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Bourbon Barrel Aging

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Thorpe429

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EDIT: I found a BYO article that seems to take care of most of my problems: http://***********/stories/techniques/article/indices/8-aging/952-keeping-it-clean'

I've gone through some of the older posts here and elsewhere on bourbon-barrel aging, but I have a few questions as to my setup.

The background is that my wife got me a 3-gallon whiskey-barrel from a place in New York (I can't remember the name). I don't want the barrel to dry out, so I'm thinking of what I can do with it currently. Here are the options I've thought of--does anyone have thoughts on what would be best?

1. Do nothing. How long would it take before it dries out?

2. I could fill the barrel with (a) water or (b) a water/bourbon mixture. This would keep the barrel wet and I could make sure it doesn't leak.

3. I have an imperial stout that will be down to terminal FG in a week or two. The problem is, I only have two gallons of this to go in. If I go and put this in the barrel should I:

(a) Just put in the two gallons and assume that any yeast in suspension will finish off primary and conditioning, creating CO2 to fill the barrel (I would put an airlock on it.

(b) Put it in the barrel and then use a Beergun to fill the headpsace with CO2 and then put an airlock on it somehow.

(c) Put it in the barrel along with some starter wort from another imperial stout, and then figure out a way to do a blowoff setup.

4. Anything else someone could suggest?

Any further reading on the topic would also be appreciated. I've looked around this forum and other sites, but I won't complain if someone cites to something I've already read.

Cheers,
Thorpe
 
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1. Not an option...Don't do nothing
2. Water is what we did at the brewery.
3. You need to fill it up. You are going to lose beer anyways for the angel's share.

So I'd fill it up with water, then make the right amount of beer necessary to fill it, then fill it!



Wally
 
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Thorpe429

Thorpe429

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When filling with water, wouldn't there be a problem with the bourbon leaching into the water and not coming through into the beer once I put it in the barrel?
 
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Yup, but if you add bourbon, you'll be adding flavors to the barrel you may not want. Plus it's expensive to fill it up with bourbon. It's all a catch 22. In the grand scheme of life though, I never liked the taste of beer we got from the bourbon barrels until the second time we filled them up anyways. But that was my personal opinion.

And even after you fill them up with water, they generally have tons of flavor to flavor your beer.
 
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Oh, and right or wrong, it's just what we did...so if someone has better answer or you want to try something else, by all means do it. I'm just sharing from my experience.
 

ChandlerBang

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I never liked the taste of beer we got from the bourbon barrels until the second time we filled them up anyways.


I have done litterally no research on this and have no imediate plans to burbon barrel age anything, but you can use them more than once? How many times? (ish)
 
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I have done litterally no research on this and have no imediate plans to burbon barrel age anything, but you can use them more than once? How many times? (ish)
I know this isn't the answer you want to hear, but it depends on the barrel. I wasn't too much a part of the bourbon barrel aging process so I couldn't tell you how far we took barrels, I just know that I liked them better after the second filling. We did however use them multiple times.
 

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