We did a big imperial stout, and made enough that we have spare. One of the fermenters somehow came out a little tart/astringent, but not in a way that particularly makes me think it's got a bug. We drink a lot of sours, and I think this was just a poor mash and not the best fermentation conditions for this one... it is style-wise, out of line with the rest.
Anyway, it's not half bad... just didn't make sense to add it to the bourbon barrel with the rest of the batches, which all tasted very similar.
I have a 7.5 g bourbon barrel. I want to add cherries to this beer. I am not particularly concerned if it gets a wild bug, and am considering hitting it with roselare or some dregs spun up from a Lost Abbey sour stout and committing it to sour territory.
We are entirely okay with taking this and ending up with a barrel of garbage. It's not going to break anyone's heart. Since we have this spare beer, and the spare barrel, it seemed like the potential to make something "interesting" outweighs any potential heartbreak if it becomes nastyjuice.
What I am wondering is:
1) If I hit it with an intentional bug, am I better off putting it in a fresh bucket for a few (or many, taste dependent) months and letting the bug work there, or should I get it into the barrel (second use) and leave it there for a few months?
2). If I do cherries, should I put the cherries in the barrel, and just hose them all out after all is said and done, or should I barrel age, and then go into a bucket for the cherries? I'm not worried about whether or not I get another functional use out of this barrel. At some point it becomes furniture.
Thanks for your time!