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Roger calls himself a wine connoisseur and is proud of his 10-year-old wine that is perfectly aged and rich in color.
If you love preparing your wine or other spirits at home and probably thinking how patient Roger has been all these years and most importantly imagining what the deep garnet red wine would taste after a few more years.
Wine and Barrel
If you are planning to prepare your wine at home, then you need to know the basic knowledge of your barrel first. The rich taste in wine or any other spirit is mostly due to the environment in which the barrel is stored, the type of wood used (oak, redwood, maple wood, etc.), and where it has been charred in the interior, the storage location of the barrel, and such.
Changing temperatures due to seasons affect the liquid in the barrel. A mild or cold atmospheric temperature causes expansion and contraction of the liquid that accelerates the wood interactions.
These factors play a significant role in the color, aroma, flavor, taste and most importantly the pleasant mouthfeel experiences when you take a sip of your distinct wine. The essential ingredient here is the lies in the charred wood.
When you age the spirit in barrels, two things happen:
i) the spirit consumes some flavors of the barrel.
ii) the heat caramelizes some of the natural sugars from the charred barrel, imparting a butterscotch note.
Buying a barrel is a great idea, but you also need to maintain it while you prepare wine or spirits. If you have new or previously used barrels, then there are some set of instructions you need to follow.
Since Christmas is down the road, how about serving home-made wine to your guests? Before heading to the preparations, you need to know some procedures that can keep your wine safe. An unclean barrel can spoil all your effort, time, and money.
Follow These Barrel Maintenance Instructions
Barrels need to be filled immediately or stored in a cool place. Placing your barrels in moist areas may develop molds. Please refrain from doing so.
Things to be noted while preparing wine:
Don’t fill your barrel directly with wine, instead conduct a water soak test to carefully inspect the barrel. Opt for any one procedure.
- Fill the barrel with 3-5 gallons filtered, chlorine-free hot water with an ideal temperature of 1800 F or 820 C.
- Rotate the barrel from all sides such that you wet the entire interior of the barrel.
- Hydrate the head of the barrel by keeping it upright on one head for about 4 hours.
- Repeat the same process for the other half of the head.
- At the same time, check for leakage.
- Drain the water and let the barrel dry completely.
- Fill the barrel with chlorine-free, filtered water.
- Keep it for 24-48 hours to rehydrate.
- Check for leakage.
- Empty and let it dry completely.
If in case you find a leakage, then please follow the below instructions:
- Mark the leakage area with chalk.
- Drain the barrel and let it dry completely for about an hour.
- When the exterior area is completely dry, treat it with 10-20 grams of sulfur sticks and reinsert the bung (a stopper used to close an opening in the barrel).
- Make sure that the barrel does not come in contact with sulfur or citric acid.
- Take preventive measures while removing the bung due to internal pressure build-up.
Maintaining Used Barrels
It includes some stages to clean and store the wine fills. Head down to know more:
- Start the process only if your barrels are properly rinsed and drained for about an hour.
- Rotate the bung in sleeping position.
- Spray sulfur gas for 3 seconds (almost half of a sulfur stick will do) and keep it the same position for an hour with a paper cup in the bung.
- Remove the paper cup and place it in standing position for proper drying.
- Let the sulfur gas escape by keeping it outside for 24 hours.
- Shift the barrels inside and leave it un-bunged.
- Keep it for a minimum of 4 weeks.
- After keeping it inside for 4 weeks, shift them outside again.
- Apply sulfur gas for 3 seconds again.
- Lock the bung with a paper cup to allow the gas to warm up.
- After some time, remove the cup and place the barrel outside for about a day and bring it inside.
- Make sure you place it at sleeping and standing position.
- Time to refill your barrel.
Disclaimer: During this process, empty barrels should be stored at a fairly humid temperature. This allows the less amount of sulfur to be absorbed and retained. It gives the advantage of storing a minimum amount of volatile acid present in the barrel.
It is also important to sanitize used barrels before filling it with wine, scroll down to know :
- Fill the barrel half with cold water.
- Add 2.5 grams of potassium metabisulphite (K2S2O5) and 1.24 grams of citric acid for every liter of the barrel’s total volume.
- Bung the barrel and roll it thoroughly to mix both the powders.
- Fill the barrel and let it sit for 48 hours.
- Drain and rinse the barrel with cold water several times.
This is another way of rehydrating the barrel before putting wine into it:
- Fill the barrel with 1/10th its capacity with portable water.
- Stuff the bunghole and roll the barrel several times such that water reaches every corner of the barrel.
- Keep the barrel standing while you pour some water over it.
- Let it settle for 4-8 hours and keep it rolling again and stand it on the other head and pour some water over it.
- After another 4-8 hours, drain all the water and immediately fill it with wine.
- If not, then fill it with sulfur gas to prevent the development of fungus or mold.
Another alternative is to fill the barrel with water until the barrel swells. If it is leak proof, then you are ready to go.
Rocky Mountain Barrel Company brings to you the finest used oak wine barrels from across the world. We strongly believe in giving the best service to every customer looking out for premium wine and spirit barrels. Take a walkthrough of our product offerings!