A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

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MichiganCornhusker
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A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Wed Dec 07, 2016 11:39 am

I got my very first barrel!
It's a Gibbs 5-gallon, brand spankin' new. :D

In anticipation for this great day I made a Large batch of whiskey.
Turns out I underestimated my efficiency at making whiskey, and I have more than the 5 gallons I need to fill the barrel. (oh darn) :shifty:
Not a terrible predicament to be in, so I'm looking at this as an opportunity to hatch a plan for a little side by side oaking/aging experiment.

I'm going to fill the barrel first.
Then, I'm gonna fill a 6 qt BadMo Barrel with the same hooch.
Then, i"m gonna take whatever is left over and fill jars with oak sticks at different toast/char levels.

And then, I'm going to wait.
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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by ShineRunner » Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:09 pm

Awesome! I've been waiting for someone to do a comparison with the badmo barrel and a real barrel. Sticks are another bonus! How long are you planning on aging?

Looking forward to this!

SR

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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:19 pm

ShineRunner wrote:How long are you planning on aging?
Ha, not really sure yet?
I don't know that much about barrel aging yet, but I'm thinking at least 6 months, maybe a year once I see how things are at the 6 mo mark.

I still need to look at an area-vs-volume for each method to see if I can come close to an even playing field.
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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by Jimbo » Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:38 pm

Nice, definitely check it at 6 mos cornhusker. The fresh oak 'new barrel' bourbon character is pronounced. Let us know how you like the Gibbs, thats next on my barrel purchase list. Last one was from Barrels Online. Flavor of the bourbon is great, but the barrel leaked, then I broke a band trying to tighten it up. Pain in my ass. I used it for a batch of BBL Breakfast Stout after losing 40% vol in a year on a bourbon, then retired the fuckin thing. Its pretty to look at now :roll:
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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Wed Dec 07, 2016 1:14 pm

Jimbo wrote: I used it for a batch of BBL Breakfast Stout
The Gibbs is beautiful. Looks very well made, almost bulletproof.
I got a used Balcone's barrel this summer, which also looks well made, but compared to that the Gibbs has much beefier bands spiked in place. Maybe overkill, but looks awesome.
I filled it with water and let it set for about 6 hrs and only saw a little bit of seeping around the barrel head, no leaking.
I dumped the water out and refilled with the whiskey. A little bit more discoloration from seeping, but no likker lost at all. It's all dried up now and I'm very happy with it.

Your post about using the bourbon barrel for making a barrel aged stout is actually one of the things that got me to pull the trigger on a new barrel, too irresistible to not try.
My plan is to do the bourbon, then put a nice high gravity stout in there, and then ultimately another bourbon.
There is a brewery here in Michigan that does that, they actually end up with a bourbon barrel aged stout barrel aged bourbon. :crazy: Circle of life!
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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by Truckinbutch » Wed Dec 07, 2016 1:38 pm

I'm impressed :thumbup:
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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by buflowing » Wed Dec 07, 2016 4:53 pm

What's the whiskey you're going to put in that new barrel? Good show you got enough to fill a 5. :thumbup:

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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by Oldvine Zin » Wed Dec 07, 2016 5:11 pm

Good job :thumbup: , I'm still trying to fill my 3 gal Gibbs

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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Wed Dec 07, 2016 5:19 pm

buflowing wrote:What's the whiskey you're going to put in that new barrel? Good show you got enough to fill a 5. :thumbup:
Bourbon. 60% corn, 30% malted wheat, 10% malted barley.
Yeah, it's a real embarrassment of riches. I overshot my estimates and I have quite a bit extra after filling the barrel. :shock:
Still working out a toast/char matrix for the jars.
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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by ShineonCrazyDiamond » Wed Dec 07, 2016 5:19 pm

Good on you, MCH. As we have discussed before, I too, have a new Gibbs 5 gallon waiting under the tree. I too, am stock piling some bourbon to put in there.

This will be exciting. Perhaps I will mirror your experiment and have a secondary set of results for you :thumbup: . Though I only have the one barrel. But still. Should have some extra to put in a jar along side it.

