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How To Season A Wooden Beer Keg?

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Wortgames

'Draught' is not a beer style - it's a lifestyle
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Hi all, I've just scored a CUB wooden beer keg in good condition. The story goes it was acquired from Abbotsford back in the day, and used for wine ever since. The old boy died about 5 years ago and at some time since then the keg was emptied and stored for some time in the garage and for sometime out in the weather.

It still smells of wine and looks like it should seal up well enough, although it is dry. I guess step one is to fill it with water for a good soak?

Not sure yet what I'm going to do with it, if all else fails it'll just be another objet d'art in the pool room or a bar table. If it holds liquid but is too funky for ale then it might work as a cider or lambic barrel. If I'm really lucky it'll be good enough for real ale, although I only have one occasion per year that would justify filling it, even then it might be worth it.

Any ideas how best to rehabilitate and use this?
 

barls

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id start with a warm water soak for a couple of days to a week.then maybe a trail batch to see how it turns out.
 

Trippers

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Awesome score, I have a 6L barrel im cleaning ATM. Ive soaked it in hot water for a few days/week ish to allow it to expand to ensure there are no leaks. Im then giving it a clean with sodium percarb followed by a citric acid soak and rinse to neutralise it. Then ill be blending a variety of ports through it and see how it goes. Im still undecided as to use it for beer or port. Either way it should be alright. Goodluck
 

Wortgames

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Thanks guys, that's kinda what I had in mind too. I was going to fill it after the weekend but the forecast is for hot weather and it's sitting in a friend's yard until I can move it, so I might nip home and fill 'er up with tap water this afternoon just in case.

Do you reckon I should use sodium met to sanitise it? Kinda tempted to see what happens to a K&K without sanitising, there could be some interesting lambic bugs in there...

The wine smell is fairly subtle and it doesn't smell particularly vinegary, but it's a bit hard to tell.
 

Thirsty Boy

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Gve it a good clean and shine a light in there, you may not have quite what you think you have... If its an old beer barrel it will be lined with pitch or some such thing. The wood isn't exposed in a beer barrel, they're sealed for sanitary, flavour and pressure holding purposes.
 

stux

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Hi all, I've just scored a CUB wooden beer keg in good condition. The story goes it was acquired from Abbotsford back in the day, and used for wine ever since. The old boy died about 5 years ago and at some time since then the keg was emptied and stored for some time in the garage and for sometime out in the weather.
I was watching that auction ;)
 

Wortgames

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I was watching that auction ;)
Hehehe... You and about 40 other people apparently!

I'd have liked to have got it for less but I was keen, and I picked up an old wine barrel for an extra $20, so I'm pretty happy with the result.

The cask is amazing, it is definitely a CUB beer keg, it has the remnants of the blue CUB logo painted on one end and there is an iron screw bung in the other end with 'Carlton and United Breweries' stamped in it. The whole thing is extremely thick and heavy.

I did shine a light inside, it looks like it originally had a very thin layer of something dark (more like a lacquer than what I imagine 'pitch' to look like) but it looks like that has mostly worn off of the sides while some still remains towards the ends. Maybe this is just what happens over time or maybe the winemaker put something abrasive in there and rolled it around to expose the wood?

I doubt I'll be able to take a good pic of the inside but I'll have a go next week.
 

stux

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Hehehe... You and about 40 other people apparently!

I'd have liked to have got it for less but I was keen, and I picked up an old wine barrel for an extra $20, so I'm pretty happy with the result.

The cask is amazing, it is definitely a CUB beer keg, it has the remnants of the blue CUB logo painted on one end and there is an iron screw bung in the other end with 'Carlton and United Breweries' stamped in it. The whole thing is extremely thick and heavy.

I did shine a light inside, it looks like it originally had a very thin layer of something dark (more like a lacquer than what I imagine 'pitch' to look like) but it looks like that has mostly worn off of the sides while some still remains towards the ends. Maybe this is just what happens over time or maybe the winemaker put something abrasive in there and rolled it around to expose the wood?

I doubt I'll be able to take a good pic of the inside but I'll have a go next week.
Yeah, only thing that stopped me was I'm in Sydney ;)
 

Thirsty Boy

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if its a CUB keg, it definitely did have a layer sealant inside - whether thats still even slightly intact after all these years is entirely a different question. Just thought you should know that perhaps all the "wood" questions might possibly be irrelevant.

One way or the other - i wouldn't rely on it for any of the characteristics you might expect from wood ageing - its designed to be a neutral container... maybe lined with pitch or something else, amybe steamed/boiled and sanded & flamed into neutrality. Whatever it is, any noticable character you get from the barrel will be far more to do with whats happened to it since it stopped being a beer keg than its original purpose.

which might of course be even more interesting.

good luck with it - let us know what you do and how it turns out

TB
 

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