Author Topic: Barrel aging questions  (Read 2288 times)

Offline cempt1

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Barrel aging questions
« on: February 23, 2016, 05:47:16 AM »
My son is getting me a 7 gal whiskey barrel that I believe is getting dumped this week.  I will get it in a week and a half which is also the earliest I would be able to brew.  So I have a few questions.

1.  How long does it take a barrel that size to dry out to much?

2.  As far as maintaining sufficient moisture, is it recommended that I keep one end of it in a basin of water?

3.  How full should I fill it with beer?  I usually brew 5-6 gal batches.

4.  And lastly, what to fill it with?  Personal preference I know.  I was thinking about Denny's BVIP but leaving out the bourbon since it should aquire the bourbon flavor from the barrel.

Any other thoughts or suggestions are welcome. This is my first barrel experience.

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Offline majorvices

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Re: Barrel aging questions
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2016, 06:14:30 AM »
I have a couple 8 gallon whiskey barrels I have been filling. They still pick up some whickey character even after the 4th batch being put in and have a strong whiskey aroma.

These barrels seem to not dry out as fast as larger bbls. That said, you could either float it selaed in a tub of water or hose it down every coupel of days. But try to get the beer in there ASAP.

You should probably fill it full because oxidation will cause a problem with the beer. If you can't fill it full be sure to purge with co2 or get a little secondary fermentation going.

Any strong beer will do. I prefer barley wines, RIS or high gravity dark Belgian styles. Up to you but generally for my preference the beer needs to be over 7%.

You didn't ask, but taste the beer after 2 weeks aging. IME fresh dumped small bbls will lend a lot of character very quickly. 2-4 weeks is optimal aging. Personally, I feel many bbl aged beers are aged far too long and are really just oxidated messes that taste like barrel but not much like the original beer that went in the bbl. If you can't pick up the original beer characteristics over the barrel characteristics you have aged it too long.

Offline 1vertical

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Re: Barrel aging questions
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2016, 08:00:02 AM »
You may also put Melted bees Wax over any large cracks, around the joins on the ends, this may
help with moisture loss.  Also goes without saying, but don't forget to put a bung in the opening.
I used white silicone food grade with good luck.
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Offline beer_crafter

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Re: Barrel aging questions
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2016, 09:53:23 AM »
What I recommend is that a few days before you are ready to use the barrel, give it a rinse, and then get as much 180F water in there as possible. You don't necessarily have to fill it (although you can) but you do want to rotate and flip it so that all surfaces get wet.  This will hydrate the wood and will help reduce any contaminating yeast/bacteria. 

Although I have stored my barrels with hot water, I have since learned that that may invite mold growth.  So, after you're comfortable that the wood has swollen and isn't leaking, fill it with cold water.  Hopefully at this point, your beer is close to being done.

When your beer is done, drain the water and fill with beer.  To the very top.  Add a bung with an airlock and montior it for blowoff. 
 

Offline majorvices

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Re: Barrel aging questions
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2016, 10:44:17 AM »
I would not rinse a freshly dumped bbl unless you have considerable suspicion it will leak.

Offline cempt1

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Re: Barrel aging questions
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2016, 07:38:16 PM »
Found out we can get a barrel on a fairly regular basis so I can brew something and get the barrel just as it is ready to go to secondary.  I would like to do either denny's BVIP or a BDSA.  Any suggestions on a recipe?  I haven't brewed either.  My son wants to fill it with a BDSA.

Also they are apparently 5 gal barrels.  Added bonus!

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Offline 1vertical

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Re: Barrel aging questions
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2016, 11:24:32 PM »
Herman Holtrop's (google is your friend) rochefort 8 clone recipe is a fantastic
BSDA and It served as the basis for a great solera project that is documented on
this forum somewhere, in a brewery, far, far, away.......
It wound up being a marvelous sour cherry kriek after a couple of years.
That would be my suggestion.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Barrel aging questions
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2016, 05:50:54 AM »
Herman Holtrop's (google is your friend) rochefort 8 clone recipe is a fantastic
BSDA


This ^^   Great recipe.
Jon H.

Offline cempt1

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Re: Barrel aging questions
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2016, 06:11:05 AM »
Herman Holtrop's (google is your friend) rochefort 8 clone recipe is a fantastic
BSDA


This ^^   Great recipe.
Do you boil the flaked corn as in the recipe or just include it in the mash?

I have read such good things about this that I think I will brew it twice and barrel one and leave the other as is to compare.

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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Barrel aging questions
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2016, 06:14:31 AM »
Herman Holtrop's (google is your friend) rochefort 8 clone recipe is a fantastic
BSDA


This ^^   Great recipe.
Do you boil the flaked corn as in the recipe or just include it in the mash?

I have read such good things about this that I think I will brew it twice and barrel one and leave the other as is to compare.



Flaked corn always gets mashed (for me). Brew it up - it's very tasty.
Jon H.

Offline 1vertical

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Re: Barrel aging questions
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2016, 08:02:36 AM »
Yep, the flaked maize is just put in the mash.  I tried to cook it prior to mashing
and it just was not worth the extra steps/effort IMO.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Barrel aging questions
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2016, 09:58:38 AM »
My personal opinion based on my experience is that Belgian beers are more suited to wine (or possibly Rum) bbls and compliment the nuances from the Belgian yeast better (though, to be sure, Rum bbl is only a hunch). For whiskey bbls styles such as Barley Wine, RIS, Old Ale, etc are better suited to handle the more aggressive flavors from a whiskey bbl.

Offline 1vertical

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Re: Barrel aging questions
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2016, 11:58:15 AM »
I do agree with you Keith 100%
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Offline cempt1

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Re: Barrel aging questions
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2016, 01:57:05 PM »
My personal opinion based on my experience is that Belgian beers are more suited to wine (or possibly Rum) bbls and compliment the nuances from the Belgian yeast better (though, to be sure, Rum bbl is only a hunch). For whiskey bbls styles such as Barley Wine, RIS, Old Ale, etc are better suited to handle the more aggressive flavors from a whiskey bbl.
I may actually be able to get a rum barrel from the same place as they make rum too.  I could then test your theory and report back

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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Barrel aging questions
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2016, 03:55:42 PM »
I could see a quad being pretty freaking fantastic in a rum barrel. The rum-soaked raisin character of a quad would be an obvious match for a rum barrel IMO. And I'd love to try a saison or tripel aged in a white wine barrel - sounds like a nice match, too.
 
Jon H.