Good job!
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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Wed Dec 07, 2016 5:29 pm

ShineonCrazyDiamond wrote:Perhaps I will mirror your experiment and have a secondary set of results for you
It would be great to compare mine to a Honey Bear from yours. :thumbup:
You are gonna love the Gibb's. No reason not to sneak under the tree and start filling it now...
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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by The Baker » Wed Dec 07, 2016 5:47 pm

Jimbo wrote:Nice, definitely check it at 6 mos cornhusker. The fresh oak 'new barrel' bourbon character is pronounced. Let us know how you like the Gibbs, thats next on my barrel purchase list. Last one was from Barrels Online. Flavor of the bourbon is great, but the barrel leaked, then I broke a band trying to tighten it up. Pain in my ass. I used it for a batch of BBL Breakfast Stout after losing 40% vol in a year on a bourbon, then retired the fuckin thing. Its pretty to look at now :roll:
Hi,
Know anything about trucks? (!)
Anyway you can buy a muffler clamp for your truck, and maybe for other things. They come maybe 6 inches diameter, you fit them by pushing the free end into the other end which has a screw mechanism to tighten it up.
With a screwdriver but that is VERY hard to do, a miniature socket wrench on the nut (which incorporates the screw slot) is fine.
And you can double them up by screwing the free end of one into the screw thingie of the other and the same with the other ends....

Can you see where this is going? I used this method to fix a barrel which had leaked, and the bands were just like 'tin' you would make a heavy tin can with but brass. They corroded and actually the corrosion broke right through....
Of course you can make a band for yourself but you would already have done that if you wanted to.... You could cut down an old band from a barrel used in the garden ?

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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by buflowing » Wed Dec 07, 2016 5:52 pm

Make good cuts and fill as you can. Keep out the heads, be lenient with the tails.

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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by BoisBlancBoy » Wed Dec 07, 2016 6:06 pm

Nice MCH! I'll be excited to hear the various flavors you pull from each bottling. I know everything I have oak sticked or barreled at the 6 month stage it could either be great or crap, but everything by 1 year has been phenomenal! I am no expert by any means but time is a wonderful thing if you have the will power.

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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Wed Dec 07, 2016 6:16 pm

BoisBlancBoy wrote:Nice MCH! I'll be excited to hear the various flavors you pull from each bottling. I know everything I have oak sticked or barreled at the 6 month stage it could either be great or crap, but everything by 1 year has been phenomenal! I am no expert by any means but time is a wonderful thing if you have the will power.
Thanks, B3, I'm actually a bit inspired by the similar set of jars you did a while back.
Based on your experiment, is there anything you might suggest as combinations for toasting or charring or anything else?

Right now I thinking along the lines of toasting at three different temps, maybe 375F, 400F, and 425F.
Then combining those with charring half the stick, and charring the whole stick.
Also, using different size sticks, and then maybe taking some out at 4 months, 6 months, 8 months, and some just left in for a year.
I've even thought about doing a few with different woods, like cherry or maple.

For the jars I'm planning to come up with a schedule for airing them, probably just opening them up once every so often and pouring into another jar and back again, to get some of the effect the barrels will do naturally.
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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by BoisBlancBoy » Wed Dec 07, 2016 6:40 pm

Combinations I would suggest......my favorite by far was the dark toast and dark char, it by in large the smoothest and had great flavor.

I actually have some jars that I thought weren't very good that are still in the back of my closet that I should go have a little sample of.

I think your plan of the different combinations of wood, times, sizing etc is a great idea. Keeping good records is key! There is going to be a lot of things you will want to remember. Airing the jars out is also something I would have done on a regular basis and did not. Along those lines maybe have a duplicate of a couple that you don't air at all and compare the differences?

