Pressure Barrel as Secondary

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Raize
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Pressure Barrel as Secondary

Post by Raize » Thu Apr 28, 2016 1:33 pm

So, I have been recently looking at getting into kit winemaking.

Since I'm now using corny kegs for the beer, I've got a couple of the budget white plastic pressure barrels sitting doing nothing. I was wondering if anyone has tried or considered using these things for secondary fermentation. Obviously, I would have to modify the lid to take an airlock to prevent pressurisation of the barrel, but that is easily enough done.

I can keep them in a dark cupboard to prevent the wine from getting light-struck.

My main concern is that the wine would oxidise through the plastic of the barrel, but if people are using PET carboys... maybe this is just a myth?

I know the wine will stain the barrels and don't really care, they have zero resale value in any condition.

Good idea or should I get a proper glass carboy?

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Kev888
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Re: Pressure Barrel as Secondary

Post by Kev888 » Thu Apr 28, 2016 3:51 pm

PET bottles are very good at preventing oxygen transmission and are 'considerably' more impervious than HDPE pressure barrels, so the use of the former doesn't necessarily mean the latter is suitable.

Unfortunately, I don't know if the difference is important, as I don't make wine (yet). The pressure barrels are much thicker than the cheap plastic fermenters with 4" tops though, which are sold for fermenting wine, but again I've no idea if they are a bit rubbish.

Hmm, not the most helpful answer in retrospect!
Kev

Raize
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Re: Pressure Barrel as Secondary

Post by Raize » Thu Apr 28, 2016 6:00 pm

I'm inclined to think that as long as I don't try to bulk-age in pressure barrels, it's probably OK. After all, beer doesn't oxidise in the pressure barrels until long after six weeks... at least for me?

The wine will only be in the pressure barrel for about six weeks before being bottled. For the first one or two weeks in-barrel, the wine will still be undergoing secondary fermentation so if this works the same as beer-making, a little extra oxygen will make no difference while the ferment is ongoing. After the secondary ferment finished, the wine is sulphited immediately which will itself help to prevent oxidation.

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