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Thread: oak barrel sample ports

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    56

    oak barrel sample ports

    Hello all-
    I'm looking for a relatively simple and reliable way to install sample ports into oak barrels as to sample prior to blending while minimizing disturbance of the product. Any ideas, or better yet success stories?
    cheers
    geoff
    Geoff DeBisschop
    Evolution Craft Brewing Company
    Delmar, DE

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Henley-on-Thames, England
    Posts
    204
    I'm interested in this one as well. Our limited experience:

    We've drilled holes in the head of our barrels the size of a stainless steel part that we have off of some other bits in the brewery. It is effectively a stainless 'nail' that we are able to pull out to sample. Be careful drilling holes...we have some that are too tight and some that are too loose, causing them to leak.

    What we are thinking of doing on the next go around is to drill a hole and fix a 5/16 stainless tube (using a corny dip tube) into the bottom of the head. We will then be able to put a John Guest on/off valve, using for sampling and also to quickly be able to hook up to pump the beer out when it is ready.

    Cheers,
    Jeff
    Jeff Rosenmeier (Rosie)
    Chairman of the Beer
    Lovibonds Brewery Ltd
    Henley-on-Thames, Englandshire
    W: www.lovibonds.com
    F: LovibondsBrewery
    T: @Lovibonds

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Amherst, MA USA
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    325
    Hey Geoff,
    Go with a drilled holed with nails.
    Jason Perkins from Allagash shared his expertise with me on this one.

    Stainless 1.5 inch 4 d nails. Use a 7/64 drill bit. It is important for the nail and bit size to be exact. We got the nails out of Mcmaster Carr, although I am sure you could get them from a hardware store.


    Good luck
    Matthew
    ________________
    Matthew Steinberg

    Brewer
    High Horse
    Amherst, MA

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Williamsburg, Va
    Posts
    136
    Geoff,
    The stainless nail trick is the way to go. That's what I do. Hell, it's what a lot of wineries do. I used a barrel once for three batches with the same nail and same hole with no issue or leak. See you soon.

    Geoff
    AleWerks

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    St.Louis->Tacoma
    Posts
    633
    Quote Originally Posted by Rosie

    What we are thinking of doing on the next go around is to drill a hole and fix a 5/16 stainless tube (using a corny dip tube) into the bottom of the head. We will then be able to put a John Guest on/off valve, using for sampling and also to quickly be able to hook up to pump the beer out when it is ready.

    Cheers,
    Jeff
    This is what i do using a corney dip tube in a rubber bung in the bunghole with another barb in the bung to pressurize the barrel for sampling/blending/draining.
    Jeff Byrne

    12 year pro craft brewer *NOW available for hire...
    Auburn, Wa - for now

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Posts
    618
    Why not simply use a 'wine thief' though the bung hole? Unless you have multipule kegs stacked...
    Operations Director, Tin Roof BC
    ted@tinroofbeer.com
    "Your results may vary"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Amherst, MA USA
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    The thief works fine, but if the goal of the barrels is to form a pellicle on the surface, and every time you take a sample, you will be disturbing this 'shield'

    but if the barrels are not 'infected' and no pellicle is forming, then thieve away...
    ________________
    Matthew Steinberg

    Brewer
    High Horse
    Amherst, MA

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    56
    Exactly Matthew- currently we're doing only traditional "clean" ales but are gearing up to age a flemish red type ale. Id rather not disturb the pellicle. As Ted pointed out as well we have barrels stacked on barrels, our thief won't go into barrels below other barrels. Plus this just overall seems like a method that disturbs the product less. So despite my fear that I'll come in one day and find dozens of nails on the floor and empty barrels, we're going to "install" the nails. Seems far too common not to be reliable.

    cheers
    geoff
    Geoff DeBisschop
    Evolution Craft Brewing Company
    Delmar, DE

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Montréal, QC
    Posts
    163
    Well, finding these nails is not an easy task. I called all hardware store in town. I only need a few, and anyway, McMaster-Carr don't sale in Canada any longer.

    Why a nail? Does it have any particular characteristic (bevel, ..) ? Could I use a SS drill bit or a welding rod?

    Would a galvanized nail give flavor or corrode?

    Ben

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN
    Posts
    12

    Oak Barrel Sample Valve

    This is a sanitary barrel sample valve in 304 stainless steel that can work with any barrel size. A 5/8" hole needs to be drilled on barrel to install sample valve.

    Name:  OAK BARREL SAMPLE VALVE.jpg
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Chicago, IL, US
    Posts
    175
    Quote Originally Posted by chantal
    This is a sanitary barrel sample valve in 304 stainless steel that can work with any barrel size. A 5/8" hole needs to be drilled on barrel to install sample valve.
    Something tells me this costs a bit more than a stainless nail
    Beejay
    Pipeworks Brewing Company

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Amherst, MA USA
    Posts
    325
    Buy a pound of these and you should be all set for years....
    go to common nails and click 316 stainless.

    http://www.mcmaster.com/#nails/=c6qr4b
    ________________
    Matthew Steinberg

    Brewer
    High Horse
    Amherst, MA

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Montréal, QC
    Posts
    163
    yup. But as I said, McMaster refuses to sell to Canada

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Amherst, MA USA
    Posts
    325
    Not sure if these guys sell in Canada. Hopefully they do.
    http://www.fastenerusa.com/products_...FU195QodEjzQNA

    Maybe some brewer in NY or VT will be willing to place the mcmaster order and ship the nails to you. kind of a hassle, I know... plus there has to be a source in Canada for these stainless nails.


    I know... the name says it all...USA! but hopefully they love Canada like me and will ship em to ya!

    good luck
    matthew
    ________________
    Matthew Steinberg

    Brewer
    High Horse
    Amherst, MA

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