Barrel Aging Chart

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crushday

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I found this barrel aging chart from Red Head Barrels. I find it very interesting.

I have to admit that math is not my strongest subject. I’m having a hard time understanding the differences in aging time between a 20L barrel and a 200L barrel.

According to the chart, aging wine in a 20L barrel for 24.58 weeks is equivalent to aging in a 200L barrel for 52 weeks (1 year).

I have five 23L barrels, two 50L barrels and two 56L barrels. Who can do the math on those to get me to equivalent to one year in a 200L barrel?

Some of my favorite commercial wines are aged in 200L barrrels between 18-22 months. However, I fear six months in a 23L barrel is pushing it. Maybe 23L is more like 28 weeks equivalent to a 200L?

E6E2DA81-24D9-48E8-AF96-2FDE4F0A102D.jpeg
 
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mainshipfred

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I'm pretty sure they are talking about spirits and not wine.
 

crushday

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I'm pretty sure they are talking about spirits and not wine.
Fred, I’m naive as to why spirits and wine would have a differing aging table. My experience with spirits is by no means robust. Must be how oxygen affects both mediums.
 

stickman

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I posted this before, but I expanded it to include additional barrel volumes @crushday requested. Again this is just a rough analysis for comparison purposes. Aging wine is much more complex than just surface to volume ratio of the barrel. For your question about the year equivalence, just take 52 weeks divided by the ratio to 59gal barrel. 23L is approximately 6gal so 52wk/2.15= 24 weeks. Again this is just the math you asked for, but I would go with recommendations from other members that have direct experience with small barrels. I also agree with @mainshipfred that a 53gal is generally considered a spirit barrel.

Surface to Volume.jpg
 

mainshipfred

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Fred, I’m naive as to why spirits and wine would have a differing aging table. My experience with spirits is by no means robust. Must be how oxygen affects both mediums.
I may have misunderstood your original question as it appears you were asking strictly talking about aging. My response was related more towards oaking in a new barrel although I still believe the chart is more geared to spirits rather than wine.
 

crushday

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@mainshipfred - In short, I’m trying to ascertain wine aging times in smaller format barrels compared to commercial norms (59 gallon). Specific to the graph I found at Red Head, the last three columns (attached in #1 of this string) are particularly interesting to me. Most of my favorite commercial red wines spend a minimum of 18 months, typically a combination of new and used and blended, in a barrel. The longest I’ve seen is 22 months, on the wines that I enjoy.

Like most, I’m trying to make wine that matches, or at least is close to, commercial wines I can buy while saving a buck and enjoying the process. For the record, I’m nailing the latter... Having now done three agings in 6 gallon barrels for 6 months each, either it’s too long (to my taste) or I’m not managing my SO2 levels well enough for sustained barrel aging. Trying to narrow the culprits.
 

winemaker81

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The answer changes depending on the age of the barrels. If they are new, then you're getting a lot of oak character from the barrel, so time in barrel is critical to avoid the oak overpowering the wine.

If the barrels are old enough to be neutral, then the timing is not critical as you're getting the evaporation but not the oak character. Sure, there will be a difference in the equivalent of 18 to 24 months of aging, but the oak character will not be overpowering in either case.

If the barrels are in between, then you have a moving target. Each use of a barrel reduces oak character, so 6 months actual aging of the next wine produces a different result.

Unless you are using all new barrels or all neutral barrels, I don't believe a defined aging time can be set.

I'm ruminating on this and will post when I've thought things through.
 
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