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McJeff
02-23-2014, 12:46 PM
Ive always used oak chips or staves to oak with so using a barrel is all new to me. First off is this even a good value and how would you use a barrel? Obviously you age in this, how long would you age? After racking the mead out, do you just rinse it down with water?

http://morewinemaking.com/products/vadai-hungarian-oak-barrel-20l-53gal.html?site_id=8

Bob1016
02-23-2014, 02:25 PM
I think Oskaar has used barrels, hopefully he'll chime in. I would say larger is better, lower oak levels, lower oxidation (although I don't think this is a huge deal with proper management), longer extraction time, etc.

McJeff
02-23-2014, 02:48 PM
I think Oskaar has used barrels, hopefully he'll chime in. I would say larger is better, lower oak levels, lower oxidation (although I don't think this is a huge deal with proper management), longer extraction time, etc.

i dont see myself making a batch bigger than 5 gallons for awhile, should i just stick with chips and staves then?

Bob1016
02-23-2014, 03:29 PM
You could do a single barrel solera if you want. I'd still suggest a larger barrel, say 30gal, make a few batches to fill it, let it sit for a year, then draw off say ~5gal for bottling, and make another 5gal batch to top it off. The oak flavor will eventually fade, but you'll get the benefit of microoxygenation and a very nice mature mead.
I'd still suggest a larger barrel either way, but again, I don't have a lot of barrel experience (none first hand).

McJeff
02-23-2014, 04:45 PM
so use a large barrel even if i dont fill it?

BBBF
02-23-2014, 05:28 PM
No, it has to be full. Your first batch would be 30g. After that you take 5g and replace it with 5g every year.

McJeff
02-23-2014, 05:45 PM
No, it has to be full. Your first batch would be 30g. After that you take 5g and replace it with 5g every year.

good lord, my gf would kill me!

mannye
02-23-2014, 06:30 PM
good lord, my gf would kill me!

Only your WIFE can kill you. Do it now before she gets the 007 license. :D Wait! Unless your wife doesn't know about your GF....? :rolleyes:

McJeff
02-23-2014, 06:53 PM
Only your WIFE can kill you. Do it now before she gets the 007 license. :D Wait! Unless your wife doesn't know about your GF....? :rolleyes:

http://www.theginblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/shhhhh-secret.jpg

GntlKnigt1
02-25-2014, 07:12 AM
good lord, my gf would kill me!

Is this the same GF that was upset on Valentines Day too? Hee

Anyway, here is an interesting graphic on the life of a barrel.
http://winefolly.com/update/life-of-a-cask-from-wine-to-whiskey/

Vance G
02-25-2014, 02:30 PM
Would be a place I would trust to supply a good quality oak barrel. I am going to get a 5 gallon one after the personal moratorium on all superfluous expenditures until tax liability is ascertained and paid.

joemirando
02-28-2014, 11:31 PM
Only your WIFE can kill you. Do it now before she gets the 007 license. :D Wait! Unless your wife doesn't know about your GF....? :rolleyes:

Did you know that they've discovered a food that reduces a woman's sex drive by 99.99%?

WEDDING CAKE!

GntlKnigt1
03-01-2014, 04:05 AM
Ive always used oak chips or staves to oak with so using a barrel is all new to me. First off is this even a good value and how would you use a barrel? Obviously you age in this, how long would you age? After racking the mead out, do you just rinse it down with water?

http://morewinemaking.com/products/vadai-hungarian-oak-barrel-20l-53gal.html?site_id=8

That's a perfect size... and a great price for a barrel...Vadai is apparently a company in California, and I haven't been able to find a deal even approaching that yet over here.

Here's another one in USA...
http://zemplenbarrels.com/barrels/

They sell fruit presses at a reasonable price too.... but shipping is from California
http://www.vadaiwinebarrels.com/winepresses.html

McJeff
03-01-2014, 10:30 AM
That's a perfect size... and a great price for a barrel...Vadai is apparently a company in California, and I haven't been able to find a deal even approaching that yet over here.

