Author Topic: Whiskey Barrel Aging Sour?  (Read 100 times)

Offline Tyler Kotlarz

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Whiskey Barrel Aging Sour?
« on: February 24, 2020, 06:13:17 PM »
Hello, I wanted to put this question up as hopefully someone has experience with this.  I'm looking at purchasing either a used 5 gallon whiskey barrel or new barrel with intentions of aging a sour in it for about a year.  From what I've researched, a neutral barrel that has been used multiple times works best for the extended souring times.  Looking for ideas on how to get a barrel neutral or near neutral?  I'd like to not have to do several batches of clean beer in the barrel first to minimize the oak/whiskey flavors if I don't have to, as I'm not big on barrel aged beers.  More looking for the barrels ability to hold souring cultures and for some natural oxidation during secondary fermentation.  Can you simply fill it with hot water or water with some citric acid for a while, and then empty to take out some of the oak flavor, all help is much appreciated!

Offline kramerog

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Re: Whiskey Barrel Aging Sour?
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2020, 05:17:24 PM »
Let's assume you buy a used bourbon barrel.  There will be plenty of oak character for beer still in the barrel because beer can travel deeper into the wood than bourbon due to bourbon evaporating.  Presumably, you could get most of that oak out with water but you'll need for the water to be in the barrel for at least several months I would think.  The water should be a storage solution (citric acid and metabisulfite) to prevent mold growing. I hope this helps.


Offline Visor

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Re: Whiskey Barrel Aging Sour?
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2020, 05:25:00 PM »
  Fill it with boiling water, let it set for a while, drain and repeat a couple times. Your barrel won't be completely free of whiskey/bourbon flavors but they will be greatly reduced. In my case I am specifically looking for the "likker" influences, that is why I've generally stopped sanitizing barrels with hot water unless I have time to refresh/recondition them with more whiskey, too much flavor and aroma loss.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Whiskey Barrel Aging Sour?
« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2020, 06:09:48 AM »
You probably could run a couple beers through to strip most of the whisky character out of the barrel and you will continue to get oak character out of the barrel for continuing beers. It won't be raw oak flavor but you will get continuing amounts of tannin and some flavor, which you actually want to add complexity and mouthfeel to sour beers. If you don't want that then there really isn't a good reason to use a barrel for sour beer.

You could run several passes of distilled or RO water through the barrel but alcohol extracts from wood differently from water. I think you would get the best results running at least a couple beers through the barrel and give away the beer to friends--or let a homebrewing friend run a couple clean beers through the barrel before you flip it over for sour production.
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