Oak Barrels
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Step 4 | Cleaning

Step 4 | Cleaning

One of the most important aspects of owning an oak barrel is understanding how to properly maintain it.  The Longhorn Barrels Cleaning Kit provided in each barrel order it intended for one full cleaning use and one long-term storage solution.  By the end of this tutorial, you will better understand:

What is used to clean the barrel

When to clean your barrel

How to properly clean the barrel


The best way to clean your barrel is to use a Longhorn Barrels Cleaning Kit.  If you ordered a barrel from us, this is included in your shipment.  Your kit includes a pre-measured amount of cleaning products, prepared specifically for your barrel size.  The following is included in each kit: BarolKleen, Citric Acid and Sanitizing Tablets.

So when exactly should I clean my barrel?  If you're useing the barrel for the first time, it does not require any cleaning or sanitizing.  Just follow the curing instructions and start aging right away.  If you're cleaning the barrel after a recent brew, when you clean depends on your recent brewing ingredients. 

BEER & WINE - Clean after each use 

Beer and Wine promote natural bacteria development.  While this creates an amazing drink, it does require an extra level of work and needs to be properly cleaned and sanitized after each use. 

SPIRITS - Every 3 to 4 months

Oak barrels do not require cleaning after aging spirits.  We recommend cleaning them every 3 to 4 months, or at a minimum once every 6 months.  Just remember, if you aren't using it to age, make sure you follow our Storing instructions.

 When you clean the interior of the barrels, you remove any bacteria that may have embedded into the crevices of the wood staves.  Unfortunately there is no way to combat the negative effects of barrel aging in wood.  With our Cleaning Kit, the process is simple and effective, helping to keep your barrel properly maintained and ready for the next aging recipe! 

We highly suggest taking the time to read through each step before starting.  Just like any good recipe, you'll want to make sure you have any equipment standing by, most importantly you have planned your time accordingly. 


Step 1:  In a separate container, mix the BarolKleen and warm water based on the BarolKleen Solution chart below.  Each cleaning kit includes 1 pre-measured pouch of BarolKleen, except the our 20-liter barrels.  When cleaning a 20-liter barrel, your cleaning kit includes 2 pouches of BarolKleen, both should be used. 

Step 2:  Insert spigot into the barrel, ensure it is in the "OFF" position

Step 3:  Carefully transfer the BarolKleen solution to the barrel

Step 4:  Add bung to the top of the barrel

Step 5:  Let BarolKleen solution rest in the barrel for a minimum of 24 hours, maximum of 72 hours

Step 6:  Drain the BarolKleen solution

Step 7:  After the BarolKleen solution has thoroughly drained, insert spigot and ensure it is in the "OFF" position

Step 8:  Determine the required amount of sanitizing tablets and crush them as much as possible.  Do not use all of the sanitizing tablets supplied in the Cleaning Kit.  We provide enough for one cleaning and one storing solution.

Step 9:    Next is neutralizing the interior of the barrel.  In a separate container, mix the pre-measured amount of Citric Acid, crushed Sanitizing Tablets and warm water based on your barrel size.  Use the sanitizing tablets chart provided below.  

Sanitizing Tablets

Barrel Size

Sanitizing Tablets



1/2 tablet

1/2 liter warm water


1 tablet

1 liter warm water


2 tablets

2 liters warm water


3 tablets

3 liters warm water


5 tablets

5 liters warm water


10 tablets

10 liters warm water

 Step 10:  Carefully transfer the Citric Acid solution to the barrel

Step 11:  The barrel is only half full at this point.  Add bung to the top of the barrel and gently swish solution around for 2 to 3 minutes. 

Step 12:  Let citric acid solution rest in the barrel for a minimum of 15 minutes, maximum of 30 minutes. 

Step 13:  Drain the citric acid solution

Step 14:  After the citric acid solution has thoroughly drained, insert spigot and ensure it is in the "OFF" position

Step 15:  Rinse 3 times with warm water


 Step 16:  After the barrel is empty, remove both the bung and spigot.  Turn the barrel upside down, set on barrel stand and allow to surface dry for no more than 3 hours. 

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