Barrel Aged

Barrel aged beers are not like your ordinary Pilsners, as you might know. Have a look at the beers below! All different beer styles, aged on different barrels. Meaning; lots of interesting different flavors. A craft beer lover's heaven!

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Barrel aged beers by Uiltje

Welcome to the page that will be visited mostly by the experienced craft beer lovers and the beer geeks. The beers that are shown above are not just your ordinality pilsners, no sir! These beers are barrel aged. You can expect these beautiful beers to be dark, heavy, a tat sweet and above all, High in ABV percentage! Are you just starting to explore the world of craft beers, we’d advise you to start with different styles. Styles like Weizen or Session IPAs. However, if you are relatively familiar with the concept of barrel aging, or are drinking barrel aged craft beers on a regular base, look no further. For you are exactly at the right page. There are loads of different barrel aged beers and styles, but first we shall tell you what barrel aging actually is.

The history of barrel ageing beer

The origin of barrel aging goes back all the way to the middle ages. When monks used to brew the beers. As you might imagine, they did not have the state of the art equipment as breweries have nowadays. Whereas nowadays beers are brewed in fermented in aluminum or iron kettles and tanks, in the old days people used to use wood for these proceedings. A wooden barrel however, was not (and still is not) cheap. Due to the price of a barrel, people reused those barrels which they used for holding brewing equipment as well as fermentation. And they soon realized that the re-usage of barrels allowed the flavors and characters within, to suffuse a beer.

Not only the flavors of the wood were added to the tasting profile of a beer, also the flavors of the previous contents of the barrel. And not only beer was fermented on barrels. Trough the ages people began to experiment more and more with strong liquor.

What barrels are used for barrel aging today?

Barrels now are quite expensive, just as they were centuries ago. The price of a barrel is usually one of the influencing pricing factors of barrel aged beers. Because of the costs of barrels, it would be quite wasteful for liquor companies to only use them once. Therefore, they are “recycled” by selling them to beer breweries.

As there are many types of alcoholic beverages that are ripened or fermented in barrels, there are many different barrels one could choose to age your beer in. All types of liquor are made with different ingredients. Naturally, you could also buy a new barrel to age your beer in. Then you will only get the flavors that are provided by the wood of the barrels. Used barrels will give your beer more and different flavors, and this depends on the previous contents. Perhaps a previous beer, or a spirit.

Barrels that are used widely for barrel aging beer, are mostly barrels that used to hold:

  • Different beers
  • Whiskey
  • Bourbon
  • Sherry
  • Port
  • Gin
  • (Caribbean) Rum

As you know now, every barrel brings different flavors to the table. Yet there are more aspects that are of major influence when barrel aging a beer. For instance, the temperature and the time it spends within the barrel

The time and the temperature

Suppose you want to barrel age your beer. You have selected the perfect barrel, and you are ready to start converting your beer from the tank to the barrel. But, how long does it take to barrel age a beer? Some types of Whiskey spend more years on barrels than some of the people that drink it have lived. Barrel aging beer is way shorter than this, but it still takes some time. How much time that will be, that’s up to you!

If you age your beer for about 1 to 2 months, a subtle barrel aged flavor is added to the beer. Some of the boozy flavors of the previous content and some of the flavors that are added because of the wood. If you really want all the flavors to soak into the beer, you can age your beer anywhere for 6 months to 12 months, yet some beers are aged for over two years!

The longer you age your beer the more it changes. Flavors of the wood and previous contents are added to the beer, which changes the flavor completely. Generally, barrel aging is only done with beers that are high in alcohol and have stronger flavors. Of course you could do this with other beer styles, but a barrel aged pilsner is probably not as enjoyable as a barrel aged Imperial Stout.

After the beer has been in the barrels for the amount of time you chose, you are ought to put it in a sanitized canister or tank so it can sit for a couple of days. That way, sediment and possible wood particles that got in the beer during the barrel aging process, sink nicely to the bottom. This is very important as you’d probably not enjoy pieces of wood in your beer as you are drinking it.

Uiltje’s barrel aged beauties

In the far end of our brewery, we have our top secret barrel room. Every now and then we add a couple of barrels with delicious contents. Usually, our barrel aged beers are put on barrels that used to hold spirits. And we usually let them be for at least a year. When the time is right, we release the contents and transfer them to our bright beer tank after which they are bottles, or sometimes even canned!

Most of our barrel aged beers are released in the winter. That’s because most people think of barrel aged beers as something for the cold days to keep you warm. We could imagine that you’d rather drink a pilsner or an IPA when it’s 25 degrees outside instead of a barrel aged beer. Yet, regardless of the outside temperature, we could imagine that you could sneak a barrel aged beer at any time!

Do you think you can handle our barrel aged beers? Have a look at our assortment above and pick your choice! Aged on only the best barrels, our beers contain very rich flavors and you’ll be surprised when you taste them!