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  1. #1
    Connoisseur
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    used bourbon barrels

    How are used bourbon barrels prepped before other spirits or wine are aged in them? Are they scrubbed? Disinfected? Charred? Dryed? Are the buyers of used barrels really particular about what was in them or how old they are? Is there a high demand for used barrels or are they tough to get rid of?
    Craig

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: used bourbon barrels

    These days, the demand for used bourbon barrels is strong, but it isn't always.

    About all that is done is that some barrels are knocked down and reassembled while some are shipped intact to the next user. Either way, they will typically check them for leaks by putting some water in them first, which also rinses them out. That's about it.

    Some buyers, especially in Scotland, are very particular. Some actually have their barrels picked out when the barrels are made, before bourbon goes into them. They specify things like how long the wood is air-dried before the barrel is made.

    Used bourbon barrels are primarily used for aging other distilled spirits, and sometimes beer, but rarely if ever wine.

  3. #3
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    Re: used bourbon barrels

    Seems like I heard of some Rum distillers disassembling enough to knock the heads off and rechar the inside of their used barrels. I know one of them used to advertise that they did it that way but I can't recall which one it was.

    I think used barrels account for a large percentage of aging vessels for Rum.

  4. #4
    Taster
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    Re: used bourbon barrels

    I think the demand is pretty high. Woodford wouldn't sell me one when I asked about it.

  5. #5
    Disciple
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    Re: used bourbon barrels

    Quote Originally Posted by BourbonBaron View Post
    I think the demand is pretty high. Woodford wouldn't sell me one when I asked about it.
    That doesn't necessarily mean that there is a high demand. Those barrels could have already been sold. Most distillers have contracts or agreements for their used barrels...already in place. As with Brown Forman...it could have already been allocated to one of their tequila plants.

    There are plenty of used barrels on the market for individual use. Just google used whiskey barrels...and there are a few that will pop right up.

    The type of barrel used by a secondary user...will depend on what that user has planned for their barrel(what they will put into it). Depending on it's second use...the type of product the original barrel held is very important. As it will impart those flavors on the secondary contents.

    If you are buying one for your own use....you don't need to do much to the barrel except check it for leaks. It may take some rehydration to get the barrel to hold liquid again.
    ______________________________

    Jeff Mo.

  6. #6
    Advanced Taster
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    Re: used bourbon barrels

    If I remember, I think Woodford supplies barrels to Alltech brewery for their Bourbon Barrel ale, and I think Makers goes to Laphroaig.

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: used bourbon barrels

    One example of a scotch distillery contracting for bourbon barrels with particular specifications even before the bourbon goes in is Glenmorangie with Brown-Forman.

    I was surprised to learn that Brown-Forman's Herradura Tequila uses new barrels for Herradura and then those barrels are reused for el Jimador. They don't use bourbon barrels.

    Re-charring is done but it's not common. Likewise brewery use of bourbon barrels is a very small piece of the used barrel business.

  8. #8
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    Re: used bourbon barrels

    Some of the Irish whiskey producers age their whiskey in both bourbon and sherry barrels and blend whiskey from each in different proportions depending on the particular brands specs. Some even go so far as to specify certain percentages of whiskey from first fill barrels, second fill barrels etc. depending on which brand they are bottling. They tend to reuse the barrels until they are no longer fit for aging!

    Thomas
    Last edited by ThomasH; 12-27-2011 at 12:41.

  9. #9
    Enthusiast
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    Re: used bourbon barrels

    Scotland uses a lot of ex-bourbon casks. They are re-charred or toasted before they are reused. Often the barrels are dissambled for transport. I don't know if the same parts ends up in the same casks as they were before dissambling but I don't think so. Often the size is different, going from barrel size to hogshead size (its approx 200liters to 250liters)

    I have never heard if prior content will affect the scottish whisky maturing. I am thinking if the bourbon recipe has any effect on the malt. I only asked one distillery owner about this and he didnt think so. He said thou that the casks he got from different bourbon distilliries had a very different nose prior to filling them, and that he particular liked the ones from Makers Mark iirc.

    Otherwise prior content of casks is very important. You got whisky from ex-bourbon casks, ex-sherry casks, ex-port pipes, wine finished crap, virgin oak etc.

    The list is endless. I always wondered why we havent seen a specific ex-rye casks single cask single malt. I will try to ask about this in the future. Wouldn't you reckon it matters ? It had to be a high rye mashbill to make it significant different to a high rye mashbill ex-bourbon cask I say, but then why woulkdn't a non-rye mashbill ex-bourbon cask not affect the next content different than a high-rye mashbill ex-bourbon

    Steffen

  10. #10
    Advanced Taster
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    Re: used bourbon barrels

    I've seen an occasional wine aged in bourbon barrels. I still have a bottle of an Australian wine aged in Van Winkle barrels. I think it is pretty rare though. I think its mainly just one off projects and experiments.

 

 

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