View Full Version : Port Barrel Blues

13th Jun 2007, 10:30 AM
Help needed!

I recently purchased a 5L Port barrel which was filled with water for about 1 week until it stopped leaking. Silly me left it out on the side after filling it with Port and the sun got to it and started leaking again. I emptied the Port into containers and then filled it with water again to see if I could stop the leak. I left it for 3 weeks in a dark cupboard, there has been minor leakage, mostly around the metal ring where it's been joined by a nail and around the rim at the front.

Ready to start the process of filling it with Port again I find there is mould growing on the plug and around the top where the plug sits and god knows if it's throughout the whole barrel?

I'm thinking this is not a good thing... Is there anything I can do to clean it out ready to fill again and/or how to fix the leaking holes?


Bleedin Thumb
13th Jun 2007, 02:02 PM
I would have thought any of the homebrew sanitizing chemicals would be the go. Then a thorough wash.

as far as leaks go - if your barrels made well enough they may stop by themself.. I don't know.

13th Jun 2007, 10:18 PM

Any barrel in our winery that shows signs of any mould (only happens to those that I have not protected with wine or preservative) is pressure hot washed three times with near boiling water then soaked for a while with water and sulfur (homebrew sanitizer chemicals should be fine). Let it soak until it stops leaking then flush it out a few times. If it smells OK, go ahead and fill it with your port.

Good luck and send me a PM if you have a bottle available in 12 months.


16th Jun 2007, 07:42 AM
I have a twenty litre port Barrel and some years ago i must of had a brain fade and put a bottle of VP in it to top up or something. any way all went sour / off and i just left it thinking i should do something about that one day. well other day i was going to Rutherglen to get some wine and thought i might as well empty out barrel and clean for new port.
So i tipped out 10 litres of port i had stuffed and been sitting there for about 5 years. i then rinsed barrel about 4 times. (side Note) if you leave plain water in barrel for longer than 2 days without changing it you run the risk of rot and mould.
I then went to Rutherglen and got good tawny from Bullerís. on my travel around i went to All Saints and out the back they have a Cooper The Keg Factory. It just so happened that it was the same guy i brought my keg off twenty years ago in S.A. he has expanded to Rutherglen and comes up for the walk about weekends. Any way i tell him what i have done and with out to much Ridiculed he tells me how to fix it.
Wash out with very hot tap Water.
Mix up 6 Campden tabs crushed per five litres of cold water for barrel let sit for 2 hours.
Rinse out barrel very well again.
Mix up 1kilo of sugar per five litres of water needs to be at about 40 deg.
then add that and 2 packets of bread or beer yeast to barrel and let grow for 5 days.
rinse Very well after time and fill with port.
Do not let it sit around empty fill it straight away.
I just did my barrel and worked a treat.
Only use Tawny Port.
If you can not stop your barrel leaking may I suggest you get new one from Keg Factory they are great people and barring the silly things I have done my barrel has lasted well.
They do not line their barrels with wax or other things so you get great flavour forming.
If you want to have a barrel for rum or whisky or brandy just tell them and they will source the right type of oak and make it for you. ( thatís my next order)

20th Oct 2008, 10:25 PM
Hi there, does it matter if I put port or wine in the little oak port barrels?

20th Oct 2008, 10:43 PM
From experience, small oak barrels tend to over oak liqour...to the point of headache inducing "oak brain".
We all seem to think that oaking is a good thing...not quite so.
There is a particular ratio of barrel size to quantity of grog within the barrel.
Unfortunately, I don't know the ratio, but I do know that I don't store whiskey in a 5 litre oak barrel.

21st Oct 2008, 02:59 PM
Thank you. I will put my Great Grandfather Port in:)

22nd Oct 2008, 01:57 PM
I just bought an old port/wine barrel from an old lady. I don't think it has been used for a long long time. So I soak with warm water for a day and soak with bi carp soda for another day. While rinsing the barrel, along came brown ish red ish gunk, that is ok but then off white wax like stuff came. Have I done something wrong? What should I do now? Can this barrel still be used?

Please help.....:?

It is only a small 2 litre barrel