Top Ten Ways to Extend the Life of Your Aging Barrel

We are all about making your aging barrel last as long as possible. In this list, we wanted to share with you the top ways to get the most out of your oak whiskey barrel.

1. Storage Counts

Where you keep your barrel matters: always store in a cool environment away from direct sunlight. If the climate you live in is extremely dry, wipe down the barrel with a damp cloth at least once a week in order to hydrate.

Keep the barrel in a cool, temperature-controlled environment

2. Rotation

Miniature barrels do not require regular rotation like their larger counterparts. However it can help extend the life of your barrel. When spirits evaporate, space opens up at the top of the inside of the barrel, which can cause the staves to shrink and dry out. Rotating the barrel helps keep every bit of the inside of the barrel hydrated.

Rotate regularly

3. Stay Hydrated

Always keep your barrel full with some sort of liquid – if you aren’t aging a spirit, keep it full with water until you are ready for your next batch. Never, ever, let your aging barrel go dry!

4. Sealing Leaks

If by chance your barrel does spring a leak, don’t despair, your barrel is not done for. All it needs is some barrel wax and you will be back in business. Barrel wax will seal up small leaks, just make sure you don’t let the barrel go dry again.

5. Cleaning Procedures

To maximize the life of your barrel, only the DSB cleaning kits if you are switching out spirits in the barrel, or using your barrel for wine. Too frequent cleaning with sterilizers can shorten the lifespan of the barrel.

Our DSB cleaning kits


6. Proper Curing

We can’t stress enough the importance of curing your barrel before the first use, and again if it happens to go dry. Curing allows the staves of the barrel to “swell,” and without it, your barrel will leak.

7. Temperature Matters

When curing your barrel, use very hot water, and if by chance you have to re-cure it, it is best to use boiling water.

8. Tighten the Bands

Occasionally we have customers contact us who are worried because one of the metal bands on their barrel came loose. This does not mean your barrel is defective, or that the lifespan is shortened. All you have to do is tighten the band using a couple common household tools. Check here for a full tutorial.

9. Avoid the Fridge

When picking a place to store your barrel, do not store it in the refrigerator. The cold of the fridge will cause the staves of the barrel to shrink, which could cause leaks.

10. Topped Off

Whether filling your barrel with water for storage, or with spirits for aging, always check back every few days to a week to top the barrel off. This ensures that you lose less to evaporation (angel’s share), and as mentioned above, that the barrel stays hydrated. Added by Christina on March 6, 2015.

Pick up your next barrel at one of our shows!