Age your whiskey, wine, rum, liqueur and other drinks

Distilling and ageing drinks yourself is very satisfying. It is exciting and fun to taste the result. There are all kinds of barrels on the market for storing and ageing homemade alcoholic drinks. Wooden barrels have been used for centuries and are available in different types of wood. Many types of wood have been used to make barrels: mulberry, chestnut, acacia, beech. Of all types of wood, oak appears to be the best type of wood for storing and ageing drinks such as whiskey, liqueur, rum, wine and other drinks.

The advantages of a French oak wooden barrel and ageing drinks

The advantage of ageing in French oak wood is that the wood aging adds flavouring and aroma, like dill, toast, coconut and vanilla. It is no coincidence that the best wineries such as Burgundy and Bordeaux almost always opt for French oak. In some areas it is even legally stipulated that whiskey may only age in oak barrels. French oak wood is bendable and strong at the same time. In addition, it ensures stability and clarity of the drinks.

Our wooden barrels are hand made from French oak and therefore of very high quality. The barrels contain no paraffin and are lightly charred on the inside (lightly toasted), which in our view is optimal for ageing drinks. The barrels can be used to pour drinks from or to age drinks. These are new barrels, which makes it important to use them correctly. Please consult the manual supplied with the product.

Please note: manual for wooden barrels

To prevent the barrels from leaking, it is important that the instructions below are followed after receipt of the oak wooden barrel.

Preparing the barrel
A container that is new or stored dry needs a period of swelling to close the seams. There are 2 methods, cold or warm. The 2nd method is also known as the French method. Which method you use depends on how the barrel is stored. If it has been stored in dry conditions for a long time, i.e. not in a damp cellar, it is best to use the cold method. If it has been used recently or has it been stored moist, you can use the warm method.

The cold method
Fill the barrel 1/3 with cold water and let it sit for 3 to 4 hours. Then top up to 2/3 with cold water. After another 4 hours fill to the brim and keep it filled until all seams are swollen shut. Once this has been done, you can start using the barrel. This process takes about 2 days and sometimes longer with old barrels.

The warm method
Fill the barrel 1/10 with hot water. Tape the holes shut and shake the barrel so that all parts properly come into contact with water. Stand the barrel upright and fill the top to the brim with hot water and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then turn the barrel around and repeat the procedure for the other side. Remove the tape and drain the barrel. Fill the barrel with cold water to make sure the barrel is closed. If the barrel is still leaking, use the cold method.

Never leave a barrel full of plain water for more than 2 days. This is to prevent bacteria from growing in the vessel.

Cleaning a barrel
The best way to clean a barrel is to rinse it a few times. The barrel should always be rinsed immediately after emptying a drink to prevent organisms from growing in it. Rinsing should be done with hot water. Repeat this rinsing until all remaining substances have dissolved and been rinsed away. Always finish with a rinse with cold water.

Avoid the use of chemical agents in the barrel if possible. These agents extract substances (tannins) from the barrel.

Storing a barrel
If you have bought a barrel and you are not going to use it right away, leave it wrapped in the foil. This prevents moisture loss from the wood. The best storage place for a barrel is at a temperature below 12 degrees and a humidity of 75%.

View our oak wooden barrels for storing and ageing your homemade alcoholic drink.