So, I picked up a couple used 55 gal oak barrels... - Home Brew Forums
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:00 PM   #1
Apr 2012
Collegeville, Pa
Posts: 915
Liked 46 Times on 42 Posts

What do I do with them? Ultimately they'll turn onto planters or furniture, but in the meantime are there any ways I can effectively use them in my brew process? They're in good shape. They've been used once for burbon and once to age a stout from a local brewery. I spoke to the guys at the brewery and they said the barrels could be up to 6 months old. I heard a little liquid sloshing around in them, so I'm guessing that's some nasty old stout at this point... other than that theyve been empty the entire time. Since its not practical for me or my buddies to brew 55 gallons of beer, I had a few thoughts...

Cut one in half for a planter and harvest some chips from the charred inside. Steam the chips and use them in my next oaked beer

Rinse one out with hot water, pitch some yeast in a 10 gal batch and do a sort of open ferment primary in the bottom of the barrel that may or may not turn into a sour. I figure I could rack into glass a few days into fermentation

Brew 25 gallons with some buddies and use it as a secondary, hoping we don't get an oxidized or funky mess.

Try to re-charr one of the barrels and do a proper oaked secondary with 55gal of blended beer between myself and a few friends

Thoughts? I've only read about using or caring for oak... so any thoughts or ideas related to possibly getting some use out of these before they end up as furniture is appreciated. Before I came across these barrels, I had a conversation with my lhbs who specializes in wi e making. He said each time u use oak, it loses about 50% of the available character you get from the char. That being the case, I'm at 25% with these barrels. He said wood can be re-charred and used again. Again... any ideas or experience with wood used in brewing is welcomed...

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Old 03-28-2013, 12:24 AM   #2
Feb 2013
Dearborn, Michigan
Posts: 428
Liked 45 Times on 33 Posts

If I were you I would use it as chips. I wouldn't ferment secondary anything that had liquid sloshing around in it after months and has been opened.

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