Barrels at Pigsah Brewing.
We love barrel-aged beers and, judging by the number of questions we receive about the process, we know a lot of other people do, too. The growing popularity of barrel-aging isn’t surprising, given how much flavor a little barrel can add to your final beer. Aging your beer in barrels can add exciting new depths of aroma and flavor to your final beer.
When aging your beer in a barrel, the beer will absorb some of the various chemical compounds present in the wood, such as lactones (which provide floral aromas and flavors, and sometimes even coconut), phenolic aldehydes (vanilla), and the simple sugars (caramel). When the beer is first in the barrel, it will begin to absorb very strong caramel and vanilla flavors, as well as any flavors left over from the previous beer or spirit residing in it, if any. Over time the beer will soak deep into the staves of the barrel before being pushed back out again, taking with it all of the rich flavors and compounds from the wood. That’s when more delicate flavors and aromas, like florals, begin to shine through.
Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind before deciding to barrel age your beer.