Port Barrel

Discussion in 'Geek Grog & Homebrew' started by Ma Baker, Jul 5, 2008.

  1. OP
    OP
    Ma Baker

    Ma Baker Retired

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    Brilliant. Was the other 5 litres no good?

    Seppeltsfield do a 5 litre for $55 online, not sure if the shop price would be the same. The 10 litre is $95. You also need to top the port up as it evaporates so it might be worth your while to pick up the 10 litres. It's not a bad drop to drink as it is, we've tried a lot worse. It's also nice to keep a drop of the original in a small bottle so that you can taste what it started as and see how it has changed. Bear in mind that a new barrel has a lot of oak taste to start with. We found if we drew half off and topped it up with the raw again that it stopped it getting too "oaky".

    https://www.seppeltsfield.com.au/index.php/shop/cellar-home/barrels-2

    This is our barrels, we have a 5 and a 15 litre. Expensive but brilliant.

    https://www.tubbies.com.au/black-hoops/
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
  2. Carbon Rod

    Carbon Rod Member

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    As I've read in this thread, it evaporates and there was a few tasting, so there was only about 4 litres left, I have it bottled but it tastes extremely ‘oaky’, too much for my liking, I’m going to try donate it to friends otherwise it might be binned.

    I live right near Williamstown where tubbies is located so I will definitely get one, one day. This 5l was a nice surprise christmas gift that has confirmed the future purchase of a tubbies barrel!

    Thanks for the seppeltsfield link! I might get some tokay, the idea of nutty/caramel flavours excite me, I wonder, could you mix a bit of tokay with tawny?
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2020
  3. Luke kegs

    Luke kegs New Member

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    Gday guys been following your tread and am trying to find a group of people with a similar interest. I myself have a 100lt Barrel that iv had going for abt 11 years and hopefully this year I’m going to get another barrel going. It is a bit of a hobby for me. I keep track of everything that goes into my barrel and take samples to a couple of specialised wineries that have good fortifieds for advise. I live out near Gawler in S.A so being so close to the berosss gives us an advantage to get good quality fortifiedes.
     
  4. OP
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    Ma Baker

    Ma Baker Retired

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    Sounds brilliant. Would love to hear what you put in your barrel and what the wineries think of your port.
     
  5. Luke kegs

    Luke kegs New Member

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    When I first started it was filled with 100lt cockatoo ridge bulk port let it sit for 3years or then added 10lt seppeltsfield 3-5 year Muscat. Couple years after that added 10lt white bulk port and 20lt bulk tawny. Couple of weeks ago took a sample 2 wineries I go to for stock and advise and they both said they would be extremely happy with it if it was theirs. It’s most probably the best it’s ever been atm. So iv bottled of 8 lts off and added 5 lt of frontignat and 5 lt of ruby port and will let it sit for another 8 months which then for the first time I’m going to be entering a national competition for people with barrels at home.
     
  6. eilsel

    eilsel Member

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    Just bottled 4.5 litres of matured Tawny from our 5 ltr Tubbies Barrel that had been in there for 5 months . Drew off 5 ltrs from our ongoing Maturation 15 ltr Tubbies Barrel (Topped up with 5 ltrs + Brandy 5 months ago) to put into the empty 5 ltr Barrel to further mature for another 4-6 months or when our current full drinking bottles are empty . Topped up the 15 ltr barrel with 200 ml Brandy and 5 Litres of raw Seppeltsfield Classic Tawny in order to marry, ready for the next cycle. Re ordered 20 ltrs of Seppeltsfield Bulk Classic Tawny (7-8yrs in Oak) $180 delivered, ready for the next 4 cycles. Works out at $9 a litre and the end result i reckon is better than Seppeltsfield Para Grande 10 yr old at $30 a Bottle ( but then again I am rather biased ). Tastes fantastic even if i do say so myself, what a great hobby for these days of self home isolation. Who knows it may even be a cure for the virus (I'll keep on with my testing and research Ha):lol:
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2020
  7. andy01

    andy01 Member

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    Another revival - sorry - a long one.

    I have become interested in getting a port barrel, and since this thread has been going for a lot of years with a lot of very useful posts, it seems like a good place to ask some questions of the more experienced members here.

    Looking at some barrels, I have seen some that look/sound OK, and a lot that are clearly rubbish. I would appreciate any comments from anyone who has tried any of these;

    At Dan Murphys - the most "accessible" option;
    https://www.danmurphys.com.au/product/DM_765544/corowa-woodware-port-barrel-5-litre - $225
    https://corowawoodware.com.au/product/5-litre-cask/

    At St Anne's winery - these apparently come filled with your choice of "beverage" - several options available. They have 3 sizes listed (all filled with port or similar). These actually look quite good (to my completely naive inexperienced eye) but I cannot find any kind of reviews on them anywhere ? I have no idea how they would ship it full of port - unless the port is supplied in a plastic container ? Also has free shipping.
    https://stanneswinery.com.au/product/oak-barrel-full/ - $260 for 5L (with 5L of port) or $365 for 10L (with 10L of port)

