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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Lambic & Wild Brewing > Sour Ale In Bourbon Barrel??
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:26 PM   #1
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Default Sour Ale In Bourbon Barrel??

So I got my 8 gallon Bourbon Barrel in the mail the other day that I am planning on putting my sour ale into and aging it for a year and a half. Has anyone ever done anything like this before? I plan on infecting it with 3 strains of Brett and was wondering what I needed to do to prepare the barrel. Do I need to sanitize it even if I am going to infect it? If anyone has done a sour ale in a barrel could give me a run down on how they did everything that would be great.

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Old 03-12-2011, 02:42 PM   #2
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You'll need something big/dark to take a bourbon character, Lost Abbey's Cuvee de Tomme is the most common bourbon barrel aged sour (Jolly Pumpkin and BFM have done it with good results as well).

A few friends and I did a ~12% wee heavy in a 53 gallon bourbon barrel, it wasn't supposed to go sour, but being next to a wine barrel of Flanders Red it was inevitable. Turned out great with some dregs from a few sours and a year of aging. Then we did a ~8% porter, it is still carbonating, but it should be great (much milder barrel character on the second fill). Now there is a ~8% brown ale in there, we rinsed the barrel before filling this time.

No need to sanitize, but fill it quickly so the wood doesn't dry out. A small barrel has a higher surface to volume ratio than a big barrel, so you may want to taste it after a few months and move the beer to a carboy and but another beer in there.

If you want it sour you'll need to add some bacteria in addition to the Brett.

Good luck.

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Old 03-15-2011, 01:33 AM   #3
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Quote:
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No need to sanitize, but fill it quickly so the wood doesn't dry out. A small barrel has a higher surface to volume ratio than a big barrel, so you may want to taste it after a few months and move the beer to a carboy and but another beer in there.
What would you say are the things to look for with this taste test? Purely the oak from the surface contact or should you also be on the lookout for vinegar / sour / stale?
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Old 03-15-2011, 04:46 AM   #4
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With those small barrels, especially if it's a fresh one, the oak would be the primary concern. But, I would think that acetic acid could be an issue as well, given the relatively high oxygen exposure that you might be dealing with.

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Old 03-15-2011, 01:32 PM   #5
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With those small barrels, especially if it's a fresh one, the oak would be the primary concern. But, I would think that acetic acid could be an issue as well, given the relatively high oxygen exposure that you might be dealing with.
Exactly, the amount of oak/bourbon in the primary concern. It will mellow a bit with additional age, but you don't want to kill it with wood off the bat. You might get some acetic acid, but I would think that would take longer even in a small barrel (as long as you keep the airlock topped off).
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Old 03-15-2011, 03:53 PM   #6
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So basically you age it in the small barrel to get your oak, say 2+ months, then rack to a carboy for the long-term secondary.

Are there any practical limits, taste-wise or otherwise, to how many different critter strains you want in your barrel?

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Old 03-15-2011, 06:26 PM   #7
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So basically you age it in the small barrel to get your oak, say 2+ months, then rack to a carboy for the long-term secondary.

Are there any practical limits, taste-wise or otherwise, to how many different critter strains you want in your barrel?
Yep, you got it.

Nope. I tend to use a combo of blends from yeast labs and bottle dregs. Invite a few friends over, crack a few bottles of sour beer, swirl the last inch of beer and toss it in. Fresher lower gravity bottles are better (Jolly Pumpkin is a personal favorite).
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Old 03-21-2011, 06:09 AM   #8
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You might want to look into Dark Horse Whiskey Richard. It's amazing
http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/dark-ho...yle-ale/76972/
http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/1471/62518

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Old 03-21-2011, 08:21 PM   #9
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This doesn't help you at all, but a local brewpub has an old Oktoberfest he aged in a whickey barrel for 1 1/2 years, and it was awesome.

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Old 03-22-2011, 03:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
he aged in a whickey barrel
Can you use a whickey barrel in brewing? Just kidding!

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