How to clean a wood barrel
Firstly, sometimes barrels that have been sitting around and have a vinegar smell to them are generally unusable. Proper barrel maintenance is very important for the life of the barrel. Cleaning the Barrel Using soda ash, the solution consists of 50 g / 4 Litres of warm water. It is best to fill the barrel with hot water to the half way point and then agitate or roll the sealed barrel around to coat the inside of the barrel with the soda ash solution. Roll the barrel several times over a 12 hour period. Then empty and rinse the barrel multiple time to ensure that the soda ash solution is flushed out.
Quick tip: Some home wine maker insert a clean chain inside the barrel to roll around in the barrel to help clean it.
Storing an empty barrel
Sulfur sticks are used, ½ a Sulphur stick for every 50 Gallons of barrel and the same amount for smaller barrels. This practice should be done monthly and have the bung sealed right after use.