Barley Mowat 

Barrels of Fun

with 4 comments

The local beer scene has improved vastly even since I started writing this blog. A few short years ago the realm of Good Beer was left to a relatively small number of startups, while the big boys kept on keeping on producing middling to mediocre ale. That has recently changed, and the variety of decent beer available is increasing daily.

The one sub-category of great beer I’d like to see more of, though, is barrel-aged bottle-conditioned beers. Yeah, it’s a tiny, hyper-specialized sub-market of beer, but what else did you expect from me? I’m such a massive beer snob that even this tiny niche will only be exclusive enough for at most a couple of years.

My porn fetishism is even weirder.
It’s not the furries that do it for me, though.

The only problem with such a niche desire is that it’s very hard to fulfill it. Let’s say you like IPAs, well you’re in luck because pretty much every brewery in BC makes those. Imperial Stouts? About 5. Sour Reds? 2. Barrel-aged bottle-conditioned beer? Zero. Yup, zero.

This means I have to go to the US to get my kink on. While this is generally a great deal of fun and involves my getting drunk on the train then playing a rousing game of Cow Not Cow, it is not a great way to satiate a hardcore substance abuse habit. I tried a few alternates to manual import, like leaving barrels of corks on Driftwood’s loading dock, but no dice.

So, like any junky going through hardcore withdrawal I did a bit of googling and came up with a solution to make it myself (to stay in character, I stole the computer first and sold it for $10 after). Yup, I’m going to make my fix in my apartment, and the internet has taught me how.

To be honest, though, I’m
not quite sure where the barrel goes.

I’m about to place an order for internet oak barrels, and like anything you order online it’s cheap, of undetermined quality, and very likely mail ordered from Russia. Here’s my supplier: Oak Barrels LTD. I have selected them for two main reasons: First, they are cheap cheap cheap, and Second, their barrels come in desktop-friendly sizes like 1, 2 and 5 litres. Even if all I produce is mold-infused botulism in a wooden container, these barrels are worth buying just to look at.

Sure, I realize that these anonymous barrels are almost certainly Hungarian Oak, as opposed to French, American or even Canadian Oak. And yes, Hungarian is supposed to be slightly less snooty. It’s also slightly less-than $200 per barrel. Seriously, those things are like $30. I could light one on fire the second it gets here and still be ahead.

The idea here is to use an existing beer as a start, cram it in a barrel, throw in some brettanomyces lifted off a bottle of something belgium, cram in some sort of fruit, and see what happens. I might also fiddle around with lactobacillus just to increase the number of variables that can go horribly horribly wrong. I’m of course open to suggestions, as it should be noted that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing here.

Before I start, though, I’ll need to order the damned things. And then, when they arrive, I’ll need to prime them with something in the hopes of imparting some extra flavour into my frankenbeer. Cheap wine or whiskey is an easy guess, but again I’m open to new ideas.

20 minutes on Google and not one scantily clad coed in a barrel. So here, have some kittens.

Written by chuck

April 10th, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Posted in Beer and You

4 Responses to 'Barrels of Fun'

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  1. haha thats awesome! Can’t wait tos ee how that goes…and of course order some barrels for scotch ale homebrew aged in scotch barrells.


    11 Apr 12 at 15:15

  2. Sounds great!

    Would be super keen to get 2 one or two liter barrels for experimenting!


    12 Apr 12 at 11:26

  3. @Stefan That’s the idea. I’m thinking of two 2s and a 5. From what I’ve been able to determine the 1s have too much surface area and infuse the oak flavour waaaaay too fast. So you wind up with wood-strained oaky awfulness by the time the Brett is done its thing. For whiskey or wine aging, I imagine they’re fine, since you just take those out when they taste “right”


    12 Apr 12 at 11:43

  4. They had some barrels at Bosa last time I was there. Ever been to Bosa in Burnaby?

    Ben Coli

    13 Apr 12 at 10:10

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