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Wood fermenter help


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I'd agree with steam.

The old books on distilling say to use clean water and a brush. If there's a smell or the barrel has "soured", they say to turn the barrel over and burn a small amount of "oat hay" so that the smoke fills the barrel and leave it for a bit. This will "sweaten" the barrel again.

This procedure is covered in at least a dozen books I have dating from the late 1700s all the way to about 1915, so there is likely some truth to it. I haven't tried it though.


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For regular wine barrels, you can use steam or hot water to wash off titrates and remnants from prior uses. For general cleaning, though, you can "barrel clean" which is basically Oxy-Clean. Make sure that you rinse well afterwards and then neutralize with citric acid and then potassium metabisulfite, and then wash more. For the outside of the fermenter, there are mildewcide coatings that you should consider because, if it gets mildew on the outside, it may eventually work its way inside.

Let me know if you have any specific questions, and good luck!


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We recently setup our new 1000 gallon open fermenter. Do you guys know of any type of chemicals that are safe to clean it with? What is the preffered method for cleaning?

If your fermenter does not have it make a 2 part half moon cover it fits over the top. make it out of wood and put cross beams to prevent warping don't make it out of plywood.

Use an electric pressure washer and clean all particulate from inside of the fermenter first.

From your steam line Make a. Line out with a globe valve to a hose that can handle steam that runs over to a SS Pipe that can be inserted in between the two half moon tops.

Run steam into your wash back for one hour then shut off the steam and crack the top

To let it cool down. After is cools run steam again for 1 hour. Then pump your wash into the fermenter. This will knock back lactobacillus long enough for your yeast to get the upper hand. During the summer You may have to steam for additional third hour but let your palate and nose decide this. If you have any other questions please contact me I'll be happy to go over it with you.


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