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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by Bigbob » Wed Dec 07, 2016 6:53 pm

MichiganCornhusker wrote:
buflowing wrote:What's the whiskey you're going to put in that new barrel? Good show you got enough to fill a 5. :thumbup:
Bourbon. 60% corn, 30% malted wheat, 10% malted barley.
Yeah, it's a real embarrassment of riches. I overshot my estimates and I have quite a bit extra after filling the barrel. :shock:
Still working out a toast/char matrix for the jars.
Hey me and Jed could come over and 'help' take care of your overstock! :wave:
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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by Jimbo » Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:25 pm

Bigbob wrote:
MichiganCornhusker wrote:
buflowing wrote:What's the whiskey you're going to put in that new barrel? Good show you got enough to fill a 5. :thumbup:
Bourbon. 60% corn, 30% malted wheat, 10% malted barley.
Yeah, it's a real embarrassment of riches. I overshot my estimates and I have quite a bit extra after filling the barrel. :shock:
Still working out a toast/char matrix for the jars.
Hey me and Jed could come over and 'help' take care of your overstock! :wave:
And Jimbo too. Wheated bourbon overstock.....Hmmmm. fix that right quick.
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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by Truckinbutch » Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:26 pm

Bigbob wrote:
MichiganCornhusker wrote:
buflowing wrote:What's the whiskey you're going to put in that new barrel? Good show you got enough to fill a 5. :thumbup:
Bourbon. 60% corn, 30% malted wheat, 10% malted barley.
Yeah, it's a real embarrassment of riches. I overshot my estimates and I have quite a bit extra after filling the barrel. :shock:
Still working out a toast/char matrix for the jars.
Hey me and Jed could come over and 'help' take care of your overstock! :wave:
:wtf: :wtf: Don't forget about me !!!! I can help .
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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by Bigbob » Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:42 pm

Party at MCH'S!!!! :thumbup:
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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by cranky » Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:44 pm

Good deal MCH, I would really like to get a proper barrel but I'm too cheap for a new one and don't want a used one so I use sticks. I will be interested to see your results.

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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:56 am

Bigbob wrote:Party at MCH'S!!!! :thumbup:
Sounds good, there's a lot here to drink up! Summer when the Gibbs might be done, or winter when the rest might catch up? :lol:

Charred my BadMo barrel head today. I went over it very slowly with a torch, never allowing it to catch fire.
I'm hoping that this heated it up good so that I get some toasting as well as the char, took about 15 minutes.

Sticks are going in the oven now for toasting, I should have everything sealed up later today.
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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Thu Dec 08, 2016 11:02 am

cranky wrote:Good deal MCH, I would really like to get a proper barrel but I'm too cheap for a new one and don't want a used one so I use sticks.
You and me both, Cranky.
I am so happy with my sticks whiskey that I haven't really felt the need for a barrel.
But after coming up with a plan to get a half a dozen uses from it I finally caved in and got one. And now that I have it I have to admit it looks quite handsome in the shed.
To be honest I think the thing that pushed me over the edge was the idea of doing my own barrel aged beer? :roll: And I don't even brew beer anymore.
I'm not a huge BBA stout fan, so I think I might go with something like an imperial porter instead, maybe with a good bit of rye in it. I've got some time to come up with the recipe.
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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by ShineonCrazyDiamond » Thu Dec 08, 2016 11:25 am

I always wondered about some barrel aged ipa's. Alot of them I have heard lose their hoppiness, but I have a newly designed spruce ipa thanks to a friend of mine from Michigan. Turns out, spruce acts alot like hops, but doesn't lose its flavor like hops :lol: Ages really well. Oh, and is based on the 2 heard ale recipe. But maltier. Something to consider, but I'm not advocating doing it with anyone else's barrel but my own. Never had an oaked ipa personally.

For a recommendation that I would consider suggesting to someone else, is something along an Arrogant Bastard line. Brown, imperial ipa of such, but really should just be called brown ale - American by their recipe, but I have improved theirs. Yes, I am making that statement :lolno: Made it maltier and made it a British brown by changing the yeast. . Anyways my point is they have an Oaked Bastard that I'm sure you have tried. I think it's a good beer.

Or, you could do a barley wine.

In fact, MCH, one of my favorite breweries has a barley wine, and then that same beer oaked. Perfect to show you what it does to a beer, and what you can expect. I'll send you some of each, if you like.

