[Ansteorra] Vinting Question

Pug Bainter pug at pug.net
Sat Oct 26 19:44:12 PDT 2002

Synrik (synrik at earthlink.net) said something that sounded like:
> Does anyone have any hints or tips  for those that are fermenting and bulk
> aging in 55 gallon barrels?

Several things, even though I haven't done it I've read a fair amount
and can find more.

First, make sure that the barrels you use are the proper flavor and
treatment for the wine you are making. Different woods and treatments
can cause dramatically different flavors to be instilled into the wine.
For example, French oak is the mildest and mostly friendly to use,
but it is a *lot* more expensive then American oak which is very strong
in flavor.

Second, make sure you store the barrels properly when you are not using
it. You need to ensure that it is kept moist and does not dry and crack.
Many people recommend you store it full of water. This also allows you
to determine how much liquid it is going to loose over time, if any.

Third, make sure to clean the barrel thoroughly before using it. You
will need to scrape it and what not to ensure that there are no bad
parasites on the surface. Some say you can't use a barrel more than 5
times or so before you should destroy it.

Fourth, fill it where you are going to store it. You don't want to try
and move 55 gallons of liquid often. Many people don't keep the proper
equipment to move this without hurting themself or the barrel. Just
imagine 55 gallons of wine or must spilling all over the kitchen.

Fifth, today many people do their initial fermentations in stainless
steel and then transfer it to the barrels for bulk aging. It's not as
cool, but it's easier to deal with, albiet very expensive.

Finally, use a commercial food grade pump. This is high volume and you
need to not burn out the motor on smaller/cheaper pumps. As well, you
have to ensure it is food grade to ensure that none of the lubricants
from the hose or pump are left in the wine.

If you have more questions or need specific answers, let us know and we
will hunt for them. There are many brewing lists out there, including an
Ansteorran one that is usually quiet, that you can get very useful
information from people who've "been there done that".

> I've read the professional web sights and some of the magazines, and
> something like this falls somewhere in between the normal amateur and the
> corporate wine labs.

Many people call them crazy, others call them for dinner often. (What is
a normal amateur with regards to volume per batch or year?)

As Damaris said, this falls into a very touchy area depending on how
many 55 gallon batches you are making.

- Federal law only allows you to make 200 gallons of wine (mead, cider,
  etc) and 200 gallons of beer a year.
- Texas law only allows you to make 200 gallons combined a year.
- Oklahoma law does not allow you to make beer which exceeds 3.2% alcohol
  by volume. You can make 200 gallons of wine a year.

I have never exceeded the federal limitations.

All of that being said, the law enforcers are looking for people trying
to sell it and not those using it for personal use. Personal use includes
giving it away to friends in most places, but Oklahoma laws nor law
enforcers are not clear about that particular item.


Phelim "Pug" Gervase   |  "We have a constitutional right to make
Bryn Gwlad - Ansteorra |   fools of ourself."
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  Note: The views do not reflect the SCA nor the Kingdom of Ansteorra.

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