Author Topic: How long can I reuse a barrel?  (Read 6578 times)

Offline phillamb168

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2335
  • Lardy, France
    • View Profile
    • My Job
How long can I reuse a barrel?
« on: December 05, 2011, 10:08:53 AM »
Didn't see this question in my quick glance, so figured I'd ask it directly with the subject. I'm looking to order barrels but it's going to be $10/liter for 500 liters' worth. Pricey, but I'm going to guess that markup for these guys will be helpful, but I'm wondering how many times I can reuse them.

* bourbon barrels
I'm on twitter: phillamb168
----
morticaixavier for governing committee!

Offline morticaixavier

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 5677
  • Davis, CA
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: How long can I reuse a barrel?
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2011, 10:34:59 AM »
The first use you will get lots of bourbon character and lots of oak character. with sucessive uses you will see a reduction in those characters. At some point you will get an infection. With luck this will be some brett and or lactic/pedio with little or no acetic. but at some point the acetic will take over at which point you will have a barrel full of rochefort and then vinegar.

There is no hard and fast rule though. If you want to make lambics you can do a solera for quite a few years once it has gone funky.

I hope to get at least three or four from my barrel but we will see. course mine was cheaper than that per liter it worked out to about $2.75 per so the risk is not as high for me.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

Jonathan I Fuller

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8130
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: How long can I reuse a barrel?
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2011, 11:52:10 AM »
Didn't see this question in my quick glance, so figured I'd ask it directly with the subject. I'm looking to order barrels but it's going to be $10/liter for 500 liters' worth. Pricey, but I'm going to guess that markup for these guys will be helpful, but I'm wondering how many times I can reuse them.

* bourbon barrels
Wait, it's going to cost you $5000 for 500 liters worth of spent bourbon barrels?  That's doesn't sound right, even if you were getting new barrels. :-\
Tom Schmidlin

Offline morticaixavier

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 5677
  • Davis, CA
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: How long can I reuse a barrel?
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2011, 12:54:00 PM »
Well given that bourbon can only be made in the US he has to pay lots of shipping import tarriffs I would think but it does still seem really high.

Phil, have you looked into some more local distilled barrel aged spirits? Cognac, Port etc. even scotch or irish might be cheaper.

**EDIT**

not that high I guess. I got what is looking like a really good deal on my barrel and for 500 liters worth with shipping it would cost ~1400.00 shipped just from TX to CA.

at the price they were selling your barrel at Tom it would be more like $4,000.00 for 500 liters worth.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2011, 12:56:36 PM by morticaixavier »
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

Jonathan I Fuller

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8130
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: How long can I reuse a barrel?
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2011, 02:19:59 PM »
Well given that bourbon can only be made in the US he has to pay lots of shipping import tarriffs I would think but it does still seem really high.

Phil, have you looked into some more local distilled barrel aged spirits? Cognac, Port etc. even scotch or irish might be cheaper.

**EDIT**

not that high I guess. I got what is looking like a really good deal on my barrel and for 500 liters worth with shipping it would cost ~1400.00 shipped just from TX to CA.

at the price they were selling your barrel at Tom it would be more like $4,000.00 for 500 liters worth.
Yeah, but we're talking 20 liter barrels - I would think Phil would go with larger ones, the price drops quite a bit as you go to larger sizes.  I would definitely be looking at something other than bourbon barrels if that is the best deal he can get, like you suggested.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline morticaixavier

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 5677
  • Davis, CA
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: How long can I reuse a barrel?
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2011, 04:12:25 PM »
Well given that bourbon can only be made in the US he has to pay lots of shipping import tarriffs I would think but it does still seem really high.

Phil, have you looked into some more local distilled barrel aged spirits? Cognac, Port etc. even scotch or irish might be cheaper.

