Mark, I just saw this question answered by Sandy Cockerham on FaceBook.
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Brewing beer for barrels is a technique in its own right to make really great barrel aged beer. You've probably had a barrel aged beer or two where a brewery put something in the barrel that was overwhelmed by the barrel character or clashed with what the barrel brought. I'd encourage you to focus on making great all grain beer first and pick up a barrel down the road once you've mastered all grain.
I bought two of those Woodinville barrels. Mine were from Rye whiskey. So I decided to make a Rye Barleywine and a Rye Imperial Stout to put in them.
They are an absolutely great investment and you can use them over and over again (though the best whiskey flavor will be after they are initially dumped.) You can even use them for fermentors since the are 8 gallons. You can turn it into a sour project at some point in time after you get bored.
Just be sure to check the beer regularly as it ages. Because of the greater surface are you will pick up the flavors very quickly. A 5 gallon bbl I used a few years ago gave a RIS a great, deep barrel flavor after only 2-3 weeks.
BTW: These barrels smelled fan-damn-tastic!
I can dream can't I?
Yes, but sometimes dreams come true. I am planning to sign up. Do you have any hotel recommendations?
Check this out! It appears that Brett trois from WL is actually a sacch. strain and maybe a new species!
Yeah I've seen those reports but some claim the independent test Omega Labs had done has some flaws. White Labs is also having an independent test done on the strain that is supposed to be more accurate but it isn't done (or the results haven't been released yet). I've also seen pictures of fermentations with 100% Brettanomyces bruxellensis trois that have pellicles. So if it's not brett it may be a cool saccharomyces strain. Regardless, the flavor profile of Brett brux trois sounds good so I just ordered three vials of it for a "farmhouse" ale with 100% "brett."