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Old 09-21-2012, 01:53 PM   #1
kevin886
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Default How long to age in a new oak barrel?

I just got a 5L new (not charred or previously used for liquor) barrel. I'm planning on breaking it in with a stout. I was wondering, with new wood, how long should I age it in the barrel? I'm guessing it being new, I might get more oakiness out if it quicker and I don't want to overpower anything. Thanks!

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Old 09-21-2012, 03:44 PM   #2
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Are you sure it's not charred or toasted?

Being new, that beer may be oaked in a matter of days. A 5L is not very much. Are you only making one gallon batches or are you only oaking part of a batch and blending it back in?

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Old 09-21-2012, 03:53 PM   #3
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As far as i know it's not charred or toasted. Here's the link to the product page (http://oakbarrelsltd.com/5-liter-oak...zed-hoops.html).

I don't have a lot of space (live in a small Chicago apt), so wanted to start small and oak portions of recipes to see how that goes so when I have space to go bigger, I'll know if I want to or not. Also, didn't have a ton of money to invest in a bigger barrel.

The blending back in is interesting. I hadn't thought of that. I was planning on oaking the 5L and just seeing how that turns out. Figured it might take a few batches to get some of the "new oak" flavor out of the barrel. But being my first time trying this, I'm really not sure what to expect.

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Old 09-21-2012, 04:16 PM   #4
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The product description says
Dimensions: See Barrel Dimensions & Conversions Below
Volume: 5 Liter = 1.3 gal
Accessories: Bung, Spigot & Stand included
Toasted: Medium to Medium +

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Old 09-21-2012, 04:17 PM   #5
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That being said it looks like you can get Vinegar barrels that are untoasted if thats what you're looking for.

http://oakbarrelsltd.com/5-liter-oak...n-toasted.html

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Old 09-21-2012, 04:47 PM   #6
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wow, i totally missed that. Thought it was untoasted. Good eyes. Well, that's the one I ordered, so being med toasted will that make a difference on how long to keep it in?

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Old 09-21-2012, 05:15 PM   #7
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I've heard a lot of mixed things about barrel/oak aging. For a long time I read that, especially with new oak, it's very easy to overdo it and in a matter of days it's possible to over oak a beer. Then, when reading the latest issue of Zymurgy, they mention that the biggest mistake brewers make when oak aging is tasting the beer after a short period of time, getting freaked out that it tastes like they're drinking a tree, and pull the beer off. Instead, brewers need to recognize that it takes a long time for the flavors to mature.

I haven't had much opportunity to play with oak myself, but since it seems like you're only oaking a small portion of a larger batch I'd probably err on the side of leaving it in too long and then control the oakiness when blending with the rest...

edit: here's the excerpt from Zymurgy

Quote:
Many brewers make the mistake of thiefing a beer sample, finding it extremely woody, and pulling it immediately off the wood only weeks after racking onto the wood product. If you find the character of the wood too strong when first sampled, give it a few extra weeks. As softer characteristics are extracted from the core of the wood, and as the extraction of sugars begins to subdue the sharper flavors of both the wood and the beer, a creamier mouthfeel will emerge and you'll find the wood character mellowing and blending nicely with your beer.
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:20 PM   #8
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I was talking to a local brewer about a beer he ages in new oak barrels. He said the beer is at the desired oak level after 4 days on new oak. Longer for used barrels, of course. The beer in question is a hoppy red ale.

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Old 09-21-2012, 05:27 PM   #9
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i wouldnt age the first few more than a week unless its being blended. new oak is strong as is & 5L is a ton of surface area

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Old 09-22-2012, 09:09 PM   #10
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Thinking I might go 1 week then let them mellow for a bit - 4 weeks? at least for the first sample. Appreciate the advice all. Thanks!

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