How to cure and seal your barrel
- Lightly tap the spigot to insert it. Please note, it just needs to have a tight fit and does not need to go all the way in.
- Fill with water and empty it in order to remove any small debris. Barrels are sanitized before they are shipped using heat, so no additional cleaning is needed.
- Seal the barrel by filling it to the top with water and allow it to sit. The barrel needs to swell in order to seal any leaks; it is normal for the barrel to leak at first. As the barrel absorbs the water and starts to swell, leaks will start slowing down; this should take anywhere from a few hours up to a week.
- Once the barrel has completely sealed, it is ready to use.
Please cure/fill your oak barrel within a month of receiving it, as barrels will dry out over time. When a barrel dries out, staves and heads will shrink, causing leaks that may not seal as well as causing the hoops to loosen.
- Barrels that are not varnished will show dark or black stains upon filling and will continue to blacken over time as they are raw wood. If this is not desired, please varnish your barrel before filling with water.
- When curing the barrel, do not allow it to sit full of water for more than two weeks as water will allow mold to grow inside the barrel.
- When the barrel seals with water but starts leaking when filled with wine/liquor, it may be because the beverage does not have enough water content to keep the barrel swelled. In this case, you can add a small amount of beeswax to seal the leaks.
Storing your oak barrel
When the barrel is not in use, fill it with water and add a tablet or half a teaspoon of citric acid. This is done so that mold will not grow inside the barrel.
If you prefer not to add citric acid, please add a small amount of alcholic content to the water when storing as alcohol will keep mold away!
How To Barrel Age Spirits
- Fill the barrel with your wine/liquor and insert the bung plug. Make sure the bung plug has a tight fit to avoid air getting inside as it can affect the aging process.
- Place your oak barrel in a cool place and out of direct sunlight, and away from heating or cooling devices. Extreme temperature fluctuations will cause the barrel to expand and contract, causing leaks or more rapid evaporation.
- Aging in these barrels for one month is the equivalent to aging for six months in larger barrels. So, depending on your recipe and the flavour you want to achieve, it can take anywhere from 3-4 weeks to several months.
Evaporation will occur on average 3-5% per month (This is known as angel’s share). If you are planning on aging for long periods of time, minimize evaporation by storing the barrel in a cool humid place. You can also put a damp cloth on top of the barrel to increase its humidity and keep evaporation at a minimum.