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I got this barrel stave, now how do I use it?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Donerik, Mar 10, 2012.

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  1. Donerik

    Donerik Dec 22, 2008 Michigan

    So I got a beautiful stave from an online store. It is from a barrel which held red wine for 4 years. The stave is beautiful french oak, it smells amazing.

    How would you prep it for use in beer?

    My hope is to use it in some sours to carry bugs around and contribute that barrel aged flavor in my carboy until I get a place with a basement.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.
  2. cmac1705

    cmac1705 Apr 30, 2010 Florida

    Chop it up? Doesn't appear like it would easily fit in a carboy. I'd probably sanitize it before adding, maybe a brief soak in Star San.
  3. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Aug 25, 2009 Oregon
    Moderator Subscriber

    I second cutting it into cubes. I wouldn't sanitize though. Starsan wouldn't work on that, and any bacteria and/or wild yeast on the stave will add more character to your sours as well. I've got about 5# of French Oak cubes that were once in a Red Wine barrel in Lodi that I use in my sours (not all of them all of course).
  4. Donerik

    Donerik Dec 22, 2008 Michigan

    Should I cut the outside part, the part that was exposed to the air while wine was inside, off first? Or attempt to toast the sides which are just oak? Or leave them raw and untoasted?
  5. Gritsak

    Gritsak Jan 22, 2004 West Virginia

    The smaller you cut it up, the more surface area will be exposed to fresh, unchared wood. If it were me (and admittedly, this is all armchair talk- i have no experience with staves), i'd cut it into the largest possible sections that you can still stick in a carboy. This way you will be able to leave it in the beer longer (less surface area exposed to the wood) and the majority of the wood will have been chared/"wine'd".
  6. cmac1705

    cmac1705 Apr 30, 2010 Florida

    I'd go with horizontal cuts about 1" apart to make cubes. Make the first cut and then test that the piece passes through the neck of your carboys nicely, without any forcing.

    And don't attempt to toast these unless you really know what you're doing.
  7. NiceFly

    NiceFly Dec 22, 2011 Tajikistan

    I do not have much experience with staves, but I would probably just slide that beautiful piece of wood in whole.
  8. Donerik

    Donerik Dec 22, 2008 Michigan

    Probably need to cut it in half length wise (not a problem at all) and then cut it again in half the other way.
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