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Common Spoilage Problems with Oak Barrels

The most common spoilage problems with oak barrels include mold, bacteria and yeast. One of the most important parts of oak barrel care is knowing the common issues, preventing these spoilage problems and knowing how to

Common Spoilage

The most common spoilage problems with oak barrels include mold, bacteria and yeast.

One of the most important parts of oak barrel care is knowing the common issues, preventing these spoilage problems and knowing how to rectify it.

A few of the most common spoilage problems include:

 

  • Penicillium mold
    • This is a type of fungus that can lead to odors that can severely impact the wine. This mold can occur in a whiskey barrel or wine barrel.
  • Acetic acid bacteria
    • This spoilage issue is essentially Volatile Acidity, which causes a vinegar-like smell.
  • Brettanomyces
    • This is a type of yeast that occurs from improper cleaning or insufficient sulphur which creates an unpleasant, barnyard, and wet-dog aroma.

All three of these spoilage problems can be treated with a single solution. Whether it is mold in the oak barrel or the yeast development, this oak barrel care and treatment will eradicate the issue.

The treatment includes filling the barrel two-thirds with cold water. Add either carbonate or sodium percarbonate to the water. For mild instances, 1 teaspoon per gallon is enough, but no more than 3 teaspoons should be added.

 

Let the barrel soak overnight, empty the water and then add citric acid, cold water and repeat the overnight soak. Once the barrel is rinsed out and dried, check for any foul odors and repeat if necessary.

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