On a trip to Tennessee this weekend I scored three one-liter mini-barrels really cheap. (Would you believe Jack Daniels charges more for a one-gallon barrel than for a full size one?) They need a little TLC so at the moment I'm rehydrating two of them with water and a crushed campden tablet. The third one doesn't have a tap, so it's a project for later. Hopefully in a day or so they'll be completely watertight.
I have some still dry cider that has just recently cleared and is ready to rack/bottle. I want to try barrel-aging some, mainly just for fun and to see if I'd like to maybe invest in a bigger barrel. Has anyone else done this, and if so what were the results? From reading I know that small barrels have more oak surface area per volume of cider, so oaking is faster than with large barrels. Any suggestions as to how long to leave it? Since they're so small and they have taps I'm thinking of leaving them a few weeks and serving from the barrel.