Barrel Tips from the Pros

Insights for using barrels on a homebrew level

Barrel aging beer is not a new trend, but if you look around at your local brew pubs and beer shops you will see the expanding varieties of wood and barrel aged brews. Wood adds additional aromas and flavor components such as vanillin, tannins, spice and toast that brewers can use to their advantage. Many craft breweries have barrel programs dealing in wine and liquor barrel aged brews. The barrels they use usually range from 55 to 65 gallons and are sourced from major liquor distilleries, barrel brokers and vineyards from across the country.

For home brewers, brewing with a 55 gallon liquor barrel is not very practical unless you are brewing with a group and everyone dumps in to fill the barrel (which is very fun by the way). Most home brewers are looking for wooden barrels to hold their 5 and 10 gallon batches. Getting your hands on these smaller oak homebrew barrels can open up a whole new world of homebrews.

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