Have barrel, will fill

Mmm, whiskey...

Used Whiskey Barrel from Farmhouse Brewing Supply

What to do when you have an empty whiskey barrel?  Recently I emptied my whiskey barrel that had a favorite Russian Imperial Stout recipe, Black Metal Stout, from my favorite local brewery, Jester King.   With the RIS out of the barrel I knew that I needed another beer to occupy the space fairly soon, lest my barrel turn sour or worse, start leaking.

To temporarily keep the barrel clean and leak-free, I’ve kept some vodka inside and rotate the barrel every few days.  But the real solution is to brew another beer.  In this case, I eventually decided that I should pursue another take on one of my favorite Strong Scotch Ales, Old Chub from Oscar Blues brewery.

Previously I had soaked oak spirals in Isle of Islay single malt scotch whiskey.  To continue that concept I decided that we’d age some Old Chub in the whiskey barrel.  This Friday I’ll be brewing up Old Chub, 11 gallons of it, and pitching a 4 Liter starter of White Labs Cali Ale (001) and then in about two weeks I’ll rack everything that fits into the whiskey barrel.

The first beer in the barrel stayed about three months and pulled a significant amount of whiskey flavor and aroma.  I decided that I wanted enough flavor and aroma to stick around for a while since I bottled half of the batch in 750ml containers for long term storage and natural carbonation.  It will be interesting to see how long it takes to get a nice whiskey aroma and flavor in the Old Chub; I’m guessing roughly the same time since Old Chub is less roasty than a RIS.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
11 gal 90 min 46.9 IBUs 23.1 SRM 1.079 1.017 8.2 %
Actuals 1.046 1.01 4.7 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
Strong Scotch Ale 9 E 1.07 - 1.13 1.018 - 1.03 17 - 35 14 - 25 1.6 - 2.4 6.5 - 10 %


Name Amount %
Brewer's Malt, 2-Row, Premium (Great Western) 28.224 lbs 83.11
Crystal Dark - 77L (Crisp) 2.344 lbs 6.9
Munich Malt 1.554 lbs 4.58
Special B Malt 12.73 oz 2.34
Smoked Malt (Weyermann) 9.28 oz 1.71
Chocolate Malt (Thomas Fawcett) 7.37 oz 1.36


Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Nugget 1.8 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 13


Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
American Ale (1056) Wyeast Labs 75% 60°F - 72°F


Step Temperature Time
Mash In 152°F 60 min