Author Topic: General advice for a new bourbon barrel  (Read 339 times)

Offline DrewG

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General advice for a new bourbon barrel
« on: December 18, 2013, 12:54:29 PM »
I recently acquired a 5 gallon Few Distillery Bourbon barrel, freshly emptied. I'm planning on putting a KBS clone in it for a club thing we're doing for the 2014 NHC. Anyway, just looking for some input on contact times, prepping it for the beer, temps, etc. Really any advice you might have for someone who hasn't used one before. Thanks in advance.
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Offline smkranz

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Re: General advice for a new bourbon barrel
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2013, 09:10:28 PM »
I recommend filling the barrel with fermented beer, as is…no need to do anything to prep the barrel.  Fill it to the top.  Start tasting after a week, and pull it when you like it…it is easy to leave it in too long, small barrels have a higher surface/volume ratio than large barrels and the flavor extraction happens pretty quickly.

Subsequent beers will take longer, have less whiskey and more wood character.  I haven't gone for more than three beers out of any of my barrels, except that eventually I will start a sour barrel with one of them.
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Offline 1vertical

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Re: General advice for a new bourbon barrel
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2014, 08:28:40 AM »
I did not have the nuggets to do my solera yet but....
There is a method where you can drill a small hole in the end of the bbl and tap in an SS nail
to close the newly created sample hole.  This allows for easy access to the liquid with minimal
exposure to oxygen.   It involves the correct size drill bit to ss nail diameter relationship.
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Offline snowtiger87

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Re: General advice for a new bourbon barrel
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2014, 02:23:05 PM »
After the first couple of beers (maybe 3) that I put in my fresh barrel I started washing it out with hot water, letting it dry for a few days (with bunghole pointed down), putting a fifth or whatever liquor I want to "refesh" the barrel, letting that soak for a few days, then racking whatever beer I want on that.

So far the barrel has not gone down the "sour" side.

Some examples of what I have done are as follows:

Scotch and Wee Heavy
Sherry and Baltic Porter
Rye Whiskey and Rye Wine (Barleywine with 30% rye)
Brewing since 1989 - BJCP National Rank

Fermenting: McChouffe clone, Samiclaus clone
Conditioning: Belgian Tripel, Barrel Aged Baltic Porter - in sherry barrel, Belgain Easter Ale
On tap: CAP, Dortmunder Export, IIPA, Dubbel Chocolate Stout, Wee Heavy, Whiskey barrel aged Wee Heavy, Baltic Porter
Newly Bottled:

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: General advice for a new bourbon barrel
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2014, 04:48:09 PM »
I did not have the nuggets to do my solera yet but....
There is a method where you can drill a small hole in the end of the bbl and tap in an SS nail
to close the newly created sample hole.  This allows for easy access to the liquid with minimal
exposure to oxygen.   It involves the correct size drill bit to ss nail diameter relationship.

I was going to do this with my sour barrel but I couldn't find just 1 stainless common head smooth shank nail. Been meaning to get some club members together to buy a bag of them from McMaster carr
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