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Old 05-31-2012, 04:46 PM   #1
Spencecore24
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Jan 2012
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I was talking with my buddy a few days ago and we got into a discussion about barrel aging. Doesnt wood contain ethanol that is extracted from contact with alcohol. Wouldn't the contents of wood contaminate beer and grain alcohol? Or is it just particular kinds of wood that contain these? I know that hard woods are better for smoking and bbqing because they contain less oils than there softer counterparts. Thanks!

 
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Old 05-31-2012, 05:47 PM   #2
dpeanut7
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Mar 2012
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I believe barrels used for aging are either charred, or affected in some other way. I think some barrels used for beer have already been used to age wine/whiskey.

 
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Old 05-31-2012, 05:55 PM   #3
dcp27
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wood doesnt contain ethanol, it contains cellulosic material that can be made into ethanol.

not sure what you mean about contaminating beer/alcohol

 
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Old 05-31-2012, 06:26 PM   #4
frazier
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I would think that if wood caused contamination, someone in the brewing industry would have figured it out sometime in the last several centuries.
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Old 05-31-2012, 07:38 PM   #5
KPSquared
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Have you tried Innis and Gunn? So freaking good. . . They did something right aging in used barrels. . .phenomenal beer.
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Old 05-31-2012, 07:43 PM   #6
ResumeMan
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I have some friends who do this a lot, though I have yet to participate.

I believe that, as depeanut says, the charring helps provide a seal to prevent contamination. Also, as you note, there's quite a bit of ethanol present from the liquor that was first aged in the barrels; that is really the whole point! And the alcohol absorbed in the wood and present as vapor in the interior all help keep things sanitary. And then this is all aided by the fact that it is generally pretty high-alcohol beers that are aged in them.

I've tried a few of the end products, and man are they gooood!!

 
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