Operation Splinter

master-splinterOperation Splinter can only mean one thing – Splinter was captured by Shredder and Krang and we had to go rescue him. We suited up in our brewniforms, armed ourselves with wrenches and mash paddles and assaulted the Technodrome.

Okay, so maybe that’s not exactly what Operation Splinter means. It probably means that we needed to acquire a barrel to age some of our Spring Saison in.

Our barrel quest had an inauspicious start. Calling up and emailing various wineries to see if they had barrels, and some being less helpful than others. We’re pretty sure a lot of them didn’t understand that beer could even be aged in barrels and were a little confused. We must have contacted 10 different wineries and were about to throw in the towel. But finally we emailed Bella Victorian Vineyard. They were extremely helpful and had a freshly emptied 2011 medium roast French oak Syrah barrel for us!

They are a local winery located just over in Camarillo. The coolest thing is, they are also starting a 2 bbl brewery. We can’t wait for them to brew their first batch.

Captain Chris drove over one day after work and met Jerry and Kimberly Monahan at the vineyard. They gave him an awesome tour of their winery and brewery-to-be.

Jerry and Kimberly Monahan

Chris loaded the rack and barrel into BT 1 (Brewery Truck 1) and headed back to the brewery. The rack was an old rusty thing, so he grabbed the angle grinder (aka headache machine) and 3 hours later had a smooth rack and a solid headache. But, after a quick paint, he also had the barrel rack looking brand new.

spray painted barrel rack

Next, we swelled the barrel with water. To do this, all we had to do was fill the barrel with water. Swelling the barrel ensures the wood is expanded and there are no leaks.

swelling the barrel the night before

After about 36 hours of swelling the barrel, we emptied it to prepare for filling. We sampled the water, it had a sweet vanilla wine flavor…possibly the best water we’ve ever tasted.

emptying barrel

We then proceeded to fill the barrel.

chris filling barel

It was a little tricky – since we spund our beer to naturally carbonate it. It was like filling a very large growler with no counter pressure. Needless to say, it foamed up a bit.

filling barrel

But when it was all said and done, we had one nice looking filled barrel – which we decided to name “Bella” for obvious reasons.

bella the barrel

pic of barrel

Many thanks again to Jerry and Kimberly Monahan – we highly recommend you go visit and try some of their awesome wine (and soon to be beer).

And stay tuned for the release of our Barrel Aged Saison in a few months!

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2 Responses to “Operation Splinter”

  1. John Bird says:

    WOOO! Awesome! Cant wait to taste it!

  2. Nimai says:

    Fantastic! Looking forward to trying this spring brew, both fresh & barrel Aged. Perhaps this winter, when Daniel Irons is brewed again, seeking out a used bourbon barrel is in order!

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