AABG Sour Wine Barrel – Initial Fill

The AABG purchased a used barrel from 2 Lads Winery of Traverse City, where it had previously held Cabernet Franc.  The barrel itself is the Bordeaux Export model made by Radoux Cooperage (French oak, M+ toast, 2007). 

It was delivered to Aron Butler’s house in Pittsfield Twp on April 18, 2010.  The basement there will be its home for the course of this experiment, which is expected to involve a few months of aging a Saison followed by transition to a Flanders Red style ale for the longer term.  Mark Zadvinskis is coordinating participants and recipes for the project, so those interested in schedule and participation should contact him.

Crispy, Alex, Justin, and Aron were present on April 19 for the initial setup and filling with Saison to approximately halfway.  Subsequent visits from others had it full by mid-week.  Ten brewers in all contributed beer to this initial phase:

Alex & Claudia Pettit
Aron Butler
Chris Frey
Jim Dusseau
Justin Scanlon
Randy deBeauclair
Mark Zadvinskis
Mike O’Brien
Chuck Warpehoski
Phil Wilcox

The recipe provided to the brewers is listed below (adjusted for 5 gals).  Specs are 1.052 OG and 24 IBUs.  Some hop substitutions took place, but all brewers were able to find the classic Saison yeast strain (I think… please comment if otherwise). 

8 lbs Pilsner malt
1 lb wheat malt
0.5 lb Munich malt
18 IBU EK Goldings (60 mins)
0.5 oz Styrian Goldings (15 mins)
0.5 oz Styrian Goldings (1 min)
0.5 oz Czech Saaz (1 min)
0.5 oz EK Goldings (1 min)
WLP-565 Saison Yeast

A measure of gravity thiefed from the barrel immediately after filling read 1.018.  As of this writing (a few days later), the airlock is showing near continuous activity, so it looks like we are getting some additional attenuation already.

Some photos of the fill event are located in the AABG galleries here:

http://aabg.org/aabg-photo-albums/sour-wine-barrel-initial-fill-april-2010/

Details on the beer in the barrel are here:

Excel spreadsheet
PDF of spreadsheet

Stay tuned for replies and posts with updates.