Homebrewing

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Aug 11, 2009
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Houston, TX
Some friends and I acquired a used bourbon barrel from Rahr a few weeks ago. This past weekend each of us brewed a big Brown Ale (OG in the 1.085 to 1.090 range), and we plan to fill the barrel in a few weeks. We'll age it for a few months and see what happens! I'll take some pics when we fill the barrel and post them here.
 

dds115

Free Roverto!!!
Aug 11, 2007
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www.hirecoachgundyscoaches.com
Some friends and I acquired a used bourbon barrel from Rahr a few weeks ago. This past weekend each of us brewed a big Brown Ale (OG in the 1.085 to 1.090 range), and we plan to fill the barrel in a few weeks. We'll age it for a few months and see what happens! I'll take some pics when we fill the barrel and post them here.
Woah, cool! Can't wait to see!
 

sc5mu93

WeaselMonkey
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Oct 18, 2006
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Fairfield, CT
Some friends and I acquired a used bourbon barrel from Rahr a few weeks ago. This past weekend each of us brewed a big Brown Ale (OG in the 1.085 to 1.090 range), and we plan to fill the barrel in a few weeks. We'll age it for a few months and see what happens! I'll take some pics when we fill the barrel and post them here.
so is the Barrell an actually bbl?
How many guys did you get to participate in the big Brown brew?

definitely post pics.
 
Aug 11, 2009
150
14
568
37
Houston, TX
so is the Barrell an actually bbl?
How many guys did you get to participate in the big Brown brew?

definitely post pics.

The barrel is a Jim Beam 53 gallon barrel (as opposed to a 31 gallon beer "barrel"). We have five guys participating, each brewed either 5 or 10 gallons. I believe one guy is going to brew another batch to make sure we have enough to top off the barrel.

We're really not sure what we'll get from the barrel. It was already used by Rahr for their Whiskey Warmer, so we don't think we'll get much bourbon flavor. Who knows...it's just a fun experiment. Maybe we'll try a sour next!
 

InHocPoke

Clone Bone!
Nov 10, 2008
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Oklahoma City
So I Had a thought today that I dreamed in my head... Converting a 10 gallon water cooler to a game day tailgating kegerator. Add some wheels and a handle and it will be perfect! Now to just plan 6 recipes...
 

sc5mu93

WeaselMonkey
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Oct 18, 2006
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Fairfield, CT
So I Had a thought today that I dreamed in my head... Converting a 10 gallon water cooler to a game day tailgating kegerator. Add some wheels and a handle and it will be perfect! Now to just plan 6 recipes...
I think I have seen what you are describing online for sale before. Its been a while and my google-fu is off today. But essentailly you have the correct idea. I think the one I saw was for the 3 gallon mini-sodakegs, so it wasn't completely unruly to tote around with ice.
 
Aug 11, 2009
150
14
568
37
Houston, TX
Some friends and I acquired a used bourbon barrel from Rahr a few weeks ago. This past weekend each of us brewed a big Brown Ale (OG in the 1.085 to 1.090 range), and we plan to fill the barrel in a few weeks. We'll age it for a few months and see what happens! I'll take some pics when we fill the barrel and post them here.
Alright, as promised, pics from barrel-fill day:



All 9 carboys/kegs ready to be emptied (9 * 5 = 45 gallons):


Siphoning:


More siphoning:


Ingenious barrel cart built by one of the homebrewers:


Front of cart. Rope made for easy maneuvering. The project would be impossible without the cart:


Into storage she goes:


See you in a few months:


As you can see, we're using a storage facility. It's temperature controlled to the high 70's or so.

The day went surprisingly smooth, and there really weren't any hang-ups. Entire process took a few hours.

It was amazing to see how everyone's batch tasted different even though we used the exact same recipe. All had different levels of roast, hoppiness, chocolate, vanilla, caramel. One delicious batch was very vanilla forward...we agreed it could've been bottled right then and there and been a great beer. We tasted the final blend and are very happy with what's in the barrel. We plan on tasting it after a month and then every couple/few weeks after that. We expect it to be in the barrel for 3 to 6 months (just in time for fall/winter).
 

sc5mu93

WeaselMonkey
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Oct 18, 2006
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Fairfield, CT
HomebrewPoke,
I wish I could like your post more than once. That looks freakin schweet.

So had everyone hit FG with their portions given the pretty high OG?
 
Aug 11, 2009
150
14
568
37
Houston, TX
HomebrewPoke,
I wish I could like your post more than once. That looks freakin schweet.

So had everyone hit FG with their portions given the pretty high OG?
The OG's and FG's varied a bit too. A couple hit a few points above 1.090, a couple below. One guy miscalculated somewhere and hit 1.075 (still tasted fine). FG's were pretty close -- ranged from 1.012 to 1.016. We're talkin' 10%+ abv on a couple of those! Fortunate that no one had issues getting it to ferment through completely (it was WLP001 / 1056, so we weren't too worried about it crappin' out early). We didn't calculate the combined gravities to see exactly what the abv is, but it's probably around 9.5%.
 

sc5mu93

WeaselMonkey
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Oct 18, 2006
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<completely talking out my a$$>
The reason I ask, is because I have heard/read that the higher abv beers do a better job of extracting some of the good flavor out of the wood of the barrel. You had mentioned the high OG and I was just wondering if everyone got close to a good enough FG to make the beer's abv "solventy" enough for good "wood flavor extraction" ;)
</completely talking out my a$$>
 
Aug 11, 2009
150
14
568
37
Houston, TX
Barrel project update. Looks like we have a sour on our hands. Pellicle forming already:


Nothing we can do to stop it at this point. We are just going to roll with it and hope it turns into a nice tasting sour.
 
Aug 11, 2009
150
14
568
37
Houston, TX
Never had that problem. What can cause it?
I don't have a great understanding of sours, but Brett or Acetobacter form a white film (pellicle) on the surface to protect themselves from excess oxygen (and maybe other wild yeasts / bacteria?). Pretty common with barrel aged beers as these bugs have an easy time hiding in the wood and avoid sterilization well.