Saturday, March 12, 2016

Pic(k) of the Week: Conversation amidst the barrels

Conversation amidst the barrels

There is beer in these oak barrels, but these are not beer barrels. Very few breweries today employ coopers to craft their own. And, I don't believe that there are any American 'craft' breweries which do so.

More and more breweries, however, are re-purposing wood (usually oak) barrels which had been used, at some earlier point, to hold other alcoholic beverages, such as whiskey, rum, wine, etc. Especially bourbon barrels —fifty-three gallons apiece— each of which, by U.S. law, can only be used once to make bourbon (but no law as to how often a brewery can brew into them).

Re-use them after that, and there'll be diminishing returns from bourbon flavor, but increasing influences of flavor of the oak itself, and micro-oxygenation, maturation, or, possibly and often intentionally, 'wild' fermentation from resident or ambient yeast and bacteria.

The couple above was deep in conversation, at Wild Heaven Craft Beers, a production brewery in Avondale Estates, Georgia, a small city, just outside of Atlanta, as seen on 25 February 2016. Behind them were rows of (former) bourbon oak-barrels, now containing maturing beer. The brewery specializes in Belgian-style and, of course, barrel-aged beers.

  • See more photos of Wild Heaven: here.

  • More on bourbon barrel volume and dimensions: "How much bourbon would a bourbon maker make?".
  • While a bourbon barrel is a real, physical thing, a beer barrel, however, is not an actual container. It is a unit of volume measure, equal to thirty-one U.S. gallons. A beer cask, on the other hand, is a real vessel, but is not a barrel! A firkin, for example, is a cask that contains 10.8 U.S. gallons of 'real ale,', that is, ale which is cask-conditioned: partially fermented in the cask, and unfiltered. More: here.

  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of personal photos, usually posted on Saturdays, and often, but not always, with a good fermentable as the subject. Camera: Olympus Pen E-PL1.
  • Commercial reproduction requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons.

  • For more from YFGF:

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