Fermenting with Wood Barrels - Home Brew Forums
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Old 02-02-2006, 07:26 PM   #1
Shmohel
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This is my first post in several months.... sorry for falling off the face of the earth, but I've been busy.

Anyway, I am getting back into brewing again and was thinking of new things to try. Has anyone ever used a wooden barrel to ferment or age their beer in? What sort of characteristics have you gotten out of it? Any tips on curing the barrel? What about using barrels that have been used for Whisky, Wines or Bourbon?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.


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Old 02-02-2006, 07:39 PM   #2

I haven't, nor would I have ever thought I'd be interested in it. But I recently had a stout/kriek blend at a local brewpub that was aged in an oak barrel that was used to age white wine in it's former life. The stuff was just awesome! It had won the Gold at a regional Festival of Wood and Barrel-aged Beer. It's my girlfriend's favorite. After that experience, the idea suddenly appealed to me!



 
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Old 02-02-2006, 08:17 PM   #3
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I never have, but I see them all the time at my LHBS, as he carries everything from 1Gal up to 30Gal. They are pricey, though.
http://www.home-brew.com/index.html?...B=Bottle%2FKeg

do a search for barrel
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Old 02-02-2006, 08:23 PM   #4
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I read an article at some point on it (can't remember where) that said oak cubes in a regular fermenter would yield similar results with leff fuss. You can calculate the surface area of the interior of the barrel and the calculate how many oak cubes of a certain size you would require. I did an oak barrel stout like this that came out pretty well, though a little too oaky to me. In terms of bourbon I guess you could soak the cubes in bourbon before introduction to the fermenter.

Or maybe you just want to do an authentic oak barrel fermentation

 
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Old 02-02-2006, 09:39 PM   #5
Shmohel
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I found a website online that sold barrels, and explained that new barrels should be filled with water for several days to allow the wood to absorb moisture so during fermentation the barrel does not leak. I am kind of curious how this would work for fermentation/aging and contitioning.

I think I am going to pick up a small one and test a bit of my next batch. See how it ferments (I assume I would need to fashion some sort of air lock) or how it conditions.
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Old 02-02-2006, 10:11 PM   #6
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It's a great idea (i've thought about it!), the wood barrel(s) you choose will need to have held what you want to 'add' to your recipe in terms of flavour. Also a few points to watch are they sound, taint free of undesirable chemical compounds, airtight and from a reliable source?

 
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Old 02-02-2006, 10:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caplan
Also a few points to watch are they sound, taint free...
Yeah, definitely don't want taint beer!

 
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Old 02-02-2006, 10:22 PM   #8
Caplan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shmohel
I found a website online that sold barrels, and explained that new barrels should be filled with water for several days to allow the wood to absorb moisture so during fermentation the barrel does not leak. I am kind of curious how this would work for fermentation/aging and contitioning.

I think I am going to pick up a small one and test a bit of my next batch. See how it ferments (I assume I would need to fashion some sort of air lock) or how it conditions.
It'll be raw oaky flavours with a new barrel i'm sure - slightly bitter new wood until you get a few home brews under it's belt (that's almost a cooper gag!?!). Get a small one and experiment as you've planned and post the result - I want to know!

 
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Old 02-02-2006, 10:23 PM   #9
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Sanitation could be an issue - I don't know if I'd want to put a chemical sanitizer to the wood. Now whiskey or rum, that's a thought...
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Old 02-02-2006, 10:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeGee
Yeah, definitely don't want taint beer!
Speak for yourself, I would love some taint.


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