If you’re here on this page, you’ve probably heard the story already, but here’s the basic overview.  Boomstick Brewing Co. in Corner Brook is ordering in a load of oak barrels and they’ve graciously offered up a pair for homebrewers.  We’ve got two barrels coming in, one is a bourbon barrel, and one is a wine barrel.  This page is about the wine barrel.  For details about the bourbon barrel, check out the page on the Bourbon Barrel Project.

The Barrel

The wine barrel is a 225L french wine barrel. It will be either red wine or white wine, we aren’t 100% sure yet.

A 225L barrel is ~59 gallons for us poor saps who haven’t yet gotten with the times on the metric system.  We’re aiming to have a total of 12 brewers participate, where each brewer will brew 5 gallons (19L) of beer and we’ll fill the barrel.  That leaves us a small margin to account for volume lost due to a batch coming in a little under-sized, or spillage or whatever the case might be.

From talking to some people who’ve run a barrel program like this in other clubs, we expect to lose a little volume to evaporation and to sediment in the barrel, a rough guess is that each participant will take away about 4.75 gallons (18L) of the finished product.

We expect the wine barrel will already have lacto (at least) in it on arrival, so there’s less concern about it sitting slightly longer as it will already be ‘infected’. It may well also have brett and other bugs in there too.

Each beer will be sampled by at least two people before being added to the barrel, and samples will be provided to tasters blindly. (IE: Without a name attached.) We’re not looking for every beer to be a national level Best of Show finalist or anything as strict as that, but we do want to avoid adding substantial off flavours and especially infections into the barrel. Be careful with your sanitation and handling and you should have no issues.

Also if you want or need to borrow a keg to move beer around and be able to purge the headspace with CO2, let us know. Between the participants we’ve got a couple spares kicking around and someone can help you out with that.

Any questions, feel free to drop us a line.

Key Dates

Friday, June 5
Payment of $26 per participant to be submitted to newfermenters@gmail.com to secure a spot in the barrel.

Tuesday, June 23
Approximately the last day to start fermenting and expect primary fermentation to be complete before the target filling date.  Guidance from Mike at Boomstick is that a big beer like this can to take 17-18 days to fully ferment to final gravity.

Weekend of July 11/12
Target date for filling wine barrel.  All beer should be finished primary fermentation and brought to Bill’s place in Torbay. Specifics on how dropoff and fill day will go may depend on provincial COVID regulations and will be sent out closer to the actual date.

Recipe and Tips

We’ll be filling the wine barrel with Biere de Garde.  The recipe we’re going to use can be found here. Note that this is scaled for 5 gallons at the end of the boil and assumes 75% efficiency. You may need to do some tweaking for your own system.

Candi syrup and K-97 has been ordered with Brew Craft.

Title: Biere de Garde
Style Name: Bière de Garde
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 5 gallons (ending kettle volume)
Boil Size: 7 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.054
Efficiency: 75% (ending kettle)

Original Gravity: 1.082
Final Gravity: 1.013
ABV (standard): 9.05%
IBU (tinseth): 30.31
SRM (morey): 10.4

6 lb - Pilsner (40%)
3 lb - Munich Light (20%)
3 lb - Pale Wheat (20%)
1 lb - Vienna (6.7%)
8 oz - Crystal 30L (3.3%)
8 oz - Victory (3.3%)
1 lb - Belgian Candi Syrup - Golden (5L) - (late addition) (6.7%)

2.75 oz - Hallertau, AA: 3.9, Use: Boil for 30 min, IBU: 30.31
1 oz - Hallertau, AA: 3.9, Use: Boil for 0 min
1 oz - Fuggles, AA: 4.5, Use: Boil for 0 min

Temp: 150 F
Time: 60 min

Fermentis / Safale - German Ale Yeast K-97
Attenuation (avg): 81%
Optimum Temp: 54 - 77 F
Fermentation Temp: 60 F