hist-brewing: Barrels and or Casks

Dan McFeeley mcfeeley at keynet.net
Sat Apr 28 06:13:03 PDT 2001

On Fri, 27 Apr 2001, Steven V. Koval wrote: 

>Here is a great site for wooden kegs for Mead.  Mainly cause they are
>lined with paraffin.  So you can store your mead without flavoring it
>with oak.

To which Steve Sanders replied:

>At first blush, i thought using wooden kegs would be a great idea,
>but then I realized that it would oxidize the mead if it wasnt drunk
>quickly.. Would it be possible to rig up a low pressure CO2 set up
>for this to keep the air purged from the wooden keg? 

I'm curious, why would oak flavor be a problem with mead?  Oxidation
shouldn't be a problem either with good barrel management.

Some examples of the use of oak in meadmaking -- Brother Adam recommended
used sherry casks and insisted that quality meads needed long term aging
in wood.  He aged his heather honey metheglins for eight years, without
the use of CO2.  Roger Morse, in "Wines from the Fermentation of Honey"
(Edith Crane _Honey: A Comprehensive Survey_) aged clover honey mead in
55 gallon charred oak barrels for 6 months, commenting that it produced
a very smooth mead showing greater stability than "freshly fermented mead."

Obviously care should be taken, as with any project using oak barrels.
A new and unused American oak barrel would overwhelm the mead, whereas
Brother Adam and Morse both used barrels where the oakiness was tempered
in some way, either a used barrel or a barrel that had been charred.

Dan McFeeley
mcfeeley at keynet.net
(in digest mode, always
 a step or two behind
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