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Thread: Aging in Oak barrel

  1. Default Aging in Oak barrel

    I have two batches that are in secondary fermentation in glass carboys. I have a new 5-gallon oak barrel that is paraffin lined that I was thinking about using for long-term aging of one of these. Are there any suggestions on how to do this? Are there any kits available that would allow for a balloon inflation device inside the oak barrel as the mead is consumed?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Aging in Oak barrel

    5 Gallon Oak barrels are not ideal for long term aging of mead because of the wood:mead ratio. Your mead will get overpowered very quickly by the contact with the oak in a small barrel like that.

    If your mead is done, then I suggest bottling or kegging. I think it would be a dis-service to your efforts and your mead to put it in either plastic or parafin.

    Cheers,

    Oskaar
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Aging in Oak barrel

    Oskaar,

    I was wondering what the effects might be to use bees wax in lieu of parfin on an oak barrel to slow the infusion of the oak into the mead...

    IDavid


    David Baldwin
    Michigan Meadery LLC

    www.michiganmeadery.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Aging in Oak barrel

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBeeMan
    I have two batches that are in secondary fermentation in glass carboys. I have a new 5-gallon oak barrel that is paraffin lined that I was thinking about using for long-term aging of one of these. Are there any suggestions on how to do this? Are there any kits available that would allow for a balloon inflation device inside the oak barrel as the mead is consumed?
    Hi John,
    They have wine bladders like they use with some party wines you can buy at the store. That works well to keep out oxygen as it is consumed. The problem is fitting a bladder and exit nozzel to your barrel. What I ended up doing was buying a 55 gallon oak barrel and cutting out a door in the back. I purchased a 3 gallon Corney keg and CO2 tank and installed them inside with a hose to a spigot mounted on the end. Looks professional like its coming out of the barrel and no oxidation problems. You can also bulk age in Corney keg or fit a larger size Corney keg inside the barrel on its side.
    Joe

    PS You can check out bladders info here:
    http://www.flextank.com.au/products.htm

    http://www.backpackgeartest.org/revi...oger%20Caffin/

    http://www.busjrnl.com/specialreport.html?story.id=4448

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Aging in Oak barrel

    Hey David,

    I've never even thought of using the bees was/parafin solution to slow the infusion of oak to the wood. I would be cautious about that as I don't know how mead/wine reacts with parafin/beeswax.

    Like I said, a short time in a 5 gallon barrel for your mead would be fine, but long term you're going to have really woody mead. Ken Schramm even mentions this in his book in the "Oak" section.

    Hope that helps,

    Oskaar
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  6. Default Re: Aging in Oak barrel

    What's the deal with paraffin-lined barrels? Is this common practice? Both paraffin and beeswax are more or less waterproof, so it seems to me that this would eliminate the point of aging in a barrel. Unless you got a really stinkin' thin layer on there which sounds hard to do to the interior of a barrel.

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    Default Re: Aging in Oak barrel

    I've aged wine in barrels for ages, but never heard of using parafin or beeswax. The biggest question I have is why you'd want to line a barrel with parafin or wax when the whole idea is to age it in the wood to get the complexities and oak characteristics.

    Lining a barrel with parafin and wax would be a bit of a pain in the a$$ anyhow.

    Cheers,

    Oskaar
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  8. Default Re: Aging in Oak barrel

    My largest concern was the air getting into the barrel as the mead is consumed. The wax lining should slow/decrease the amount of woodyness that the mead would obtain over time.

    Having read a few items on coopering barrels, the wax lining was added to prevent the oak's tannin acids from getting into the contents of the barrel. When I started the initial treatment of this new barrel with plain water there was some leakage that stopped after about 24 hours. This small leakage indicates that there was not a 100% seal so I should gain a small amount of the oak aging process.

    I do have all the original stays and hoops for a 55-gallon barrel but will have to assemble it and construct the ends. This may become a long-range project - especially if the mead making becomes 'addictive'

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    Default Re: Aging in Oak barrel

    Hi John,

    Getting the tannic acid into the contents of the barrel is the whole idea of putting wine, mead, whiskey, etc. into barrels. The tannic acid adds astringency, while the oak character imparts flavors like vanilla, caramel, chocolate, etc.

    I'm not saying that a parafin lining isn't the thing to do, but, from what I understand a parafin lined barrel would be more appropriate to beers and ales rather than mead or wine.

    I would consult a good cooper before you proceed any further to ensure that what you're doing will be beneficial to your barrel, and your mead.

    Here's a good link to some information on wood, barrels, etc. In one article it states specifically to make sure that your barrels are not treated with paraffin.

    http://winemakermag.com/feature/111.html

    Cheers,

    Oskaar
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  10. Default Re: Aging in Oak barrel

    Historically barrels were not used just for aging beverages, but also for storage. I suspect the parafin and beeswax lined barrels were for storage. That's the only thing I can think of.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Aging in Oak barrel

    I wish I could remember exactly where I saw that reference to wax lined barrels. I do believe that it was for "neutral" storage.

    David
    David Baldwin
    Michigan Meadery LLC

    www.michiganmeadery.com

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    Default Re: Aging in Oak barrel

    Well, most of the paraffin lined barrels that I've seen were for storing olives, olive oil, pickles, and some other that are not at all good for following up with mead, and or wine/beer.

    Paraffin is for neutral storage but I personally would not risk my wine, mead, beer or anything else in a paraffin lined barrel. Hell, talk about an irregular surface and one that's easy to scratch.

    No thanks!

    Cheers,

    Oskaar
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  13. #13

    Default Re: Aging in Oak barrel

    you don't think pickles would be good to follow up with mead? dude seriously...doesnt a nice garlic dill pickle mead sound good right about now?

  14. #14

    Default Re: Aging in Oak barrel

    Hmmm... Sourkraut, maybe?

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    Default Re: Aging in Oak barrel

    You guys are making me hungry and it's still an hour till lunch!

    ... grilled reuben sandwich with a mug of mead...
    David Baldwin
    Michigan Meadery LLC

    www.michiganmeadery.com

  16. Default Re: Aging in Oak barrel

    OMG!! rubens are my fav

  17. #17

    Default Re: Aging in Oak barrel

    ... grilled reuben sandwich with a mug of mead...
    OOOO! Now you're talkin'!

    Lunch at David's place! Bring your own bottle of mead to share!

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Aging in Oak barrel

    Talon,

    Sourdough, Rye, or Whole Wheat...?
    David Baldwin
    Michigan Meadery LLC

    www.michiganmeadery.com

  19. #19

    Default Re: Aging in Oak barrel

    OOO! Sourdough is my favorite!

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Aging in Oak barrel

    Pumpernickel fried in clarified butter, next to the corned beef and sauerkraut! And steak fries with thousand island to dip in!

    Used to work a grill in high school, we made a lot of reubens, patty melts, etc! Mmmmmmm, patty melts!

    Oskaar
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

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