Or you can stop by me, I'll take you to the source. Most their beers have an oaked counter part. With 30 taps, they get bored and creative :lol: . Very educational.

Much like you, barrel aged beer pushed me over the top. Jars don't give much to the angels, and some of the calculations for barrels is scary. But if I can get some back with a oaked beer, hell yeah. :thumbup:
Last edited by ShineonCrazyDiamond on Thu Dec 08, 2016 11:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Thu Dec 08, 2016 11:28 am

BoisBlancBoy wrote:Keeping good records is key! There is going to be a lot of things you will want to remember. Airing the jars out is also something I would have done on a regular basis and did not. Along those lines maybe have a duplicate of a couple that you don't air at all and compare the differences?
Yes, I'm going to have to write this all down.
I like the idea of keeping a couple jars sealed as control samples to compare to the rest that I will air out.
I think I will keep one sample white to compare as well.

I'm not usually a patient person, but I do want to plan on a few long term comparisons.
I usually like a medium toast and heavy char. But maybe a lighter toast with a lighter char, or even no char, is better after two years.
Which leads to the idea of taking the oak out after, say 6 months, or leaving it in for the duration.
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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Thu Dec 08, 2016 11:41 am

ShineonCrazyDiamond wrote:I always wondered about some barrel aged ipa's. Alot of them I have heard lose their hoppiness, but I have a newly designed spruce ipa thanks to a friend of mine from Michigan. Turns out, spruce acts alot like hops, but doesn't lose its flavor like hops :lol: Ages really well. Something to consider, but I'm not advocating doing it with anyone else's barrel but my own. Never had an oaked ipa personally.
One thing I do like is IPA aged in raw oak barrels, not used bourbon barrels. The oak gives the beer a really great bite, is that the tannins from the barrel? I don't know but at least with IPA's I prefer the raw barrel to a whiskey barrel for aging.
I'm not sure how the spruce would play with a whiskey barrel, but I bet it would be great with some raw oak. I'd love to stop by sometime and check out that 30 tap oak bar. :thumbup:

Oaked Bastard is one of my favorites when I see it. In fact, Stone has a whole mess of Bastards out this season. One of them, Double Bastard, Bigger Longer Uncut, is aged in Laphroaig Scotch barrels. It is a collision of worlds that makes me feel great beer happieness. Founder's Backwoods Bastard one of my favorites, too. Oh, and that reminds me of Doom, Founders barrel aged Double Trouble imperial IPA, I remember that being really nice.
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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by DFitz » Thu Dec 08, 2016 1:24 pm

MichiganCornhusker wrote:
Bigbob wrote:Party at MCH'S!!!! :thumbup:
Charred my BadMo barrel head today. I went over it very slowly with a torch, never allowing it to catch fire.
I'm hoping that this heated it up good so that I get some toasting as well as the char, took about 15 minutes.

Sticks are going in the oven now for toasting, I should have everything sealed up later today.
One thing I've experienced with a Gibbs barrel is after a couple uses you can wire wheel out the char and get down to clean wood, re-char it and use it again. That overkill comes in handy. I have 6 Gibbs that I use for bourbon, scotch and an Irish whiskey I've been working on. I also have a couple for rum. I just filled my 10 gal. with a panela rum. Overshooting the amount is always a good thing. Over time I'm pretty much able to keep a gallon after good cuts to age on sticks or in the rums case, filter over some oak charcoal that I made a few years ago.

The only thing better than filling a Gibbs barrel is emptying one a year or two later. I've found I get a very smooth bourbon after a year in the barrel. Another year in the bottle makes it all the better. I'd recommend stashing a few bottles to enjoy years down the line.

