Author Topic: Whiskey Barrel ageing a beer  (Read 949 times)

Offline ANDREW.GROGAN1

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Whiskey Barrel ageing a beer
« on: February 18, 2016, 09:49:03 PM »
I have been home brewing for about 5 years and I want to try ageing an Imperial stout in a used bourbon/whiskey barrel.  I am looking for some general guidance.

This is the barrel I'm looking to buy for a 10 gallon batch.

http://www.homebrewing.org/Used-15-gallon-Whiskey-Barrel-_p_5960.html

Offline toby

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Re: Whiskey Barrel ageing a beer
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2016, 10:05:37 PM »
Generally speaking, the larger the barrel, the more time that will be required to sit in the barrel to pick up the barrel character.  Hopefully, you'll have the beer ready while the barrel is still hydrated.  If the barrel dries out, it will leak.  You'll want to take a whiff when you get it to see if the whiskey is still noticeable.  Get a wine thief to periodically sample to determine when the beer is ready.  With a 15 gallon barrel, I'd probably check it first in about 3 weeks and decide from there.

Offline kramerog

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Re: Whiskey Barrel ageing a beer
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2016, 10:08:52 PM »
I'm not going to get in to barrel aging in great detail, but you must fill the barrel almost all they way to the top.  The fuller, the better.  You should also make extra Imperial stout and bottle it for the purpose of topping off the barrel every month. 

Offline breslinp

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Re: Whiskey Barrel ageing a beer
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2016, 12:51:45 AM »
Alternatively, you can soak some bourbon on wood staves/chips. Age your bourbon on those staves or add that bourbon to your imperial stout to taste. Or both  :D

This way you don't need to brew 15 gallons.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Whiskey Barrel ageing a beer
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2016, 02:34:33 PM »
For a 15 gallon whiskey barrel you will want about 2-4 weeks aging. Contrary to popular belief longer is really not better. I have found even on 53 gallon barrels anything much longer than 3 months starts to pick up too much barrel character and you lose the actual nuances of the beer. On top of that the oxidation notes can become over whelming.

Offline yso191

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Re: Whiskey Barrel ageing a beer
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2016, 01:42:52 AM »
For a 15 gallon whiskey barrel you will want about 2-4 weeks aging. Contrary to popular belief longer is really not better. I have found even on 53 gallon barrels anything much longer than 3 months starts to pick up too much barrel character and you lose the actual nuances of the beer. On top of that the oxidation notes can become over whelming.

This^^^

I recently did a RIS in a Woodinville Whiskey Co., 7 gallon barrel.  I started taste testing the beer about week three.  It hit the magic balance at week 5.  Purge the barrel with CO2 prior to filling.  Also I would top off the barrel at least once a week.
Steve
All Hands Brewing
BJCP #D1667

Offline Hooper

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Re: Whiskey Barrel ageing a beer
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2016, 02:12:20 AM »
I put an AB clone into a 10 gallon rum barrel after primary fermentation...I tasted at day 7 and it was full on charcoal...I am not saying everyone will have this s*** happen to them...but...I would check every few days...the beer was beautiful and silky...it just tasted like charcoal...I drank 5 gallons until I couldn't take any more...I have not had the guts to put another beer in that keg...bought from Label Peelers...
“Stay with the beer. Beer is continuous blood. A continuous lover.”
—   Charles Bukowski

Offline ANDREW.GROGAN1

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Re: Whiskey Barrel ageing a beer
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2016, 02:00:28 PM »
Hopefully, you'll have the beer ready while the barrel is still hydrated. 

How long will a barrel stay hydrated?  The problem is that barrels come and go fast in term of availability.  I want to buy one as soon as I see one but may not be able to brew the beer right away. 

Offline toby

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Re: Whiskey Barrel ageing a beer
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2016, 09:07:51 PM »
How long will a barrel stay hydrated?  The problem is that barrels come and go fast in term of availability.  I want to buy one as soon as I see one but may not be able to brew the beer right away.

It'll vary greatly by climate.  More humid climates will obviously dry out more slowly.