A hogshead, a firkin at a time

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Manngold
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Re: A hogshead, a firkin at a time

Post by Manngold » Thu Mar 29, 2018 1:18 pm

I have just read this thread for the first time (not sure how I missed it), but it is an excellent read. Your write up of the brew day is really clear and flows really nicely.

Very, very interesting.

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Cobnut
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Re: A hogshead, a firkin at a time

Post by Cobnut » Fri Jan 03, 2020 10:26 pm

I’ve been loitering on JBK for a year or so (peeking over the fence before that), but only just found this thread.

Having spent a day brewing with https://www.littleearthproject.com/ last summer I’m becoming rather interested in wild beers and barrel ageing and just came across this thread.

What a story!

Seeing as I only brew 20 or so litres at a time, not sure how I’d fill a 225L barrel...maybe a collaboration project for the HB club?

Thanks for sharing such an awesome story.
Fermenting: Schonramer Helles clone
Conditioning: London Porter
Drinking: Banks's Bitter clone, SMASH Keeping Ale (Chevallier, First Gold, Voss Kveik), Haflinger (rather odd weizenbock), 'Ol 'Enry Brut IPA, Cherry Chocolate Dubbel Trubbel, A Galaxy Far, Far Away Black IPA (or maybe it's an American Stout?), Quickie Voss Kveik IPA, Make American Stout Great Again, Amarillo Golden ale, Summer ale, Quick German Pilsner
Planning: Sussex Bitter, Dunkelweizen

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Re: A hogshead, a firkin at a time

Post by McMullan » Sat Jan 04, 2020 6:12 pm

You can get much smaller oak barrels, from 1L up, but a new one takes time to condition for long-term ageing. You can spend up to a year or more before it's ready for long-term ageing. 10L is a nice entry size. Easier to handle and maintain its ideal environment too. And small enough to hide away and forget :wink:

Edit: I hope I didn't come across as down playing bellebouche's wonderful project. Very few of us could emulate what he's achieved and I hope he continues to achieve his brewing goals. He's a genuine innovator. A fresh oak barrel has no history therefore no nuanced character. No unique profile to impart something special. Just oak, basically. And lots of it. Oak, that is. Don't ask me how I know :oops: A new barrel takes time and effort to get where it needs to be. And most of us (those willing anyway) can achieve that, to a rewarding level.

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Cobnut
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Re: A hogshead, a firkin at a time

Post by Cobnut » Sun Jan 05, 2020 6:40 pm

I hear what you’re saying, McMullen. Maybe I could pursue both in parallel?

A small barrel for personal brews.

And a big collaboration barrel for sharing with like-minded folk at my local HB club: I’ve already planted the seeds of an idea of around 10 of us brewing the same beer to fill a single 200L or so barrel for ageing. Then splitting the proceeds, perhaps over a few years.

Both could be fun and interesting!
Fermenting: Schonramer Helles clone
Conditioning: London Porter
Drinking: Banks's Bitter clone, SMASH Keeping Ale (Chevallier, First Gold, Voss Kveik), Haflinger (rather odd weizenbock), 'Ol 'Enry Brut IPA, Cherry Chocolate Dubbel Trubbel, A Galaxy Far, Far Away Black IPA (or maybe it's an American Stout?), Quickie Voss Kveik IPA, Make American Stout Great Again, Amarillo Golden ale, Summer ale, Quick German Pilsner
Planning: Sussex Bitter, Dunkelweizen

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Jocky
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Re: A hogshead, a firkin at a time

Post by Jocky » Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:57 am

Great project this - very inspiring. I doubt I'll have the time or space to nurture barrels in the future, but this thread is certainly inspiring me.
Ingredients: Water, Barley, Hops, Yeast, Seaweed, Blood, Sweat, The swim bladder of a sturgeon, My enemies tears, Scenes of mild peril, An otter's handbag and Riboflavin.

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Cobnut
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Re: A hogshead, a firkin at a time

Post by Cobnut » Mon Jan 06, 2020 1:42 pm

McMullan wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 6:12 pm
<snip>...A fresh oak barrel has no history therefore no nuanced character. No unique profile to impart something special. Just oak, basically. And lots of it. Oak, that is. Don't ask me how I know :oops: A new barrel takes time and effort to get where it needs to be. And most of us (those willing anyway) can achieve that, to a rewarding level.
I'd be interested to hear of the steps taken to get a barrel ready to take a beer for ageing.
Fermenting: Schonramer Helles clone
Conditioning: London Porter
Drinking: Banks's Bitter clone, SMASH Keeping Ale (Chevallier, First Gold, Voss Kveik), Haflinger (rather odd weizenbock), 'Ol 'Enry Brut IPA, Cherry Chocolate Dubbel Trubbel, A Galaxy Far, Far Away Black IPA (or maybe it's an American Stout?), Quickie Voss Kveik IPA, Make American Stout Great Again, Amarillo Golden ale, Summer ale, Quick German Pilsner
Planning: Sussex Bitter, Dunkelweizen

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Re: A hogshead, a firkin at a time

Post by McMullan » Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:49 pm

Sacrifice beer, in my experience. The first few beers, if stored for months, are likely going down the drain. Just a few days in a 'green' barrel is enough to ruin a beer. Once hydrated/sealed, the barrel needs to be kept filled. I've heard of people storing fresh oak barrels full with citric acid for extended soaks. It might be worth ageing a red wine in one that's been through a few extended soaks.

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Bad 'Ed
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Re: A hogshead, a firkin at a time

Post by Bad 'Ed » Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:01 pm

How do they prepare casks for sherry? Distillers use old sherry barrels to age whisky and I imagine other spirits must be the same. I've heard of people charring them but I don't see how that would reduce flavour....
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Bad 'Ed
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Re: A hogshead, a firkin at a time

Post by Bad 'Ed » Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:07 pm

Turns out Google still works. They apparently use them as FVs.

"Unlike makers of table wine, Sherry producers make strenuous efforts to avoid wood flavours in the wine. New barrels are no use for Sherry as they give off unwanted tannins and woody flavours. Once a new butt has been made it will be used for up to 10 years to ferment wine before it will be deemed suitable for ageing Sherry".

https://www.sherry.wine/sherry-cask/blo ... herry-cask
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