Aging in oak barrel.

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Aging in oak barrel.

Postby Suthrncomfrt1884 » Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:50 pm

So, I stumbled upon a used 5 gallon oak barrel (whiskey) for a good price, and it got me thinking.

I had a Bourbon aged stout that I loved awhile back and I'm fixated on making one now.

My question is...What preparation, if any, is needed to get a barrel ready for aging? I'm not quite sure how I would go about sterilizing a wooden barrel. I'm assuming I would ferment in my normal vessel, then transfer to the oak barrel as a secondary. I'm pretty sure it doesn't leak, though I will be doing vigorous testing on it before I pour beer into it.

Also, how long can I allow a beer to sit in one of these? I'd like to forget about it for a year, but will the beer go bad?

Anyone on here have experience using these things?
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Oak Chips

Postby Legman » Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:05 am

I'm not too sure about the barrel. My first concern would be sanitation. You may be taking a big risk and end up ruining your beer.
An easier and safer solution would be to use oak chips like wine makers use. You could easily soak them in your favorite Bourbon then add to your secondary for an extended period. I would think that the Bourbon would also sanitize the oak chips making it much safer to use. Good luck!
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Postby Suthrncomfrt1884 » Wed Dec 10, 2008 8:23 am

Well, after talking to the guy who I bought the barrel from, he told me there's all kinds of places online that sell custom sanitizers and cleaners for barrels. I'm not sure I want to deal with storing this barrel though. It has to stay moist at all time.
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Bourbon Beer

Postby bfabre » Thu Dec 11, 2008 8:43 pm

I made a Kentucky Porter a while back and all I did was add what equaled to a tsp of bourbon per bottle. Bottle and condition as usual. It came out tasting great! I keep getting requests to make another batch.
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bourbon taste

Postby Suthrncomfrt1884 » Thu Dec 11, 2008 9:21 pm

I'm curious about your recipe. To me, bourbon is a strong taste so I'd be worried about how potent it is in the beer. Does it mellow out at all? I'm just wanting hints of it, but a tsp. per bottle seems like a good amount. I'm assuming that's about a cup of whiskey in the bottling bucket for the whole 5 gallon batch?
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bourbon taste

Postby bfabre » Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:33 am

you are right it does seem like a lot but, I like the taste of bourbon. I tried it with just a 1/2 tsp first and it seemed kind of mild with very little of the flavor I was looking for. It does simmer down the strong flavor bourbon has as the beer conditions with some aroma.
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Bourbon Barrel Ale

Postby mikey2 » Sun Mar 07, 2010 3:27 pm

Barrels can be a lot of work and sometimes be a source of flavor problems. I used to help my dad make wine (in barrels) and I remember all of the work! I have brewed several batchs of Bourbon Barrel Ale now that they have turned out terrific. Medium roast american (or french) oak cubes are the best thing to use. Soak 2-3 oz in about 6-8 oz bourbon (and a good vanilla bean) for several weeks to months, and add this to a good strong or old ale before kegging (or about a month before bottling) and you will have one of the best Bourbon Barrel Ales you could ask for. See my recipe for Bourbon Barrel Ale 97 in the recpie list (or search for "mikey2") in the search box noted "containing".

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Postby bfabre » Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:32 pm

Thanks Mikey, I will be looking it up.
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