ADI follow up: Squarrel Square Barrels
I have been in the industry for almost a decade now. I have always liked to experiment and try new methods and think outside the box to get the best flavors and best products. At the at the American Distillers Institute conference this year I found Squarrel square barrels, a new product that will allow loads of flexibility in aging with oak.
The product is a stainless steel frame with a dozen oak staves inserted in the sides. The staves are cross cut to allow the alcohol to move into the wood more quickly. This allows you to use a barrel-type shape without the costs and hassle of barrels. I don’t see this as a long-term aging solution but for finishing wine, spirits or beer. They are currently using American oak only but will be adding Hungarian and French Oak and a variety of other woods including Cedar Cherry Maple and Hickory. Any variety of toasts or chars are available, and you can even send them your wood if you wanted something hard to find like Garry Oak.
The square barrel also has a spout at the bottom so you can sample at any time. If you want to barrel age beer, you can pour beer directly out of the square barrel into a glass.
I was little disappointed to find out this product isn’t available for sale until July, but I look forward to getting a sample and giving it some experimentation. Initial size is 10 gallons, but 30 and 50-gallon versions will be out later this year. I’m glad to see some new products and some new ideas finally coming to the spirits industry.