Ok, so, I've been trying to find answers to this, but nothing has really popped out. Say I want to age beer in some whiskey barrels. One, after I've aged them for x amount of months to years, can I re-use them to age another batch? I'm assuming after all that time that the beer would have pulled all the properties and characteristics of the whiskey out of the wood, thereby replacing it with the characteristics of the beer. And two, how do you go about properly cleaning the barrels for sanitation purposes without removing the flavors of the whiskey and having the wood absorb the cleaner?
Mercy is appreciated, for this is my first post.
Welcome to the nice, polite AHA forum. You'll like it here once you figure out the inside jokes.
If you get a fresh whiskey barrel, then you won't need to do much sanitation: just add beer.
If it is an older barrel that has been in storage for a while you will have to hydrate it so the wood will swell up enough to hold liquid. These barrels hold 53 gallons so that would take a lot of sanitizer. Try to find a fresh one with some whiskey still in it.
It will lose some of the character each time you reuse it, but you can always add some whiskey to a barrel to rinse it out and sanitize it before adding beer.