**EDIT**

not that high I guess. I got what is looking like a really good deal on my barrel and for 500 liters worth with shipping it would cost ~1400.00 shipped just from TX to CA.

at the price they were selling your barrel at Tom it would be more like $4,000.00 for 500 liters worth.
Yeah, but we're talking 20 liter barrels - I would think Phil would go with larger ones, the price drops quite a bit as you go to larger sizes.  I would definitely be looking at something other than bourbon barrels if that is the best deal he can get, like you suggested.

Yeah I thought of that after I posted but got distracted. I imagine a full barrel size would be cheapter per liter. still shipping is going to be a killer. But I like the sound of a CAP aged in burgundy barrels sort of a franco-american fusion thing. (not spagetti o's though ;D)
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

Jonathan I Fuller

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8130
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: How long can I reuse a barrel?
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2011, 05:08:03 PM »
Well given that bourbon can only be made in the US he has to pay lots of shipping import tarriffs I would think but it does still seem really high.

Phil, have you looked into some more local distilled barrel aged spirits? Cognac, Port etc. even scotch or irish might be cheaper.

**EDIT**

not that high I guess. I got what is looking like a really good deal on my barrel and for 500 liters worth with shipping it would cost ~1400.00 shipped just from TX to CA.

at the price they were selling your barrel at Tom it would be more like $4,000.00 for 500 liters worth.
Yeah, but we're talking 20 liter barrels - I would think Phil would go with larger ones, the price drops quite a bit as you go to larger sizes.  I would definitely be looking at something other than bourbon barrels if that is the best deal he can get, like you suggested.

Yeah I thought of that after I posted but got distracted. I imagine a full barrel size would be cheapter per liter. still shipping is going to be a killer. But I like the sound of a CAP aged in burgundy barrels sort of a franco-american fusion thing. (not spagetti o's though ;D)
;D

I think going with a local source makes sense, but then it's Phil's brewery :)
Tom Schmidlin

Offline phillamb168

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2335
  • Lardy, France
    • View Profile
    • My Job
Re: How long can I reuse a barrel?
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2011, 02:32:55 AM »
Well it's a good idea, but remember, the silly cooperage laws that exist in the US that helped spur the bourbon-barrel-beer movement don't exist here. AFAIK distilleries reuse their barrels until they either have them re-coopered or throw them out. I have a friend who owns a wine export company and could mention it to him to see what might be possible, but the concern is that it'll be rather difficult. Of course, I could just have my own barrels toasted and fill them with, hrm, 'locally sourced' bourbon and go that way, but it seems to be much more expensive. Plus licenses for distilling are just as difficult to get here as they are in the US, AFAIK. Anyway.
I'm on twitter: phillamb168
----
morticaixavier for governing committee!

Offline tumarkin

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 620
    • View Profile
Re: How long can I reuse a barrel?
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2011, 04:09:38 AM »
scottish whisky has traditionally been aged in either sherry casks or bourbon barrels. over the last number of years, there has been an increasing trend in aging whisky in barrels from a wide variety of wines (port, chablis, burgundy, etc) and from other spirits (calvados, rum, brandy, etc). this is known as finishing. this trend is also showing up in beer as well.

check around in the wine industry and you may find it's easier to source barrels than you expect.
Mark Tumarkin
Hogtown Brewers
Gainesville, FL

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8130
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: How long can I reuse a barrel?
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2011, 09:19:48 AM »
Since "it takes a lot of good beer to make great wine", maybe if you become friends with a local winery or distiller you can glom on to one of their buys and get a discount, or get some of their spent barrels cheaper?
Tom Schmidlin

Offline bluesman

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 8678
  • Delaware
    • View Profile
Re: How long can I reuse a barrel?
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2011, 10:15:03 AM »
Since "it takes a lot of good beer to make great wine", maybe if you become friends with a local winery or distiller you can glom on to one of their buys and get a discount, or get some of their spent barrels cheaper?

+1 ^^^^^^This is probably your best bet. 

Buying gently used bourbon or wine barrels is definitely the cheaper way to go IMO.
Ron Price