Barrels aren’t just for whiskey and wine anymore. There are nearly 7,000 barrel-aged beers listed on BeerAdvocate —a major influx since the early 2000s when a few craft labels like Firestone Walker and New Belgium introduced their barrel-aged options. Today, breweries are experimenting with old bourbon, wine, tequila, rum, and Scotch barrels, imparting unusual flavor […]
Oak is the cilantro of winemaking: it’s divisive. Delicious and paramount to wine’s longevity for some; overused and a mask of terroir for others. Few winemaking topics create as much dissent as “proper” oak use. Opinions aside, not all oak is created equal, and a new type of barrel is emerging in wine, and it’s […]
There are no absolutes when it comes to wine, and the magic of turning fruit into alcoholic bliss only serves to surround this science-based business with mythological status. In fact, untruths about wine are as common as gossip about Kim K’s booty and Gisele Bunchen’s workout routine. We’ve all heard that the “rules” of wine […]
Unless you’re a wine aficionado, you probably haven’t explored deep into the world of oak. Chances are you know that oak can impart tannins, or vanilla, or char (depending on what you’re drinking). And chances are you’ve been forced to swallow down some buttery, flabby, aggressively over-oaked cheap Chardonnay.
Oak in wine is like salt for cooking: in some cases it’s an essential seasoning that adds to the depth and flavor of the wine, but in other cases, oak, like salt, can be overdone, drowning the flavors of the wine with flavors and aromas of vanilla and wood.
Any bourbon lover, and by this point most bourbon likers, can tell you that bourbon legally has to be aged in a “charred new oak barrel.” (The same goes for “straight whiskey,” “straight Rye,” and “Tennessee whiskey.”) But not every bourbon lover will be able to tell you about char levels.
When a product claims to revolutionize a particular market, especially with some kind of fast-forward effect, a lot of us run to the store, purchase said product, and slather it all over our bodies, friends, and pets. Ask anyone who’s used a “rapid wrinkle repair” cream or tried to “Bulk up!!” or “Lose two dress sizes!!!” […]
The life of an oak barrel is an interesting one. Barrels are made at cooperages, which you’ll find in winemaking regions all over the world. From there, the barrels head off to winemakers who use them to age their wines. Barrels may then be claimed by craft brewers, who are experimenting more and more with […]
The first thing I noticed at Seguin-Moreau were the flames. Above the din that made conversation impossible inside the famed cooperage, rockets of orange flame leapt from the open-ended barrels under construction that foggy October day. To a cooper these flames mean toast, and they have everything to do with producing high-quality barrels, and absolutely […]