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Will Acetic Acid ever come out of my favorite puncheon barrel?

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  • Will Acetic Acid ever come out of my favorite puncheon barrel?

    Well, it happened, my favorite barrel went acetic. Can we revive it? What would it take to strip the acetic acid out of the wood? Or, is it lost forever. Any comments and feedback are appreciated. Cheers.
    Nick Tanner
    Head Brewer/Founder
    Cherry Street Brewing Cooperative
    Cumming, GA

  • #2
    If they were my barrels, they would be for use as a serving table or water storage butt, or display only now. I doubt if you will ever reliably get rid of the AA bacteria. This is based purely on comments from brewers using wooden Burton Union systems and wooden cask beer casks. You can only use hot water for sterilisation (or I suppose steam - though they only ever used hot water), and because the wood is porous, the AA bacterial can be well buried and protected in the wood for periods. I understand PAA is too aggressive and softens the wood, making it even more susceptible to ingress of bugs.

    I know casks cost a bit, but how much is the cost of a fresh cask compared to spoilt beer and possibly unhappy, non returning customers?


    • #3
      Check out ProxyClean by Barrel Builders. It's a peroxide cleaner that will strip out that first layer of wood. I work in a Kombucha brewery where we have major acetic production, but we had some barrels that smelled like straight diacetyl which now just smell like wood. I started using it after consulting with a sour brewery in the area, which uses ProxyClean on barrels that have started to give off flavors, and getting a few more years out of them. It's a 24 hour soak at 12-16 oz per barrel, rinse, soak or scrub with citric acid solution, rinse, and good to go. Have had good results so far.


      • #4

        I use brett to get rid of Acetic in my barrels. Works well. Pick a puree or some sort of starter for it and let them take care of your barrels.