Author Topic: Apple brandy barrel idea  (Read 237 times)

Offline JFMBearcat

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Apple brandy barrel idea
« on: August 27, 2018, 06:54:28 PM »
So I really really love Prarie Apple Brandy Noir. It's probably my favorite beer ever.

It's incredibly difficult to come by and pricey, so I thought perhaps I could try my hand at one, but not sure if this is feasible. Freshly dumped apple brandy barrels are difficult, if not impossible to come by.

I was thinking of buying a blank canvas 5/10 gallon fresh oak barrel, adding enough apple brandy to coat the insides well. I would rotate the barrel regularly until I was satisfied that the entire insides were soaked with the good stuff. Then brew an imperial porter/stout and age the beer in it for a couple months.

If the base recipe is good, does this have ANY chance at all of coming close to the flavors that Prarie's beer has? Somebody say yes, lol. Thanks

Offline jtoots

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Re: Apple brandy barrel idea
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2018, 06:58:24 PM »
why not just go with oak chips? soak them in brandy for a couple weeks then drop them in secondary?

Offline JFMBearcat

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Re: Apple brandy barrel idea
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2018, 07:02:09 PM »
Honestly I was hoping for a more "robust" barrel contribution by using a barrel. Whether this is actually something that happens with barrel vs chips is something I am ignorant of though. I guess I was just trying to go big in my head since the beer I'm trying to emulate is aged in barrels itself. I have no qualms with spending the $100 on a barrel if it will pay itself back with extra deliciousness.

Offline jtoots

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Re: Apple brandy barrel idea
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2018, 07:28:15 PM »
Hey, don't let me talk you out of it!!!

Online joe_meadmaker

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Re: Apple brandy barrel idea
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2018, 11:51:49 PM »
If you're planning to use a new barrel, or even a bourbon or whiskey barrel as a starting point, you should keep in mind the amount of time the spirit, apple brandy in this case, has contact with the barrel.

I once did a barrel aged IPA with my brother in law.  He purchase an 8 gallon whiskey barrel (I don't recall where it was from).  But we were concerned about how much flavor it would add because the aroma from the barrel wasn't very strong.  We decided to get some bourbon and recharge it.  We poured three bottles in and over a few days rotated it as you described.

When we decided it should be good to go, we dumped out the bourbon (put it back in the original bottles for drinking) and siphoned in the beer.  We didn't have any instruction on what we were doing and it showed in the beer.  There was no wood flavor, it tasted like we just dumped a bunch of bourbon in to the batch.  I think part of our problem was we didn't rinse the barrel before adding the beer.  So we had a beer that was flavored by bourbon rather than the saturated wood of the barrel.

I have also aged mead in a bourbon barrel.  The first time was for 4.5 months, and the second time (same barrel) was for about 6 months.  The meads turned out great, but after a thorough rinse of the barrel I couldn't smell any honey aroma.  I don't think the mead left much of itself behind after that amount of time.  I imagine brandy will behave differently, but it could take a long time to get the barrel saturated well.

Alternatively you might consider doing the barrel aging part first, and then blending some apple brandy in to the finished batch.  If you start with a small sample of the batch and it doesn't work well, you should still have a good barrel aged stout ;D

Offline Robert

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Re: Apple brandy barrel idea
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2018, 11:56:34 PM »
There's a whole child board devoted to wood/casks under kegging.  Bet you find all you need to know searching there.
Rob Stein
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Apple brandy barrel idea
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2018, 03:04:43 PM »
A used apple brandy barrel will have a lot more of the raw oak flavor extracted by prior fillings. You won't get as much out of the barrel by dropping in a couple bottles of brandy. They have also had a lot more liquid in them so there's more brandy left behind in the wood.

If you intend to do this you need to fully commit by getting an oak barrel and filling it up entirely with apple brandy and age it. Otherwise, find an apple brandy you like and soak in some oak cubes for a while.
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