William’s Brewing offers smaller barrels in the 1 to 5 liter range. These offer some distinct advantages vs larger used whiskey barrels.
- They are generally in stock. That’s not always true of 5, 10 and 15 gallon used barrel options. Availability of those can be touch and go. It seems more often than not, they are sold out.
- Less space. These are relatively small barrels that don’t require a lot of room for storage.
- Lower initial investment. Prices are currently staring out at just $39.99.
- More flavor, faster. Because of the higher surface to volume ratio, oak flavor is imparted more quickly.
- Multi-purpose. These are small enough that you could age whiskey in them first, commercial or legally produced spirits, see note below and then use them for aging homebrew. When you’ve wrung every bit of oak flavoring out of these, you could start using them for sour beers.
About, from William’s Brewing: “When you distill a spirit, it invariably comes out clear as water. Put the clear spirit in contact with charred American oak, and it turns amber and mellow with toasted wood vanilla-like richness. Want to speed up the aging process? These new American Oak Barrels are charred on the inside (Char Level 3) for Whiskey, Bourbon, and Tequila aging. The small surface area compared with commercial 53 gallon barrels means these will age spirits much quicker than larger barrels. Handmade in Mexico following centuries old cooperage methods; the valve is wood and sealed with leather, and the top plug is wood and sealed with a wrap of leather. No plastic, rubber, or glue are used in construction.
Compared with a commercial 53 gallon oak barrel, this Three Liter Barrel will age spirits the equivalent of one year in just 15 weeks. Three liters is the equivalent of four 750ml bottles, and contains 100 one ounce shots. 8” tall with bung and 7½ long.
BARRELS ARE IMPERFECT AND REQUIRE MAINTENANCE – These are wood barrels, and will initially leak unless first filled with water for 14 days so the staves can swell and seal. This may cause minor staining on the barrels and the included wood stands. They must be filled with water within 20 days of receiving or they will dry out and become unsealable, and cannot be left dry for long periods.”
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Note from HBF: Depending on your location, you may need to obtain a license to distill alcohol