of barrel?

(2) Vinnie Nail - I was thinking of installing one for sampling to avoid potential oxidation issues with sampling, but I’m unable to find any 316 stainless steel nails. He suggests “1–½” 4d smooth common nail – 316 stainless steel" but all I can find is regular stainless at Lowes/HD. Anyone have a spare Vinnie Nail or two they’d be willing to part with? PM me if you do and I’d be willing to cover cost. Also, any tips on installation?

(3) CO2 purging - I don’t keg, but would still like to purge headspace with CO2. Would a small handheld soda keg CO2 charger that uses disposable cartridges work? I was thinking along the lines of this - … arger.html

Thanks for all the help!

A have a few 5-15 gallon barrels and have never waxed them and haven’t found the need to do so, but I don’t think it can hurt.

Yeah, the barrel was emptied about two weeks ago so it’s looking good. And like you mentioned, waxing couldn’t hurt especially if I’m planning on converting it to a sour barrel after a few clean beers go through.

Wahoo - Do you sample via a Vinnie Nail or just remove the bung/airlock and use a thief?

I suppose due to angel share loss and sampling via bung, it can’t hurt to use co2 especially if i’m not able to top off right away.

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