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ADKdistiller

Selling used barrels?

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Hi Guys,

We're set to start pulling out bourbon barrels soon (15 gal). How much do you typically charge for your used barrels? There's plenty of breweries around me who would take them I'm sure. Do you typically get back the full price for what you paid them? Less? More?

Cheers,

Mike

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On a related note - any advice on how to handle barrels once emptied? Will they be fine with the residual bourbon in there or should I be concerned about bacterial/fungal growth? 

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You may be able to fetch a 100 bucks a barrel. Only way to know is to try to sell them. The cost you can sell them at will vary based on your local market.

Barrels will get funky pretty quick depending on your climate. Ive heard steaming the barrel will help to prevent it from growing bugs but have never tried it. 

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I would imagine you could probably line up your brewery customers before you dump.  I'm sure they would likely appreciate receiving still-relatively-sterile fresh dump barrels.

If your timing is good, they wouldn't need to treat the barrels, and they would be guaranteed maximum flavor contribution.  If I were brewing, that's exactly what I would want, the fresher the barrel the better.  If I was selling used barrels, that would be my pitch.  In this case, local rules, no substitute for freshness/time.  Ain't nothing like the aroma of a fresh dump bourbon barrel.

Dump, re-bung, and deliver (or pickup).

Personally, I would think that rinsing the barrels out is asking for a problem.  Dilution of the spirit will turn a sanitizer into food, will introduce external bacteria, and may introduce chlorine/chloramine depending on your rinse water.  The interior of a barrel is going to be relatively sterile, at least until the residual spirit gets diluted through evaporation, etc.

When in doubt, sniff test.  If there is a problem, I would imagine the first thing you are going to start to pickup is acetic acid.

 

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