Darrell the Barreler

or…Why Spend 18 Months Oak Aging When You Can Spend 18 Seconds?

DSC03250It’s a concept inspired by Randall the Enamel Animal, Dogfish Head’s organoleptic hop transducer module, which runs beer through a water filter packed with fresh hops to wow the drinker with hop sensation.

I’ve been doing a fair amount of oak aging over the last couple of years, splitting batches, experimenting. Being artistic. Being your typical homebrewer, I guess. The wheels are always turning, and one day Randall and bourbon-soaked oak chips clicked in my mind.

DSC03096Darrell began very simply: oak chips in a plastic bag. I ran stout through the bag and into my glass, having good confidence that the process would strip off bourbon, but less sure about what degree of oakiness might be pulled down into my pint. I tested it out a few weeks back when my Beermapping Buddy, BahHumBrew, stopped in for lunch and a couple of Iowa beers.

Holy crap; it worked!

There is no rocket science here, no involved contraptions. I picked up a piece of PVC, threaded so I could screw in a screen (the kind that you can put in the bottom of your sink to catch debris). That is all.

In go the chips. Through pours the beer. On goes the smile.

No more tying up fermenters because I want to bourbon barrel a couple gallons of stout or pinot-ify a half-batch of wit. I just have my stash of variously flavored chips at the ready. Pour-sip-smile-repeat.

The improvement comes in the appearance department, which is just gonna have to wait. I have ideas beyond simply pouring beer through my didgeridoo, but no time to fool with it just now.

Anyway, dear readers, I give you Darrell the Barreler. Give it a try


5 Responses to Darrell the Barreler

  1. Glenn says:

    Nice! I could see where it might be hard to dial in (amt of chips per pour etc..), but the concept is sweet. I suspect one batch of chips may be more/less flavorful (bourbon, smokey etc..) then the next, but thats the only down side I could see. And experimenting with other flavors (roasted chipoltes and fruits come to mind!) would be a snap. You better get a patent on this baby quick 😉

  2. LTS says:

    Outstanding! Really one of those simplistic ideas that no one has thought of (or publicized at least). Indeed, you got yourself a winner. I’m in for that type of testing. I suppose you could try that with nearly anything and see what flavors get pulled during the pour.

    Here it comes, custom-fruit flavored beers. Just pick up the raspberry Darrell or was it the Strawberry, or the Coconut…. haha.

  3. Chipper Dave says:

    I wonder if it would hurt to simply drop a couple of bourbon soaked oak chips directly into your beer while you drink? I assume they would float and may add to the aroma while you drink. I can see how pouring the beer through the device might help but why not go a step further and plop some right in your drink? Sure, you may have to ensure you’re not going to get wood chip parts breaking off and pulled into your throat but for the duration of one drink (possibly two) it may be worth experimenting further with that. Could produce a nice new way to come up with multiple flavor additives and product possibilities. You should explore that!

  4. Joe says:

    wow – i love it! So are you using this at the restaurant?

  5. Wilson says:

    Not using it in the restaurant just yet, no. Just messing around with the idea with beery friends so far. What do you think, a buck extra for the “barreled” version of any given beer?

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