My wife surprised me with a 2.5-gallon barrel for my birthday. I have never had a barrel before so my mind started racing with all kinds of questions. How do I clean it? Will it leak? Do I have beer to put in it? What beer should I brew for it? How long should the beer be in the barrel? How many times could I use it before making it a sour barrel?
At some point I hit the question I needed to solve first: how is the barrel going to stay upright? I need some kind of stand.
I wanted something simple and hopefully put together from scrap in my garage. The 2.5-gallon barrel is only about 1 foot long and 8 inches in diameter. A couple pieces of 2×4 and a wooden dowel should do the trick. I planned for the stand to be about 11 inches long and for about 1/3 of the barrel to sit in the stand.
I cut the 2×4 and dowel to length. I cut out a profile of the barrel in the 2×4 with exquisite craftsmanship, as seen in the above photo. I clamped the two sides together to drill the holes for the 1/2″ dowel. I wanted to make sure they were even. Once everything was cut I applied some wood glue to the dowels and hammered them in with a rubber mallet.
The stand is solid and does its job. Thankfully the barrel covers up most of my crappy workmanship. I brewed a Russian imperial stout to be the first beer in the barrel. I will go in the barrel early next week. If the first round goes well I’ll run the rest of the batch through the barrel. Then I need to figure out what is next! Now to prep the barrel…