Brewers barrel-age beer for added flavor, complexity

04/18/2013 | Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model)

Craft beer makers are swapping out barrels coated with brewer's pitch that prevents the barrels from influencing the liquid inside for used spirits barrels, retired wine barrels and standard raw oak to influence the flavor and complexity of their beers. Russian River Brewery in Santa Rosa, Calif., offers "wild ales" that are aged in old wine barrels previously filled with chardonnay, pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon.

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