Here's another one in USA...
http://zemplenbarrels.com/barrels/

They sell fruit presses at a reasonable price too.... but shipping is from California
http://www.vadaiwinebarrels.com/winepresses.html

Have you ever aged in 5 g barrel? Just wondering how long it takes to age.

GntlKnigt1
03-01-2014, 11:04 AM
I have a small ..maybe 3 liter one. Depends on the batch and the freshness of the toast. You need to taste every couple weeks. Tough job, but somebody's got to do it.

Sent from Arthur Dent's towel smothering a volume of Vogon poetry, some of which just leaked out.

mannye
03-01-2014, 11:34 AM
I have a small ..maybe 3 liter one. Depends on the batch and the freshness of the toast. You need to taste every couple weeks. Tough job, but somebody's got to do it.

Sent from Arthur Dent's towel smothering a volume of Vogon poetry, some of which just leaked out.

The way it works with barrels is that the smaller the barrel the faster the aging. It has to do with surface area vs volume. A 5 gallon barrel will age, or rather, infuse the contents with it's oak beech or whatever wood flavoring exponentially faster than a 50 gallon barrel. For example, whiskey aged in large barrels takes 7 to 12 years minimum but a 5 gallon barrel will garner a similar effect in as little as 6 months. SO if you use a 5 gallon barrel you do have to taste often to avoid the danger of over-oaking. You might also want a gallon of clear mead to top up as between the tasting and the angel's share you're going to lose some volume.

skunkboy
03-01-2014, 11:40 AM
I had one for a while. Gets pretty oaky pretty quickly, larger surface area to volume. Can't really do long term aging in them till they have been used a couple of times...

Honeyhog
03-01-2014, 12:35 PM
Laphroiag Distilleries uses this method in their Quarter Cask bottlings. Historically they used quarter casks so that the whiskey could be loaded onto mules and taken through backwoods trails to avoid the English excise men. Laphroiag duplicated these barrels to capture the flavour of those days. The whiskey is aged in regular barrels for 3 years and then spend another 18 months in quarter casks where I would say that cumulatively you get the effect of 7-8 years of aging in 4.5 years. The 10 y.o. aged in regular casks is still my favourite though.

mannye
03-01-2014, 12:40 PM
Laphroiag Distilleries uses this method in their Quarter Cask bottlings. Historically they used quarter casks so that the whiskey could be loaded onto mules and taken through backwoods trails to avoid the English excise men. Laphroiag duplicated these barrels to capture the flavour of those days. The whiskey is aged in regular barrels for 3 years and then spend another 18 months in quarter casks where I would say that cumulatively you get the effect of 7-8 years of aging in 4.5 years. The 10 y.o. aged in regular casks is still my favourite though.

Yep. My very uneducated opinion is that even though a small barrel will "age" (I think infuse with flavor is a better term) liquor much faster, there's a certain "something" that can only come with time.

McJeff
03-01-2014, 03:32 PM
Damn now I think I will buy a barrel. You guys spending my money better than the gf ;)

mannye
03-01-2014, 03:51 PM
Damn now I think I will buy a barrel. You guys spending my money better than the gf ;)

Hey I'm right there behind you. As soon as I get my garage free of that pesky Road Runner, and I just bought an Acme Road Runner Sales kit, I'm picking up the biggest freezer/fridge contraption I can to house the biggest possible barrel at the correct temp. :)

Bob1016
03-01-2014, 05:17 PM
I would think that temp control is not the biggest problem, me and medsen both age most our stuff at ambient (non barrel, which is >74F here) and I think you could get away with it in barrel as long as you top up well and sulfite appropriately. May allow you to get a bigger barrel. Also, have you noticed that we have perfect oloroso de Jerez weather? Oh the ideas! :)
Mannye, give me a ring, I've got some barely wine from FLAB for you.

Honeyhog
03-01-2014, 05:58 PM
I would think some temp fluctuation is what you would want because it will drive the the mead in and out of the oak. The best whiskeys are aged in the top of the storage buildings where the temperature is hottest causing more movement in and out of the oak thus imparting more character but this might not translate to wines and meads I don't know.

