The Barrel Project starts with two 10 gallon Bourbon Barrels from Tuthilltown Distillery in New York.
The next step is beer. For round one, 24 gallons of an Imperial Stout.
Brew day for the Imp Stout was on Thursday, July 23rd. What a brew day. My system is sized to ideally brew 10 gallons of a high gravity beer. In this case I wanted 24 gallons; 20 for the barrels and 4 for topping off/blending, etc post barrel aging (or to drink). So, this meant a double brew day of 12 gallon batches, pushing my system to the absolute limits of capacity. In the end it worked out fine. 47lbs of grain meant 1 inch of clearance on the Mash Tun. No worries on the BK as I had already brewed a 15 gallon batch of a pale ale (18 gallons collected wort pre-boil).
But, 24 gallons of beer is a lot. Thats 5 traditional bucket fermenters and my 3 were already in use from the 15 gal pale ale I brewed two days earlier. So… new fermenters were in order. And I decided I needed to go bigger… to a pair of 60L Spiedel plastic fermenter vessels. These things are friggin awesome. I will never go back to buckets again.
Now the beer is fermenting away in the basement awaiting their transfer into the barrels. I’ve been quizzing some local brewmasters/cellar masters (Cambridge Brewing Company & Night Shift Brewing) on barrel preparation and I should be good to go. All I need is a pressurized racking arm and I’ll be good (build in progress).