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Primary Fermentation in Wine Barrels

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  • Primary Fermentation in Wine Barrels

    Hey everyone,

    I have done plenty of barrel aging but have never messed around with fermenting directly in the barrel. I have fermented a French Saison in a white wine barrel and my plan was to use my bulldog to pull as much yeast as possible out of the barrel before pitching brett and letting it sit in the barrel for months/years.

    My problem is I didn't seem to remove much yeast from the bottom of the barrel. What are your thoughts on letting the beer age in the barrel it fermented in with the yeast from primary fermentation? My gut tells me this is a bad idea and maybe I should rack the beer to a stainless tank, chill and remove as much yeast as possible, hot rinse the barrel then refill with relatively brite beer before pitching bugs and aging.

    What are your thoughts? Much appreciated.

  • #2
    Should be fine

    I would let it go as is. The Sacch will end up as a food source for the Brett. I think you also risk adding oxygen if you transfer, definitely to be avoided on a Brett secondary. If you can't top up the barrel with similar wort or beer I would not even consider the transfer. I do a Saison with 590 and Brett Drie and just mix them and do primary with both and have let it sit for 6 months, I'm drinking one right now.


    • #3
      Sorry for the delayed response and thanks for yours!

      That's an excellent point about the Brett becoming a food source. I guess I was just a little concerned with any sulfur or other autolysis flavors coming out in the meantime.

      I ended up transferring the beer out of the barrel into a grundy, hot rinsing the barrel, letting cool, purging with co2 then transferring the beer back in. Didn't have a whole lot of loss really which was surprising. But now I've got relatively brite beer aging with some brett and I am keeping the minimal head space purged.

      Thanks again for your input!