You can bulk age in glass carboys as well as barrells.
If you're low on cash you can get used barrells from a winery. They can be shaved and refired and used a few times over. Oak barrells allow for microoxygenation and imparts tannins and flavor into your wine.
Most LHBS's sell oak rods, chips or powder to give some of the benefits of barrell aging when using other types of fermentation tanks.
the reason for my query is that i wanted to see where you were coming from that it had to be an oak barrel....in the last post you said in part:
"...However, the wine buying public still wants their red wine aged in oak ..."
that is where i can only partly agree w you....i believe that the public has a romantic image of oak barrels...i do as well...and THAT would be the reason for my purchase of an oak barrel....however if you believe an oak barrel is is the only vessel of what is needed to deliver what you are seeking...then in my humble opinion you are in error.....i have made some wonderful wine in both glass and in flex tank....using oak cubes, and chips...
please bear in mind that I am not saying you can not do what you wish in Oak Barrels...just saying that to achieve what you wish it does not have to be ONLY in an oak barreld
right now i have a small bunch of 50 gallon and another small bunch of 70 gallon flex tanks plus more glass carboys than i care to trip over any more...and i have flexibility to change on a dime
having said all that....the Vadai barrel and an as of yet determined french barrel will be in my future when my next building goes up in a few yrs...and that will be because of the PUBLIC
who the heck wants to keep an oak barrel clean?....not me.....but i am a one man operation w a friend who assists when he can and things like cleaning and seeing a barrel go neutral doe snot excite me
anyway...just my opinion...i do hope that whatever barrels you do purchase you will keep my informed as to your experience...and if i can help in return...please let me know - al
I've seen barrels online......and a few at wine stores. The size you're looking for will set you back a few hundred dollars each, but as you said, it's your money. Buy what you want, the rest of us will never taste your wine..... buy it, create it, drink it...tell us about it.
ok i am puzzled...post number one is changed to reflect not the original question and then there should be a post between #2 and #3...its gone
i was actually looking forward to a discussion of aging vessels...i do NOT know enough about oak barrels in terms of experience and was looking to find out what i did not know...i thought Calamity Cellars original query about what oak barrel to buy was a VERY useful one and was hoping something would develop that would teach us all something
oh well..probably i missed some fireworks....just as well
Seriously, why would you delete every post? We are here to help when someone has a question. We have quite a few members who can answer just about any question on any scale. When they ask questions to your queastions, it isn't to belittle, it is to give you the best possible advice or answer to what you ask.
i will say this....if a barrel could be made that is as easy to clean as a flex tank..a carboy or a stainless tank....then that would be it for me...i love what a barrel looks like and its old world traditional appeal and what it can do for wine...why else are wineries using them...but i have to be practical....cleaning....ability to turn on a dime w oak type preference and the variable capacity floating skin that i have on some of my tanks, makes it an easy choice...and i never once mentioned price....???????? usually close to half of what a new barrel would sell for...and some times more
also flex tanks micro-oxygenate like a two yr oak barrel......( i am speaking of the thinner skinned flex tanks
anyways..hopefully Calamity has a better day that what he seemed to be having
so far...excellent....i own four fifty gallon of the thinner walled version...w the screw top cap and rubber gasket..i sometimes have difficulty putting the cover on one particular barrel but consider that a minor issue and have heard that they changed the design since anyways
now back to the good points one of which was cost....my first vintage using these was the 2008 and each have the variable capacity floating skin...which in my mind is over priced but highly effective...i did not use any argon and had no bacteria issues at all when the tank was not filled...
i currently have my 09's in them and they are doing well
cleaning is breeze......you CANNOT say that enough
aging...well i aged some like wine side by side w glass..and for these YOUNG wines...the flex tank wine at the same stage needs less decanting than that aged in glass..i attribute that to microxygenation...glass of course does not give you that and you can turn on a dime as far as your oak choice..and lets face it, that ability makes your tanks more flexible..what if you come to a variety that you would like to use fr oak on..and you only have an american barrel staring at you?
they come w a screw type insert into that same top lid i mentioned previous...dont buy there air locks...its not up to my standards...instead pop out the inner piece of plastic and you will see that that is threaded...go to home depot and get a threaded insert w a smooth fitting at the top to receive your rubber bung and water airlock....if you dont know what i mean, let me know i will take a picture for you
improvements you could make immediately from my experience are as follows:
put in a drain and or at the least a microvalve sampler....i did not do that and thus have to open the tank from the top to wine thief a sample and cleaning for me means tipping the tank over..not a big deal until i am in my sixties
next, i would consider using spirals or staves....i did feel that i had to UP my oak chip and cube amounts because they settle to the bottom....either go w a bigger oak substitute or as i plan on doing..suspend the cubes or chips in a mesh bag
side note..for a thicker walled flex tank, i would suggest some splash racking
another side not...none of what i am saying discounts the great value of a good oak barrel...i think an oak barrel has a place in the mix ...you will NEVER get the visual beauty of an oak barrel in a flex tank or stainless or glass.....you will get the cleaning hassles and leaks of course and a barrel that devalues over time...
so to me you want a barrel only for two reasons...beauty and here is the big one...if you can find one that without a doubt has a flavor profile that you cannot duplicate without THAT barrel
gotta run...hope i didnt forget anything...ask if you have other questions
the first picture shows one fifty callon flextank in my wine cellar...in it you have close to 50 gallons of sangiovese from 2008....i have a floating skin in there ...
the second picture shows three items that can be screwed into the black top cover that you see which also screws into the tank itself...the white disk you see in front standing on its side is the standard insert...if you tap out the very center you can screw in the black airlock sold by Flex Tank...i used it but its just a ball that floats up and sits back down......not good enough in my view...so instead i went to HD as stated and bought an adapter that had a male end to screw into the white disk and had a smooth female end to accept a rubber bung w traditional water filled airlock.....after any fermentation if you desire you can just screw in the sold white disk...i have done both
i am in holls nh...cant grow sangiovese here (wish i could)...but my other thanks over at the winery are indeed filled and partly filled w my grapes( the juice from them...and very happy w them thus far...
heheheh..at one time i had most of the varieties of what i am growing listed on the FVW forum...but not all of them...of the 1400 or so vines about 1100 have had three season of leaf and another 300+ have had two years w leaf...so this upcoming year is year 4 and 3 respectively.....i think on the 2.5 acres we pulled about 4500 pounds this past year.....i hope to stay eventually between six and eight ton a year...we will see how it goes
some day i will list what i have...had to hold that top secret stuff (said tongue in cheek) because a large entity in my area is not real fond of my foray into something they did not do first.....if you ever come up my way i will gladly share the info besides i figure you and i need to share some wine...just for now not putting it into electronic form