In response to a growing need for used whiskey barrels by craft beer producers, St. Cloud-based Innovative Oak recently announced Spiritized Spirals, a new oak alternative that uses whiskey barrels for infusing that spirit flavor and aroma into craft beer.
A proprietary process created by Innovative Oak, these process soaks a spirit, such as bourbon, into the popular spiral-shaped oak alternative, Oak Infusion Spiral made by The Barrel Mill of Avon, Minn. The toasted and saturated Spiritized Spirals are immediately packaged and sealed to retain freshness and arrive ready to submerge and integrate into the beverage. Spiritized Spirals make the crafting of barrel-aged beer easier, faster, safer and more economical than filling used, drained Bourbon barrels with beer.
How do I use it?
Introduced in Nashville at Brew Expo America, Spiritized Spirals come as a 4-ft long “Tank Pack” size, which treats a volume of 10 to 20 bbls of beer and creates whiskey barrel-like results without the space required of used barrels. The spiral-cut barrel alternative product is available in five different woods, four different toasts and one char level. With a wide variety of spirit options, such as bourbon, rye, scotch, cognac, brandy — even tequila — the number of wood-spirit combinations is virtually unlimited.
“Until now, beer and wine producers who wanted the unique flavors and aromas of a used whiskey barrel in their beverage would have to locate a supplier of used whiskey barrels – -which has become increasingly difficult — and then wait up to a year for their beer to age in barrel and blend with the whiskey-stained oak of the barrel,” said Richard Hobbs, president of Innovative Oak. “Our Spiritized Spirals eliminate the search for barrels and greatly reduce the integration time frame.”
“We had outstanding results using Oak Spirals pre-soaked in bourbon on our IPA #2,” said Charles Aaron, co-owner and brewer at Jersey Girl Brewing in Hackettstown, N.J. “In order to get the same aromatics and flavors from used Bourbon barrels it would have cost us way more in time, effort and money, not to mention taking the risk of getting funk from bad barrels or oxidation of beer while in barrel.”
Spiritized Spirals are also available as a Barrel Pack, applicable to 1 to 2 bbls of beer. Spiritized Spirals need just a few weeks of contact time with beer to fully extract. For accelerated integration, re-circulating beer through the wood spirals can reduce time to just days in some cases.