Whiskey Barrel Manufacture

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Whiskey Barrel Manufacture

Unread postby fricky » Tue Oct 07, 2008 11:02 am

Does anyone have information concerning the manufacture of whiskey barrels in the United States?

Dave Ziegler provided a few old staves that I have been finishing from the old distillery in Linfield, PA. There are significant variations in the stave dimensions. Stave thickness ranged between 5/8” and 1”. Length was between 34 ½” and 36 ½”. The shortest and thinnest was not charred. Age of the staves is unknown. All were bleached from lying in the open and some showed minor rotted areas.

One would think that there had to be some standardization in barrel components to insure proper loading of the ricks as well as reasonably consistent starting volume.
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Re: Whiskey Barrel Manufacture

Unread postby cowdery » Tue Oct 07, 2008 11:20 am

Stave length and thickness should be relatively uniform but stave width varies on purpose, as this makes it easier for the barrel builder to create a tight seal. I can't exactly explain why that is the case, but I do know that stave width is standardized only within a range but is not standardized as to a uniform width.
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Re: Whiskey Barrel Manufacture

Unread postby Bas » Tue Oct 07, 2008 5:57 pm

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Re: Whiskey Barrel Manufacture

Unread postby PaulO » Mon Oct 27, 2008 5:15 pm

Hi Bas, I enjoyed looking at your collection, and the Kentucky barrels site. In the "uses" part of that site there are lots of cool project ideas. Some here probably allready know this. In the frontier days a bar could be set up on the spot by laying some lumber across two barrels. I liked some of the modern versions of this.
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Re: Whiskey Barrel Manufacture

Unread postby bourbonv » Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:23 pm

Doug,
The length of the barrel staves has been fairly standard since they started making barrel ricks for warehouses. The barrels have to fit into the ricks and the ricks are a standard width. The thickness of the stave I would assume also be a standard size, but it may have changed when they went from the 48 gallon standard barrel to the 52 gallon standard barrel. They could have picked up some of the extra gallonage by reducing the thickness of the stave. The thinner stave would probably be more flexible to create a slightly bigger bulge in the middle. I think the bigger barrel was done to save wood during World War II in the few brief distilling holidays they had from the government.
Mike Veach
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Re: Whiskey Barrel Manufacture

Unread postby Scoots » Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:58 am

Thanks for sharing the links on whiskey barrel manufacture.

A question I have been thinking of regards the choice of wood. Why is oak essentially the only wood chosen for barrel making? Why not maple, specifically Sugar Maple for aging spirits?
Image I love the smell of bourbon in the morning!
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Re: Whiskey Barrel Manufacture

Unread postby Bas » Tue Nov 11, 2008 6:28 am

This is a bit frustating ; what they find in used barrels.
http://www.kentuckybarrels.com/inside-b.jpg
Last edited by Bas on Wed Aug 12, 2009 1:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Whiskey Barrel Manufacture

Unread postby fricky » Tue Nov 11, 2008 9:24 am

I don't understand, please explain.
Thanks,
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Re: Whiskey Barrel Manufacture

Unread postby bourbonv » Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:08 am

Fricky,
That looks like to me, that someone tried to make bench seats from barrel staves and gave up.
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Re: Whiskey Barrel Manufacture

Unread postby fricky » Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:16 am

I also thought it may have been an attempt to make a piece of furniture; however, I don't understand how or why it would have been found inside of a barrel.
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Re: Whiskey Barrel Manufacture

Unread postby bourbonv » Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:31 am

I am assuming that someone dumped the rejected pieces in the barrel, put the head back on, and then sold it. That would be a bit of suprise to have something rattling inside your barrel!
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Re: Whiskey Barrel Manufacture

Unread postby Bas » Tue Nov 11, 2008 6:38 pm

WARNING!!
To all of you Rum and Tequila drinkers out there. The distilleries are putting used staves inside the barrels that they use. To age their product, they use SPENT Kentucky whiskey barrels. Since the barrels are used up, they have to put extra wood in them to get that dark look. Here you see what we take out of the used Rum and Tequila barrels. If you look close you see paint on several of the staves. Most of the paint will have leached out into the liquor in the barrel. All the more reason to drink Clean Pure Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey. Made in NEW American white oak barrels produced in Kentucky.

This piece of text belongs to the picture
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Re: Whiskey Barrel Manufacture

Unread postby cowdery » Fri Nov 21, 2008 11:38 pm

This is B.S. of some kind. Nobody is stupid enough to put iron nails in contact with spirits, and if someone wanted to add wood surface to barrels, there's nothing to be gained by building some kind of apparatus, you just throw the wood in. This simply cannot be what it purports to be. The big scandal in the associated text, that these spirits are aged in "spent" bourbon barrels, is true but hardly a scandal. Virtually all of the world's aged spirits, including the finest single malt scotch whiskies and excepting only Cognac, are aged in used American whiskey barrels. They don't consider the barrels to be "spent," they consider them "seasoned."

Whoever wrote that is ostensibly promoting Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, but the trade in used barrels is very important to American whiskey producers. A new barrel costs about $120. There have been times when there was virtually no market for them used, so they had to bear the whole $120 cost and treat the used barrels like a waste product. They couldn't give them away. Now they are able to resell them used for about 2/3 of what they cost new, which represents a huge cost savings. Now instead of paying $120 for a barrel, they're effectively paying $40. That's like getting three barrels for the cost of one.
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Re: Whiskey Barrel Manufacture

Unread postby Bas » Sat Nov 22, 2008 1:55 pm

Well, there is the text with a accusation and there is (y)our assumption that this accusation is not true.
So, who is gonna investigate? You know your way around in the liquorbussiness, Chuck. Can i tempt you to find out what really is true.
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Re: Whiskey Barrel Manufacture

Unread postby cowdery » Sun Nov 23, 2008 11:14 pm

Have you provided a link to the original source? If you have, I missed it.
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