Monday, March 28, 2011

New 10 gallon Peach Brandy Barrel!

I was happy to receive an email the other day from the owner of Aeppeltreow Winery where I occasionally help out with bottling. Charles turns out some very good ciders and recently started releasing brandies as a distillery as well.

I had asked awhile back about the availability of any barrels when Charles was done with them. He just got done using a 10 gallon Minnesota oak barrel that had been filled with his first, small batch of Peach Brandy. I was happy to give it a new home. Now my dilemma is what to fill it with! I'd really like to go with an oak aged mead of some sort, but I'd like to fill it sooner than it will take to turn out a mead from the primary. My preference would be to do a mead and/or cider prior to any beer, but it may have to be a beer. Eventually, I hope to turn it into a 10 gallon sour beer solera with a Flanders or something similar. Charles thought the first batch or 2 to go through the barrel would pick up some of the brandy character, and future batches would just pick up oak. Maybe a big beer is best to soak up the brandy character first anyway. Time will tell.

(Photos will be added soon!)


  1. Barley wine or english strong ale (ala Fullers Vintage Ale)? A big saison or tripel might be interesting as well.

  2. I'll definitely be putting either an English barleywine or something like Fullers Vintage Ale in the barrel before I convert it to a lambic solera!

    For now I went with a good fellow brewer's suggestion and got a big bottle of brandy that I'm sloshing around inside daily. That should keep it in decent condition until the mead is done. 40 lbs of of & 30 more of fruit and it is all smelling delicious!

    At some point I'd also like to do an RIS or porter of some sort. I was leaning toward porter, but just had a really good RIS during my recent BJCP exam, which it turns out a friend brewed. It is starting to pick up a perfect aged character and I'd love to have 5 or 10 gallons of that around, brandy-barreled or not.

    Thanks for the suggestions!

  3. J, when Jim and your RIS is done, I think we should put a Fuller's 1845 clone in the barrel. I think that beer would do really well with the wood.

  4. The mead currently in there hasn't picked up pretty much any wood character at all in the last couple weeks. We'll probably put the RIS in 3-4 weeks down the road unless Jim needs his bucket free sooner. We're hoping to age it in-barrel until around Autumn and see where it's at, possibly adding a few oak cubes to help the wood/char character along if it's not where it needs to be towards the end. That at least gives you and I time to talk, and to brew once the weather starts to cool off a bit. Of course, it all depends when the barrel decides it is ready, but that's our hopeful plan for now.