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Old 08-07-2007, 02:58 AM   #1
ebrooker
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Default Bourbon Barrel Beer

Bourbon is made right in my hometown. I know a guy that works at one of the facilities and he can get me a good clean used bourbon barrel. He wants me to make a batch of homebrew using one of these barrels for our leadership graduation. Has anyone ever used a bourbon barrel for fermentation or some other part of the brewing process? I think it could be a really cool idea pulling some of the bourbon flavor from the barrel but I have sanitation concerns. Any ideas would be appreciated.

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Old 08-07-2007, 03:17 AM   #2
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How big(gal) are the barrels?

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Old 08-07-2007, 03:26 AM   #3
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To go with the above, I think they have to be filled at all times (you can't only fill it half full). The barrel will absorb some beer and if you let too much oxygen in there you will risk infection.

Would he/she be willing to give you one to chop up? You could chop it into cubes like you can buy a your LHBS only these will have the bourbon flavor.

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Old 08-07-2007, 04:00 AM   #4
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yes he can get me as many barrels as I want for 18 dollars each. Each barrel is about 50 gallons and I think it is made of white oak.

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Old 08-07-2007, 04:08 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebrooker
yes he can get me as many barrels as I want for 18 dollars each. Each barrel is about 50 gallons and I think it is made of white oak.
Put me down for one! Where are you? I haven't really check on prices but that seems really cheap. If you have a brewing community around you, I'd agree on a recipe and all fill/share it. Otherwise it'll be tough to fill. You can't leave that much airspace in it, it needs to be near full in my experience/knowledge.
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Old 08-07-2007, 04:47 AM   #6
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I'm in Frankfort Ky. That is at his price. I'm not sure how much they are if someone just comes in and wants a barrel. They have a lot of barrel though and I don't think they reuse them. I think the are about to roll out there 6 millionth barrel shortly and this guys dad who is in his 90's is going to roll it out.

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Old 08-07-2007, 04:57 AM   #7
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I like the idea of getting a bunch of friends brew the same beer and age them all in the same barrel. You could probably get away with just putting 10 gal. or so in the barrel if you purge the O2 with CO2 to help reduce the oxidation. I know that Vinnie at Russian River Brewing oaks his Blind Pig IPA, I've made it and it is quite good. I used oak chips though. If you want to make a sour belgian beer check out Vinnie's website as he does a bunch of sour beers aged in oak. http://www.russianriverbrewing.com

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Old 08-07-2007, 04:17 PM   #8
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The problem with purging with CO2 is that it won't last because the barrel breathes, and oxygen will work its way in. I don't know how quickly that will occur but it doesn't seem worth risking. But its only 10 gals if you think its worth the risk. Barrels intentionally slightly oxidize whatever is put in them and they allow for evaporation - this will happen more quickly if the barrel is not full. It may not be enough time to pick up the good bourbon/oak qualities before the beer becomes too oxidized. Looking online, your price seems like 1/10th what used 55gal bourbon barrels are going for. I would really like to get one for 18 bucks!

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