Header Image

Friday, January 18, 2013

Putting the "Yin" in the Barrel

Barreling Filling Fun
Shortly after putting together the post for the Red Wine Barrel Aged Baltic Porter I posted up a link to it on the Tao of Fermentation with the statement - "The Tao barrel project - really needs a code name". It wasn't long before Daniel pointed out that "Yin is shadow, represented by the black side of the Yin/Yang symbol. We can call this one Yin. Then if we ever make a Witbier or something in a Chardonnay barrel like Chris brought up, that would be Yang." Not only did this statement seem to name the beer it also has the added effect of getting the ball roll on the next group brew, a Golden Strong, and the search for a Chardonnay barrel to put it in.

After a little over a month in primary it soon became time to transfer the beer to the barrel. As a child of the 80s I decided to take advantage of the date and aim for the 13th minute of 13th hour of the 13th day of the 13th month of the 13th year aka 13/13/13 13:13 aka Smarch 13th 2013 and damn if the Smarch weather wasn't ever in full effect later that night.

To prep for the transfer I had a number of things to do.  First and foremost I had to construct a movable wine barrel rack. If you take a look at the barrel pictured in the Sour Seven posts you can see the rack Shawn built following directions he found on Vinesugar. For my barrel rack I decided to utilize a flat dolly I already had (which I was using for a TV so that I could roll it outside over hot summer days).  Bonnie helped me test out whether or not the dolly would support the barrel.  To convert it into something that could further support a full barrel, I devised a system of cut wood boards of various sizes.  I made sure to align some of the main supports underneath the metal straps holding the barrel together.  On top of this I put two flexible wood boards that would cradle barrel.

CO2 to push beer into the barrel
After I had built the rack it was time to prep the barrel for the beer.  To do this I made up a 15 gallon batch of HOT star-san and put it in the barrel.  I then went out to my front yard, set my phone for 15 minutes and rolled the barrel back and forth the length of my front yard.  This included flipping the barrel end over end for a couple of laps.  The goal was to make sure that the barrel was both water tight and that the sanitizer had the ability to get into every part of the barrel.

Once Shawn arrived we went over everything we had and started to formulate a plan of attack which we somewhat had when Daniel arrived a little bit later. The first order of business was to sanitize the tubes, the problem was that I had literally used every-last drop of star-san I had on barrel prep.   It wasn't a big deal as we just emptied the barrel into a tub which we then emptied into my mashtun.

Once we had everything ready we moved the pump and tubes over to the Beast to start the transfer.  It seemed to go a lot faster than it did for the sour seven and in no time we we're prepping to rack the beer from Chris' keg.  It was actually a pretty easy setup requiring only some CO2 to push the beer into the barrel.  Daniel had brewed up another 5 gallons to help top off however a miscalculation on my part over the size of the barrel meant that we were still short so I filled the head space with a blanket of CO2. 

Very interesting beverage
The current gravity is around 1.033, higher than we want it but not bad attenuation considering we started around 1.100.  I'll give it a couple of months to really soak up the intense red wine from the barrel before I start a monthly tasting on it.  I don't think I'll top it off more than once (if that) and just let the angels have their share.

One final note, speaking of Shawn he recently started back up his blog Brewnundrum.  If  you are interested in the scientific side of brewing I highly recommend checking it out.  The current topic is Aeration Revisited in which he splits a single wort into 4 fermenters and then oxygenated them via 4 different methods. Once done he compared the results and actually changed his own preferred method based on the results. Very cool. 

Lots of photos after the jump.




Building the cradle
Filling the barrel
Donkey Kong ain't got shit on me!
Shawn set up to sanitize the transfer
Daniel holding the barrel in place
Positioned to transfer
Cracking the lid
Racking to the barrel
Almost done
Hooked up to move the beer
Pushing in Chris'
pumping in Daniel's
Taking a combined gravity reading
Need to clean it up a little

Additional Pictures from Daniel's Phone

1 comment:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...