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AnthonyM

Weeping Barrels

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How much barrel dripping and weeping is to much?

We recently received a new order of barrels (30gal. #3 char) and when I prepped them with water to get ready to fill, with gin, they were perfectly fine. After a week or two we have daily drips and weeping along the stave edges near either head. Our next big project is to begin our whiskey production and I will be using 53gallon barrels but I am a little apprehensive about buying bigger if these are a problem. Notably, our first batch of barrels did not have this problem and I don't know if I am being overly nit picky or not.

In your experience should I expect some level of drips and drops or should the wood stay fairly stable in such a short time span?

My major caveat is our first barrels came in the spring and were in the building resting during the hotter months here in NC. But we now have moderate days and cools night with our changing season.

I appreciate any advice you all might be able to lend or maybe a preferred barrel supplier that you have had good results with if it really is bad. 

 

Anthony

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Your barrels should not be dripping at this stage. Start by speaking to your Cooper.

We have a simple tool that's made for tightening the bands by pushing them toward the fat center of the barrel using a 5lb hammer. A few whacks usually clears the problem. IIRC, it's called a hoop driver.

 

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Thank you. I appreciate the insight.

I will reach out to our cooper and see what we can do to get everything squared away.

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@AnthonyM what kind of humidity are you maintaining around your barrels? Low humidity levels can cause leaking on otherwise good barrels.

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keep your humidity up or spray them with water once in a while. the hoop driver is a must if your dealing with multiple barrels. 

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Keep in mind that these barrels were originally meant for use in rack houses that are basically barns where the humidity is the same as the outside.  If your barrels are in a tight insulated building  and you are running heat or air conditioning you are going to dry out the staves and your barrels will seep.  If they are in doors you need to mist your barrels and keep the humidity up in there.  Also you need to have temp changes and have the air moving, and use the hoop driver when needed.  If you do have them in a barn like building then use your hoop driver.  If they sealed up before they will do so again.

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Thanks everyone for all the advice. Our production area is not super insulated and we have a great deal of fresh air intake to feed our burners. We end up with whatever ambient humidity there is outside but temp can swing in a single day due to the still heating things up.

Humidity is hard to keep up with here since we have the joys of being considered a temperate rainforest. Our summer humidity can be crazy so without going back but I can say that it probably dried out a great deal before leaking started. The biggest change did coincide with the outside temp dropping in the area.

When I am resetting hoops is it advisable to put new nails in once i pop out the old ones and tighten things up?

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4 hours ago, AnthonyM said:

Thanks everyone for all the advice. Our production area is not super insulated and we have a great deal of fresh air intake to feed our burners. We end up with whatever ambient humidity there is outside but temp can swing in a single day due to the still heating things up.

Humidity is hard to keep up with here since we have the joys of being considered a temperate rainforest. Our summer humidity can be crazy so without going back but I can say that it probably dried out a great deal before leaking started. The biggest change did coincide with the outside temp dropping in the area.

When I am resetting hoops is it advisable to put new nails in once i pop out the old ones and tighten things up?

Nails? Pictures please.

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On 12/18/2018 at 7:53 PM, Southernhighlander said:

Keep in mind that these barrels were originally meant for use in rack houses that are basically barns where the humidity is the same as the outside.  If your barrels are in a tight insulated building  and you are running heat or air conditioning you are going to dry out the staves and your barrels will seep.  If they are in doors you need to mist your barrels and keep the humidity up in there.  Also you need to have temp changes and have the air moving, and use the hoop driver when needed.  If you do have them in a barn like building then use your hoop driver.  If they sealed up before they will do so again.

Hey,

The barrels are the problem.  I have used several different cooperage's barrels, and you should never have dripping from a barrel.  They put nails through the hoops because their barrels will fall apart in a few days from being empty.  If they're Black Water, you should consider talking to an attorney.  Several distilleries I've spoken to (not to mention us) have suffered enormous losses.  We have Black Water barrels that sat on racks right next to Barrel 53 barrels for the same amount of time, and the Black Water barrels literally lost hoops and started falling apart when we tried to roll them somewhere else.  None of our Barrel 53, ISC or Speyside barrels have any problems.  

It's not you, it's them.  Call me or have your lawyer call me for more information.

 

Best,

Blitz

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@Julius The nails I am referring to are the hoop nails. I didn't know if I should put more back in once I tighten the hoops. My phone's camera is garbage so it may be a bit to attach a picture.

 

@barristerandbrewer I appreciate the caution and information. I will reach out and give you a call soon.

 

Regards,

Anthony

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Are the hoops not solid tight on the filled barrels? Were they not tight when fresh from the factory?  That would be a major, major, problem.

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Blitz said "you should never have dripping from a barrel"

This is not true.  Barrels will weep and even drip in low humidity environments.  I was in a distillery a while back where the owner heated the barrel storage area with gas heat and no humidifier and about 50% or his barrels were seeping, many with puddles on the floor underneath.  His barrels came from a very reputable cooperage here in MO.  

That is not to say that I don't believe that you and Anthony received some bad barrels from this company, or that your particular issues did not come from faulty construction.  I am just saying that any barrel can weep if the humidity is too low.  I have seen it many times.

  The best rack houses are traditional rack houses built into the side of a hill where they get the natural temp and humidity changes from day to night and from season to season and from rainy days to sunny days as well as the wind and breezes.  All of these natural changes assist in proper aging. 

 Are your barrels in a traditional rack house or inside a building with heating and air conditioning?

 

 

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On 12/20/2018 at 8:34 AM, AnthonyM said:

@Julius The nails I am referring to are the hoop nails. I didn't know if I should put more back in once I tighten the hoops. My phone's camera is garbage so it may be a bit to attach a picture.

 

@barristerandbrewer I appreciate the caution and information. I will reach out and give you a call soon.

 

Regards,

Anthony

Pictures of the nails in the barrel please? 

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Anthony, 

As the cooperage who has learned the importance of standing behind the integrity of every barrel, one of the things we have done is to provide some valuable resources regarding how to properly hydrate a barrel before use, and to make sure that barrels are never left unfilled for more than a month to prevent the kind of leaks we all want to avoid.

If you haven't yet, please take a look at a few of the videos we recently posted in the new blackwaterbarrels.com/academy site which may help.

We also have info about the extra testing that every barrel we make now goes through to ensure the integrity of every barrel.   Call me directly if you have any issues, questions or want the real story behind some of the other comments in this thread. 

 

Greg Pierce

803-465-3865

gpierce@blackwaterbarrels.com

BWB_stamp-2.jpg

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Here my 2 cents. Hit it with a mallet, soft bumps. Works for us.

Also, here is the 10 million dollar answer. ..........before you fill or if you store empty barrels for a long time cover them with a tarp and put a humidifier under the tarp. This will keep all of your barrels swollen. You can use this trick with wooden fermenters also.

 

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On 2/10/2019 at 8:04 PM, Dehner Distillery said:

Here my 2 cents. Hit it with a mallet, soft bumps. Works for us.

Also, here is the 10 million dollar answer. ..........before you fill or if you store empty barrels for a long time cover them with a tarp and put a humidifier under the tarp. This will keep all of your barrels swollen. You can use this trick with wooden fermenters also.

 

how do you avoid molding the barrels/fermenters this way? 

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