Bob1016
03-01-2014, 07:55 PM
Liqour a draw out much more from wood than wine, and it's more integral to liqour styles. Think of grappa vs brandy, two completely different drinks, and the major difference is time in oak (I didn't say cognac or high end brandy, just average brandy vs average grape spirits; clarity before someone cites regulations).

sandman
03-03-2014, 07:26 AM
http://www.barrelsonline.com/ShowProduct.aspx?ID=20
This site has an assortment and you can even customize the barrels. More options = an informed choice. I have no preference as yet. I'm still using chips at this point. When I do go to barrels at some point I'm liking the option of customizing them.

GntlKnigt1
03-03-2014, 07:49 AM
Oh man! Awesome stuff....and great prices!

Sent from Arthur Dent's towel smothering a volume of Vogon poetry, some of which just leaked out.

McJeff
03-03-2014, 08:55 AM
havnt read the above link yet, but do Hungarian(sp?) barrels sweat/leak like american oak does?

McJeff
03-03-2014, 09:03 AM
good prices above, but they only have American and i was really curious about the Hungarian oak.

mannye
03-03-2014, 09:35 AM
I would think that temp control is not the biggest problem, me and medsen both age most our stuff at ambient (non barrel, which is >74F here) and I think you could get away with it in barrel as long as you top up well and sulfite appropriately. May allow you to get a bigger barrel. Also, have you noticed that we have perfect oloroso de Jerez weather? Oh the ideas! :)
Mannye, give me a ring, I've got some barely wine from FLAB for you.

Calling you this evening!

Oh I don't think I would chance anything without some kind of mechanical cooling. Temps in my house can go up above 80 in no time. The garage will probably be worse. Even with the insulation I put in it gets into the 90's in there. Air conditioning and coolers with back up generators are the only way I've had success. I guess humidity and the concrete condo canyons eliminate whatever sea breeze might have existed in the past.

McJeff
03-03-2014, 09:17 PM
Would aging a 5g batch in a 5g barrel for a year overkill?

skunkboy
03-03-2014, 09:26 PM
Would aging a 5g batch in a 5g barrel for a year overkill?

I would say yes, unless the barrel has been used a lot, or you really love lots of oak.

You will also need to top off the barrel once in a while if you are gonna leave anything in it for that long...

McJeff
03-03-2014, 10:49 PM
Does a barrel constantly infuse tannins or is there a limit?

skunkboy
03-03-2014, 11:12 PM
I can't with any authority, but I would say from my limited experience you get more over time...

Vance G
03-03-2014, 11:29 PM
A barrel has a useful life and can only give what it has or has left. Small barrels used the first time are going to have a huge surface area per gallon and the tannins and vanillins are going to come pouring out of that oak. It would need tasted and topped very often. The next batch thru would obviously not benefit from what had already passed on to the former mead. Scots Whisky is aged in used Sherry or Port barrels and then are no longer considered usable after 70 years. American Whiskey requires a new charred oak barrel and must be aged for a minimum of I believe three years, then passes on to other uses or planters. This barrel thing is another whole study to obcess over.

Honeyhog
03-04-2014, 12:15 AM
The Scottish distillers typically get used bourbon and Kentucky whiskey barrels shipped from the States for aging and although they do use sherry and port casks they are for special bottlings and have typically spent some time in American oak before being aged in the sherry casks.

GntlKnigt1
03-04-2014, 04:45 AM
Bowmore darkest 15 year sherry cask aged single malt whisk(e)y. Fav here.

Sent from Arthur Dent's towel smothering a volume of Vogon poetry, some of which just leaked out.

McJeff
03-04-2014, 09:40 AM
We'll I was hoping to age something for a year, guessing a 5 gallon barrel isn't the size.

From what I'm finding a minimum of 30g barrel is required.

mannye
03-04-2014, 10:14 AM
We'll I was hoping to age something for a year, guessing a 5 gallon barrel isn't the size.

From what I'm finding a minimum of 30g barrel is required.

Absolutely. A year in a five gallon keg would most likely render anything in it undrinkable or make it into something you use to blend with. I remember a scotch tasting I did once from single cask examples that to me just tasted like what a burned house smells like. The char had just overtaken everything.