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Old 10-09-2011, 04:23 AM   #1
Oct 2011
Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 1

So, here's a situation:

I just started a Russian imperial stout two weeks ago. I was at dinner tonight, and barrel aging came up with my host. We both love stouts aged in oak barrels, and I said it would wonderful to try doing that, but a barrel is a little out of my price range. Lo and behold, he won a 5 gallon oak barrel in which whiskey had been aged at a raffle at some distillery and offered it to me to use for my stout.

Now, I don't know the first thing about using an oak barrel for this task. I'm sure I can find information about sealing it or cleaning it, but what about sanitizing it without removing the whiskey flavor? Or, how long to age it for? When in the process? Or, all of the other things I'm sure I haven't even thought of. Does anyone have insight into this area?

Thanks in advance! Woo, first post!

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Old 10-09-2011, 03:31 PM   #2
Oct 2010
Posts: 440
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That sounds awesome man! Grats on the barrel. Unfortunately I have no experience but I'm sure someone here can help!

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Old 10-09-2011, 04:09 PM   #3
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defenestrate's Avatar
Sep 2008
edgewater, MD
Posts: 1,043
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here is s thread where a guy sells them on the forum, if you parooze it you will find a lot of info.

from what i've read, there is no need to santize the barrels and a beer will pull huge flavor in a matter of days when its a fresh barrel like that. as far as storing them, sounds like guys keep them plugged up with say a pint of liqour and keep the barrel rotating so it doesn't dry. then maybe a boiling water rinse between beers. i'm sure some one with real experience can chime in.

i'm about to pick up my first barrel as well, good luck!
(dē-fěn'ĭ-strāt') To throw out of a window.

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Old 10-09-2011, 04:38 PM   #4
dedhedjed's Avatar
Feb 2010
Atlanta, Georgia
Posts: 343
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No need to sanitize... Residual whiskey will have made the barrel a pretty tough place for any wild yeasts or bacteria to's also basically impossible to effectively sanitize wood anyway. With the increased surface area to beer ratio expect to pick up flavors more quickly than in a larger barrel. Depending on how fresh the barrel is you will probably pick up whiskey notes very quickly,'but it will take a month or two for the oak to start to come through. Pull samples every week or so to gauge when to rack the beer out of the barrel.

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