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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Thu Dec 08, 2016 1:30 pm

DFitz wrote:after a couple uses you can wire wheel out the char and get down to clean wood, re-char it and use it again. That overkill comes in handy.
Thanks for the reminder, DFitz. This barrel looks like it could be taken apart and put back together pretty easily, nothing dainty about it. Sounds like I could get many uses from this thing.
Now you got me wanting to get another for some rum!
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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by DFitz » Thu Dec 08, 2016 1:51 pm

MichiganCornhusker wrote: Thanks for the reminder, DFitz. This barrel looks like it could be taken apart and put back together pretty easily, nothing dainty about it. Sounds like I could get many uses from this thing.
Now you got me wanting to get another for some rum!
We're not that far from each other. Hit me up, I have an empty 5 gal. rum barrel I could loan out for you to age some rum. It just emptied a week ago so keeping it wet would do me a favor.
I ordered my 10 gal with med. toast no char. I used it once and found it not quite toasty enough. It was a molasses based rum and it all got flavored using vanilla bean in some gallons and pineapple it others. This time before filling my 10 gal barrel I looked inside and decided the to give it a deeper toast. Popped the top off, hit it with a small weed burner I got from harbor freight til a deeper and more desirable toast was apparent. This was the only time I wasn't satisfied with a Gibbs barrel. Damn toast was only about 8" into the barrel. I ordered the barrel in person at their shop in hot springs. I still recall the
conversation. Anyway, popped the top back on, hammered and pinned the rings in place, put it in my nuclear boiler, filled it with water and it gushed out like crazy. I filled the boiler with water, ran the recirc. pump into the barrel and set the temp to 150F. At temp I shut it down and let it soak till morning. Drained the boiler and it was tight like brand new. Filled it up with rum and now it'll set for 3 years.

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Re: A Tale of Two Barrels (and some jars)

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Thu Dec 08, 2016 2:05 pm

Shed smells like Christmas! (if Christmas smells like toasting wood for whiskey :ewink: )
Here is my plan:

White Oak Sticks, 1.25" x .75" x 5"

Toasting at 3 different temps, 375F, 400F, and 425F.
Then a set of those with no char, a char on two surfaces of the sticks, and a char on all for sides of the sticks.
I've also done a few cherry and a few maple, toasted at 400F.

This is my label code:

XXXF = Toasting Temp

Char Levels: T=Toasted, 2C=Charred 2 sides, 4C=Charred 4 sides

The cherry and maple I'm labeling before the temp, so C 375F will be cherry.

And because, based on my experience with other agings, I don't always feel like I get enough from the wood when toasting with no char, I'm doing some that will get TWO toasted sticks instead of one. Labeled 2T

Finally, I'm going to have two jars that I don't air out at all for the entire time, and one jar that I'm going to leave white.

I'm going to store these in a sheltered but not heated space, open to ambient outdoor temps but no direct sunlight.
I'm not sure how regularly I can air them out, but I will record dates.

Here are the 21 jars:

375F-T
375F-2C
375F-4C
375F-2T

400F-T
400F-2C
400F-4C
400F-2T

425F-T
425F-2C
425F-4C
425F-2T

M 400F-2C (maple)
M 400F-4C
C 400F-2C (cherry)
C 400F-4C

375F-4C-NA (no airing)
425F-4C-NA

400F-LT (light char)
400F-MEGA (super heavy char, double sticks)

White

Edit: I forgot some whiskey in the pot. I went to grab my boilin' pot to make some beer this weekend and discovered that I had forgotten to pour all of the whiskey out of it. :oops:
When I filled the 19 jars, that's all the jars I had clean and ready, and it wasn't quite enough for the pot of whiskey. Forgot to go back and clean up a couple more jars.
But, I have now. So for the last two jars I'm hitting both ends of the spectrum: one with a 400F stick, very light char, and the other with two 400F sticks, both super heavy char.
Normally my char is my char. I heat the sticks up with a torch just until I get a good alligator texture.
I deliberately left char level out of my experiment because each time I added another variable my jar count went up and I had to draw the line somewhere.
So right now I'm just looking for differences from toast temps and amount of char, not intensity.
For my light char I just hit it until it was blackened and I could see small hot spots that would flash red, no gator.
For the super heavy char, well, I just really burnt the hell out of the two sticks. Knowing myself, I won't be surprised if this will be my favorite.
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