Whether you’re a home brewing enthusiast or a small business brewery, you’re sure to find tons of benefits when you switch to small wooden barrels to age your alcohol. All types of distillations benefit from aging in the right small wooden barrels, whether you’re brewing a simple scotch or a full-bodied whiskey. The flavor from the aging process is often more influential on the final product than any other factor, so you want to make sure that you get it right by using the right materials.
Why Small Wooden Barrels?
One of the most important considerations to aging alcohol is the size and shape of the barrel. Pay attention to the surface area on the inside of the barrel. Small wooden barrels mean that you’re aging less alcohol per batch, which is less efficient in terms of pure output, but much more efficient in terms of infusing flavor. Smaller barrels mean less surface area, but a better ratio of surface area-to-liquid.
This means that more flavor infuses over the same amount of time, and you end up with a fuller-bodied, more flavorful spirit. The end product is higher-end in flavor and price alike, meaning that if you’re a home enthusiast, you end up with a better quality alcohol for your own enjoyment or to impress your friends, and if you’re a small brewery, you’ll see a better return on your whiskeys and brandy, as customers will be willing to pay more and buy more often.
Tequila, Rum, Whiskey, Bourbon, Scotch and Even More
Of course, not all spirits require aging, but even the ones that don’t will still benefit from a few years in small wooden barrels before bottling and enjoying. Brandy and whiskey are classic aged liquors and always require a few years in a good barrel, while tequila and rum depend on the style. Access to small wooden barrels for aging means that all of your spirits will receive a substantial benefit in the aging process.
Relative aging times will stay the same, so you’ll still age whiskey much longer than you would rum or tequila, but the end product will be worlds better than if you used large barrels. The exact amount of time will depend on your climate, and a brewing expert will be able to help you adjust accordingly. Aging your alcohol in small wooden barrels for the same amount of time that you would in a large barrel will leave you with a substantially different product.
Plenty of commercial breweries use this technique to add a complex flavor to a simple spirit, setting their end spirits a notch above the rest. Most agree that adding small barrels to their aging process is an investment that’s worth the cost several times over.