I want to age my mead in the wood mini barrel. What is the best practice for doing so considering the mini barrel shown above? I have read that I should fill it, then check on it many times to refill it from some mead getting absorbed by the wood. Is there a high risk of infection? My mead just for documentation:
There is a difference between new and use whiskey barrels. The reason that many homebrewers use used whiskey barrels is that a lot of the color from the charred wood inside the barrel has been taken out by the whiskey that was in there before. The other reason is that after soaking in whiskey, the inside is fairly sterile. All that booze kills the bad stuff that want to ruin your beer/mead. Putting that mead in that barrel is likely to create a mess. If the inside is charred, you'll end up with a mead that tastes like charred wood. Also, you will need to add sulfites and top up the barrel every couple of weeks with more mead and making sure your sulfite levels are maintained at about 50ppm (this level depends on pH and other factors but this is a good number to shoot for in the barrel). Do you know if the barrel is charred or just raw wood? Either is going to give you a result you might not want.