Where are you located?
We are an American owned and operated company based out of Houston, TX. If you'd like to speak to someone personally, reach out to Hannah by email at Hannah@oakbarrelsltd.com or give her a call at 888-926-2555.
How do you ship?
We ship using FedEx carrier services. Check out all of your shipping options via FedEx including Ground, Home Delivery, Express, 2-Day, Overnight and International on our 'View Cart' page.
What's the difference between black and galvanized hoops?
Your choice of hoop color has nothing to do with how your contents will age ... all use the same oak and are toasted in the same manner ... it’s just how they look aesthetically. The black hoops are a painted black steel … when the outside of the barrel gets wet, it has a tendency to feather out and stain the barrel. If you prefer a neater, cleaner look you might want to consider the galvanized hoops as an option.
Are the barrel finished or varnished?
The barrels are made from natural American white oak with no finish or varnish. Unless you want to use the barrel strictly for decorative purposes, we do not recommend using anything that coats or penetrates the wood – i.e. varnish, lacquer, oil etc., as eventually the chemicals from the finish could come into contact with the contents of the barrel. Any type of finish would also reduce the effects the porosity of the barrel and its micro-oxygenation as well as inhibit the oak from imparting its full effects on the contents.
What's the difference between the regular Oak Barrels and Vinegar Barrels
Our “regular” barrels are made specifically for aging and mellowing liquors or wines. They come with 2 small pre-drilled holes – one for the spigot, the other for the bung. The holes range in size from ½” to ¾” – depending on the size of the barrel and bungs fit snugly to prevent oxidation and evaporation … just what you want for alcohol.
The vinegar barrels are designed vertically with a 3” hole drilled in the head. This large hole allows oxygen into the barrel (a necessity for vinegar conversion) and .. access into the barrel to be able to remove mothers that might have dropped, help alleviate problems with spigots that might have clogged etc. Bottom-line … it gives you a vinegar barrel that you can use for years.
What's the difference between the Vinegar Barrels and Vanilla Extract Barrels?
The vanilla extract barrels are simply the smaller version of our toasted vinegar barrels. Most customers find that 1L of vanilla extract is plenty, however, if you're wanting to make a larger batch, feel free to order one of our toasted vinegar 2L, 5L, 10L or 20L sizes. All barrels are made from American white oak and toasted on the inside. They sit upright with a hole drilled in the head for access inside.
What's your warranty on the barrels?
Our 3rd generation cooper builds quality oak barrels made in the traditional French manner. He's a stickler when it comes to attention to detail making the quality of our barrels unmatched. With that being said, because the barrels are handmade, sometimes things happen ... if you see any leaking after the swelling process has taken place, please reach out to us. We'll ask that you send a couple of pictures so we can assess the problem. If it's something that can't be easily remedied, we'll send out a replacement barrel.
How long do I age in my barrel?
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 versus 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
Do I need to prep my barrel before using?
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. Barrels usually swell within 24- 48 hours ... some might take closer to a week. 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.
Does temperature and humidity impact the aging process?
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
How do I add personalization to my barrel?
We offer laser engraving on our 1-10L regular oak barrels. At this time we don't offer engraving on our 20L barrels or our specialty barrels including the vinegar and vanilla extract barrels. You can simply choose from our laser engraving options on the product page or send an email with details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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