It is not really barrel aging but results are pretty much the same. I brewed a 5 gallon batch of Russian Imperial Stout in May. As a home brewer seeking that wonderfully complex flavors achieved by the craft brewers, you have the technology. You can buy oak spirals, made that way to increase surface area. They can be bought in various levels of toastedness…..not sure that word has made its way into your Funk & Wagnall yet, but it is an apt description. I have made mine in the past using a white oak dowel and cutting deep grooves on my lathe. PS, get permission from your SO before toasting the oak in your home oven or better yet, do it outside. I soak mine in bourbon…..I select a lesser grade as I believe in not using my Pappy Van Winkle 20 year old for the effort.
Drop the toasted and soaked oak into your secondary and wait….last batch was three months. I has worked well! Oak source;
Below is a link to a good article form a recent post in the Weekly Pint. My latest offering is a perfect example of the vanilla flavor imparted by the oak…..wonderful. I am considering a barrel aged pale ale of some sort in the near future. Just don’t have enough free time to brew all that I want and or crave. That damn thing called work gets in the way!