Caring for Your Oak Aging Barrel

Whether you own one aging barrel or many, you might have questions about how to properly maintain and care for them. While not complicated, it is important to follow a few simple steps in order to ensure that your barrel lasts for many years.

Barrel Maintenance

It is important to keep your barrel in a cool, temperature-controlled environment during aging. If the climate you live in is especially dry, make it a habit to wipe down the outside of the barrel with a damp cloth once a week or so – this helps to hydrate from the outside in, plus it lessens the amount of liquid lost to evaporation. Anytime you are not aging spirits, be sure to keep your barrel full of water. Without the liquids inside, your barrel will go dry and leak when you do start aging again.

If you have made this mistake, and the barrel has gone dry, there are several things you can try. First, go through the steps of re-curing the barrel. Use boiling water, and try submerging the barrel completely. Curing will take longer this time around. If you only have a small leak, seal it up with some barrel wax – and take care not to let the barrel go dry again.

Cleaning Do’s and Don’ts - mold inside my barrel

Most of the questions we get at Deep South Barrels about barrel care relates to the cleaning and sterilization of the inside of the barrel. While we do sell cleaning kits, complete with Barrel-Kleen cleaning powder, neutralizing powder, and sterilization tablets, we recommend buying a second (or third) barrel if you want to try a new essence, rather than cleaning out the existing one. Cleaning out the barrel shortens the lifespan by stripping out the char. If you are using your aging barrel for wine, use the sterilization tablets in between every two batches. Check out our full barrel cleaning instructions for a step by step guide to cleaning and sterilizing.

If you don’t plan on aging anything for an extended period of time, you can store your barrel by filling it with water and placing it somewhere cool. Flush it out with fresh water once every month or so. The essential thing to remember is that your barrel should never be empty – and for most of us, that isn’t a problem!   But if you are one of the few that needs to store it with water for an extended period you may notice some mold that can grow inside the water.   To sterilize this and remove the mold there are 2 choices.   You can purchase and use campden tablets from DSB here, or you can use a high proof neuatral grain to shock the barrel and kill the germs.

For any questions, feel free to call our office at 713-436-3448 or email customerservice@deepsouthbarrels.com

Make your oak aging barrel last for years by taking proper care of it.