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I have an old 5L oak barrel that has been used in the past for aging rum. It hasn't been used in a long time so I am I the process of swelling the wood again by adding boiling water but when the barrel overflowed there was a wax like substance coming out.

Does anyone know what this is?

Second question, is boiling water enough to clean the barrel?

I am going to use I for flavoring cider.

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1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Is it possible the barrel was previously lined with pitch? If so you might consider not using it. Pitch seals the wood and blocks the wood character from effectively aging the beer, as well as reducing porosity that contributes subtle oxidation and the development of microorganisms (all are primary reasons for barrel aging). Plus who want chunks of unknown sealant material in their beer?

If it's just residue from previous contents (such as beerstone/winestone) or organic buildup, a thorough scrubbing with hot water and food-safe cleaners should suffice.

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