hist-brewing: Re: corks and barrels

Pug Bainter pug at pug.net
Mon Feb 1 13:41:17 PST 1999

Beth Ann Snead (ladypeyton at yahoo.com) said something that sounded like:
> In the East Kingdom corks are pretty much ignored in Brewing
> competitions.  Talk to the brewer's in your kingdom to see if this is
> the same all over the SCA.

As far as I can tell, in Ansteorra they are currently ignored. (If
people even realize they aren't period. Heck, aren't bottle caps? *wink*)
People are more interested in just the taste currently than anothing else.
We ("some of us") are trying to promote healthy good beverages that are
of a period nature. This doesn't mean they have to be made, fermented,
and stored in exactly the same manner though.

Although I did minor documentation on this in the past, that is all
it will ever be from myself except in those truly exceptional attempts
where I don't use wine bottles with corks as a storage method.

Documentation of why you did things differently goes a long ways in my
book especially when it comes to cost (such as a barrel) or health
(such as sterilization/sanitization).

> Wine drawn from wood tastes MORE historically accurate but you have to
> worry about the wine oxidizing if you leave the wine in there long
> term with any headspace at all.

This can be dealt with by either regularly topping off the wine,
drinking it quickly, or filling the space with CO2. These are only
things I have read not having used barrels yet.

Another issue you have to deal with is the flavor the wood imparts on
the beverage. Not all woods are created equal with this. Cost does
some what reflect this.

The catalog from Presque Isle Wine Cellars lists 15 Gallon American Oak
barrels as $149.80. They list 15 Gallon French (a much milder flavor) as
$325.00. The French oak barrel also weighs 2 pounds more than the
American. Btw, the 5 gallon American Oak barrels are listed at $98.30.

Btw, this is just some mail order company I was told about recently
and ordered from and was surprised at the huge difference in quality
between it an our local brew supply stores. They have a little bit of
a webpage at:


Another source of barrels is Jas. Townsend, has 5 gallon oak kegs for
$80.00. These are white (american?) oak barrels lined with parrafin.
They can be found at:


Of course all of this is off-set by what time period, what locale and
what effort level you are trying to achieve.


Phelim "Pug" Gervase  | "I want to be called. COTTONTIPS. There is something 
Barony of Bryn Gwlad  |  graceful about that lady. A young woman bursting with 
House Flaming Dog     |  vigor. She blinked at the sudden light. She writes
pug at pug.net           |  beautiful poems. When ever shall we meet again?"
  Note: The views do not reflect the SCA nor the Kingdom of Ansteorra.

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