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Old 04-12-2011, 08:56 PM   #1
mscrowley
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Default Considering Barrel Aging

I've seen some information about this, but it's somewhat sparse and I don't see anything specific about what I'm wondering about, which is timing. Namely, when should I age in a barrel, and for how long?

I first thought I was looking at treating a 5 gal oak barrel like a carboy for secondary fermentation. Then I saw posts suggesting only to age in the barrel for a few days. Thoughts?

I'm definitely looking to start with a heavy beer. I'm seriously wanting to try a Samichlaus clone. I'm just not looking forward to waiting that long to drink it!!!

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Old 04-12-2011, 11:08 PM   #2
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I have no idea, never having used a barrel. But, I bet a member here could help you, he has a very cool website at www.themadfermentationist.com and I think I remember reading one or two of his posts about barrel aging.

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Old 04-12-2011, 11:11 PM   #3
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I don't have any experience with a 5 gallon barrel, but I do know some things:

- If it's a new barrel, you're gonna have a hard time balancing the strength of the oak flavor. You will want it on the beer for a very short time. You may even want to break it in with another beer first (or alcohol).
- You might want to start with Oak chips or Cubes first to familiarize yourself with Oaking. I find that I don't have much reason to move to barrels with how easy it is to reproduce a great beer with chips and cubes.

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Primary: Viking Metal, Berliner Weisse
Kegged: Oaked English Mild, Modus Hoperandi
Bottled: None
Notable Empties: Oaked Black IIPA, BBK I, Red IIPA, Burning Bush, Apophis "The Destroyer", Vanilla Porter
On-Deck: Hobbit Ale, The Titan BW, Ale of Olympus

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Old 04-13-2011, 07:42 PM   #4
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Thanks. I read some of the information on The Mad Fermentalist's page. He's got a pretty good blog here - http://www.themadfermentationist.com...-homebrew.html

I'm still not clear, when they talk about "aging on" oak, or "sitting on" oak, are we talking about post-fermentation, but before bottling? Do I throw a few cubes into my carboy during secondary fermentation? Or do I put it back in the carboy for a week or two with some oak cubes after it's done fermenting, and then bottle it?

TIA

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Old 04-14-2011, 12:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mscrowley View Post
Thanks. I read some of the information on The Mad Fermentalist's page. He's got a pretty good blog here - http://www.themadfermentationist.com...-homebrew.html

I'm still not clear, when they talk about "aging on" oak, or "sitting on" oak, are we talking about post-fermentation, but before bottling? Do I throw a few cubes into my carboy during secondary fermentation? Or do I put it back in the carboy for a week or two with some oak cubes after it's done fermenting, and then bottle it?

TIA
I actually like to throw in some Oak chips during primary fermentation. Supposedly the oak even assists the yeast in the fermentation process. Then, I would move on to Oak Cubes if you plan to age the beer.

Oak Chips for short periods of time (With a 1-dimensional character). Oak Cubes for longer periods of time (with a more complex oak character). The mixture of both supposedly brings out the most complexities
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"There is no strong beer, only weak men"
"Pretty women make us BUY beer, ugly women make us DRINK beer" - Al Bundy
"Give a man a beer, he'll drink for a day. Teach a man to brew, he'll be drunk for the rest of his life."

Primary: Viking Metal, Berliner Weisse
Kegged: Oaked English Mild, Modus Hoperandi
Bottled: None
Notable Empties: Oaked Black IIPA, BBK I, Red IIPA, Burning Bush, Apophis "The Destroyer", Vanilla Porter
On-Deck: Hobbit Ale, The Titan BW, Ale of Olympus

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Old 04-14-2011, 12:41 AM   #6
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My suggestion to you, is to do what that guy does on the blog. You should split batches into 3 or more and mess around with the Oak. Some examples of variables to mess with:

- Use only cubes for a length of time
- Use only chips for a short time
- Leave the Oak cubes on the beer for more than 2 or 3 months
- Soak some of the Oak cubes in bourbon or another liquor
- Try one of the batches without oak to compare the differences

You get the point.

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"There is no strong beer, only weak men"
"Pretty women make us BUY beer, ugly women make us DRINK beer" - Al Bundy
"Give a man a beer, he'll drink for a day. Teach a man to brew, he'll be drunk for the rest of his life."

Primary: Viking Metal, Berliner Weisse
Kegged: Oaked English Mild, Modus Hoperandi
Bottled: None
Notable Empties: Oaked Black IIPA, BBK I, Red IIPA, Burning Bush, Apophis "The Destroyer", Vanilla Porter
On-Deck: Hobbit Ale, The Titan BW, Ale of Olympus

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Old 04-14-2011, 02:40 PM   #7
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What kind of containers are you aging the separate batches in? Do you age it separately, and then add a little yeast for carbonation before bottling?

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Old 04-14-2011, 02:50 PM   #8
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For these small experimental batches, I use Mr beer fermenters and 3 gallon glass carboys.

And yes, they age separately and I bottle them as I usually do.

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"There is no strong beer, only weak men"
"Pretty women make us BUY beer, ugly women make us DRINK beer" - Al Bundy
"Give a man a beer, he'll drink for a day. Teach a man to brew, he'll be drunk for the rest of his life."

Primary: Viking Metal, Berliner Weisse
Kegged: Oaked English Mild, Modus Hoperandi
Bottled: None
Notable Empties: Oaked Black IIPA, BBK I, Red IIPA, Burning Bush, Apophis "The Destroyer", Vanilla Porter
On-Deck: Hobbit Ale, The Titan BW, Ale of Olympus

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Old 04-14-2011, 02:57 PM   #9
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Thanks much. All of my batches so far have been pretty normal - 5 gal fermenter -> 5 gal carboy -> bottle.

And I've been afraid to screw up carbonation by messing with the carboy -> bottle part.

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Old 04-14-2011, 02:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mscrowley
Thanks much. All of my batches so far have been pretty normal - 5 gal fermenter -> 5 gal carboy -> bottle.

And I've been afraid to screw up carbonation by messing with the carboy -> bottle part.
Just make sure your calculations are correct to scale back on your priming sugar additions. The mrmalty calculator is a good start.
__________________

"There is no strong beer, only weak men"
"Pretty women make us BUY beer, ugly women make us DRINK beer" - Al Bundy
"Give a man a beer, he'll drink for a day. Teach a man to brew, he'll be drunk for the rest of his life."

Primary: Viking Metal, Berliner Weisse
Kegged: Oaked English Mild, Modus Hoperandi
Bottled: None
Notable Empties: Oaked Black IIPA, BBK I, Red IIPA, Burning Bush, Apophis "The Destroyer", Vanilla Porter
On-Deck: Hobbit Ale, The Titan BW, Ale of Olympus

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