A local-ish distiller has offered to let me pick up some whisky barrels as he empties them for $75 bucks each. He’s got 30G, 15G, and 5G barrels, all the same price. I’m trying to decide which to buy, and I’d like suggestions from folks who have used barrels or who have given the issue of size some thought.
Of course, my first thought was “get a bunch of 30Gallons”, but I’d have to either dedicate it to a single beer (solera style) or make 30 gallons at a time, and be restricted to beers that can sit in bottles or kegs for a long while while I work through that much beer.
What size batches do you brew? Personally I would prob buy the 5 gals. This way, even if you do a 10 gal batch you could either split them up to compare or use 2 5 gal barrels. Also I think they would be easier to store. I might buy a couple 15 gals four sours and the like.
Just my 2 cents…
Barrel aged beers would be a very small percentage of what i would drink and brew so i’d get the 5. If i was you i would start with the 5 gallon and learn to take care of the barrel before risking having 30 gallons of beer turn on you.
You would probably get the most use out of a 5gal barrel. Not to mention they would be easier to store and maintain.
5 gallon for the same reasons noted above, plus reduced risk of oxidation compared to conditioning in a barrel with huge headspace (assuming you brew 5 or 10 gallon batches).
I was thinking the same, the less space left over in the barrel the better.