Experience with used Bourbon Barrels?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Slatetank

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2007
Messages
55
Reaction score
0
Location
York, PA
I am curious if anyone has fermented in used 55 gallon barrels and what the experience was like.
 

PseudoChef

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2007
Messages
3,401
Reaction score
117
Location
West Chicago 'Burbs
We didn't ferment in one, but we secondaried a Belgian Dark Strong in a used Jack Daniels barrel. After about 4 months in the barrel, we pulled off all the beer into kegs. I have actually yet to taste a carbed sample - trying to be super patient. I am also planning on bottling mine off - but anyway.

What we did was just get the barrel and put about 20 gallons of boiling water in it. Made sure it didn't leak, then rolled the barrel around. That was about all we did in terms of "sanitation." I mean, we put a 14% beer in there anyway - so I would assume infection risks are very minimal.

 
OP
Slatetank

Slatetank

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2007
Messages
55
Reaction score
0
Location
York, PA
That is cool, ours was from Four Roses by way of Iron Hill lancaster. We plan to put Denny Conn's Vanilla Imperial Porter with madagascar vanilla bourbon beans in after secondary. I contacted Founders about it and they mentioned that they like to put the beer in when it as clear as possible.
 

yourdudeness

Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2009
Messages
23
Reaction score
0
Never did it, but if you're ever in DC, you should try the Bourbon Stout at the Chophouse District Brewery. Simply amazing.
 

david_42

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2005
Messages
25,581
Reaction score
189
Location
Oak Grove
Several of the local clubs have done bourbon barrel aging. A bunch of people brew 5 gallons of a recipe, then it all goes in the barrel for 3-6 months. Haven't hear of using one for a fermenter.
 

Bobby_M

Vendor and Brewer
HBT Sponsor
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
25,789
Reaction score
5,200
Location
Whitehouse Station
The WHALES have been using barrels for all kinds of projects over the years but it's always been for secondary aging. The only one that was sort of done as a primary was a Cherry lambic. We racked all the batches in after only 3 days fermenting with WLP001. It continued fermenting in the barrel and had a resurgence when adding the 90lbs of Cherry.
 

DonD13

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2009
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
I've been wanting to try brewing a bourbon stout for awhile, but my only experience was a spoiled batch from I'm guessing not getting the oak chips we used perfectly sanitized. Anyone who's using wood, how are you sanitizing your chips/barrels? Does boiling oak chips make them lose flavor?

Also, has anyone seen/brewed with the Jack Daniels smoking chips (made from Jack Daniels barrels)? I've been using them on the grill and in the smoker for a couple of summers, and it occurs to me they would probably be a great substitue for bourbon barrel aging for smaller batches.

Later,
Don
 

contagent93

Active Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
44
Reaction score
0
Location
akron ohio
I believe that you just soak the chips in bourbon or whatever liquor you intend to use if its at least 20% it should sanitize the chips.
 

kmlavoy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2007
Messages
186
Reaction score
1
Location
Chicago
If you read Wild Brews, there is a chapter on barrel aging, which is really good. I think he says the main thing to watch out for with bourbon barrels is the level of char within the barrel imparting a super heavy flavor on the beer. Bourbon barrels tend to be basically blackened on the insides, whereas wine barrels are toasted to a much lower extent.
 

JamesM

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2009
Messages
109
Reaction score
0
Location
NJ
I've baked my oak chips to sanitize them. I've also had success just soaking them in bourbon, but I'm a belt and suspenders kind of guy
 
Top