We are looking to empty our Bourbon Barrel Stout into our brite tank and are having difficulty using a siphon to do this. Does anyone have any advice , techniques, or specialized equipment to help us? Its taking 5-6 hours to empty a 53 gallon barrel and we are most likely oxidizing the beer. Any help would be appreciated.
you have a couple options.
this thing is nice because you use CO2 to push the product out of the barrel, thus eliminating oxidation. It has an adjustable bung that tightens to fit snugly in the barrel. You can also change the height of the bung for different sized barrels and it has an adjustable spike/foot so you can choose how close to the bottom you want to pull from. This way you can leave sediment behind.
Another way to transfer is using a diaphragm pump. Morebeer sells a cheap one for about $250 which is aimed at home brewers. It's self priming and will empty a 55 gallon barrel in under 20 minutes.
Pipeworks Brewing Company
Bulldog all the way....
I had the same promlem in the past, nothing seemed to work. We simply hooked up a hose with a downpipe to the inlet of a 1hp pump. Placed the downpipe in the barrel and trasferred the whole thing in about a minute. Not the best solution but it worked.
Find a hose that's the diameter of the bung. Slap a triclamp barb on the end. Then use a vacuum (like a shopvac) to start the siphon. That's what a local distillery recommended.
For our little 10 gal barrels I just use the big size homebrew auto-siphon with a beer nut attached to a sanke fill-head tap at the end. (Just vent the keg pressure first or the siphon piston will shoot out like a rocket!) Barrel straight into a co2 purged keg. Took maybe 15 minutes to do 20 gallons tonight. Yeah, not totally oxygen free. But these kegs'll be gone as quick as you can say "Whisky Barrel Aged Stout"...
Co-Founder / Head Brewer
Bainbridge Island Brewing
Bainbridge Island, WA
This one is very gentle on the product because it is a screw style not an impeller pump.
CPE Systems Inc.
Any tips on getting a good fit with the bulldog in a wine barrel?
I constantly bust up my knuckles, can't get a good grip; can't get it in deep enough to get it tight enough to hold enough pressure to really move the beer.
...and, I just busted off the co2 port, trying to hammer the whole piece down with a rubber mallet.
I like purging the barrel as you transfer, makes it nice for the next fill and the bulldog sure looks cool. But I think I've had better luck with just drilling two holes in a bung; hammering it down tight, small pipe for co2, and racking cane to push out beer.
Forest and Main Brewing Company
There was an earlier thread regarding emptying a barrel, and it seemed to indicate that the Bulldog left much to be desired. I've never used one so can't give an opinion on it, but thought you may wish to see this info if you missed the thread:
We gave up on our GW Kent Bulldog. The thing is made in China and basically is a very bad copy of a 'Bulldog' that is made for the wine industry.
There is something even better than the Bulldog...it is known as the
'Rack it Teer'. Matt Bryndilson of Firestone Walker co designed it with the manufacterer.
There are very crucial parts on the device that totally blow away the GWK thing.
Probably most importantly is the bung has a locking lever for the bung which causes it to expand and thus the barrel can be pressurized with significantly more pressure than the GWK thing can handle. To much and the GWK will literally lauch itself.
The Rack it teer will empty a barrel in 3 minutes! No lie! It will completely empty it too!
The GWK thing will not and because the bung doesn't lock you have to mess with it and it wastes lots of time.
Our barrel program is seasonal and we empty almost 200 barrels overf the course of a month. The time saved equaled money as labor and over time was lowered.
Check it out!
Get the pump...A diaphragm pump. The others may work but I can't say that I have any experience with them for this application
We use one similar and it works very very well. It is fast and can be used for many other applications...They are also fairly easy to CIP.
At a couple different breweries we've made our selves a "ghetto bulldog." Basically we take a silicone barrel bung drill two holes and then insert a stainless dip tube in one "port" (old corny dip tube works, although may be short.) And co2 to the other "port" you have to stand there holding the bung in, but it is cheaper then a bull dog.
I used the GWKent unit recently and it sealed in the bung hole just fine. So well in fact the pressure blew out the side of 2 barrels!! Pretty scary, and this was not at high pressure. I swore after that to never use a "bulldog" type of device in barrels again, I'll be looking into one of those pumps.