    From Kegland - I don't like the look of the wooden tap - that doesn't seem like a recipe for a leak-free existence. They are cheap though (possibly for good reason)
    https://www.kegland.com.au/5l-oak-barrel.html - $110
    https://www.kegland.com.au/10l-oak-barrel.html - $170

    Bundy Kegs - currently in stock is only up to 4L, and not cheap (I am not interested in the customising "features")
    https://www.bundykegs.com/bundy-kegs-shop/product/view/1/3 - $280 for a small 4L

    Tubbies - these need no introduction here and seem to be recommended barrel of choice.
    https://www.tubbies.com.au/brass-hoops/ - 4.5L brass hoops $320
    https://www.tubbies.com.au/steel-hoops/ - 4.5L steel hoops $320
    https://www.tubbies.com.au/black-hoops/ - 5L black hoops for $320, 10L for $360

    Seppeltsfield - these seem to be a lot more costly than most others - maybe paying for the Seppeltsfield name all over the front of it
    https://seppeltsfield.com.au/product/10-litre-hand-coopered-fortified-barrel - $455 for 10L

    The Keg Factory - I read about them on the Auswine forum
    https://thekegfactory.com.au/wooden-kegs/ - $325 for traditional 4.5L & $355 for traditional 9L

    Stanton and Killeen -
    https://stantonandkilleen.com.au/collections/home-barrels - from $400 for 5L (including 5L of port etc) or from $500 for 10L (including contents & their bulk port isn't cheap)

    Kies Wines -
    https://www.kieswines.com.au/product/9l-keg-full-one-only/ - $460 for 9L barrel and 9L of port blend

    Most of these seem to have brass taps with the St Anne's barrels appearing to have stainless steel taps, and the cheap Kegland ones have wooden taps. Is this just an "appearance" thing, or is there a reason why brass would be better than stainless steel ? I really can't see wood being a great option in the longer term.

    From this, it seems like the St Anne's winery barrels offers good value since they come with the port as well (it seems that port in bulk is about $10L per litre, so around $100 worth of port with the $365 10L barrel) - any comments on these barrels (or the port) ?

    There was not much (if any) mention in the thread of the Corowa Woodware barrels sold at Dan Murphys - has anyone tried those ?

    I think I saw one mention in this thread of using De Bortoli Tawny in 4L boxes of port for the barrels but nothing further - has anyone tried it in a barrel ? Again it seems to be an affordable option at about $5.50/L and it is easy to get from the local Dan's, and it isn't too bad to drink straight out of the box (obviously not in the same class as a good bottled aged port, but quite drinkable). Is there any reason not to try some, or are the bulk containers (20L for about $180 or $9/L delivered) worth the extra cost ?

    I live in Brisbane - is there any issue with having a barrel of port sitting in 30° heat during summer ?

    Bulk Port suppliers (found so far - postage excluded);

    https://seppeltsfield.com.au/fortified/ - ±$160 for 20L
    https://stantonandkilleen.com.au/collections/blending-fortifieds - $80-95 for 5L
    https://www.kieswines.com.au/bulk-fortified/ - $46 for 5L
    https://www.uleybury.com/product/2-x-5-litre-bulk-tawny-port/ - $63 for 10L
    https://cranewines.com.au/product/oak-aged-tawny-in-bulk-20-litres/ - $120 for 20L
    https://www.danmurphys.com.au/product/DM_42192/de-bortoli-premium-old-tawny-4l - $22 for 4L

    Summary;

    For barrels, The Keg Factory and Tubbies appear to be the best (at a price) - how would the "mid-range" barrels like St Anne's or Corowa compare ?

    For port for contents, Seppeltsfield ($180/20L) or Stanton & Killeen ($80/5L) seem to get the most mention - how would these compare with the cheaper options listed above

    I am acutely aware of the buy cheap - buy twice theory, and don't want to go there, but I am also focused on keeping costs down (two reasons - firstly, our income has taken a serious hit with Covid-19, and secondly, this is our first experience with a port barrel - either making or drinking), so any comments on the options above and advise would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance
    Colin
     
  8. hsvguy

    hsvguy Member

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    Wow, decent post that's for sure.

    You've actually got it nailed in the summary.

    Don't buy a cheap keg from Dan's etc. The St Anne's ones look good.

    Don't really worry about the port you receive with it, you'll be changing it out fairly regularly early on.

    For Port, i'm a Seppeltsfield fan myself, and I always find buying bulk tawny to be better.

    No issues with heat, but you'll lose a lot more to the "angels share" (evaporation).
     
  9. OP
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    Ma Baker

    Ma Baker Retired

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    Hi Colin, nice to hear someone else getting in to port.

    We bought our first barrel in 2008 and 12 years on its still going strong. We then went on to buy a larger one so we now have 2 Tubbies port barrels and again the second one is still perfect.

    I love the look of the Stanton and Killeen barrels, looks very similar to ours.

