About a month ago, John and I recieved an Organic 10-Gallon whiskey barrel from my Uncle at Bainbridge Organic Distillers. We decided that we wanted to brew a strong version of our Roggenbier for the barrel aging. After a few very tense brew sessions we ended up with a solid 8% Roggenbock.
On May 30th, we prepped the barrel with beer. Neither of us have aged a beer in a barrel before, so this was uncharted territory. BOD supplied us with some instructions:
- Use a screwdriver or Hoop Driver & Hammer to tighten all barrel hoops
- Load the barrel up with 180 degree water to the brim
- Secure the bung and let the barrel sit for an hour
- If the barrel does not leak dump it and fill with beer
- If the barrel leaks let it sit for 4 hours to swell and seal
After a few hours the barrel was ready for beer. Standard racking session – 10 gallons to the brim. The barrel was fitted with a rubber bung with airlock and then hauled over to John’s cellar-like underground storage chamber in downtown. Hurry up and wait.
Due to the size of the barrel, the traditional 30-60 gallon barrel aging procedures must be altered. We are monitoring and taste testing the aging process every 2 weeks to make sure the balance is correct. So far, it tastes pretty damn good.
On June 30 we racked off 3 gallons of beer from the barrel and replaced it with the remnants of the initial Roggenbock batch. At this point the beer is tasting pretty darn good and is ready to bottle. Clocking in at 11% ABV it has very smooth and subtle whiskey notes which are complimented by the rye and clove flavors. We’ll check back in on the rest of the barrel aging beer in about a month!
P.S. Special Thanks to Bainbridge Organic Distillers for the awesome Barrel!