Monday, January 17, 2011

Why Not Drink From The Bottom Of The Barrel?

Budweiser runs ads on the 4 and 5 trains in New York touting its beechwood aging.  Beechwood chips are placed in the beer tanks for three weeks, which the ad states is "expensive."  It is, however, cheaper than aging Budweiser in old Kentucky beechwood barrels.  Wood chip aging is also much faster than waiting for a barrel to impart the same flavor.  I use toasted french oak chips in the Riesling, aging for two weeks.  The chips cost about $15 for a 10 pound bag (which are advertised for BBQing).  I tried toasting a little natural oak from trees cut down to make room for the grape vines, but my effort was not worth the result.  There are a number of oak species, some good for winemaking and others good for making poison.     

Why shouldn't you drink from the bottom of the barrel?

The yeast and spent oak chips make for a nasty brew.