Author Topic: Great new venue to talk about this aspect of the hobby  (Read 1913 times)

Offline 1vertical

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Great new venue to talk about this aspect of the hobby
« on: December 07, 2009, 09:57:26 AM »
My thanks to the Admin for putting this area on the site/server.

Check out this video about using some casks for beer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zi3a_CtVuSw&feature=related

I for one, look forward to learning about some of the methods used to
age beers in casks.
Sources for great used casks that have had other beverages stored in them
How to properly treat the wood after you get an MT cask bbl (internal contact zone)
How to put bolsters on the ends of the heads
How to properly vent fermentation gasses
How to check the beer's progress
How to Tap the wood cask properly

Lets get some talk about this going on So perhaps interested folks can participate
and collectively we can shorten the learning curve....

And continue making great homebrewed beers by moving into new arenas of cask conditioning .
« Last Edit: December 07, 2009, 10:03:01 AM by 1vertical »
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Offline karlh

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Re: Great new venue to talk about this aspect of the hobby
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2009, 02:01:15 PM »
I have been using wood casks for aging both straight and sour beers.  With a new oak cask, I begin by getting the cask watertight.  This involves filling, waiting, and refilling until it stops leaking.  My last experience with this was a 15 gallon american oak barrel which took a week to hold water.  After this initial treatment I follow the advice from the book "Lambic", and refill the barrel with water treated with approximately 1 Tablespoon of soda ash per gallon of water letting it soak and leeching a bit of the strong oak flavor out (soda ash/washing soda works a lot like baking soda in this regard).  This procedure can be repeated weekly to scrub out the harsher oak flavors.  After a few weeks treatment, I then switch over to a citric acid and sulfite (potassium metabisulfite) solution to sanitize the keg letting it soak at least a week before rinsing and adding beer. 

My experience aging beers in wooden kegs is limited, but I am currently conditioning my fourth new barrel for aging beer so I may have more experience that some other homebrewers out there.  I have noticed that the first batch of beer in a new keg picks up a strong wood flavor very quickly, and if a strong beer is going into the barrel it is even quicker.  A strong IIPA I brewed and aged in a new 10g barrel had a very prominent oak character in a week,  A 1.044 stout had a good oak character in about 2 or 3 weeks in a 10 gallon barrel.  After aging the beer I cleaned the barrel using a commercial Oxy-PBW-type cleaner (basically soda ash plus peroxide) and then refilled with the citric/sulfite solution until ready for the next beer.  The second and third batches in the same container picked up the same wood character over a much longer period.  By the third batch of beer (even at 8%ABV) I begin to notice some sour notes, and start using the kegs for long term aging of sour beers (this is my entire reason for the enterprise). 

From what I have read, the smaller kegs will transfer more of the wood character more quickly.  My smallest barrel is 10 gallons, and this fits my batch sizes well.  If I found a deal on a 5 gallon keg I will give it a try, but I basically found bargains on the ones I have, and can't afford new kegs at this juncture.  For what its worth I have heard good things about products from the barrel mill and gibbs brothers cooperage.  I am not sure of the source of my barrels, but they are likely from one of these two places.  They had all sat for a number of years before I convinced their respective shop owners to get rid of them on a close out price.  If you can find a deal on a barrel, even if it has been sitting dry for a number of years, you can likely soak it back into shape.  I would recommend trying it out.
Karl
Mundelein, IL  USA