    We buy the bulk Seppeltsfield, if I recall correctly it might have been hsvguy that out me on to it. We get the 20 litres and store it in a wardrobe where it's cooler and dark and have never had a problem with it. I have to say that this last one we've bought tastes absolutely amazing, I think they're still drawing it off the original barrel so we're receiving aged stock. Don't tell them I said that, I don't want them to put the price up. We've got to top ours up very soon, we've got over 30 litres in the house at the moment.

    One think I will say is that 5 litres isnt much when you're leaving it in to mature more, I think 10 litres minimum is a good balance and if you love it you'll wish you'd gone 15.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2020
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  10. Carbon Rod

    Carbon Rod Member

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    Hey Colin,

    I was gifted a Corowa woodware 5L barrel last Christmas, it was purchased from Dans and it never stopped leaking after it was seasoned and filled up, so I contacted the company direct and had it replaced, the new one does not leak which I'm happy about.

    I filled it up with the 4l Cask of De Bortoli and regret that choice, it's only just palatable to me. planning to empty it and fill it up with Seppeltsfield tawny soon.
     
  11. andy01

    andy01 Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I think I might enquire a bit more about the St Anne's barrel.
     
  12. andy01

    andy01 Member

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    Thanks Ma. Have you tried any of the other bulk ports, or just the Seppeltsfield ?

    I see some places offer a variety of different ports - Tawny, Reserve etc. It looks like the Reserve may be a bit older than the Tawny - which is better for a barrel ?

    I was thinking 5L, but now I am thinking at least 10L since there isn't a lot of difference in price usually.
     
  13. andy01

    andy01 Member

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    That is great feedback, thanks - sounds like the Corowa barrel might be a hit or miss.

    I saw a couple of the De Bortoli reviews on the Dan's site referred to using it in barrels, but it is interesting that your experience is not good. I wonder how much might be the Corowa barrel and how much is the De Bortoli - have you tried anything else in the barrel yet ?
     
  14. OP
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    Ma Baker

    Ma Baker Retired

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    We've used the bottles of Penfolds, this was when we first got the barrel, we also used another one Buller which was ok but once we started with Seppeltsfield we never looked back. It really is that nice from when you first get it delivered, it's like drinking a more expensive drop from the start, well in our opinion it is and we have tried a few different ports now.

    Just had a look, we paid:

    $116.10 back in November 2015 for a 2-3 year old port.
    $140.00 back in September 2016 for a 2-3 year old port.
    $155.00 back in September 2018 for a Classic Tawny.
    $155.00 back in April 2020 for a Classic Tawny.

    We obviously pay around $25 delivery on top so that's $9 per litre delivered or $6.75 per 750ml which is what the port bottle normally are. If I didn't have a barrel I'd happily drink this any day.

    I honestly think it's the same batch we're buying as it's just got better and better over time.

    Edit: Just worked out with the 20 litre of Buller we bought and at least 10 750ml Penfold bottles we've drunk 87 litres of port in the last 6 years. and we still have at least 35 litres here now. Yikes!
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2020
  15. Carbon Rod

    Carbon Rod Member

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    The guy that runs Corowa Woodware (i think his name was John) was super friendly and helpful, he said that sometimes they sit on the shelf at Dans for a long time and dry out too much that seasoning can't seal them up anymore. Luckily the company has good ethics, it's actually a really nice barrel i think, not lined with plastic or wax that I hear some cheap ones are.

    I tried the De Bortoli out of the cask and it wasn't much better than from my barrel, it had been in the barrel about 2 months when I tried it. Because Corowa make barrels with new wood I think the oak flavour is a bit strong - I think that's why i went for a cheaper port for the first fill anyway, hopefully the 'Oakyness' settles down by the time I fill it with Seppeltsfield.

    Good luck with your barrel journey!
     
  16. connico

    connico Member

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    I've had my port barrel for longer than a decade now and it's going strong. Havn't needed a replacement or an upgrade.

    What I did do is buy another 5L and filled it with bourbon :p. Something you guys should consider doing. After the bourbon is done in xmas this year, i'll pop in some unaged japanese whiskey I bought by the case for this very purpose :p
     
  17. OP
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    Ma Baker

    Ma Baker Retired

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    When we bought ours it was oakey and we were told to draw some off an put more raw in. We kept what we'd drawn off and re-added it once it settled down, it saves have a batch that's really oakey.
     
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  18. andy01

    andy01 Member

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    That is an impressive turnover :)

    I assume that the barrel makes a noticeable difference to the flavour and makes it taste more "aged" relatively quickly ?
     
  19. andy01

    andy01 Member

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    Rod

    Thanks for this. Interesting that the difference is new wood with the Corowa. Hope the second "batch" is better than the first :thumbup:
     
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  20. andy01

    andy01 Member

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    Ma

    If I remember from the thread, you have a Tubbies barrel (or two) I think ? They are old red wine barrel timber I think ? How long did it take to settle down ?
     

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