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Brew Talk: Barrel Sanitization with Oxbow Brewery

“We have an extensive wild beer program where we age beers in barrels as well as in stainless tanks,” said Ben McVickar, Oxbow’s cellarman. “We also focus on a wide range of Lagers such as an Italian-style Pilsner called Luppolo to a smoked Dark Lager brewed with Maine maple syrup called Sap Haus, to name a few.”

Sanitizing barrels properly in between aging beers is valuable in achieving uncontaminated and quality taste between batches. Most brewers use sanitization of some sort, but some brewers aren’t taking advantage of implementing a dry-steam method. Instead, many use plant steam, which is unsaturated wet steam, or technically a liquid. Plant steam doesn’t reach lethal temperatures to kill bacteria inside barrels. Conversely, true dry steam reaches temperatures of well above 212 degrees Fahrenheit, which is considered a gas. Dry steam eliminates yeast and bacteria and is a great way to clean the foeders.

That’s why Steamericas, an industry-leading supplier of commercial and industrial cleaning products, offers the Optima Steamer, a dry steamer that more and more breweries are turning to for their sanitizing needs. The Steamer has two hoses so two barrels can be sanitized simultaneously.

Investing in an Optima Steamer has changed the game for Oxbow Brewery, based in Portland, Maine. The brewery specializes in farmhouse Ales such as Saisons, Biere De Gardes, and Grisettes.

Read the full article here