Whiskey barrel aging
I have just received a Jack Daniels whiskey barrel directly from the distillery. I want to fill it with a beer such as my winter ale or porter. I have never done this before and was looking for advice on this. Prepping the barrel, aging time and temp, adjustments to recipe/beer to account for this process/flavor. Any help would be appreciated.
Thank you for your time,
Last edited by beauxman; 11-04-2005 at 06:01 PM.
I used a Jim Beam barrel. When I recieved it wa still moist and I collected a pint of incredible whiskey from it...I therefore only purged/filled it with co2. I did not rinse or sanitize in any fashion, assumed the alcohol would be enough and that the staves were sealed since it was still moist. Racked full with a smoked porter and sampled on a weekly basis with a siphon to follow flavor progression (this was the first time I had tried it too), which I believe will vary from style to style. As far as temp, I kept it in our BB room, which is 46F. From a whiskey point of view, I believe you might be able to keep at normal room temp and achieve more flavor from the barrel, but I was worried about spoilage. For our beer, it had achieved a nice balance of flavor within a month at which point I siphoned into kegs, force carbonated and eventually served. They flew out of the pub! I would still love to age for a longer period, but we don't have room any more for even one whiskey barrel, not to mention enough for a skinny brewer. Have fun and Good luck, I'd be surprised if you're disappointed! Steve
Treatment of a fresh barrel depends upon desired effect. For maximum bourbon, whiskey flavor, just rack on into the barrel. For a slightly more subtle effect rinse with warm / hot water. Aging time is highly variable, and depends upon desired overall flavor profile. All my beers are aged in oak, and I have been using Bourbon barrels for well, hmmm....I can't seem to remember. Well, no matter, I age beers from two weeks to well over a year in the oak. And I've just started a traditional truly spontaneous lambic style I plan to give maybe 2 1/2 years in the oak before blending and bottling.
For winter ale, strong porter, imperial stout, barleywine, I would recommend six months to a year. I prefer one year. In the past, I've aged barrels in a cold room, but at my current brewery all are at ambient temp. Storage temp will of course affect the length of time you will want to age the beer. It's kind of complicated, but easy at the same time.
Give me a call if you like,
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Thanks for the feedback. I went ahead and purged the barrel with CO2, then filled it, capped, and have it aging in the cold room. Intense aroma from the barrel, yummy! Can't wait for this one to go on tap!