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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > How Long To Barrel Age In 2-Liter Oak Barrel
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:32 PM   #1
EliteSniper177
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Default How Long To Barrel Age In 2-Liter Oak Barrel

So I'm relatively new to home brewing, whipped up two batches so far, both still fermenting. For my second batch I did a vanilla imperial stout, its still in the primary fermenter at this point, but will be moving into the secondary tomorrow. A few weeks back i got a bit too drunk at a Renaissance festival and ended up buying a 2-Liter charred oak barrel from some stand (http://www.1000oaksbarrel.com). I bought it with the intention of aging some rum, but recently i have read some posts about people using the barrels to give their stouts a nice oaky flavor.

So my question is this, when exactly should I put the wort in the barrel, and for how long? I've read that since there is a larger barrel to liquid contact ratio in the smaller barrels, that the beer will age rather quickly and take on the oaky flavor in just a few days. I don't plan on reintroducing the barrel aged 2-liters into the rest of the 5-gallon batch, and i think I'll siphon some into the barrel after 2 weeks in the secondary when i go to bottle the rest of the batch.

Does that sound right? I'm not sure how it will come out in the end, but was hoping someone on here had tried something similar with success.

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Old 11-20-2012, 09:24 PM   #2
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So I never got a response, just thought I'd follow up in case anyone comes across this thread in the future. I went ahead and barreled 2 liters of the vanilla imperial stout, left it in there for a week, then bottled, and left in the bottle for 2 weeks to carbonate. I only got about 5 beers our of the barrel, with another 1/2 bottle leftover.

Maybe the stout hides the oak flavor better than some other brews, but leaving it in there for a week did not dramatically alter the flavor to a more oaky variety as much as I would have hoped. There is a note of the flavor in the after taste, but it is greatly overpowered by the high ABV of the stout. My advise to anyone attempting anything similar is leave it in for a week at the least, try for 1 1/2 to 2, and rotate the barrel every couple days to maximize oakyness, otherwise it just doesn't quite feel worth it.

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Old 04-07-2014, 06:12 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by EliteSniper177 View Post
So I never got a response, just thought I'd follow up in case anyone comes across this thread in the future. I went ahead and barreled 2 liters of the vanilla imperial stout, left it in there for a week, then bottled, and left in the bottle for 2 weeks to carbonate. I only got about 5 beers our of the barrel, with another 1/2 bottle leftover.

Maybe the stout hides the oak flavor better than some other brews, but leaving it in there for a week did not dramatically alter the flavor to a more oaky variety as much as I would have hoped. There is a note of the flavor in the after taste, but it is greatly overpowered by the high ABV of the stout. My advise to anyone attempting anything similar is leave it in for a week at the least, try for 1 1/2 to 2, and rotate the barrel every couple days to maximize oakyness, otherwise it just doesn't quite feel worth it.
Sorry you never got a response, thanks for the extra feedback about your results. I think lots of people do this for months, it's hard to get that flavor you want after a short week.
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Old 04-07-2014, 06:16 PM   #4
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It is true that oak aging takes a while. But it is also a function of surface area to volume. You have a high surface area to volume ration in a 2L barrel. That will typically translate to less time.

It was a great call to age it for a short period of time on your first try. I have overdone things and it takes FOREVER to mellow that flavor over time. I would be interested to see your next experiment on this.

Thanks for coming back and following up! Lots to be learned around here and really awesome when people follow up with actual results!

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