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Pajo

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We are looking at getting a small 1000 litre fermenter - here in Europe Cypress wood is not easy to get, but oak fermenters are. Has anyone any experience of using an oak fermentation tank? We are in a temperate area, so not worried about excessive heat and cold, just worried about bacterial infections etc with low abv in an oak tank. Should we just go for stainless?

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I'll say the same thing here that I say to everyone on this topic.

We've been distilling spirits for hundreds of years. We've had pretty, shiny, expensive, insulated, jacketed, temperature controlled stainless steel fermenters for a few decades.

Part of the craft movement is capturing the essence of legacy ingredients, process and taste profile - while distancing ourselves from machined, mass-produced spirits.

To me, all this as relates to fermentation vessels is an easy call.

It's the one part of the process that you really shouldn't have to over-think.

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Very true, which is why I'd love to use wood - but the knowledge of how to use/clean/live with wooden tanks has passed on, do I need to worry marauding bacteria? I have no idea, but I'd like to know before I go to the considerable expense of buying one :)

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As has been mentioned, cleaning is pretty easy. I gather you're overseas, so you'll have to do some interpretive shopping, but this device, available here from Home Depot, costs all of $139. It's a basic electric steam cleaner. That's all you need. Steam clean the wood between batches and there's no reason your bacterial exposure would be any higher than with any other fermenting system.

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