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Aging in wine barrel?

What does it take to make this a reality? What beers work best to age for a year or so in a barrel, big beers I am assuming? Do you ever age in barrels that previously held wine? These seem like a fairly good deal?

Sorry, I did not bother to search the forum yet, don’t have time at the moment.

http://fresno.craigslist.org/for/2713344050.html

Can be done. Lots of breweries do this. Keep in mind wine barrels are big (most likely 55 gallons) and may not be water tight.
Most likely your beer will pick up wild yeast or lactic acid bacteria from the barrell. This can add complexity but may be not what you’re looking for.

[quote=“jon h.”]What does it take to make this a reality? What beers work best to age for a year or so in a barrel, big beers I am assuming? Do you ever age in barrels that previously held wine? These seem like a fairly good deal?

Sorry, I did not bother to search the forum yet, don’t have time at the moment.

http://fresno.craigslist.org/for/2713344050.html[/quote]

wine barrells are VERY easy to get and pretty cheap.
Just need to find enough people/time to brew to fill it up.
Big beers for the first couple see where the wine character lies and the oak, then turn it into a sour barrell

I have an 11gal barrel I have a Flander red in. I had used the barrel to age an '09 zinfandel originally.

I think several Belgian beers would be complemented by a hint of wine flavor, and yes bigger beers age better. Belgian Golden strong in a chardonnay barrel, or a dark strong in a red wine barrel. And of course the sours like a Flanders red or brown or a lambic would work excellent, the bugs love to grow in wood because it gives them a little oxygen.

You could also simply buy a new wine barrel (Vadai World Trade Enterprises sells a nice small barrel) and add a litle wine to the beer. Same outcome that way, maybe somewhat more oak flavor.

There are small whiskey or rum barrels available that are great for your big dark beers like RIS or baltic porter.

[quote=“tom sawyer”]I have an 11gal barrel I have a Flander red in. I had used the barrel to age an '09 zinfandel originally.

I think several Belgian beers would be complemented by a hint of wine flavor, and yes bigger beers age better. Belgian Golden strong in a chardonnay barrel, or a dark strong in a red wine barrel. And of course the sours like a Flanders red or brown or a lambic would work excellent, the bugs love to grow in wood because it gives them a little oxygen.

You could also simply buy a new wine barrel (Vadai World Trade Enterprises sells a nice small barrel) and add a litle wine to the beer. Same outcome that way, maybe somewhat more oak flavor.

There are small whiskey or rum barrels available that are great for your big dark beers like RIS or baltic porter.[/quote]

remember small barrells (5-13g) add a TON more oxygen that a large 60g barell. You will not be able to age as long in a smaller barrell

As a commercial example Surly’s anniversary brew this year, Five, was 100% brett fermented dark ale aged in wine barrels.

http://surlybrewing.com/beer/surly-beer-specialty-beers.html
(scroll to the bottom)

whatever you make first you are going to want something that is going to compliment whatever wine was in there.
You will get some flavors from the wine so plan accordingly

Right I’ve found that a wine only needs about 3 months in a 6gal barrel, 6 months in an 11gal barrel. Has to do with the surface area/volume ratio. Personally I like a little shorter aging period, especially for beer.

My 11gal Flanders red is being done solera-style. I pull 3gal out every six months or so and replace it with new beer. The bugs then work their magic. It eventually will give me a blended beer that has some aged and some younger beer. Even the first pull at about 9 months was a very interesting beer. #2 is even better. Both won second place in the sours category in a couple of good-sized contests.

If you pick up a new barrel, I highly recommend using Barolkleen first. Plus, don’t skip and buy an economy barrel.

Thanks for the feedback guys, can always count on you! I just called and they only have one size, 225 liters, which is 59.2 gallons roughly, so that’s a little too big for me. I have no problem brewing up something that big, just don’t know if I want that much of one style lying around for so long. Maybe I will look into a smaller barrel. The ad said, “half barrel”, assumed that was a size, but he really means a barrel cut in half.

Buy a sulfur strip and burn it inside the barrel to sanitize. I tried sloshing around some 80 proof bourbon to “sanitize” but the sulfur strip is probably the best way.

Vadai sells imported Hungarian oak wine barrels, they are very popular with home winemakers.

http://www.vadaiwinebarrels.com/

Oak Barrels Ltd sells small barrels too, I have one of their little 5L barrels for my homemade port wine. Once you get up to the 5gal size, I think the Vadai is a better buy.

http://www.oakbarrelsltd.com/black-hoop ... rrels.html

I wouldn’t burn sulfur in a new barrel, the Barolkleen suggestion is probably good since you don’t necessarily want all the tannin that a new barrel will impart. Winemakers will typically break in a barrel by putting wine in it for shorter periods of time at first. They don’t want to waste the tannins, but I don’t think tannins are quite as important for beer.

I’m sure this goes without saying, but don’t ever use chlorinated water for anything to do with your barrel.

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