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Old 12-04-2013, 05:17 PM   #1
shmoolia
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Default Aging beer in whiskey barrels

I have been searching for smaller, used whiskey barrels to give as a gift to my boyfriend, who is very into home-brewing. The best I found online so far is from Woodinville Whiskey Co. It's an 8 gallon barrel, used once, but it says it is "whiskey, honey, and maple syrup soaked". Any input as to whether this would be a viable option for imparting good flavor into a beer, or should I keep searching for something else?


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Old 12-05-2013, 01:02 PM   #2
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That sounds like it would be perfect for a maple coffee stout, but some people might not want the honey or maple part in their barrels. And 8 gal is a bit big. Do you know if your bf make 8 gal batches?

The ones that people seem to get the most are from a distillery in TX that ages small batches in 5 gal barrels. They are called Balcones and you'll see for sale here. Of course they are out of them now.

My home brew club went in on a group buy of them with our local home brew shop and I believe they still have some for sale. Their site is http://listermannbrewing.com/ but I don't see them on there, but you could call them if you wanted.


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Old 12-05-2013, 01:32 PM   #3
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I'd be thrilled to get an 8 gallon whiskey/honey/maple barrel.
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:31 PM   #4
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The market for homebrew barrels has really taken off. Several companies now. You can get used from distilleries or brand new ones. You are a google away from finding hundreds.

To be honest, and many reviews on these will point out, you can get a great oak/bourbon, rum, whiskey, etc taste from chips or spirals as well. Barrels leak and have to be maintained. Make sure your boyfriend wants to put in the work first.

I got a nice glass tube and fill it with a nice bourbon. I then add different types of spirals to the bourbon for a week or two and then add it to my beer for a few weeks to months. There is always bourbon left over in the tube and I simply refill and cap until I use it again. The different types of spirals I use change the complexity of the bourbon over time and therefore the complexity of the spiral I add to the beer. A couple of tubes and he can have a whiskey, rye, whatever going. Just a thought and something to consider.

Most distilleries will even sell chips from their barrels so you can get him his personal favorite. This is my personal opinion so do what you will with it.

EDIT-- I just want to point out that this is my preference. You will know best about your boyfriend. Plenty of brewers LOVE barrels.
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Old 12-05-2013, 06:32 PM   #5
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^^ I will agree with that. After having a barrel, I probably wouldn't buy one again. It does take some work to maintain and they won't last forever for making beer because they will most likely get infected because you can't really clean them well. I bought 2 for ~$50 each and one I sold after seeing how much work it was and the other I got 2 uses out of, so that doubled the cost for those 2 batches (which were good).

Having said that, I do think it's a good gift since it's something he may not buy for himself but probably wants, which I think is a great gift. This way he'd get to try it out and see if he likes it or not and then can buy more or not.
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Old 12-05-2013, 08:56 PM   #6
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Ive heard mixed opinions about using barrels vs chips. I feel like the honey maple flavor will limit what types of beers he could use the barrel for. And mtnagel, I don't think he needs something that large, either. Most places I've found where you can buy only one barrel are out of stock. If anyone knows anywhere to get one, let me know! Thanks for all your help.
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Old 12-05-2013, 09:08 PM   #7
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http://tuthilltown.gostorego.com/whi...ak-barrel.html I found these in stock
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Old 12-05-2013, 11:01 PM   #8
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Ouch! $160? I paid $50, but like I said it was a group buy, so I think they got 3 pallets full.

As I said too, I'm almost positive my LHBS (Listermann's) has them in stock for $90. Their website say $10 flat rate shipping.
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Old 12-10-2013, 06:08 PM   #9
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The Woodenville Bourbon barrel I have was honeycombed and not charred, only toasted. It added a lot of tannin to the RIS and subsequent Wee-Heavy I put through it. I have a couple 10 gallon Dad's Hat Rye Whiskey barrels and they seem to play with beer much nicer. They are charred.
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