Two regular dudes who happen to be huge fans of American craft beer.
A good beer aged in a bourbon, whiskey, etc used barrel has always piqued my interest. The complexity of the beer is fantastic. Craft beer buys those big 55 gallon barrels, which are not practical for 99% of home brewers. I have always wondered if and how I could play wood stavesmen myself.
At a home brew club meeting six months or more ago, one member brought in a brand new five gallon barrel. Perfect for home brewing. The price was $80 or more, which I thought was a bit steep. Nonetheless the wheels have been turning.
Double Bogey was sitting around, getting close to being bottled; that would be the perfect beer. But I really knew nothing about barrel aging: placing oak chips in bourbon isn’t even close. After a few emails with Mike on techniques, I looked past the price, I decided it had to be.
I received the barrel on Monday, oohed and ahed over it, and racked Double Bogey into the barrel on Sunday. The barrel leaked a bit, maybe a total of four ounces before the staves swelled to seal it tight. There is one issue I am worried about: I only had 4.5 gallons of beer. There is some head space which leads me to believe that oxidation could set in, I just don’t know how long it would/could take. I am tempted to bottle it this Sunday but might push it another week at most.
Somehow having a used, appropriately sized, whiskey barrel in your home brewing arsenal is empowering. Enjoy!
Useless Fact: There are professional tea tasters as well as wine tasters.