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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Aging a new barrel
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:53 PM   #1
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Default Aging a new barrel

I had an absolutely amazing Bourbon Barrel aged IPA last week and I'm interested in getting a barrel or two.

Maybe they are easy to find, but I'd like to keep this on the smaller scale (Not 53 gallon Barrels). My beer hobby is already carving out a bit more space than the wife likes and I was thinking about finding some 1 to 5 Liter sized barrels. Then I could possibly have two or three and play with some different setups over time.

I've found a number of new barrels online made with a white oak for storing Whiskey, bourbon, etc.

What sort of aging and prep would I need to do. I've read that new oak can take a bunch of batches to pull enough wood taste out before it's just right and that "blending" becomes key

What if I got a small 5L barrel and filled it with Bourbon? How long would I have to leave it in there? 1yr, 2yrs, more? Maybe only a few months? I have no clue and haven't been able to find any threads on aging your own "newly" made barrels.

The smaller size is just so tempting. I'd even go smaller, but somehow I feel that for the trouble I should have at least a gallon of beer sitting in the barrel. Thoughts?

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Old 02-21-2013, 08:28 PM   #2
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Have these said barrels that you've been looking at been charred, used for aging whisky (Rum, wine, etc)? I wouldn't leave beer in a whisky barrel longer than a month, unless it has been used to the point where there isn't much left to give. I fill mine up partially with whisky while not in use and rotate it a 1/4 turn every week or so to keep it 'seasoned' and to help avoid drying out.

For prep, you can just add some whisky to it and slosh it around to sanitize (if you don't keep whisky in it already) and then transfer your batch in and be good to go.

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Old 02-21-2013, 09:50 PM   #3
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Yes. They are made for aging whiskey, rum and wine. What size barrel do you use Brewrifle?

Do you think a 5L barrel would be large enough? Or would I run into issues with too much wood contact for the volume of liquid? Just hashing out idea's now.

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Old 02-21-2013, 09:58 PM   #4
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I use this 5 gallon whisky barrel from the Balcones distillery. http://www.homebrewing.com/equipment/whiskey-barrel.php

What size batches do you usually brew? If you brew 5 gallon batches I'd do a 5 gallon barrel.

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Old 02-21-2013, 10:21 PM   #5
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Thats a great link! The price is pretty good as well. I may have to just pony up for one of those. I do 5 gallon batches, but was thinking if I went smaller I could maybe try a Solera system.

Anyone every experimented with small barrel setups? I still think it could be interesting to have a few barrels to play with over just one.

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Old 02-21-2013, 11:26 PM   #6
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I know it sound really small, but what about running with a set of five 2L barrels in a Solera style setup? One on the top row, two in the middle and 3 on the bottom for a miniature setup. I wonder if you could do something that small or not. I could actually fit something like that downstairs. 5L would be a better volume target per barrel and of course simply having full barrels would be best, but thinking in terms of scale that I could do at the house..

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Old 02-23-2013, 05:17 PM   #7
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So nobody has done a miniature scale Solera system? I think it would be cool to have enough barrels to do this, but in a small size.

I think I've decided to just get a 5 gallon barrel for starters though and will go from there

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Old 02-23-2013, 05:21 PM   #8
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A local brewpub brewermaster I know gets used Jack Daniels barrels for cheap sometimes but when he can't get them, he just soaks the spirals in bourbon for a while and adds them to the ferementer.

http://www.midwestsupplies.com/frenc...avy-toast.html

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