My barrel aged RIS... a couple pics to ease all of the reading :) Cheers!

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by JoRado, Feb 20, 2013.

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  1. JoRado

    JoRado Initiate (0) Oct 26, 2010 Minnesota

    A little over 5 months ago I decided to brew a Barrel Aged RIS. It's one of my favorite styles. I ended up ordering a Balcones whiskey barrel to age it in...boy did it look awesome when it arrived (I apologize about it being sideways...don't know how to rotate it through imgur):


    After two weeks in the primary I was able to transfer it into the above barrel, which had been freshly drained only a couple weeks ago. It stayed in the barrel for about 1 week and then I transferred to a glass carboy, purged the headspace with CO2, and there it sat for 5 months.

    Fast forward to today. Tasted it and boy was it delicious. Nice and thick mouthfeel, roasted maltiness, licorice and whiskey undertones. I could have drank a whole pint right away! I decided to do something bold and separate it into 5 one gallon jugs. By doing this I am able to use 4 different adjuncts all on the same beer:


    From left to right:
    - Smoked chipotle peppers (dried and chopped)
    - Vanilla Beans (cut and scraped)
    - American White Oak Spiral (1/2 a spiral medium plus toast)
    - Sweet Cherry Puree (~1lb)
    - Original RIS (for taste comparison)

    Thanks for taking a look, and I'm super excited to get this bottled and do some side by side taste comparisons!
    Snellgg5, Vonerichs, Naugled and 6 others like this.
  2. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Initiate (0) May 21, 2010 Texas

    Wow, that looks fantastic man! I'd be most curious about the chipotle and the cherry compared to the original. And if ever I get a barrel, I might look you up for pointers! :sunglasses:
  3. JoRado

    JoRado Initiate (0) Oct 26, 2010 Minnesota

    Thank you, I've used the chipotle in a porter before, but it needed to be in a beer with a little more depth, so i'm testing it out in this stout. I don't know if the cherry is going to be any good or not, but hey you won't know until you try it!
  4. bgjohnston

    bgjohnston Initiate (0) Jan 14, 2009 Connecticut

    Is that a 5 gallon whiskey barrel? I can't tell the size from the picture.
  5. joshodonn

    joshodonn Initiate (108) Jan 21, 2011 Florida

    Any info on where you ordered the barrel from? Did you order it directly from Balcones? Cost? I'm in the market for a new barrel, my barrel is on it's 3rd use and it's pretty much lost all it's whiskey character, the RIS I have in there now has been in for 5 weeks and is just now starting to get some whiskey notes in it.
  6. RumHam

    RumHam Initiate (0) Feb 15, 2013 Virginia

    Is 3 uses a normal lifespan for a barrel? I'm considering getting one but was curious on its lifespan.
  7. benbking

    benbking Disciple (305) Dec 11, 2009 Rhode Island
    Beer Trader

    I've heard tell that you can refresh your barrel by sacrificing some whiskey/bourbon to it. I've never done this. I just use cubes to get the same effect, the method imparted to me by a wise man who claimed to have brewed for 20+ years. I saw no reason to doubt him. I've had good results the two times I've done it. I do have to admit, I want to try a barrel sometime though, for comparison.
  8. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Initiate (0) May 21, 2010 Texas

    Can't you just add whiskey to the barrel between uses?

    What about straight barrel aging after the whiskey character is gone?

    What about using a barrel as a cask?

    I know little of barrels other than knowing I really like cask beer.
  9. ShanePB

    ShanePB Poo-Bah (1,635) Sep 6, 2010 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Very cool. Great idea, I'd love to do something like this in the near future. Good luck!
  10. joshodonn

    joshodonn Initiate (108) Jan 21, 2011 Florida

    Eh, to be honest I don't know the answer to this. If I recall, most things I read said that 3-5 uses is the most people get, with each use imparting less and less barrel character. My situation may be a little different, when I received my barrel it had been sitting empty for over a year and was 100% dried out. I had to float the entire thing in a big tote full of water to re-swell the staves. I also then added a full 750 ml bottle of same brand of whiskey that was produced in the barrels and let that soak for a good 2 weeks or so, rotating the barrel a little each day. In 2 weeks time that 750 ml completely evaporate/soaked in to the wood. I went a good 4-6 months between uses, so the barrel dried out again before use #2 and again before use #3... So I had to resoak in water again before each subsequent use, and I think this stripped some of the whiskey character out each time.
  11. JoRado

    JoRado Initiate (0) Oct 26, 2010 Minnesota

    Yep, 5 gallon whiskey barrel. Much easier keeping it filled than say the 55 gallon ones :slight_smile:

    I just finished with my 5th use making a Scottish wee heavy. Still had a good amount of whiskey flavor, but I did leave it on there for over two months. I will now be converting it to a sour that is going to be fun!
  12. JoRado

    JoRado Initiate (0) Oct 26, 2010 Minnesota

    I got mine through this website:

    It was $89 plus shipping which only added an extra $12-$15.
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