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Thread: Bourbon barrel syrup

  1. #1
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    Default Bourbon barrel syrup

    I'm looking at aging some syrup. I would like to start some now but cant find any small 5 or 10 gallon barrels yet, did find access to 45 and 53 gallon. The problem is I live in mn and dont have a warm place to store the bigger barrels which leads me to my question, can the barrels be stored in below freezing storage or will it effect the barrel and slow the aging?

  2. #2
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    The Great Google has a few sites offering barrels in the 5-10 gallon range - https://www.barrelsdirect.com/category/small-format/ is one example.

    I'll only have 50 taps this season so I was looking for even smaller, maybe around 2 gallons. Since I'm only expecting around 12-13 gallons total I don't want 5 going to bourbon.
    2020 - 2 taps, 1/2 pint on a turkey fryer, About 3/4 pint syrup in two weeks - Proof of concept!
    2021 - 20 x 30 divided pan, custom Mason arch, 34 producing taps out of 50. 8 gallons for family and friends to judge and Dad hooked as well.

  3. #3
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    I have been looking for a barrel as well. I ordered two from a company last spring, but had to go through the credit card company to get a refund because they never shipped the barrels. It's almost like enough people have started using the barrels they are much harder to find compared to about 4 years ago.

    As far as temps go i think the cooler weather would result in a slower process. The other concern would be maintaining the integrity of the staves of the barrel to avoid leaks. When we did our last barrel it was stored in a basement to keep temps even and we stored it for about 7 months. We turned the barrel every couple weeks and kept an eye out for any signs of leakage. In the end we had one stave joint starting to seep.

    Mike
    Tapping since 1985 (four generations back to early to mid 1900s). 200-250 taps on buckets and then tubing in the mid 90s. 2013- 275 taps w/sap puller 25 gal. 2014-295 taps w/sap puller 55 ga. (re-tapped to vacuum theory) 2015-330 taps full vac. 65 gal, 2016-400 taps 105 gal, 2017-400 taps 95 gal. 2018-additional 800' mainline and maybe 400 new taps for a total near 800 taps. 2x6 Leader WSE (last year on it) supported by a 250 gph RO.

  4. #4
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    Last summer I had a local barrel maker stop at my stand and we talked a bit and he said to contact him if I need help locating any barrels to age syrup in. I called yesterday and left a voicemail so we'll see.

    My biggest concern during winter is if the wood is wet and freezes and when it thaws in the spring that the staves might shift.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2006
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    Oneida NY
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    Grimm's Maple Products - Maple Syrup - Blossvale New York
    grimmsmapleproducts.com
    is another possible source

    I aged my first 3 batches in my unheated sugarhouse, since then, because my sugarhouse is quite crowded, I've aged all but one batch in a back corner of my unheated shop. I found no issue aging in unheated locations. That one other batch was aged in my brother in laws cellar. I do turn the barrels every few days, and I spray them each time if I have water with me. Early in the aging I turn and spray every day, after a few days, I go to every other day. Then after about 8-10 days I go to 2x a week and finally once every 7-10 days. As I said, each time I turn the barrels. To do that, I made up 3 "moving " dollies, well sort of like that. I use 4 rigid casters on them, then I lay them in large baking sheets I bought for that purpose. The casters are facing up, then the barrel gets set on the casters making the rotating easy. I've noticed no difference in the temperature as relating to the time needed to age the syrup, I do see a difference in how much water spray I need to use to keep the staves tight.
    Grimm maple products says to fill each barrel with hot water before filling it with syrup, to swell the staves, if it still leaks, repeat, I never tried that method, thinking it would remove some of the bourbon flavor that is in the char in the 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

  6. #6
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    Maple flats, what was the coldest temp your barrels seen while aging? Right now its -13 with real feel at -38.

  7. #7
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    I'm not sure, but it was at least -10F if not colder, but not colder than -20. Whatever the outside temperature is, that's about what I get in both my sugarhouse and my shop. Both are well vented so no heat builds up.
    Last edited by maple flats; 02-07-2021 at 10:52 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

  8. #8
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    Grafton, Ohio
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    I bought a approx 2.5 gal new oak barrel from a website. It's got a char on the inside. I then bought my own whiskey/bourbon to put in the barrel to "age" the barrel. I left it in there for 4-5 months. Drained it and filled with syrup. Aged it for 3 months and just bottled. It's amazing. I then backfilled the barrel with the bourbon to potentially impart some maple flavor into it. Now, you can't sell this bourbon but I can gift it to buddies of mine. It's hard to find freshly drained small barrels from distilleries. The smallest you may find is 5 gal. Next time I may have buddies of mine go in on the bourbon with me, as it's not very cost effective to go this route on your own. I think I paid just under $100 for the barrel. They sell these barrels up to 5 gal size.
    https://www.barrelsonline.com/
    This was the website I got my barrel from

  9. #9
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    Oneida NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Stack View Post
    The Great Google has a few sites offering barrels in the 5-10 gallon range - https://www.barrelsdirect.com/category/small-format/ is one example.

