January 24, 2012

Priming the Barrel

Yesterday I talked about what is meant by "priming the barrel".  My yeast had settled after being washed, so now its time to get to work.

As you can see the liquid on top is still beer-colored (but not nearly as dark as previous), so I siphoned that off.  Really there is no need to remove that liquid as I intend on diluting the yeast anyway, however there would be residual flavor from the DME, so its probably best to remove it.

I boiled ~3 gallons of water and then let it cool back to room temperature.  Using some of the water, I filled the growler, and shook up the yeast, and then emptied the growler into the pot of water.

Using a funnel, I emptied the pot of diluted yeast into the barrel.  Unfortunately I slipped a bit, and you can see I spilled some.  It looks a lot worse than it actually was.  I don't think more than a couple pints of liquid were spilled, but it made a mess.

Also, you can see the barrel is resting on a track of wood.  These are old pieces of timber I found in my basement, but they are almost identical to the size of railroad ties, which you could buy at any landscape/garden store.  I highly recommend doing this as it makes rolling the barrel much easier.

Its quite difficult to get the camera lens and a flashlight over the bung hole at the same time, but here are a couple pictures I got of the inside of the barrel.  (you can click on the images to enlarge them)

This one is from the top looking straight down right after filling the barrel.

This picture is from the side looking in after I had rotated the barrel a few times.  

The pictures are deceptive in that it looks like there is much more liquid inside than there actually is.  I will continue rotating the barrel throughout the week until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Update:  I realized 3 gallons was too much water, so I let the yeast settle in the barrel and poured out about a gallon and a half worth of the liquid on top.  If anyone is trying to repeat this process, I'd say use 1 gallon of water.

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