Common Barrels to Age Beer In
Bourbon: The most popular, Flaherty says, “particularly for darker, higher-alcohol beer styles like stouts, porters, and barley wines.” Imparts bourbon’s characteristic vanilla-caramel flavor.
New oak: Adds vanilla, coconut, and grassy-floral notes.
Wine: Aging in a used red or white barrel picks up the wine’s flavor, and the wood itself can house microorganisms that let the beer ferment further.
Other spirits: Rye, brandy, tequila, rum—brewers experiment with all of these to give a beer a touch of that spirit’s flavor, whether subtle or dramatic.