PDA

View Full Version : Oak Barrel Suppliers



Oskaar
08-24-2004, 11:14 PM
I found a guy in San Pedro with new White Oak 55 gallon barrels for about 265 which is a good price for what I've seen so far.

I'll get his information and post it up this week.

Oskaar

dogglebe
09-05-2004, 10:22 AM
From what I've read about barrels, I'd rather not use them. I've had good luck with oak chips and they're not that expensive.


Phil

Oskaar
09-05-2004, 11:27 AM
What have you heard about barrels that would put you off??

Oskaar

dogglebe
09-05-2004, 08:29 PM
Barrels are high maintenance. Once you fill them, you can't let them stay empty for any long periods of time. If you're not using it, you have to keep it filled with water, or water and vodka to prevent bacterial growth. I forgot the proper way of sanitizing them, but it has something to do with sulphur candles, or something. And don't you have to shave the insides down every now and then?

Even if only a couple of these are true, I'll stick with wood chips.


Phil

Oskaar
09-05-2004, 11:16 PM
We've had a couple of oak barrels in the family for a long time and while there is maintenance involved, it is not really as bad as it is made out to be.

You do need to keep them full when you're not using them, you use sulfur sticks to sanitize them, and from time to time (over the course of several years) you do need to have them treated by a good cooper.

The effect of oak on wine is indisputable, and based on my experience with mead the same seems to be true. Making a batch large enough to fill a barrel is challenging for many people, but I'm sure the pay off is worth it.

Maintaining a barrel is really no more difficult than maintaining several carboys, it's a matter of following very simple steps of cleaning, sanitizing, filling, storing and tapping the barrel. It does require a bit more skill and experience to keep the barrels in good order, but it is nothing that a good brewer cannot do with a minimal of effort.

Oskaar

dogglebe
09-06-2004, 08:23 AM
Have you ever used wood chips in your batches (smaller batches)? I find them extremely convenient and have good luck with them in beer and mead.


Phil

Oskaar
09-06-2004, 11:38 AM
Sorry I should have clarified what I was saying.

Yes, I use Oak cubes all the time. They are very convinient. We use the oak barrels for the wine my dad and I make. They've been in the family for a long time so they're kind of like heirlooms. It's kind of our way of honoring and paying tribute to my Grandpa and "Uncles" who got us started on winemaking and beer brewing. The influence of the wood on the wine is incredible and very much increases the structure and complexity of the wine.

I haven't used the oak barrels for the mead, and probably never will because they are conditioned for red wine. Once I do get one for mead, I'll be making a big batch to fill the barrel.

Oak chips are great, I do like the cubes better (just personal taste). We have also used oak chips in winemaking, and the effect on the wine is not as profound as is the aging in barrels, which is why I want to get a barrel for my meads.

Cheers,

Oskaar

ThistyViking
09-10-2004, 05:39 PM
I am planning to buy a used whiskey barrel right after it is decanted. Will post more details when it occurs.

Oskaar
09-13-2004, 10:17 AM
I'd be interested in hearing about that. This guy at Marabella Vinyards in San Pedro, CA has used whiskey barrels for $75 and they look to be in pretty good shape.

Oskaar

Oskaar
09-29-2004, 02:49 PM
OK,

Here's the Marabella Vineyards information that I promised to post. Sorry for the delay, I got busy and had to re-prioritize my schedule.

Marabella Vineyards
344 West 8th Street
San Pedro, CA 90731
Phone: 310-833-9783

Wine and beer supplies, grape juice & wine grapes, crushers, presses, oak barrels, etc. It's a great Mom and Pop shop in San Pedro, California. They're Italian and their family has been making wine for several generations, most recently here in California.

These are the kinds of places that I like to patronize because it is the small family run kind of place. They're a cash or check only operation. Here's a good example of how they work. When I bought my wine-grape juice to make wine from them, they undercharged me by $16. Terese called me up and apologized for bothering me and let me know that they had undercharged me. She said it was fine to either bring it by the next time I was in the area. I told her I could mail it, and she said that was OK too, but there was no rush.

It's a great thing to have people like this still in the business.

Oskaar

David Baldwin
10-12-2004, 12:12 PM
For affordable reconditioned barrels, check out www.recoop.net They have an excellent web site, and their products look very interesting.

