AGING SPIRITS & WINE IN A BARREL
The smaller barrels age faster because of the increased surface area to volume ratio. The longer it’s aged in the oak aging barrel the better your spirits become. Your oak aging barrel will age spirits or wine in one to two months what it takes a 55 gallon oak aging barrel a year to age. Nothing ages in a bottle, only in a charred oak aging barrel.
IMPORTANT! - Curing the BARREL
Before using your barrel, you should cure the barrel. Your oak aging barrel is made of wood and stored empty so your barrel may need to swell back up before use. This is the same concept as a wooden boat being used for the first time after being stored all winter.
Start by rinsing out your barrel three or four times to get any wood debris out.
Now insert the spigot on the front of the barrel and tighten by hand to secure the spigot.
Then fill your barrel full of HOT water keeping it full until any leaking ceases. This may take as little as one minute or as long as a week.
If you plan on aging different kinds of spirits or wine in the same barrel, you should cure the barrel for three to five days so the wood absorbs as much water as possible and not your alcohol when you start using the barrel.
Maintaining The Barrel
After two to three years of use, a barrel will need to be re-charred on the inside if it is no longer aging your spirits or wine as quickly. Simply use a butane type lighter with a bendable end to char the barrel. Take the bung and spigot out, put the end of the lighter in the spigot hole, and, while the lighter is lit, turn the barrel slowly to add a fresh char to the barrel.
Cleaning The Barrel
When cleaning is needed, place 1 Camden tablets and 1oz Citric Acid in the barrel, fill with water, and let stand overnight. Rinse thoroughly with water and replace bung.
You may also simply run hot water through the barrel until any sediment has washed out.
If a sticky residue forms anywhere on the outside of your barrel, this is perfectly normal. When the alcohol gives up the "Angels Share" or evaporates, the sugars from the alcohol are left behind leaving a sticky molasses like residue. You can leave it on the barrel and it will act as a natural sealant, or you can wipe it off with a hot wash cloth.
Storing The Barrel
If you do not plan to use the barrel for a period of time, clean out the barrel and store with water. Be sure to flush the water once a month to keep the barrel clean. This will ensure the barrel does not dry out.
Your barrel should never be empty. If you do forget to store your barrel with water, you should re-cure the barrel. If the barrel doesn't stop leaking, then you should submerge it in water for several days. If the leaking still doesn't stop, then you can cut your barrel in half, glue the staves together, add a chain to either side in order to make a hanging flower pot, and then buy a new oak aging barrel for your spirits and wine.
To Rear of Barrel
|From Top of Bung
To the Countertop
|Width of Barrel
at the Belly
of Barrel Head
Conversion Chart for Bootleg Barrels and Essences
|Barrel Size||Neutral Grain
|1 Liter||750 ml
|2 Liter||1.5 Liters
|3 Liter||3 Liter
|5 Liter||4.5 Liter
|10 Liter||9.75 Liter
|20 Liter||19.5 Liter||26
Conversion Chart for Barrel Size to Different Volumes
|Barrel Size||750 ml Bottles||Volume
1 oz Shots
|1 Liter||1 1/3||33.8||0.264|
|2 Liter||2 2/3||67.6||0.528|
|5 Liter||6 2/3||169.1||1.321|
|10 Liter||13 1/3||338.1||2.642|
|20 Liter||26 2/3||676.3||5.283|