First time Oak Barrel users - preparing, reusing and storing

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First time Oak Barrel users - preparing, reusing and storing

Postby Boomgate » Tue Jan 06, 2015 4:10 pm

I recently bought some barrels from overseas and was too keen to get started. I rinsed them out and filled them with booze and guess what... I lost a whole bunch of my booze as it leaked everywhere. To top it off I damaged my new 2L barrel.
I now know what I did wrong, so i was able to get my barrel back to useable state, thank goodness, the resulting drink is fan-bloody-tastic.

Here are the instructions that I am following now, kindly provided by Oakbarrelsltd.com (since they were kind enough to spend time publishing this online I have not stripped their details out).

Your New Barrel
Keep your barrel shrink-wrapped, out of direct sunlight in a cool (55° – 60°) and optimally humid (65% - 75%) area until ready to use.

Barrel Prep
Begin by rinsing out the barrel to remove any charred bits and pieces of wood that might have shaken loose in shipping. Using a rubber mallet,
carefully tap in the spigot (just until snug). Fill the barrel with water. It is normal for the barrel to drip until the wood has swelled. Once the
dripping stops, keep the water in the barrel for an additional 24 hours to hydrate the staves. Empty and rinse again. Fill to the top with your favorite
spirit. Using a twist, push and turn action secure the bung/cork snugly in place.

Aging
The length of time your spirits age and mellow in the barrel depends on personal taste. Small barrels will begin imparting oak flavor quickly – check
every two to three weeks for taste and top off what has been lost to the angels’ share. When pleased with your results, pour into your favorite
decanter or bottle and enjoy. (Read more about this on the back.)

Storing your Empty Barrel After Initial Use
Ideally, your barrel would always be filled. Used barrels require no special preparation beyond a simple water rinse, if desired, when transferring out
and in immediately. If used barrels are to be stored empty, rinse them several times with clean water, and drain thoroughly. Remove the spigot and
bung to promote air flow and store out of sunlight and in a cool (55° – 60°) and optimally humid (65% - 75%) area.

An alternative is to fill and store barrels with a sulfur-citric holding solution (see below instructions). This holding solution promotes sanitation and
keeps the barrels swelled and smelling sweet however … it will strip some of the oaks flavors. For your safety and the safety of your family, always
follow manufacturers’ guidelines and instructions for the proper use of chemicals.
1. Wash the barrel out immediately. Flush it until the flushed water runs clear.
2. Return the barrel to its stand and fill it with water. Add sulphite crystals and citric acid to the water in the following proportions:
Barrel Sulphite Crystals Citric Acid Water
20 L Oak Barrel 3 tsp 2 tsp 5 gallons
10 L Oak Barrel 1 ½ tsp 1 tsp 2 ½ gallons
5 L Oak Barrel ¾ tsp ½ tsp 1 ¼ gallon
2 L Oak Barrel 3
/8
tsp ¼ tsp 2 quarts
1 L Oak Barrel ¼ tsp 1
/8
tsp 1 quart

3. Top up the barrel with holding solution once a month to replace lost solution. To protect the bung area from drying out and to protect
it from organism growth, rotate the barrel 45° in either direction every time you top up to keep the bung area soaked. (Take care – this
holding solution will etch a concrete floor – rinse the floor with water to prevent this.)
4. Drain and replace the solution every 3 months.
5. Drain the barrel and rinse thoroughly with water before using.

Reusing and Cleaning Your Barrel
When you are ready to use your barrel again, the barrel may need to be re-swelled and sanitized. This should always be done when aging wine.
1. Fill the barrel with a solution of BarolKleen and Hot water mixed using the following proportions. Leave for 24 to 48 hours.
Barrel Barolkleen Hot Water
20 L Oak Barrel 1 lb (450g) 5 gallons
10 L Oak Barrel ½ lb (240g) 2 ½ gallons
5 L Oak Barrel ¼ lb (120g) 1 ¼ gallon
2 L Oak Barrel 1
/8
lb (60g) 2 quarts
1 L Oak Barrel 1 ounce (30g) 1 quart

2. Drain the barrel and flush with clean water until the flushed water runs clear.
3. Mix the following solution and pour this mixture into the barrel. Close the barrel and roll it around so that the sulphite solution
touches the entire interior. This will neutralize any alkali remaining in the barrel.
Barrel Sulphite Crystals Citric Acid Warm Water
20 L Oak Barrel 8 oz (240g) 1 oz (30g) 1 gallon
10 L Oak Barrel 4 oz (120g) ½ oz (15g) 2 quarts
1, 2 or 5 L Oak Barrel 2 oz (60g) ¼ oz (8g) 1 quart

4. Drain the sulphite solution and thoroughly rinse/flush the barrel with water.
5. Fill with wine or spirits of choice.


The Rule of Thumb for Aging in Smaller Barrels
Using a smaller sized barrel changes the amount of surface area or the amount of wood barrel in contact with the contents. This larger ratio of wood
to liquor has a direct impact on the flavor and length of the aging process and is the very reason that aging in a smaller barrel is much faster. For
example, liquor can be aged out in four to six months when aging in a 20 L barrel veersus years and years using the standard large 53-59 gallon
barrel.

The rule of thumb for aging in smaller barrels:
• 20 L Oak Barrel – four to six months
• 10 L Oak Barrel – two to four months
• 5 L Oak Barrel – four to six weeks
• 2 L Oak barrel – two to four weeks
• 1 L Oak Barrel – one to two weeks

Check your barrels and their contents every couple of weeks – top off when necessary.

