Frequenty Asked Questions
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Frequenty Asked Questions

The oak barrel I received was absolutely incredible! So patient and helpful with the custom design I asked for, and replied very quickly to help get it all sorted. There was a genuine sense of care here, it was as if he was doing it for himself and wanted it to look as perfect as possible. Very helpful even after I received the product too. Would rate higher if I could!

Sam
Barrels and Kegs

FAQ

How are the barrels made?

How barrels are madeOur barrels are made from premium quality American White Oak with Pinewood, or Oak stands. Select from one of 3 band options, the “Black Rustic Steel” option provides an authentic rustic patina with light grains of rust and aged markings. The “Galvanized Steel” band option is an authentic steel colour without patina, and the ‘Brass” band option provides that ornamental decorative look.We stock 2L, 5L and 10L sizes.  A wooden spigot is provided with each barrel, or you can upgrade to the ‘brass Tap” option. The content volume of each barrel may vary  +/-15% depending on the thickness of the staves. Each Oak stave is medium charred. Each barrel is hand crafted with no use of glues or nails, therefore barrel “curing” is required IMMEDIATELY and prior to use. This process serves two functions:

  1. Allows the barrel to swell and prevent leaking
  2. Limits the amount of alcohol absorbed by the barrel. Start by filling the barrel with cold water, and constantly top it up until the water level stays full, this can take 2-3 weeks. This allows the barrel to swell tightly against the hoops and ensure that the barrel doesn’t leak . At first water will leak from between the staves or at the barrel head seam, this is normal and will stop within 7 days as the wood swells. Barrels that do not leak should still be cured until the water level does not drop. This will minimize the amount of alcohol absorbed by the barrel staves. After curing the barrel, empty  and rinse with hot water 3 times. Now fill the barrel with your spirits and place the bung in tightly…Enjoy!

How do I best maintain my barrel?

SEAL YOUR BARREL IMMEDIATELY – Follow the sealing instructions provided immediately to avoid cracking. Some permanent black patina on the Oakwood is to be expected during the sealing process which is an authentic characteristic of genuine Oak barrels.  Once sealed the Barrels are best stored in a cool damp environment, this will keep the exterior from drying out and minimize evaporation. With proper care you can use your barrel for 8 to 10 years, it is important that you check the content level monthly to replace any evaporation (The Angels Share) to ensure the content never falls below 30% to prevent your barrel from cracking.

In the event that you have allowed your barrel to dry out you should attempt to follow the sealing process again. If it continues leaking, as an extreme last resort you could submerge the barrel in water for a couple of days, but please note that this has the potential to cause further damage. After it’s been submerged, dry the exterior with a towel and fill it with water to see if it continues to leak. If you can’t stop the leaking… cut in half and use as a planter!

How long should spirits be aged?

There’s no formula for the perfect time to age your spirits. We suggest you taste your spirits every week and once aged to YOUR taste, start drinking or move it to a glass decanter to stop the aging process. Due to the greater surface or contact area ratio Smaller barrels age the spirit faster than the larger barrels, small size barrels will age 5 to 10 times faster than your standard 55 gallon barrel. These means that one month in a small barrel will produce the equivalent aging to 1 year in a full size barrel.

How do I clean my barrel?

Your barrel will require routine cleaning. When aging hard spirits such as whiskey, rum or tequila, clean the barrel after two or three batches (or every 1 to 2 years). For wine, cider, liquor or other low alcohol content spirits, clean after each batch as follows:-

  1. Fill the barrel with a cleaning solution and soak for 24 hours. Empty and rinse 3 times with hot water. See your local home brew retailer for cleaning tablets.
  2. Dissolve Neutralizing Acid into warm water. Fill the barrel with this neutralizing solution and soak for 15 minutes. Empty and rinse the barrel 3 times with hot water. See your local home brew retailer for Neutralizing acid.
  3. To re-char the barrel interior, drain the barrel for 3 hours. Place a butane torch in the bung and spigot hole and re-char the inside.
  4. When storing the barrel or prior to re-use, dissolve the 2 sterilizing tablets in 1 gallon of cool water. Fill the barrel with the solution. Swish around for a few minutes and rinse 3 times with hot water.

To prevent the barrel from drying out and minimize the possibility of contamination, barrels should always be stored full with spirits or sterilizing solution. Barrels should be cleaned after every 2 or 3 aging batches or when changing from spirit types.

The Angels Share (Evaporation)?

American White Oak is used in the production of barrels because Oakwood breaths, which is an important part of the maturing process, as a result some evaporation (oxidation) is unavoidable, This is often referred to as “The Angels share”  This oxidizing process is an essential part of imparting flavours and aromas into your alcohol.

The amount of evaporation can vary depending on your local conditions. Extreme hot or cold temperatures, or lack of humidity will impact on your level of  evaporation therefore it is recommended that you position your barrel away from direct sunlight, heaters or air-conditioning cooling systems.

The viscosity of each wine or spirit varies, therefore the levels of evaporation that you experience may vary.

It is recommend that you taste your alcohol monthly to monitor the taste, at which point you can check and replace any evaporation to ensure that the content of your barrel never falls below 30% capacity, this will also routinely release any excess gas build up. A piece of dowel can be cut to size, and marked, to create your own dipping stick.

How long will my order take?

This product is custom and made to order. Processing times are approximately 1-2 business days for processing, plus 1-15 business days for shipping depending on your location. If your order will not arrive in time, ask us to email you a gift certificate & photograph which you can put into a card to advise the recipient that a hand crafted & personalised gift is on its way to them.

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