How Long Will A Small Oak Barrel Last?

Aging whiskey, rum, or any other liquor takes time, but that time can be sped up when the liquor is placed in small, rather than large, oak barrels. How long can these small barrels last? Here is some advice from barrel maker, Steve Mayes.

General Rule

When kept in the right conditions, a small oak barrel lasts about ten years. Barrels need to be kept at cool temperatures and out of strong sunlight because heat can damage the barrels and ruin the taste of whatever is inside of them. Humidity also needs to be low. High humidity ruins the taste of liquor since it removes ethanol, a chemical necessary to give liquor depth and flavor.


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Make sure you have a good storage area before getting oak barrels for sale.

Reusing Barrels

Barrels age liquor fastest the first time it is used. It takes longer the next time. Unless aging wine, barrels can be reused a few times, depending on what kind of liquor is to be aged. Barrels used for wine can only be used once. Barrels used for whiskey and bourbon can be used up to four times. Rum barrels can be used up to seven times. Tequila can be used up to ten times.

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