Author Topic: Bourbon Barrel Aging  (Read 1657 times)

Offline bluesman

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Bourbon Barrel Aging
« on: May 12, 2014, 09:38:52 AM »
I'd like to share ideas, tips, tricks and information on bourbon or whiskey barrel aging.

I currently have a bourbon barrel that I'm getting ready to rack a RIS into for some extended aging. I plan to age the stout for approximately 180 days. Then back blend it with some fresh stout to the desireable flavor level.

Anyone want to share their experiences or start some discussion related to this aging technique?
Ron Price

Offline denny

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Re: Bourbon Barrel Aging
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2014, 09:43:04 AM »
Don't use a sulfur stick!  ;)
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline Jeff M

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Re: Bourbon Barrel Aging
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2014, 09:56:16 AM »
Don't use a sulfur stick!  ;)

Whats your personal experience with this denny? I know the sulfur stick kills unwanted bugs in the barrel, so why would you not want to use one?
Cheers,
Jeff
« Last Edit: May 12, 2014, 10:08:59 AM by Jeff M »
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Bourbon Barrel Aging
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2014, 10:06:16 AM »
Don't use a sulfur stick!  ;)

Whats your personal experience with denny? I know the sulfur stick kills unwanted bugs in the barrel, so why would you not want to use one?
Cheers,
Jeff

If the barrel is full of alcohol vapor, introducing flame could be explosive.

If the barrel is not full of vapor, different story.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline Jeff M

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Re: Bourbon Barrel Aging
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2014, 10:08:19 AM »
Don't use a sulfur stick!  ;)

Whats your personal experience with this denny? I know the sulfur stick kills unwanted bugs in the barrel, so why would you not want to use one?
Cheers,
Jeff

If the barrel is full of alcohol vapor, introducing flame could be explosive.

If the barrel is not full of vapor, different story.

Gotcha, it makes sense, wasnt sure if there was a story or specific reason.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Bourbon Barrel Aging
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2014, 10:12:17 AM »
I'm sure someone has blown one up, but I have no personal experience with barrels. 

I desire one, to some degree, but not sure I need to spend the dollars.

I'll play around with chips, cubes, spirals and what not for the time being.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Bourbon Barrel Aging
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2014, 10:17:01 AM »
IIRC Gordon told the story of a barrel blowing up. He got hurt pretty bad.   +1 to chips and spirals.
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Offline Jeff M

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Re: Bourbon Barrel Aging
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2014, 10:19:03 AM »
IIRC Gordon told the story of a barrel blowing up. He got hurt pretty bad.   +1 to chips and spirals.

I do vaguely remember reading something about that. i think you are right, its in his book.
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Offline denny

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Re: Bourbon Barrel Aging
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2014, 10:19:11 AM »
Don't use a sulfur stick!  ;)

Whats your personal experience with this denny? I know the sulfur stick kills unwanted bugs in the barrel, so why would you not want to use one?
Cheers,
Jeff

If the barrel is full of alcohol vapor, introducing flame could be explosive.

If the barrel is not full of vapor, different story.

Gotcha, it makes sense, wasnt sure if there was a story or specific reason.

Yep.  Gordon Strong blew himself and another guy up by putting a sulfur stick into a barrel that hadn't been properly cleaned.  Fairly serious injuries.  IIRC, he starts his book with the story.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline 1vertical

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Re: Bourbon Barrel Aging
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2014, 10:19:21 AM »
Taste buds and olfactory nerves are closely intertwined.  Ever Smell a burning sulfur stick?
I have....cant fathom that flavor zone being imparted to the beverage...Also I believe that
the bugs actually inhabit the inner portions of the wood.  Smoke from sulfur would only
scratch the surface.

Better method of attack would perhaps be HOT boiling water IMO.  Even better may be
ETOH on the bbl interior.
A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Bourbon Barrel Aging
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2014, 01:18:05 PM »
I think sulfur sticks are safe to use with wine barrels because the amount of alcohol left in the barrel is far lower. Personally I don't know that I would take the risk at all. Many breweries seem to do just fine steam cleaning the barrels.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing but I'm also a lawyer: The Kielich Law Firm

Offline bluesman

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Re: Bourbon Barrel Aging
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2014, 09:21:14 AM »
Don't use a sulfur stick!  ;)

Ahh yes...this is rule #1!  8)
Ron Price

Offline bluesman

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Re: Bourbon Barrel Aging
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2014, 09:34:17 AM »
Sealing a bourbon barrel can be a daunting task.

I reconstituted my bourbon barrel, as it's been sitting empty in my cellar. My first step toward the ulimate goal of barrel aging is to get the bourbon barrel rehydrated and liquid tight. This process takes a couple of days along with plenty of hot water. The first step is to soak the barrel in a big tub of hot water for about an hour. The second step is to rest the barrel on a stand and then fill the barrel with hot water. You will most likely have to keep adding water over the course of several days to eventually get it to seal up and stop leaking. Once the barrel is sealed up it is now ready to be sanitized.  :)
Ron Price

Online Jimmy K

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Re: Bourbon Barrel Aging
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2014, 12:10:52 PM »
Better not to do step 2 in the living room - or any other room without floor drains.  ;D
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Bourbon Barrel Aging
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2014, 09:41:32 AM »
Yes Jimmy...floor drains would be great, but most homebrewers aren't that elaborate.   ;) ;D :)

The next step in my quest to barrel age some beer is to sanitize the bourbon barrel. At this point my research led to a good freind of mine who's a vintner for Nassau Valley Vineyard. He gave me a recommendation for sanitizing the bourbon barrel. He recommended using 1 cup of citric acid powder plus 8 Campden tablets crushed (Potassium Metabisulfite) mixed with 1 gallon hot water. I recommend using a well ventilated area when mixing the citric acid. I then added this solution to the reconstituted/drained bourbon barrel. Finally, I topped off the bourbon barrel with hot water. The barrel will now rest with this sanitizing solution until I'm ready to fill it with beer.
Ron Price