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Have you ever thought about putting your homebrew in a barrel to add that smooth, rich flavor that only a smoked and soaked barrel can provide? Of course you can get close to that flavor in different ways – yet if given the opportunity to use an authentic wooden bourbon or malt whiskey barrel to ferment and age homebrews in, does your heart skip a beat in excitement? You may be thinking you don’t brew enough to fill the average 50 gallon size barrel, like I did, and just dismiss the idea as something that’s not for the average small batch brewer who generally makes between 5-15 gallons at a time. I’m here to tell you that it is possible to get good, quality barrels with the capacity to put your hombrews in, and for a great price! These two 15 gallon barrels are my Christmas present this year, one is a bourbon barrel the other is malt, and they are perfect for holding the average sized batches of homebrew!
You don’t need to make huge quantities to fill a barrel, and if you look locally you can find some awesome prices for barrels such as this. I was lucky enough to be contacted by Sugar House Distillery, a Utah based establishment, with an offer to buy one of their barrels after professing my love of creating my own craft beer all over my social media. The guys there make wonderful hand-crafted spirits, which my husband and I obliged tasting during our visit. It was easy to see we needed one of each type of barrel as neither of us could decide which one we wanted more. And they were so friendly and willing to help us homebrewer’s. When you get involved in your local hand-crafted beverage making community, you find great people and can score great deals. If you can help someone recoup some of their costs while buying direct and saving yourself a few dollars, it’s a win-win for everybody and I highly recommend getting to know your neighborhood. You can get involved in your own community too, with the ease of connecting with people online through Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms, you can build meaningful relationships. You don’t “need to know people” to meet people! Plus when you get out and visit local businesses you will find that a lot of them support each other and you can get lots of great recommendations just by chatting with them about your interests.
I probably don’t need to tell you that I’m ecstatic about the acquisition of these barrels This is the BEST Christmas gift I could have ever imagined and I cannot wait to brew a couple of beers for each! Now this is where I need your help. The beers we put into these barrels need to be exceptional, no generic boring brews (as if I would ever…). I need more ideas from YOU! We have had thoughts about doing a Scotch Ale in the malt barrel and a Porter in the bourbon barrel. We have made both of these beers and it’s been awhile since we had them, they are two of our favorites but the recipes are a bit on the generic side and could use a little something extra.
Tell me what your favorite alteration is for brewing a Scotch Ale or a Porter today! I would love to hear what your ideas and tastes are! If you had these barrels, what brews would you like to put in them? Be a part of my dream brews and share what you think!
Merry Christmas to you and your family, may your holiday season be filled with warmth and love.