Barrel Set up Instructions For Bars and Restaurants

Before using your barrel, you should cure the barrel. Your oak aging barrel is made of wood and stored empty so your barrel may need to swell back up before use. The barrel comes with a fair amount of moisture however if you wait too long to cure the barrel it could dry out and not seal itself totally. We normally recommend you use the barrel within the first 90 days especially since there is a limited warranty and waiting too long will allow the warranty to expire.

There are a few steps to take when aging liquor in an oak barrel. The barrel should be cured as to rid the barrel of any leaks. This process also makes the oak of the barrel swell and you may get a little more space inside of the barrel.

Installing the spigot in an oak barrel

Insert the spigot on the front of the barrel and tap it in to secure the spigot. The spigot should be inserted in to the head since the barrel will rest on its side in the stand.  Position the barrel in the stand with the spigot hole on the bottom side of the head (nearest the table).  Insert the spigot so that the valve handle is on top and rotated in the back position. (this should be closed) You may tap the spigot in the head firmly so that it is tight enough to seal it.   (DO NOT HAMMER THE SPIGOT IN WITH FULL FORCE) It may not go in all the way to the ridge on the spigot. It will swell and seal itself in the head.

Inserting the Bung in the bung hole:

Be sure when you put the bung in the bung hole to place it at about a 45 degree angle while twisting and pressing the bung against the side of the bung hole to help preserve the gasket from pushing up and off the bung.

Curing the barrel

  1. Start by rinsing out your barrel three or four times to get any wood debris out. Fill it, cover the holes, shake it and empty it.
  2. When curing your barrel you need to to find a sink or tub that can hold the barrel because this process will see the barrel, and its immediate surroundings, get wet. Try to find a tub that is big enough to hold the keg’s stand. Fill a container with hop water; enough to fill the barrel. Hot tap water is okay and boiling is NOT necessary.
  3. The oak barrel should come with a bung, which is a cork for the hole in the side (top), and a spout or spigot. Carefully pour the water into the barrel until the barrel is full. Close the barrel with the bung and let it sit.
  4.  Keep an eye on those leaks as they should seal up as the wood swells. When the leaks are sealed you are good to go. It can take from a few hours to several days (could be a week or so for 10 liter or larger barrels) depending on the size of your barrel. If you still have a leak after a week send us an email with your order number and pictures will help.
  5. The heat of the water is going to help with expansion of the barrel to seal the barrel up nice and tight, therefore curing the oak barrel. All oak barrels should be cured before using them to age liquor or wine.

Please note: There still may be small pieces of char inside the barrel even after rinsing and curing. This is normal and a part of the charring process. We recommend straining your spirits and wine when removed from the barrel.

Turn page over for other important information about your barrel

NOTE – Do not submerse the barrel in water. This will cause your barrel hoops to bleed and rust and it may cause it to get black all over the outside of the barrel and it won’t look very good.

Once your barrel had been cured DO NOT LET IT DRY OUT. Once a barrel has been cured and dried then it may not seal back up once you fill it again. ONCE WET ALWAYS WET

If you are going to store your barrel with water for more than a week then you will want to use a campden tablet (1 tablet per gallon of water) inside to keep mold from growing. Do not store with water for more than 2 weeks or so or else you will have mold and mildew.

If your barrel is still leaking after 7 days please send pictures and contact us immediately – Waiting too long may cause mold and may void your warranty.

Email – support@redheadbarrels.com

If your barrel will not seal we may just need to send you a little barrel wax to help seal it up. Please let us know and we can send you some wax to help seal the barrel.  Here are some instructions on how to apply it.

Sealing instructions:

You basically want to wipe the wax on the affected areas (after drying) and press it in to the pores of the wood. Then you can wipe off the excess with a rag.  The wax will fill the pores in that area and seal it up.

Video for using wax to seal a leaking barrel