    I'll only have 50 taps this season so I was looking for even smaller, maybe around 2 gallons. Since I'm only expecting around 12-13 gallons total I don't want 5 going to bourbon.
    I wouldn't hesitate to fill a 5 gal barrel with 12-13 gal crop, but only if you plan to sell it. I had 50% of my sales 2 years in a row selling bourbon barrel aged maple syrup. It is a fantastic value added product. You can take 5 gallons of maple syrup, which you might sell at $17 or $18/qt ($340-$360 less container cost) and fill 200ml flask bottles (about $.90 ea) and get $1128 less bottle cost which is still over $1000. Read my posts on how I do it. If you're in the "I won't sell any, just giving it away" crowd.just keep it as maple syrup.
    Or try what Crooked Cellars Farm did, buy a 2.5 gal new barrel and season it with bourbon. Doing that I see no reason to season it as long as they did. I'm just guessing but I would think a month aging with about 1 qt, or so of bourbon in it, turn the barrel every 2-3 days. Then drain it and fill with maple syrup. Because of the char in the barrel, the syrup will get much darker, thus I use very dark if I have it, otherwise I use the darkest I have. The bourbon barrel aged maple syrup has no grading (at least in New York State).
    I buy my flask bottles here https://www.burchbottle.com/products...86_product.htm
    200ml (6.76 Fl Oz) 24 pack case for under $13.00 plus caps are separate. I forget what they cost, I bought a whole case of then 3 years ago from Burch, still have enough to last another 2-3 years. I think they were about 7-8 cents each for about 3500 in a case. Something like 11-12 cents individually for smaller quantities. That 3 years ago.
    Last edited by maple flats; 02-07-2021 at 11:21 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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    Springfield, MA
    Posts
    65

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    Quote Originally Posted by maple flats View Post
    I wouldn't hesitate to fill a 5 gal barrel with 12-13 gal crop, but only if you plan to sell it. I had 50% of my sales 2 years in a row selling bourbon barrel aged maple syrup. It is a fantastic value added product. You can take 5 gallons of maple syrup, which you might sell at $17 or $18/qt ($340-$360 less container cost) and fill 200ml flask bottles (about $.90 ea) and get $1128 less bottle cost which is still over $1000. Read my posts on how I do it. If you're in the "I won't sell any, just giving it away" crowd.just keep it as maple syrup.
    Or try what Crooked Cellars Farm did, buy a 2.5 gal new barrel and season it with bourbon. Doing that I see no reason to season it as long as they did. I'm just guessing but I would think a month aging with about 1 qt, or so of bourbon in it, turn the barrel every 2-3 days. Then drain it and fill with maple syrup. Because of the char in the barrel, the syrup will get much darker, thus I use very dark if I have it, otherwise I use the darkest I have. The bourbon barrel aged maple syrup has no grading (at least in New York State).
    I buy my flask bottles here https://www.burchbottle.com/products...86_product.htm
    200ml (6.76 Fl Oz) 24 pack case for under $13.00 plus caps are separate. I forget what they cost, I bought a whole case of then 3 years ago from Burch, still have enough to last another 2-3 years. I think they were about 7-8 cents each for about 3500 in a case. Something like 11-12 cents individually for smaller quantities. That 3 years ago.
    Thanks for the tip Dave. Iím pretty sure I got the idea of bourbon from your posts, and if the return is as you say Iíll give the 5 gallons another thought. Given itís my first year Iíll be happy with a decent tasting product, but people have shown interest in buying some when itís ready
    2020 - 2 taps, 1/2 pint on a turkey fryer, About 3/4 pint syrup in two weeks - Proof of concept!
    2021 - 20 x 30 divided pan, custom Mason arch, 34 producing taps out of 50. 8 gallons for family and friends to judge and Dad hooked as well.

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