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Thread: Making Bourbon Barrel Syrup

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    Kentucky
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    Default Making Bourbon Barrel Syrup

    I wanted to reach out to see if anyone has a process for making Bourbon Barrel Maple Syrup. I've got a friend that owns a Bourbon Distillery specializing in small batch brewing so I have access to the Bourbon Barrels. However, before I reach out to him about trying this endeavor I would like to have an idea of a plan. Any thoughts, advice, experience, or resources would be appreciated. Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Oneida NY
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    I've made it and it sells very well. Start with a recently emptied bourbon barrel, drain any left in the barrel. Then fill it with 185-190 F maple syrup. The only grade I've used so far is Very Dark, because I sell less of that. Then I turn the barrels every day, and I spray then lightly with potable water to help keep the barrel staves expanded and minimize leaks. For this I built a sort of dolly like a furniture dolly, I set it in a tray with the wheels facing up and I set the barrel on the wheels. None of the wheels are swivel type, just ridged. When I spray I turn each barrel once fully. My spray schedule is 2x a day the first 2 weeks, then once a day for a week or 2, then every other day. If any leaks develope in the barrel, soak clean rags in hot water and lay the rags on the spot leaking.
    The aging time varies with the barrel size. All I've done so far is 5 gal and 10 gal barrels. A 5 needs about 3-4 months to age and a 10 needs 6-7 months. When done I pump the aged syrup into my finisher, heat it to about 190 or more, then filter it. From the filter it is pumped into my bottler where I pack it, label it and price it. I also like to seal the caps with a wax seal.
    I sell mine at 200ML for $12.00. My first batch was bottled in late August and since then I've sold about 75% of what I made (20 gal) and at the rate it is selling, I'll be sold out before my next batch is ready, I'm just going to fill 2 more 10 gal barrels this week, again with my Very Dark, which will finish off all my Very Dark. I did just fill 2 barrels 5 gal each with Dark for the friend who got me into making the bourbon barrel aged maple syrup, because he was under the weather so to speak, he bought the syrup, I just heated it and filled the barrels.
    The barrels can only be used once, so you want to come up with a plan to sell them once used. My plan is to cut them in half and sell them as planters.
    There's a lot of labor and occasionally some loss due to leakage, but the mark up is real good. I turned about $1000 worth of retail syrup into $4500 in bourbon barrel aged syrup. I bought 200 ml bottles at $.96 each, with the caps, then I paid $.17 each to get labels printed (now that I know how well it sells, I'll get more printed at a time which cuts the price each by a considerable amount.) and the wax was about $3/#, I bought 6# and I may have used about 1.5# to 2# max to seal the caps. I did 2 barrels of 5 gal and one 10 gal. The 5's had no leaks, the 10 lost maybe 6-8 oz max.
    Since I introduced my bourbon barrel aged maple syrup I've found it has been my best selling item in terms of containers sold, and had I not made it one 16 gal barrel of very dark would have gone to bulk sales at $1.85 a lb. That would have brought in $325 rather than $3600
    For the 2 -5 gal and 1 ten I pd. $370, my hope at this time is that I can recover 60-70% of that in planter sales, maybe more.
    Last edited by maple flats; 01-12-2018 at 08:23 AM.
    Dave Klish about 400 taps, down from much more. Retired from collecting and boiling in 2021. Mostly because of a bad hip.
    2012 Mahindra 36 HP 4x4/ loader/cab/heat/AC:-)
    3x8 raised flue evaporator
    250 GPH converted to electric, RO by Ray Gingerich
    6.32 KW solar system, 1.48KW is battery backed up, all net metered
    website: www.cnymaple.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    south central,NH
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    174

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    If you don't mind me asking why can't you use it a second time? When I make cider I have to add sugar seems like that would be a bonus
    Brian Eldredge
    Mooncusser Maple
    16x24 post and beam sugar shack
    2x8 CDL maple pro Wes fab filter press
    Lots of shiny stuff now I need some more trees

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Merrill,Wisconsin
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    218

    Default

    image.jpg
    Nice order going to a local manufacturing business for them to distribute for Christmas. Along with 35 half pounders of cream and 36 suckers.
    Last edited by S.S.S; 12-17-2017 at 09:13 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
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    I haven't tried a repeat, but was told not to try. It would seem if you do try a repeat the time needed would be much longer and you'd need to either refill it ASAP after emptying the barrel. Mold would form soon after in the empty barrel and since much of the bourbon flavor had been drawn from the barrel the amount of time needed to take on more bourbon flavor would be a big unknown.
    Last edited by maple flats; 12-18-2017 at 08:50 AM.
    Dave Klish about 400 taps, down from much more. Retired from collecting and boiling in 2021. Mostly because of a bad hip.
    2012 Mahindra 36 HP 4x4/ loader/cab/heat/AC:-)
    3x8 raised flue evaporator
    250 GPH converted to electric, RO by Ray Gingerich
    6.32 KW solar system, 1.48KW is battery backed up, all net metered
    website: www.cnymaple.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
    Posts
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    If I get a batch some time where the bourbon flavor over powers the maple taste, I'll try blending in some more syrup. I'll do it slowly so I don't get so much that the bourbon flavor is cut too much. That hasn't happened yet.
    My next batch is being packed in the next day or 2. It will be 2 barrels of 10 gal each. When I pack the first barrel, I'll hold the second barrel until I start to run a little low, then I'll pack the second barrel, that may be where I'll get to mix more syrup to cut the bourbon flavor a little and thus stretch the amount of bourbon barrel aged syrup from that barrel.
    Dave Klish about 400 taps, down from much more. Retired from collecting and boiling in 2021. Mostly because of a bad hip.
    2012 Mahindra 36 HP 4x4/ loader/cab/heat/AC:-)
    3x8 raised flue evaporator
    250 GPH converted to electric, RO by Ray Gingerich
    6.32 KW solar system, 1.48KW is battery backed up, all net metered
    website: www.cnymaple.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    185

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    I did a batch in a 15 gallon barrel. It aged for a little more than 5 months. I used extra dark syrup and it came out fantastic. I sold out in a month. Next year I am making 4 times the amount.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    10

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    Thank you so much for the information. You rock!!!! Now hopefully we get a good maple season here in KY so I have the extra to put towards this.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Amherst, Wi
    Posts
    19

    Default Bbams

    Been doing the barrel aging thing for a few years. Went the same path, more barrels, sold like gang busters. Sales have gone totally flat. Now; many more people doing the same thing, market is flooded with cheap barrel aged syrup. I predict in the end, the price for barrel aged syrup won't be much more than regular syrup. Will be easier to just make regular syrup.
    Treemonkey
    2014 180 taps Half on vac
    2015 330 taps 230 on vac
    2X6 wi Smokey Lake pans
    Home made RO one 4" membrane
    Arch wi AOF, AUF, and heat recovery.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    179

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    May I ask where you guys are getting the barrels?

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