I have a 5 gal barrel that I will be aging a RIS in. Have never used a barrel before. I have read that 5 gal barrels will impart the bourbon/oak flavors much more quickly. Have also read that the first batch will age quicker than the next, and also give more bourbon flavor, while the subsequent batches may take longer but supply a more mellow oak character.
I am thinking of brewing a 10 gal batch and then aging each half in the barrel separately. And then blending the two.
Or, maybe aging the first 5 gal of the batch in the barrel for longer (same length of combined time as I would have otherwise aged each half separately) and then blending that with the other half never having seen the barrel.
I might be making this too complicated. But with the time (and $) investment into this beer, I would appreciate any advice from those who have any 5gal barrel experience.