• Fill the Oak Barrel about 1/2 full of water.
  • Dissolve the proper amount of Sodium Bisulfite in a little water and pour it in the barrel.
  • Dissolve the proper amount of Citric Acid in a little water and pour it into the barrel.
  • Bung up the barrel and mix well by shaking or rolling the barrel.
  • Finish filling the barrel with water and bung tightly.

If you are not using the barrel in the near future, check water in barrel from time to time, completely filling each time. When ready to use, rinse out, then fill again with fresh water and leave filled overnight. Then rinse out again and it is ready to use.

Amounts of Additives to Use

Use 1/2 lb. Citric Acid and 1 lb. Sodium Bisulfite for each 50 gallons of barrel capacity. Measurements do not have to be exact. Do not use less than the stated amounts though. The following info may be used when measuring our products.

Table of measurements

  • 3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon
  • 4 tablespoons = 1/4 cup

1 Gallon Of Barrel Capacity

  • Citric Acid: 1 teaspoon
  • Sodium Bisulfite: 1-1/2 teaspoon

5 Gallons Of Barrel Capacity

  • Citric Acid: 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons
  • Sodium Bisulfite: 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons

10 Gallons Of Barrel Capacity

  • Citric Acid: 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon
  • Sodium Bisulfite:1/4 Cup + 1 tablespoon

15 Gallons Of Barrel Capacity

  • Citric Acid: 1/4 Cup + 1 tablespoon
  • Sodium Bisulfite: 1/4 Cup + 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon

20 Gallons Of Barrel Capacity

  • Citric Acid: 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon
  • Sodium Bisulfite: 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons

30 Gallons Of Barrel Capacity

  • Citric Acid: 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon
  • Sodium Bisulfite: 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons

Additional Barrel Information

If you are preparing a used barrel for new wine, it should be cleaned before going through the above sanitizing process as well.

Directions for Cleaning an Oak Barrel

It is best not to use barrels that have become moldy inside. If barrels are to be used, a new French oak barrel is a good investment. Otherwise, a used barrel should be cleaned before using.

Use 2 oz. of Soda Ash, Sal Soda or Sodium Carbonate for each 3 gallons of water. Fill the barrel 1/2 full with water as hot as you can get it. Then add the Soda Ash that has previously been dissolved in a little hot water. Shake or roll the barrel until well mixed. Now finish filling barrel with water as hot as you can get it. Bung up the barrel tightly and roll it around to agitate it. Roll barrel several times during a 24 hour period. Then empty and rinse several times until all the solution has been washed out.

A length of chain can be put into the barrel at the start of your cleaning operation. It will help considerably in cleaning the barrel. Tie the ends of the chain together to keep it from getting into knots.

Always wash the outside of the barrel with a stiff brush using soda ash solution before cleaning inside of barrel and before using if the barrel has been stored for a while. A good coat of linseed oil should be put on the barrel at least once a year.

Your barrel should now be ready to use. If you are not going to use the barrel for a few days or are storing it for a period of time, it should be kept filled with the Citric Acid/Sodium Bisulfite sanitizing mixture from the previous section.

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