Just got this from the Church in Pittsburgh about a barley wine tapping:
On Tuesday March 9th at 4:30pm we will tap our two-year-old version of Old Friar Barley Wine in an exclusive offering to members of our Mug Club. This wonderfully smooth Barley Wine is part of our Cavern Condition series of beers and has been aged in wood casks for over two years.
The Barley Wine has been aged in Hogshead Casks. A Hogshead cask is considered the largest cask at 300 liter or 79.2 gallons at 40” height. These casks were purchased new from a Kentucky Cooperage using 100% oak with medium toasted heads. The toast in a cask is the amount or degree of charring that goes on the inside of the cask that imparts the “oakiness” characteristic noted in wine sampling. We intentionally avoided using old Bourbon casks, as we did not want any such flavors being imparted to a well-aged Barley Wine. Non mug club members will need to wait until March 10th to sample this beer.
Modern refrigeration techniques were not widespread 100 years ago and the architect of the St Johns School; John Comes designed a cavern, below ground level, in which to store large blocks of ice to help with the kitchen and food service operation of the then functional school. It is in this old ice storage Cavern, that The Church Brew Works ages our select brews in wood casks and cooperage for our special cavern conditioned series of beers.
I think I have some pictures of these barrels... If I can find them, I'll add them. I just hope the Old Friar lasts till I get to Pittsburgh on Thursday...Brewer Brant Dubovick sent me a pic: thanks!