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Prepping Tequila Barrels for Beer

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  • Prepping Tequila Barrels for Beer

    I have received a few tequila barrels about 7 weeks ago and haven't gotten the chance to fill them up with a saison yet. I know tequila barrels can be in bad shape in the inside and want to properly sanitize the barrel before filling it with beer and pitching Lacto. This is my first time working with a barrel and I'm having a tough time deciding on the best way to make sure i get a clean finished product without removing too much oak and tequila flavor. I have read about burning sulfur inside the barrel, but that sounds a little intense. I can't afford steam, and I'm not sure if 185 degree water running through would be enough.

    Also, I can't decide whether or not I want to ferment with Saison 2 yeast in the fermentor then rack to barrels just before Terminal Gravity then pitch the Lacto.

    All thoughts are appreciated, thanks friends!

  • #2
    Don't do it unless you have to....

    Depending on your vendor's reputation and the integrity of the barrels, I would not sanitize unless I absolutely had to. Especially with very hot water. You just end up taking out half of the good stuff. I use barrels for a year-long contact with cider and haven't had any issues in 4 years of doing so. If you want a sanitary, neutral environment, then stick with stainless.
    Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--