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Oskaar
08-24-2004, 11:14 AM
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
09-04-2004, 10:22 PM
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
09-04-2004, 11:27 PM
What have you heard about barrels that would put you off??

Oskaar

dogglebe
09-05-2004, 08:29 AM
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 AM
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
09-05-2004, 08:23 PM
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
09-05-2004, 11:38 PM
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 AM
I am planning to buy a used whiskey barrel right after it is decanted. Will post more details when it occurs.

Oskaar
09-12-2004, 10:17 PM
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 AM
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 AM
For affordable reconditioned barrels, check out www.recoop.net They have an excellent web site, and their products look very interesting.

Dmntd
11-26-2005, 03:27 PM
Hey Oskaar,

Did you ever get a barrle for aging your mead? I've been thinking about getting a recooped 10 or 15 gallon barrle myself, not sure if American or French would be better for mead though.

Happy mazing,

Anthony