I’ve been batting an idea around with some friends.
With enough help, I have enough kettle and mash tun capacity to push two barrels in a day; it would take about 9 hours start to finish with some overlap and an extra burner.
We’re all fans of big sour beers, not the “bile” flavors as much as the strong sour, wood, and fruit interactions.
We thought, why not purchase a used European fortified wine or spirits cask (225 liters or so), pack it full of a base beer this summer, and then drop a very large amount of fruit in it next summer during early summer harvest? Between the four of us, this wouldn’t materially impact our brewing limits and would be a fun experiment. If it works out, this could become a yearly ritual. We would primary in the barrel.
What I’m wondering is the fruit addition in a year. Everything I’ve read indicates that you want the barrel to be full, but if I’m going to add fruit at 2#/gallon, I’m going to need a significant amount of head room to pull this off. For those of you who have done a fruit lambic in wood, how do you account for this? Pull some base beer out as a gueze base (the “brewers share” if you will) and top up with your fruit? Leave head space?