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Old 04-04-2011, 10:44 PM   #1
timotb
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Mar 2008
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Im wondering if there could be any flavor advantage to aging cider (applewine) in a Bourbon barrel? Any thoughts?



 
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Old 04-05-2011, 12:57 AM   #2
naeco
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Jun 2010
Ottawa, Canada
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I had a beer this weekend called Innis & Gunn that was ages in oak rum cast and it was fantastic. Being a HUGE bourbon fan I'm pretty sure a totally dry cider ages in bourbon cask would be killer. If you have access to such cask, I say you should definitely give it a try.


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Old 04-05-2011, 02:43 AM   #3
timotb
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Mar 2008
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Im seriously considering buying a 53 gallon bourbon barrel and doing this in the fall....I would like to read up on how to properly do this. I'm not finding any "how to" guides on the net, just a lot of forum chatter guessing how. I wish someone could commend some specific reading on the matter. Yeah, I agree making cider is easy, but making great cider is a challenge.

 
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Old 04-05-2011, 12:22 PM   #4
GinKings
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Apr 2008
Bridgewater, NJ
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My club has made a few barrel-aged ciders that came out very well. We used Lairds Applejack barrels, which were previously bourbon barrels. We didn't think a dry, crisp, low ABV cider would work well with the barrel, so we made a New England style cider using brown sugar and raisins. We fermented it for about a month before transferring to the oak barrels for 4-5 months. I know some serious cidermakers in MA that make a barrel cider every year. They take a more traditional approach. They ferment right in the bourbon barrel. After fermentation, they top off with fresh cider. Then, leave it on the lees, in the barrel, until bottling time. I believe they usually wait about 6 months, but have waited 1-2 years for some.

The barrel can overpower the cider. I would suggest using a wine thief and sampling every month or so.

 
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Old 04-05-2011, 01:23 PM   #5
chromedome
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Sep 2008
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Jack Daniels sells wood chips, for smoking food, that are made from the old oak whiskey barrels. I wonder if you could get the same effect by adding some to each bottle .

 
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:07 PM   #6
DrJerryrigger
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Oct 2010
mass
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Oh My God, you just made me really thirsty!
That sounds amazing. I've never made a cider, or any wood aged beverage, but I need to try this.

I don't think there is really a well known "right way" to do this. Just put it in the barrel and take it out when it's good.
You can use chips in a bottle/jug/carboy rather than the barrel if you don't want to make a hogs-head (what's that in liters?) of cider. They sell chips at many wine making supply stores, though the price is stupid for a little wood. I think if/when I try this I'll start with a tree and a chainsaw. It may add something good if the wood is saturated with whiskey.
Okay, so while writing this I've come up with a plan:
Make some oak chips
Fill a jug with said chips
Fill said jug with Johny Walker Red (any whiskey would work)
Ferment cider
Drink the Johny Walker (now that it's black label)
Use wood chip jug as secondary
Maybe transfer some chips in to bottles (just strain before drinking)

 
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Old 04-05-2011, 07:10 PM   #7
punkin
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Mar 2011
sydney, nsw
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Oak sticks work much better than chips for ageing and imparting flavour.

Sticks should be about 1/2" square by about 6" long.

Barrels (and hence sticks) for ageing spirits are 'heavy toast' to 'char'.

Best and cheapest way to do em is to buy a half barrell planter wine or bourbon barrell and bust it into staves. Use a belt sander or saw to cut the dirty outside wood of and give the inside wine stain a light sand down too.
Cut and split sticks to desired size using a hatchet or saw.

To toast, wrap a dozen or twenty sticks in two layers in foil to seal and roast in the oven/gas bbq ect at 220C for 2 hours.
Check and when they are a dark chocolate colour they are ready.

Some pepople char them over a flame till they are aligator char for ageing store bought bourbon further, but other spirits should be a chocolate toast.

They'd be good for your cider after ageing once or twice for your store bought spirits. A white dog like Georgia Moon would be aged this way for about 8-16 weeks on about 5 sticks to the gallon.

Suggest a lot less for cider.

 
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Old 04-05-2011, 08:03 PM   #8
Gremlyn
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Mar 2009
San Diego, CA
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I found a cidery in England that uses barrels: http://www.newforestcider.co.uk/how_cider_is_made.html
If I'm in that area when I go in May, I will definitely be stopping by. Not sure how common a practice it is, but I bet it'd be good.
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Old 04-06-2011, 03:01 PM   #9
timotb
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Mar 2008
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Ive thought about the wood chip idea. Much cheaper than buying a full barrel. I was thinking about aging the cider for several years in the barrel. I would figure age and the bourbon barrel would only enhance flavor over time. I read most people limit the aging to just a few weeks...not sure why.

Using my limited 4 year experience with making cider I would ferment to dry in regular carboys giving a final ABV 10-12%, then load in a used bourbon 53 gallon barrel for the long aging process without any additives. A "select" bourbon barrel is about $160 before shipping from a firm in Danville KY

My desired end result is a bourbon flavor that mellows with time. I hope these barrels remain air tight. No carbonation that I normally would get by force using Cornelius kegs. When I do start to tap the keg, isn't air/oxygen going to enter and spoil it over time?

 
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Old 04-06-2011, 04:15 PM   #10
dinnerstick
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Nov 2010
utrecht, netherlands
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gremlyn1 View Post
I found a cidery in England that uses barrels: http://www.newforestcider.co.uk/how_cider_is_made.html
If I'm in that area when I go in May, I will definitely be stopping by. Not sure how common a practice it is, but I bet it'd be good.
it's very common especially in the old school cideries in the west country (ie southwest england- mostly somerset, gloucester, also herefordshire and worcestershire in the west). i have also always wondered how giant tapped barrels don't oxidize - it's not like they are pumping co2 or inert gas in to replace displaced liquid... but i have always consumed too much to remember to ask

anyone know?



 
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