Temperature and Humidity
Temperature also impacts the aging process due to the amount of oxidation that occurs at different temperatures. Higher temperatures accelerate this
process while lower temperatures result in slower oxidation. Ideally there would be great variations between night and day temperatures. These
fluctuations in temperature, along with changes in barometric pressure, have been shown to actually force the whiskey, wine or ale in and out of the
wood, resulting in maximum flavor and character.

Oxygen enters a barrel when water or alcohol is lost due to evaporation – often called the “angels share”. In an environment with 100% relative
humidity, very little water evaporates and so most of the loss is alcohol – a useful trick if one has a liquor or wine with very high proof. Most
beverages are topped up from other barrels or bottles to prevent significant oxidation. With small barrels, it’s recommended to top off the barrel
every one or two weeks.

In a nutshell …
• Low Humidity – primarily water lost resulting in higher alcohol content
 Dry air and higher temperatures will result in more water being lost (alcohol content goes up)
• High Humidity – primarily alcohol lost resulting in losing the alcoholic strength of the product
 When stored at 60% relative humidity or higher – primarily alcohol loss
 Humid atmospheres with moderate temperatures will lead to more alcohol than water evaporating


Additional Information
• As the barrels are a wood product, they are subject to the wood drying and shrinking. Oak Barrels, Ltd. offers no guarantee against
shrinkage.
• In order for the spigot to flow freely, please remember to remove the bung/cork before you open the spigot … pour from the spigot … then
close the spigot and finally ... replace the bung/cork.
• To keep your barrels performing and looking their best, please keep them stored in a protected area away from the elements and optimally
in a cool and relatively humid area.
• Barrels with painted black steel hoops are particularly susceptible to moisture. A little care goes a long way. Prevent excessive staining
and rust by keeping the exterior of the barrel dry.
• Avoid water stains by using a funnel to carefully fill your new barrel.
• Sandpaper will generally remove any stains or marks on the barrel.
• As the barrels are handcrafted, liquid volume is approximate.
• You should be able to reuse your barrel from 3-5 times … remember that each aging will take longer than the previous one.
• Please do not nail or put screws into the hoops or staves as doing so will compromise the oak and might cause damage that is not covered
by our return policy.
• If you want to age a different type of spirit then was initially aged in it, we recommend you use a new barrel.
• For your safety, if using chemicals to clean/sanitize your barrels, please follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use.


Enjoy your barrel and have fun!

Once again, thank you for your purchase. Please come back again soon.

Oak Barrels, Ltd.
http://www.oakbarrelsltd.com
Boomgate
 
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Re: First time Oak Barrel users - preparing, reusing and sto

Postby Urrazeb » Tue Jan 06, 2015 4:28 pm

Great info in there BG :handgestures-thumbupleft:

Bookmarked ;-)
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Re: First time Oak Barrel users - preparing, reusing and sto

Postby Andy » Tue Jan 06, 2015 6:13 pm

you are itching to get a barrel urrazeb!
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Doesn't get more simple then that

Re: First time Oak Barrel users - preparing, reusing and sto

Postby Urrazeb » Tue Jan 06, 2015 7:38 pm

Andy wrote:you are itching to get a barrel urrazeb!

Like you wouldn't believe mate! Funds are shit at my job so its gonna have to wait :violin:
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Re: First time Oak Barrel users - preparing, reusing and sto

Postby ANTONY » Sat Sep 01, 2018 5:10 pm

Great info on barrels
. I am looking at a used port wine cask. Question is what will my ''sugar shine '' taste like after 6 months?
Will it age gracefully ?
Thanks again
Tony
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Re: First time Oak Barrel users - preparing, reusing and sto

Postby Dig Brinker » Tue Sep 04, 2018 2:38 am

It will taste very strongly of port. Most port cask finished spirits are only briefly placed in the port casks, after being aged in regular barrels first.
I put some rum in a barrel 5 months ago, that had been filled with port for years and it has aged well but has a very strong port flavour. I blend this with rum aged on French oak and it is quite delicious.
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Re: First time Oak Barrel users - preparing, reusing and sto

Postby ANTONY » Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:17 am

Dig Brinker.
Thank you for the info on barrels . Thing is I'm not a port lover , But I have access to a used wine barrel 50 lt . It might taste more''brandish'' .
If you get my drift. Its a big under taking as its in SA and I live in NSW sxo shipping cost + barrel .
What would your thoughts be on a used wine barrel D B?
Cheers
Antony
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Re: First time Oak Barrel users - preparing, reusing and sto

Postby Dig Brinker » Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:34 am

ANTONY wrote:Dig Brinker.
Thank you for the info on barrels . Thing is I'm not a port lover , But I have access to a used wine barrel 50 lt . It might taste more''brandish'' .
If you get my drift. Its a big under taking as its in SA and I live in NSW sxo shipping cost + barrel .
What would your thoughts be on a used wine barrel D B?
Cheers
Antony


I’d only get it if I was prepared to take an end off, clean it up with a rasp or file, toast the insides and try to put it back together, which I’m not. :O)
Or cut it into staves or dominoes, clean up the outsides, toast them and have aging wood forever. But I’m not prepared to do that either, and wouldn’t be worth it unless the barrel was really cheap.
I wouldn’t get it.
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Re: First time Oak Barrel users - preparing, reusing and sto

Postby ANTONY » Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:08 am

D B
Thanks for that . Mate had a 50 lt barrel and as he was putting in his ute Hoop slipped off ….it came apart in pieces Took him 2 days to put it back.
So yes . I will heed ur words of wisdom and hang back on the barrel .
Barrel $230 +$ 100 Shipping.

Thanks for the info.
Tony
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Re: First time Oak Barrel users - preparing, reusing and sto

Postby ozzy rum » Thu Sep 06, 2018 8:31 am

Glad i come across this, i pick up my 1st 10lt barrel today :happy-partydance:
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