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These small format whiskey and bourbon barrels are domestically sourced from a mixture of small, craft distilleries to major brand name Kentucky and Tennessee distilleries. These barrels arrive at our warehouse after being freshly emptied by the distillery, typically after aging whiskey for 1+ years. They are dumped at the distillery and then shipped directly to us within a few days.
Size: 5 to 30 Gallon
Oak type: American White Oak (Quercus alba)
Source: Our small format barrels are sourced from craft distilleries all over the United States.
Bung Size / Type: Please see your barrel in our shop to find the corresponding bung size.
If we’re doing our job correctly, there shouldn’t be a whole lot of care needed for your barrels. But sometimes life happens and barrels aren’t filled quite as quickly as you anticipated.
Our team visually inspects all barrels and, if necessary, pressure checks for leaks. If we find a leaky barrel, we do not fix it, as this is usually just a temporary fix. Instead, we sell our non-refillable barrels as furniture and decor. This ensures only the highest quality barrels are delivered to be refilled.
IMPORTANT: It is best practice to fill your barrel as soon as possible after it arrives at your doorstep. The longer a barrel sits, the drier it becomes. This makes the barrel more prone to leaks. If you know you will not be filling your barrel immediately, then we suggest holding off on purchasing until closer to your fill date. Should you be unable to fill your barrel immediately upon receipt, we encourage you to store it in a cool and humid environment (think musty basement or cellar) to delay the drying process as much as possible.
As a reminder, our leak-free guarantee is valid for 30 days post purchase and you will want to take extra precautions with swelling the barrel prior to filling.
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.
Our top priority is providing leak-free barrels. Because fresh barrels do have a shelf life it is best to fill them immediately upon delivery. Every now and then a leak sneaks through the cracks. Purchased within the last 30 days? No worries - we’ve got your back.
Recently emptied barrels are considered “wet” or “fresh dumped.” Immediately following, they are loaded onto trailers at the distillery and delivered to our warehouse within one to two days.
Upon arrival, Midwest Barrel Co. visually inspects all barrels, and if necessary, pressure checks for leaks. This process ensures they are liquid grade and ready to be used again for barrel-aged beer.
If we find a leaky barrel, we do not repair it. We’re not in the business of temporary fixes. These retired barrels are now ready to be upcycled as decor, furniture and barrel art. This ensures only the highest quality barrels are delivered to be refilled.
We know that a lot of planning and execution goes into your brewing schedule and fill dates. For best results, we always recommend filling within 7 days of receipt. Your barrels will arrive tight and ready to fill.
We get it, dates and times don’t always line up just perfect. Generally, filling barrels within three weeks of arrival shouldn’t pose a problem.
But...the longer a barrel sits, the drier it becomes. This makes the barrel more prone to leaks. If you know you will not be filling your barrel immediately, we suggest holding off on purchasing until closer to your fill date.
Should you be unable to fill your barrel immediately, we encourage you to store it in a cool and humid environment (think dank basement or cellar). If you plan to fill beyond that amount of time, you may need to take some simple steps to swell your barrel before filling.
When small format whiskey and bourbon barrels (5-30 gallon) are emptied, every last drop of liquid is drained from the barrel. It is uncommon for these barrels to be “wet” on the inside when we receive them. That’s OK! They are still very fresh and will add plenty of flavor to your beverage.
Because more liquid is removed from small format barrels when they are dumped, we do recommend filling them partially full of hot water to allow the barrel to swell up tight prior to filling with your beverage. Doing this for a short period of time will not rinse out any of the important flavors.
Fill your barrel with your beverage of choice as soon as possible once it has tightened up.
Barrel Storage Tips
If storing for 2 weeks or less, stand the barrel vertically and fill the top head space (outside of the barrel) with water to keep the head and stave joint swelled. Every couple of days, FLIP the barrel and repeat to the opposite head. *Pro tip: use hot water 180º or more.
Fill the barrel with an inert GAS such as nitrogen. This process, called nitrogen purging, will remove all oxygen from the barrel. This helps keep microbial activity to a minimum. Seal the barrel with a wood or silicone bung after filling with nitrogen.
Barrels love moisture. To preserve flavor and keep the staves nice and tight, WRAP the barrels in stretch wrap to help hold in moisture for an extended period of time. Some brewers will use this method using clean wet towels, however, this technique is more beneficial for barrels that need to be swelled.