Pat Brophy, spirits specialist at The Whiskey Hotline, has a one-liter wood barrel for aging spirits and beers. Right at his desk. That's how geeked he is on this stuff. Follow along as Pat experiments with his wood barrel on the Binny's Blog. -ed.


GOING IN: 1997 Laphroaig

   I have a 1 liter oak barrel that I will use for ongoing aging. This tiny barrel imparts flavors to spirits as they age - from the wood itself, but also from the residues of previous experiments. These experiments will cover whisky (of course) and also beer!

   First into the barrel was beer, a special black & tan, a 50/50 blend of Southern Tier's Pumking and Great Divide's Espresso Oak Aged Yeti. Both of these beers were poured from the tap at the South Loop Tasting Room. By the way, if you haven't tried a black & tan with Pumking, it is a MUST. It also goes great with the North Coast Old Rasputin that's on tap right now.

   After a week of age we tasted the blend. It was okay... incredibly woody, like we had stuck a 2x4 into our beer. The beer itself had such a strong flavor profile that it held up to the barrel fairly well, but it wasn't the barrel character I wanted. I need more "spirit flavor" in my barrel-aged beers. Which brings us to experiment #2.

   After emptying the black & tan, I filled the barrel with an older Binny's Hand Picked Laphroaig. A 1999 7 year old at 58% ABV, to be exact. I'm hoping to impart some smokiness to the barrel that can enhance the flavors of a milder whisky or an imperial stout. This will stay in the barrel for at least a week, and I will report back...