Commander Toasty
06-23-2005, 12:02 PM
I don't know...and I mean that literally - I don't know.
I have access to great barrels that have been used by local Napa wineries. These are barrels that had four months of use since new, and the wineries consider them shot - of no further value.

Most good wineries use new oak for about four months, and then move the wine to older barrels for extended aging. This blends out the roughness of the new oak. But the point is they don't do even this treatment more than once with a barrel because they say the oak is gone. Sure, maybe if you really let something sit in it for a very long time it will still take on oak, but repeatedly? Not according to the various Napa winemakers I've talked with. Tomorrow I leave for a forty winery tasting, and I'll be meeting with various of the winemasters and inquire on this.

Oskaar
06-23-2005, 01:51 PM
We've had a couple of barrels in the family for a while and maintaining them is fairly simple. We had them re-conditioned and we use the reconditioned ones as nuetral storage for wine. Although now that my parent's and aunts and uncles are older we're not making the volume of wine that we used to.

Re-conditioning of barrels is fine, but it's definately not anywhere near putting a barrel back to it's original state, and infusion potential of those oak characteristics into your mead/wine. In California we have the great luxury of being around so many wineries that there are a pretty good supply of low cost barrels that have been used in aging everything from Auslese to Zinfandel and the price is right.

Many barrel manufacturers recommend using barrels for a maximum of 5 years. During the first 2 years, barrels infuse large quantities of aromatic compounds into your wines/meads, vanilla, eugenol, and methyloctalactones, adding spicy and vanilla nuances.

During the next 3 years, the barrels still offer a good capacity for aerating the mead/wine but most of the aromatic compounds have been used up. From what I've read when a small barrel is over 5 years old, it no longer makes a helpful contribution to the wine during aging (sedimentation, heat convection, etc) and the very importantly the oxidation process may be blocked by tartrate deposits.

Hope that helps,

Oskaar

Norskersword
06-23-2005, 02:41 PM
Was thinking about getting one of these from morebeer: http://www.morebeer.com/product.html?product_id=19642According to their catalog, they have a 5 gallon version of this but it's not on their site. Hopefully they still carry them.

Oscaar, what's your opinion on these? How long do you think a 5 gallon version of this would remain useful in oaking the mead, seeing as how the surface to oak ration would be different than a large 55 gallon barrel.

WRATHWILDE
06-23-2005, 05:16 PM
Reading the description at morebeer.com it seems that they might use the recoop.net barrels linked above. Process description is the same. The barrels at recoop.net says free shipping in the cont. US, cost is $25 more at recoop.net but the free shipping might more than make up for it, plus they offer one additional level of toast (medium minus).

wrathwilde

Oskaar
06-23-2005, 05:35 PM
Hey Norsk,

Well the smaller the barrel the less time you should leave your mead in it. If it was me, I'd save up and get a new barrel, French Oak (Limousin or Nevers), Medium toast by a good barrel maker. They're not cheap, but they're well worth it.

Also there is a debate about reconditioned barrels regarding retoasting. Many coopers believe that retoasting does not give satisfactory results. In a 50 gallon barrel there are about a gallon and a half of wine adsorbed by the staves that comprise the barrel. Apparently in that 1.5 gallons of adsorbed wine there are substances (tannin, tartaric acid, etc) that when retoasted are converted into compounds that give the wine tarry and burnt rubber odors, commonly referred to as "burnt character."

So that's why I would go for a used barrel before a re-conditioned barrel.

Hope that helps,

Oskaar

Norskersword
06-24-2005, 06:22 PM
Interesting. Glad I asked you. Ok, I will think about getting a new barrel instead. Morebeer carries new french barrels for about $50 more, but I didn't really consider it because I would rather have American judging by what I've read.

Anybody know where I can buy new, 5 gallon, American oak barrels?

Oskaar
06-24-2005, 08:13 PM
Hey Norsk,

A lot of times you'll see wineries put their young wine into American Oak barrels first, and then into French Oak for longer infusion times.

