My God, It's Full of Barrels!

My God, It's Full of Barrels!

"My God, it's full of barrels"
(edited quote from 2001 a Space Odyssey)

I’ve been looking at a lot of barrels… there are so many variables and choices when considering making whisky and barrels are actually a huge part of that because the new make spirit spends so long in there...

First, there’s the selection of oak available; French, American, Hungarian?

Do I want new, or maybe a barrel that’s previously held American whisky or bourbon?

Then, most importantly for me, barrel size??

I already have a few smaller format French oak barrels that hold 27L, but that won’t work for a spirit that I plan to keep in barrel long term.

The issue is the effective surface area of the spirit that’s exposed to the wood, and in a smaller barrel that ratio is higher. This can result in a spirit that is TOO “oaky” well before it’s ready to be bottled and consumed.

Because of the size of my space, and the capacity of my still, I need to find a sweet spot. A Barrique is a staple of winemakers at 225L, and we have local coopers who can re-size these down to a more manageable 120L - Perfect! 🥃