Author Topic: Aging in 5 gallon Oak Barrel  (Read 836 times)

Offline ynotbrusum

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Aging in 5 gallon Oak Barrel
« on: August 02, 2013, 04:49:30 AM »
I put a split batch of Flanders Red in an oak barrel about a month ago after primary fermentation as a 10 gallon batch.  The other five gallons went straight to glass.  These are with the Wyeast's Roselaere blend - second generation. Thinking I should rack to glass soon - I intend to re blend half of the two batches and keep half of each separate to get three different batches, effectively.  Should I wait longer with this proposed regimen before racking out of the oak?  Secondly, when I rack off the oak, how should I deal with the barrel to wait out the next batch? 
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Online morticaixavier

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Re: Aging in 5 gallon Oak Barrel
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2013, 07:39:59 AM »
How does it taste? how old is the barrel?

If you are trying to give the beer oak character I would wait longer. Current wisdom seems to be that because of the bigger surface t volume ratio with a smaller barrel you will get too oaky quickly but that is not what my experience has shown. There is a point, about 2-4 weeks in that it tastes too oaky but that settles out over the next 2-4 weeks and things get really nice.

Now if the oak is old and you are more after the effects of micro-oxygenation then you have to go by taste. and it might well happen quicker than you expect given the higher surface to volume ratio and higher o2 permeability of the smaller thinner walled barrel.

I have 5 gallons of  a sour beer in an oak barrel now. It was used twice at the distillery and three times by me then soaked several times with water before being filled. I need to install a sample port (drill a hole in the head of the barrel and plug it with a SS nail) so I don't have to disturb the pellicle. something to think about. I also sealed the staves of my barrel with beeswax to reduce o2 permeability a bit.
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Aging in 5 gallon Oak Barrel
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2013, 08:21:19 AM »
You should leave it in the barrel for at least six months.

As far as how to store a barrel between beers, I would recommend keeping it full all the time.  I'm not sure theres going to be a good way to store a sour beer barrel and keep it from growing mold if its empty.  You could try BarolKleen and then burn some sulfur in it every few weeks, but I just don't know if that'll do it.  I think a beer barrel is going to be more challenging to keep from going bad, than a wine barrel.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Aging in 5 gallon Oak Barrel
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2013, 01:51:11 PM »
The easiest thing to do would be to constantly keep beer in the barrel. If you don't have anything that has to be in the barrel you can make a basic blond ale and put it in the barrel. Let it sour. Let it take on the oak. Transfer it to another fermentor when you want to put something else in the barrel. You can use that oaky, sour blond ale to blend into future batches where you feel it isn't sour enough, isn't oaky enough, or just want to blend other flavor into it.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Aging in 5 gallon Oak Barrel
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2013, 09:12:02 AM »
Thanks, guys - the sample nail hole is a great idea.  After this batch I will do that.  I'm going to let it go for a few months before checking on it.  I have the glass batch to watch for pellicle drop and use that as a gauge.

And I will just keep brewing batches when I am emptying the barrel, so that it has a beer in it at all times...kinda like a Solera only different :o

I'm new to the sours, but had a great one last night, so I know its worth the effort.  Gotta get more S style airlocks for the long-termers. 
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Online morticaixavier

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Re: Aging in 5 gallon Oak Barrel
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2013, 01:47:59 PM »
Thanks, guys - the sample nail hole is a great idea.  After this batch I will do that.  [...]

apparently you don't have to wait till the barrel is empty. Vinnie as russian river actually recommends doing it while the barrel is full. that way you know you drilled all the way through. If you seal the barrel with a bung while you do it not very much beer will come out before the pressure differential stops it.
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