Full Sized Red Wine Barrel

My apologies for not having a weekly post last week. My SOs Grandmother had an extremely close call that kept me from creating a post. Love this blog but family obviously comes first. Instead I made a quick post on imgur of my set up. You can view it here.

Anyways, recently GTA brews aka the homebrew club I belong to acquired a full sized barrel. As part of the team of dirrectors I have paired up with a few others with organizing this project. I have yet to actually see the barrel in person but from what I am told it came from a Niagara winery called Pillitteri. We believe  it previously held Cab Franc. This barrel is going to be held by our good friends at Muddy York. If in the area you have gotta try their stork derby stout! That stuff is to die for. Because Muddy York is a business and a way of life for Jeff (the owner) he has told us the barrel cannot be buggy. We decided to go with a clean imperial saison. Something that will be ready for the summer (hopefully) and benefits from a wine note.

The decided recipe for everyone to brew is as follows. We are allowing for substitutions if need be for obvious reasons. The recipe is written according to my system.

Imperial Barrel Aged Saison


  • Balanced profile
  • 80 Calcium
  • 75 Chloride
  • 80 Sulfate
  • Mash pH: 5.2


  • 66.7% Chateau Pilsen Malt (10 lbs)
  • 26.7% Weyermann Pale Wheat Malt (4 lbs)
  • 6.6% Weyerman Spelt Malt (1 lbs)


  • Mash in at 148F and hold for 60 min with 5 gal (1.33 qt/lbs)
  • Raise Via Induction to 168 for 10 min for mashout
  • Fly sparge @ 168 slowly
  • Collect 7 gal


60 min total
FWH with 0.9 oz German Magnum 11.8% AA (29.7 IBU)*
15 min add Yeast Nutrient and Whirlfloc
10 min 2 oz Czech Saaz 2.6% AA (5.3 IBU)
Chill to 68F


  • Pitch Wyeast 3711 French Saison @ 1 000 000 cells/ml/P
  • Start at 68 and allow to rise to whatever its a saison!
  • Ferment out for 2 weeks
  • Take 1 liter for clean comparison
  • Transfer to barrel with everyone’s contribution and age until “ready”
  • Bottle condition 2 gal with 3.4 vols (cork and cage), Brett 1.4 gal, Fruit remainder.


  • OG: 1.075
  • FG: ~1.005
  • IBU: 35
  • SRM: 4
  • Carboy Volume: 5.5 gal
  • BU/GU: 0.47

At the end of it all I will be able to have 4 of the same base beer to do a sampling with!

*I calculate my IBU of FWH the same way as I do with 60 min boil additions as I find FWH calculators widely vary. YMMV.

Last Brew Days

In the past 2 weeks I brewed up a whopping 22 gallons. 6 gallong of ESB (Best Bitter) for my SO, 10 gallons of Rare Barrel golden sour blend 5.5 gal of Flanders red and 0.5 gal of extra wort from the Flanders brewday that I am attempting a spontaneous experiment on.

The ESB (Best Bitter) brew day went off nearly without a hitch. Had an open ball lock when I began to mash in. Luckily I cause it and only had an oz or 2 of water to wipe up. My SO joined me for that brewday and we had our most enjoyable brew day yet. Shes really getting the hand of this whole brewing thing! 7 day gravity sample of that beer was beautiful and I plan to bottle it this coming Saturday.

The 10 gallon of sour base beer was brewed last Saturday with a friend and fellow homebrewer at his house. We split it onto a 5.5 gal and 4.5 gal (homebrewers and their damned different sized fermentors) batch. The 5.5 has been dubbed Sour Boy and has an amalgamation of 5 dregs from mixed fermentation sour beers and a health pitch of Cali ale yeast form Escarpment Labs. The 4.5 was dubbed Funk Girl and has Orval and Limberlost dregs, some of my wild captured sacch/hanseni and a health pitch of Cali ale yeast form Escarpment Labs. Sour Girl got a little excited and blew her top off after a few days. This was my first drink while I brew day and drinking certainly slowed us down. Lots of fun was had though since I did not have to drive afterwards.

The Flanders red was a perfect brew day. Extra volume and 1 point higher than my expected OG. Efficiency was amazing! The wort was pitched with 3763 Roeselare, WLP665 Flemish Ale Blend, WLP 575 Belgian Style Ale Blend and 5 various Flemish style dregs. The extra 1/2 of spontaneous experimental beer has not yet done anything. Waiting game for now.


3 thoughts on “Full Sized Red Wine Barrel

  1. Sounds awesome. I made an IPA that was oaked with red wine soaked chips. Was pretty good but I want more wine next time around. I’ll probably be upping the wine addition. but maybe I’ll procure a wine barrel of my own.


  2. Pingback: I Think I Now Know 7 | Brewing Forward

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