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Old 04-12-2013, 04:05 PM   #41
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The Balcones (have a bottle of True Blue) should be for drinking. It is a bit too $$$ for keeping a barrel wet. The cheap stuff will do just fine.

The bourbon flavor is being drawn out of the wood and will drops off after the first use. My third go was light oak with almost no bourbon at all. despite the bourbon storage. It seems there really isn't a way to "recharge" it.

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Old 04-12-2013, 05:41 PM   #42
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I also agree with not wasting expensive whiskey for keeping the barrel wet. The flavors will become diminished after every aged brew you do so don't spend your cash on what you put in it in-between batches.

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Old 04-12-2013, 08:24 PM   #43
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Quote:
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I also agree with not wasting expensive whiskey for keeping the barrel wet. The flavors will become diminished after every aged brew you do so don't spend your cash on what you put in it in-between batches.
+1
you can always add a few ounces of bourbon at bottling

FWIW, my local brewer does a number of premium small batch beers in oak. His barrels are from a distiller of "plastic handle" grade bourbon, not something high end.
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Old 04-12-2013, 10:41 PM   #44
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Thanks, everyone! A fifth of Jack just went into my barrel.

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Old 04-22-2013, 02:08 AM   #45
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Not sure about the whole "smaller barrel=less time" thing after aging two beers in 5 gallon Journeyman Silver Cross barrels. I went 8 weeks. I tasted every week for the first few weeks, then decided to let it ride a couple more after each subsequent taste, as it wasn't where I wanted it quite yet.

As of kegging today, the beers have an amazing soft oak, vanilla, and very nice whiskey flavor. I plan on aging these beers in the keg for quite awhile, so I knew I was letting them go long for that reason as well.

One was a 7.5% Doppelbock and the other the same abv Xmas Ale. Refilled the doppelbock barrel after rinsing with distilled water with an American Barleywine, which I won't taste for a month.

Bottom line: Very good, very heavy flavor now. But great character. After aging time in keg, it will be great, I think.

Question: Any idea what contribution, in terms of abv, a first use whiskey barrel would have on the beer?

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Old 04-22-2013, 02:30 AM   #46
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I have used a few of these barrels. One I used 3 times and the two others are currently sitting with a barleywine and a RIS. My first brew I went 6 weeks and it was boozy but not too much oak. The booze flavor will diminish with time so if you let it sit for a 6 months or so it will have mellowed out some. I know a lot of folks do the more limited time but I really don't feel like it gives a lot of the oak flavor. I think it depends on the beer too. I am planning on racking both beers soon and we shall see how they turn out. My barrels were dumped in December 2012 so the are fairly fresh (the brews went in in Jan and then in March). I might have let the age too long but we shall see. There's always blending.

My first barrel I rinsed with hot water once and then pre-boiled water twice. I let it drain while I was bottling my beer and then threw about a cup of alcohol in and let it sit for a couple days.

I think by the third batch the brew had gotten some Brett. Not sure where it came from but might have been the rinsing.

I know people that have just racked a beer right in and not worried about the trub on the bottom. This is a valid method since I doubt the residual yeast would cause many off flavors from autolysis and as long as you put a darker beer in and/or one of equal caliber probably not much flavor is imparted.

It's also important to note that rinsing will also wash away some of the barrel flavor and mainly any residual alcohol.

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Old 04-22-2013, 02:31 AM   #47
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DPlan, as far as alcohol contribution I dunno. It's mostly fumes so I wouldn't think it would be too much. It for sure has a thinning effect on the mouth feel of the final beer though.

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Old 04-23-2013, 10:39 AM   #48
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Quote:
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It's also important to note that rinsing will also wash away some of the barrel flavor and mainly any residual alcohol.
That's a great point. I think I have done that to my barrel. I get a little crazy when it come to sanitation. I have rinsed my barrel with 180 degree water 3 times so far.
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Old 04-25-2013, 02:34 AM   #49
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I'm curious now, has anyone ever done a surface area to volume ratio for 53 gallon barrels vs 5 gallons barrels. I feel like that would give a better answer as to how much time you should age. EG if one normally ages a brew for a year in a 53 and it has X:X ratio and we knew what a 5 gallon ration was too we could theoretically figure out how much time would be equivalent.... I dunno the dimensions of each barrel, and I am not that good at math...

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Old 04-25-2013, 02:40 AM   #50
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Wait I found it:

A 53 gallon oak barrel has approximately 3693 sq. in. of inside surface area. This equals 70 sq in per gallon

A 5 gallon oak barrel has approximately 1413 sq. in. Of inside surface area. this equals 283 sq. in per gallon

So 282 divided by 70 equals about 4, so technically in a 5 gallon barrel you would have to age the beer 4 times less than a large 53 one....

Does this sound crazy?

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