Barrel Care


Shop Small Format Barrels


We’ve taken everything we know about full-size barrels and partnered with a multi-generational cooperage to produce brand new, small format barrels that fit on your home bar, kitchen countertop or other convenient location.

With expert craftsmanship and carefully selected oak and char level, our small format barrels deliver all the oak flavor your tasty beer, whiskey, wine or other beverage needs.

Barrel Specs

  • Size: 1 Liter, 2 Liter, 3 Liter, 5 Liter, 10 Liter & 5 Gallon

  • Oak type: American White Oak (Quercus alba)

  • Bung Size / Type: The liter size barrels come with a wooden bung, spigot and stand. 5 gallon barrels do not include a spigot or stand. For larger barrels, please see your barrel in our shop to find the corresponding bung size.


Unlike freshly emptied barrels, small format barrels require a little more prep because they’ve never held liquid before. Leaks should be expected, and so, properly swelling your barrel is critical. Don’t worry - we’ve created lots of resources to help with all things barrel swelling.


These are brand new, handcrafted barrels. They are crafted by expert coopers and inspected by our team prior to shipping. You receive a never-before-used, American Oak barrel. No additional modifications are made. Once you receive the barrel, some additional steps are required before you fill it.


Unlike freshly emptied barrels that have already been used to age whiskey, bourbon, wine or another beverage, brand new, small format oak barrels require a little bit of extra care before you can fill them.

Check for loose bands
Don’t be alarmed if some of the bands on your new barrel are loose. Your barrel is brand new and dry, so the bands may be loose until you swell it.

Swelling a new, small format barrel
1. To swell your barrel, start by rinsing out the interior three or four times to remove any loose charred wood and debris.

2. Fill your barrel with HOT water and insert the bung. Keep it full until any leaking stops. Most new barrels will leak a little before they are completely swelled. It may take anywhere from an hour to a week or more for the leaking to stop. In general, the larger the barrel, the longer this process can take.


Our liter size barrels come with a stand. For larger barrels without a stand, it is recommended to store them horizontally with the bunghole on the top.

Damn. Good. Barrels.


At Midwest Barrel Co. we take pride in doing things right. Simply put, that means our customers get the right barrel at the right time, by people who actually give a damn. It’s our promise.

How to fill a new, small format barrel

Once the leaking stops, remove the water and pour your beverage into the barrel. Sample periodically throughout the aging process until the desired taste is acquired.

Your first fill

We recommend filling the barrel with a low-quality spirit for the first time. The barrel will soak up a majority of the liquid on the first go around and you’ll be left with very little to drink. Using a lower quality spirit initially will also quickly strip all of the harsh oak and tannic associated with using a new barrel.

Remember: Small barrels will age your beverage much faster than larger barrels as they have a higher surface area to volume ratio.

Clean and reuse

When you’ve finished your beverage, thoroughly clean the barrel and reuse. These barrels can be used many times as long as you clean after each use.

Spigot pointers

For small format barrels that come with a spigot, the bung must be removed to vent the barrel before liquid will pour from the spigot.

Our distillery grade barrels do not come with a spigot. You can add a spigot by drilling a hole into one of the heads and tapping in your spigot.