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Thread: Used barrels Q

  1. #1
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    Used barrels Q

    What happens to the barrels once the Scotch and Irish distillers are done with them?

    How often are they used?

  2. #2
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    Re: Used barrels Q

    From what I have been told....there is not much life left in the barrel after most scotch manufacturers are through with them.

    Let's say it starts out as a bourbon barrel...five to seven years later it is dumped. Then sent on to Scotland....filled and sits for 15-25 years. That's a minimum of 20 years and a max of say...32. Now, depending on the initial char and bake the barrel could start out thin or maybe a bit thick. If thin...maybe 5-7 years subtracted....If thick...maybe only 1-2 total years subtracted. So, that puts us in a range from thin to thick....22 to 38.
    After the Scotch trade dumps their barrels, IIRC, they are then filled with grain spirits for the rest of their usable life. Which means until they can't hold distillate.

    There is my story and I'm stickin to it, until proven wrong. So, where ya' at Timothy?
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  3. #3
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    Re: Used barrels Q

    Quote Originally Posted by mozilla View Post

    There is my story and I'm stickin to it, until proven wrong. So, where ya' at Timothy?
    Right here!

    Honestly, I remember somewhere reading that barrels often go to the grain distillery first so continue to soften the flavor of the barrel, but I don't recall where I read that and all my books are in boxes right now and I don't feel like sorting through them. Some of the independant bottler stuff has stated that the barrel was 2nd or 3rd fill...but I'm not sure when they start counting: 2nd fill could be the first fill after bourbon was in it, or it could be the second time scotch was in it, I just don't know and it may not be a standardized statement anyway.

    As far as what happens to them once they are no longer good as a barrel, I'm not sure. However, those Scots tend to be pretty thrifty and smart, so I wouldn't put it past them to use them as heating wood if there's no other value to be found in them.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Used barrels Q

    If that is accurate (re possible burning of old barrel wood) what a lovely aroma that would be! I suppose quite a few end up as garden planters.

    Check this out:

    http://www.drinksafterdark.com/bourb...rel-furniture/

    Bourbon Barrel Furniture

    "The furniture is made from reclaimed bourbon barrels from Bardstown, Kentucky. Usually, the used barrels are only used once to age bourbon, and then they’re either sold to Scotland for scotch or they’re turned into planters, or firewood (sob! how wrong!!)."

    http://www.uhurudesign.com/index.php

    See new thread in Off Topic
    Last edited by Jono; 09-13-2008 at 17:53.

  5. #5
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    Re: Used barrels Q

    I just cut up an old barrel that was used as a rain barrel for quite a number of years. After the wood is dry, it lights right up in the fireplace without the use of paper, even after being used to hold rainwater for years. If anyone is interested in a set of metal barrel bands, feel free to PM me. I still have them from the barrel and if some wants to pay the shipping, I'll box them up and send them!

    Thomas

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    Re: Used barrels Q

    Quote Originally Posted by Jono View Post
    What happens to the barrels once the Scotch and Irish distillers are done with them?

    How often are they used?
    How often they are used i don`t know,depends on the distillery i guess,they have a lifespan from around 30 years but after their life as keepers of the amber nectar you`ll find loads of them in gardencenters where you can buy them as decoration for your garden,outdoorfurniture is also made of it(both very popular over here) and i thought Bose uses some for very expensive high quality speakers.
    Eric.
    Netherlands

  7. #7
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    Re: Used barrels Q

    Barrels are or can be used more then once. There are many instances of first and second fill being used for a particular run of something. While a third fill us more unusual now it has been done. As a point of trivia, when you watched the old cartoons and saw a barrel with XXX on it you knew it was liquor. Each X was put on the barrel to show how many times it was used so to have XXX become part of our imagery for booze it had to be common at some point.

    Nowadays some barrels are even rechared before the second or third fill and used that way and finally at the end of their lives used for grain possibly again multiple times due to the often short storage times. Once the barrel was completely done it used to be burned to help fire up the stills or given to the distillery workers for their own heating needs but I really don't know what is done with them the modern era.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jono View Post
    What happens to the barrels once the Scotch and Irish distillers are done with them?

    How often are they used?
    Illuminati in training

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    Re: Used barrels Q

    That Scots are thrifty sounds about right. Some of these bourbon barrels are broken up and remade as hogshead which contain 50 gallons from 42. After the first fill, some are recharred thats and recycle again. Some are shaved also. I suppose its up to the expertise of the cooper to determine which is which. A very important job I presume since the taste of the whisky depends a whole lot on the oak barrel.

    Somebody must be keeping track of those hundreds of oak barrels. Which one has been used for 8 years, 10 years, 12 years. Which one to use to mature whisky for 20 years, 30, 40 or even 50.

  9. #9
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    Re: Used barrels Q

    Most barrels from the US are from 50-55 gallons, with the majority in the 53 gallon size. Certain distilleries use odd sizes for grain alcohol and experiments, though.
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    Re: Used barrels Q

    Quote Originally Posted by mozilla View Post
    Most barrels from the US are from 50-55 gallons, with the majority in the 53 gallon size. Certain distilleries use odd sizes for grain alcohol and experiments, though.
    I read just the other day about this in the
    Whisky magazine. In the article titled “It’s a very physical job. You’re using shoulders, forearms and your back” by Ian Wisniewski he says,

    "You used to get what we call shooks (staves) from America, they were 40 gallon bourbon casks that have been knocked down and banded, and we would be building them into 54 gallon hogsheads."

    But I did google and they are talking about bourbon cask of the 53 gallon size.

    Maybe the 40 gallon barrels are old ones and the 53 are newer ones? In the petroleum industry we always use 42 gallons a barrel. Maybe its time to get rid of the english system.
    Last edited by LeoDLion; 09-16-2008 at 11:48.

 

 

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