Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => Kegging and Bottling => Wood/Casks => Topic started by: morticaixavier on October 26, 2010, 02:59:32 PM

Title: small casks for mead
Post by: morticaixavier on October 26, 2010, 02:59:32 PM
A couple of friends are getting hitched in the summer and I wanted to make them a 5 gallon cask of mead for the 'honey moon' (actually where the term comes from) I would like to ferment it over the winter and then put it in a cask to age for at least a couple of months before the wedding. I live in northern California. Does anyone have any advice for me on where to get what kind of cask for this purpose? They have little casks at the brew supply in Berkeley but they are all new and I wondered if I would want something that had been used for something else first. Whisky? Port? wine?

any and all suggestions welcomed
Title: Re: small casks for mead
Post by: tumarkin on October 26, 2010, 03:48:56 PM
Don't know if you'll be able to find a whisky or wine cask that small..... but you might check with some of the artisanal distillers/vintners, maybe you'll get lucky.

Another option (since you'll want to ferment the mead & give it plenty of time first) might be to get the cask now and fill it with some wine of your choice (it'd be a bit expensive to buy five gallons of a decent whisky) and leave the wine in the cask for a while, then fill it with the mead when ready.
Title: Re: small casks for mead
Post by: tschmidlin on October 26, 2010, 03:59:27 PM
I agree with Mark, you'll probably want to get a cask now and fill it with something else yourself, even if it's just warm water.  When you put the mead in, taste it every couple of days or even daily - a cask with that high of a surface/volume ratio can quickly get over oaked.  When it gets to where you like it, take the mead out and then refill the cask with the mead as close to the event as possible.  I'd actually be tempted to oak it with cubes, then put it in the cask the night before the wedding.

If you're talking about giving it to them to drink themselves over the course of the month, I wouldn't put it in until the wedding anyway, it will pick up a lot of flavor over the month.  Or put it in the barrel for a while and then bottle it so they can drink some that month and save some for future anniversaries.
Title: Re: small casks for mead
Post by: susanr on October 26, 2010, 04:23:26 PM
Hi,  I bought a couple casks from http://www.1000oaksbarrel.com/ - no connection - the casks were nice and you can get them custom made for how you want them.  Not sure of the price you are looking for but I think a 5 gallon cask is about $150.  I have no connection with this business other than being a happy customer.

Would definitely agree tho that you probably want to put in some other liquid to help cut the oak flavors a bit and then add the Mead just before giving to the lucky couple.

Cheers,
Susan
Title: Re: small casks for mead
Post by: stlaleman on October 26, 2010, 04:26:49 PM
I have a 5 liter barrel that I have used for ciders. I filled it with boiling water let it soak a few days, drained, repeated several times then filled with a pear cider. The pear cider picked up a nice oaky character after several weeks in the course of drinking it. Was quite pleased.
Title: Re: small casks for mead
Post by: 1vertical on October 26, 2010, 05:59:20 PM
They may even be near your area. Contact Santos  or Ruthie at...
http://www.vadaiwinebarrels.com/ (http://www.vadaiwinebarrels.com/)

This is Hungarian Oak and I got a fresh Dump Barrel from them Can you say Wonderful?
Highly recommended and reasonable. ;D

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with them, just a satisfied Customer
Title: Re: small casks for mead
Post by: morticaixavier on October 26, 2010, 07:45:48 PM
Thanks for all the sugestions. I will take a look at those two places and see if I can't find a local winery/distilary that might have what I am looking for. I was thinking that after the wedding I would offer to bottle the remainder for them sor future drinking as well so maybe I will use oak chips/cubes/spirals to oak it and then give them bottles.
Title: Re: small casks for mead
Post by: richardt on October 26, 2010, 10:59:45 PM
I agree.  It is a lot more convenient to transport and store bottles than a cask. 
Use the cubes--you'll be able to control the oakiness better.
Title: Re: small casks for mead
Post by: 1vertical on October 27, 2010, 04:58:30 PM
you could contact them about where this product is sold at retail but here is
a starting point for some good stuff in the spiral...cube...arena

http://www.countrymaltgroup.com/barrelmill.asp (http://www.countrymaltgroup.com/barrelmill.asp)