Whether you’re aging whisky or you’re trying your hand at fermenting another spirit, there’s no denying the importance of wood barrels for your endeavor. But have you ever wondered how those wooden barrels are made before they make it to your doorstep? Let’s explore how oak wooden barrels are made for the aging of spirits.
First, the wood arrives. In some manufacturing facilities, the wood is split, not sawed.
This helps with the wood’s integrity and structure when it’s formed into barrels. The wood doesn’t come in freshly split, either. Instead, it’s seasoned outdoors for two to three years before it arrives for the barrels. Even after that, the wood must be specially prepared so it can be turned into barrels.
The first thing that must happen is the wooden planks (also called staves) must be fitted into a temporary hoop. The staves are all different sizes when they arrive, which makes cutting them to a uniform size important once they’ve been fitted properly. The whole process is quite mesmerizing to watch. And these staves will all come together to form a barrel in which you can age spirits. It’s really quite fascinating!