Author Topic: Cask Conditioning in a small (5L) oak barrel  (Read 2698 times)

Offline beer_crafter

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 165
  • Hoppin' the hell out of the place since 1995
    • View Profile
Cask Conditioning in a small (5L) oak barrel
« on: November 22, 2009, 08:27:31 AM »
I have a 5L Oak Barrel.  I have used this for a couple batches to oak age Imperial Stouts.  Basically what I have done involves splitting up a 5 gallon batch, post fermentation, half into a glass secondary and half into the oak.  I then blend the oaked and non-oaked versions back together at kegging time.  This has all worked out very well.

However, now that a lot of the oak flavor has been extracted from the keg, I want to use the barrel as a serving vessel.  I am well aware that modern casks/pins/firkins, even if made out of oak, are lined with pitch so that the oak does not react with the beer.  This is not the case with my barrel.  So be it.

The challenge I am not sure how to address is what to use as a spile for the barrel.  Assuming I add priming sugar, I am not sure how to seal up the keg.  Using an airlock will obviously let the carbonation out.  A cork or something similar may get ejected as pressure builds. 

Ok, lets say I have a bung that can seal the barrel, and it is succesfully conditioned/carbonated.  The day I want to serve the beer, I imagine I will have to use a spile of some sort to make sure I don't have a vacuum in the barrel as the level of ale falls, right?   Or since I will be serving the whole cask within a matter of hours, does that not matter, and I should just crack open the bung/cork I use? 

Open to any ideas.....

Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 7797
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Re: Cask Conditioning in a small (5L) oak barrel
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2009, 05:10:27 AM »
When I used mine I just corked it and pulled the cork out at serving. You are conditioning at a low level so if the cork is in there tightly it will work fine. I have even corked bottles with low carbonation that have stayed intact for years.
Keith Y.

Vote Jonathan Fuller for Governing Committee!

Offline beer_crafter

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 165
  • Hoppin' the hell out of the place since 1995
    • View Profile
Re: Cask Conditioning in a small (5L) oak barrel
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2009, 08:07:49 AM »
Thanks Major.  I am going to give it a try.

Offline beer_crafter

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 165
  • Hoppin' the hell out of the place since 1995
    • View Profile
Re: Cask Conditioning in a small (5L) oak barrel
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2009, 08:37:57 AM »
It worked.  The only problem is that my barrel is 10L, not 5L, so I undershot the carbonation level significantly.