Oskaar

webmaster
07-02-2005, 01:52 PM
If y'all are looking for large barrells, don't forget that Scott Pirtle at Pirtle Winery has some, and for a pretty good price. Had I not flown out there a couple weeks ago, I would have gotten one. I think that the airlines woulda had a cow if I'd tried to check a barrel tho!

Vicky - finishing the last touches on the pool supply site from Hell, and doing interesting things on the new Redstone meadery site....

Lagerman64
07-02-2005, 09:14 PM
I haven't quite succumbed to oak barrels, sorry, ::). I usually use chips or cubes. I'll definitely will be using barrels when I start distilling ;).

Evander
07-31-2005, 05:34 PM
I was wondering about the differences between the barrel aging and the chip aging? Do the chips loose their aromatic qualities within 4 months as well? Also, I am currrently making my first mead, which is just finishing its primary fermentation and about to be racked onto some cherries and some more honey water. How long after I stop the secondary fermentation should I add the oak chips and how many do you use on a 5 gallon batch? Also, I don't really know much about wines and sparkling wines, but I am planning on making the batch half sparkling and the other half non-carbonated, and my question is: are sparkling wines aged in a barrel normally, or are they even aged at all? Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks,

Evan

webmaster
08-01-2005, 09:13 AM
I usually use oak chips, because its so much easier to get the mead *off* the oak when you like. I generally don't leave the oak in for more than 4 weeks, and usually less. You have to taste the must while it oaks, to see how its going. I add mine in the secondary, generally after its been there around a month, stopped or not.

Whether a mead is oaked, sparkling or otherwise, is generally a function of personal taste. Age-wise, mead tends to improve with age. So, the longer you can stay out of it, the better off you are. I subscribe to the aging in bulk, i.e. in a carboy, theory. Others age in bottles.

Vicky - 11 days til I leave for Pennsic

Oskaar
08-01-2005, 01:24 PM
I'm a cube advocate! Not a square, don't even go there! LOL

Anyhow,

Here's a couple of links that you may find helpful.

http://www.gotmead.com/smf/index.php/topic,700.msg4576.html#msg4576

http://www.gotmead.com/smf/index.php/topic,303.msg2756.html#msg2756

Cheers,

Oskaar

Ibiduin
08-17-2005, 01:47 AM
Aging in the carboy compared to bottles is all a matter if you want more or less oxidation.
A full half bottle of wine will (roughly) age twice as fast as a regular bottle. Keeping your mead in the carboy, just makes it age slower (probally the best way to catch it's peak, if you've got the glass/space for it).

I much rather use cubes too :p

Maelduin
05-16-2006, 04:08 PM
hmm, seeing some interesting deals on ebay all the way up to 59 gallon wine barrels. I'm kind of interested in the 2.5 gallon mini barrels. could age half a batch or so to compare to the rest in a carboy. Or perhaps the 5 gallon, but have to be really careful on the final volume.

Michael

Oskaar
05-16-2006, 07:17 PM
2.5 and 5 gallon casks look cute but will quickly overwhelm your mead with the oak character. A small volume of mead to be in contact with the wood. You'll have to rack out of them quickly in order to ensure you don't overdose your mead.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Maelduin
05-16-2006, 07:58 PM
yeah, I figured that the higher percentage in contact with the barrel walls would have some effect. Wish I had a place for a full barrel, and the 12-15 gallons of honey to make that large a batch, and the time to work it all, and the ...

But I'm really looking at these more for my wife, who wants to do period brewing for SCA Art/Sci. Was thinking that aging in a real oak cask would score some niftiness points, if she can document it from period. Most use glass carboys, but I thought that the oak character would give her a leg up on the competition.

Any suggestions on aging times for 2.5 and five gallon barrels?

Regards,

Michael

Oskaar
05-16-2006, 08:32 PM
Weeks rather than months. You'll need to taste after the first week to see how quickly the oak character is infusing.

A good medium is a 15 gallon barrel, not too small, can age in it a while, and you can get them new for less than the big barrels. Second hand are available as well, but you need to be careful that they are in sound shape, infection free and will not leak excessively.

cheers,

Oskaar

dogglebe
05-24-2006, 10:04 PM
Also, if you're considering a used barrel, you have to know what it was used for. A white wine barrel would probably work well; a whiskey barrel would not.


Phil