03 Jan Barrel Aging
Why Barrel Aging? Why not it’s pretty darn good.
We will have a barrel aging program at The Jolly Fox Brewery. We will use used bourbon barrels to age a Strong Scotch Ale in. This is will be our first and Primary product aged in a barrel but we will look at other options as they open up.
What and why barrel age?
When your using used bourbon barrels they will do a few things.
- Impart a nice bourbon flavor as it ages. The bourbon that seeped and stayed in the barrel will seep back out into the beer and with age will be a nice compliment to what ever beer you may choose to put in there.
- Nice Oaky flavor, the oak flavors that shine through the aging process is just fantastic. When you add the oaky depth in a nice beer it really brings out some hidden flavors, like oak, but maybe some subtle fruity notes that you would not have noticed before, like raisins.
- Smokey char, you char a barrel to help the aging process so you get a nice smokey flavor. All three of these items combine to make a fantastic beer as it ages in the barrel. The barrel actually breathes a little bit so to help bring some complexity to the beer and help bring all the flavors together.
The predominate barrel used in the US for whiskey and beer is American oak, Usually from a oak tree from Missouri. Wine a lot of time is aged in American Oak but fair amount of Red Wine is aged in French Oak. French Oak will impart a spicey flavor and as it ages it becomes more complex as with American Oak will mellow with time.
One of my goals for later down the road is do a cider aged in French Oak barrel then age the cream ale in the barrel. I think this would be interesting, but that is down the road.
Side Note: Most of the wood used to age Bourbon in is Oak From Missouri. Scotland imports over a million bourbon barrels a year to age their Scotch in it. So the next time your drinking a scotch most of the flavors are from a tree that was cut down 200 miles away from Pittsburg Kansas.