Charring is a very quick complex reaction between wood and heat. The char on the wood removes some of the undesirable flavors, such as the “cereal like” flavor that’s created during distillation and fermentation. Lighter char on the wood has been found to bring out more of the spiced flavors of the liquor whereas a very dark char tends to produce a liquor with more color and more vanilla hints. There are a number of ways to create different levels of char on a barrel and many coopers use different techniques. But ultimately the amount of char is directly related to how long the wood is exposed to the flame.
For the most part, American white oak aging barrels have a medium char. This has been found to be the most universally pleasing amount of char and this is exactly the type of barrels you’ll find at Red Head Oak Barrels. At Red Head’s we know that just the right amount of char on a barrel is a key component to aging the perfect spirits. So while our standard barrels are medium char, you are welcomed to order a lighter or darker char, just make sure you do this over the phone or send us instructions when ordering your oak barrel.