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Old 09-27-2012, 11:51 PM   #1
ruscetta
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Default Fermenting in oak barrels

Has anyone used whiskey barrels for fermentation/aging? I am deciding whether to use the barrel as a secondary or just use it to age a couple weeks after the secondary fermentation but before I keg it? Any suggestions? I am brewing a lightly smoked dark ale. If I use the barrel as a secondary fermenter, I shouldn't have to purge any air since it will have an airlock. But if I just age it, there will be a little air still left in the barrel that I would have to purge and not sure how. Thanks for any help.

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Old 09-28-2012, 12:03 AM   #2
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If you're just looking for a oak barrel aroma I would just throw some oak chips into your secondary as if you're dry hopping. You should be able to get oak chips at your local beer and wine making shop.

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Old 09-28-2012, 02:54 AM   #3
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Sounds like you already own a barrel and are wanting to use it - right? I don't see a problem with using it as a secondary and just keeping the beer in there for several weeks longer...one less time you need to transfer the beer. The process would probably be different for long-term aging...if you do that, consult the pros of HBT.

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Old 09-28-2012, 03:16 AM   #4
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Nobody does that. You will be the first.

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Old 09-28-2012, 03:36 AM   #5
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In this case, secondary and aging are basically the same thing. Be sure to taste frequently while it's in the barrel, you can't "undo" oak. CO2 purging might work but you should do it every couple days because that barrel is not air tight. You could also top up with a similar commercial beer. The smaller the barrel, the faster it will impart flavor (volume to surface ratio).

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Old 09-28-2012, 08:44 PM   #6
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Thanks all. Based on the replies, I plan on adding a small amount of DME into the barrel with the beer to purge out the oxygen while it is aging. Thanks for the tips on tasting...will make sure I do. Will let you know how it turns out. The barrel is a 20 liter barrel that has been charred and held Jack Daniels. Hoping to add that taste to the beer. Cheers

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Old 10-06-2012, 11:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruscetta View Post
Thanks all. Based on the replies, I plan on adding a small amount of DME into the barrel with the beer to purge out the oxygen while it is aging. Thanks for the tips on tasting...will make sure I do. Will let you know how it turns out. The barrel is a 20 liter barrel that has been charred and held Jack Daniels. Hoping to add that taste to the beer. Cheers
Do you mind telling me how you got a 5 gallon barrel that stored JD? I was just in Lynchburg and I could only find 53 gallon barrels.
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:57 PM   #8
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I would purge with CO2 before transfer. Forget the DME.

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