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Wooden Barrels for Sale – Only The Finest Wood Brings About the Finest Liquor

Red Head Oak Barrels wooden barrels for sale are made from only the finest American White Oak.

Although other woods such as maple and hickory are sometimes used for aging whiskey, it’s the American White Oak that is known to bring out and complement whiskey’s finest flavor notes. It’s not just whiskey the white oak is known to elevate; tequila, rum, and even beer and wine are also improved by spending time in a wooden oak barrel.

When you’re looking for wooden barrels for sale, turn to Red Head Oak Barrels. We sell only handmade American oak barrels using the finest premium white oak to produce top crafted barrels for aging spirits, wine, beer and just about anything else you can think of.

We source our American White Oak from a variety of forests across the continental United States, including California, Missouri and sometimes Kentucky. Our barrels are made by our own barrel makers—Coopers—who are American craftsman dedicated to excellence in this time-honored field.

When Flavor Matters, Wooden Barrels Make The Difference

Only fully mature trees make the best wooden barrels for aging liquor and that’s when the trees are at least 25-feet tall and three-feet in diameter. It takes at least 30 years for a White American Oak tree to reach its full growth.

From there, the tree trunks are transferred to a sawmill and sawn into planks and then staves. A traditional cask is 32 staves around, with 15 more used to seal the ends. The staves are then fired and bent, the charring or toasting being part of the flavor process.

White oak has a tight grain that prevents leaking and can be bent by heat without splitting. It is porous and allows oxygen in and out of the cask. The oak is also full of naturally occurring oils called vanillins. As the spirits age, the oils are drawn out of the wood and over the maturation period they add to the liquor’s flavor profile.

American White Oak Turns the Ordinary into Something Extraordinary

Aside from using oak wooden barrels, other factors that can affect the flavor of an aging spirit concerns the character and location of the distillery, the ingredients used, and the size and shape of the stills. American White Oak is hands down the most common wood used for whiskey and it’s all we use here at Red Head Barrels.

When you’re looking for wooden barrels for sale, look for those made with American White Oak. The white oak is perfect for whisky barrel construction; the trees grow fast, are strong quality and have high levels of vanillins.  

Flavor notes from oak wooden barrels include vanilla, honey and coconut. American White Oak is also a pure wood, which means it doesn’t have resin canals that will be passed down to the liquor.

There are five constituents of oak that each influence maturing spirits:

  • Cellulose. Holds the wood together.
  • Hemicellulose. The break down of simple sugars that results in caramelized aromas, flavors, and color.
  • Lignin. When heated, yields vanillin and smoky aromas.
  • Oak tannins. Plays an essential role in maturation and the creation of delicate fragrances.
  • Oak lactones. Pass on a strong woody and coconut character.

Wooden Barrels are as Versatile as Your Imagination

When you’re looking for wooden barrels for sale, you’re no doubt hoping to find the right barrel for aging liquor. The standard full size oak barrel for aging liquor is 53 gallons but at Red Head Oak Barrels we have sizes starting at just 1 liter.

The smaller oak barrel size makes for faster aging; you can see results in just weeks. By way of an example, our 1-liter barrel will age Crown Royal to Crown Reserve in about two weeks. The advantages of small barrels:

  • Speed. You can start tasting as early as 14 days and call it finished when you say so.
  • Flavor. Chemical reactions from the sugar chains as well as lignins in the wood happen faster due to the increased proportion of the interior barrel surface area to stored volume.
  • Flexibility. The small volume makes it perfect for experimenting with new flavors and infusions without committing to a large quantity.

Even if you’re not sure you want to age liquor, there are plenty of reasons you might be looking for wooden barrels for sale. Our American White Oak Barrels complement any decor and can be also be used for these purposes:

  • Aged pickles, peppers & hot sauce
  • Infused cigars & tobacco
  • Aged coffee, vanilla extract & maple syrup
  • Man cave decor & games
  • Wedding & groomsmen gifts & decor

Red Head Barrels can also be personalized in many ways, reflecting your name, brand or special occasion. We also have Ageless wooden barrels that are fully lined so you can store your favorite beverage without any flavor from the wood being imparted. These barrels are coated on the inside with beeswax and work great as a dispenser without changing the taste of your drink.

Our barrels can also come pre-infused with your favorite liquor. We cure the barrel with the liquor flavor of your choice, giving you an opportunity to experiment with flavors you have never tried before. For example you could order an oak barrel that has been infused and cured with Irish whiskey and then age your own homemade version with our Irish whiskey essence and vodka. This eliminates the need to cure your barrel. All you do is pour your liquor in and let the aging begin.

The History of the American White Oak

Oak trees are the most widespread hardwoods in the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere and are among the biggest, growing in height from 35 to over 100 feet tall. There are approximately 125 white oak species—also known as Quercus alba—in the Americas and 25 more in Eurasia. Recent research shows the white oaks in Europe and east Asia originated from North America, and two species on opposite ends of the globe—the Armenian oak and Sadler’s oak of California and Oregon— are each other’s closest relatives.

The oldest American White Oak tree was thought to be 600 years old and was removed from a New Jersey church lawn in 2017. The tree was over 100 feet tall with limbs spanning 156 feet; its trunk had a circumference of 18 feet. The tree essentially died of old age and took three days to take down. No one really knows how or why trees die. Scientists can reconstruct their past  but they don’t know how to predict their future. This white oak didn’t become barrels; the wood was repurposed as crosses and benches for the church.

The ideal age for an oak to be harvested is around 80 years, and some coopers specify the forest of origin on their barrels. At Red Head Barrels, we source our American White Oak from a variety of U.S. forests, including California, Missouri and Kentucky.

The secret to white oak’s high resistance to water and rot is in the tyloses, which give the wood a closed cellular structure. Its high leak resistance is one of the main reasons white oak is used by coopers to make wooden barrels to age liquor. White oak is also commonly used in construction, shipbuilding, furniture, and agricultural implements.

American oak has a global reach, with the biggest foreign markets being Spain and Australia. New and used barrels are also making their way to Japan, Mexico, Chile, Taiwan, Scotland, Italy and France.

How Liquor is Aged in a Wooden Barrel

No matter what spirit you’re using—gin, vodka, bourbon, moonshine, cognac, beer or wine—the higher the proof the better when it comes to aging. During its time in the barrel, the spirits will pick up flavors and colors from the wood. The liquor’s flavor will also be affected by the previous use of the barrel.

Barrels that previously aged sherry are common in whiskey aging, especially with scotch. Bourbon can only be aged in a new barrel, so many have a second life aging tequila and rum. Other brands make a point of using exotic woods in their barrels to create distinct flavors

To ensure the proper aging when aging liquor yourself, make sure your barrels are stored in a place that doesn’t have high fluctuation in temperature, humidity and light. Temperature shifts will affect what’s happening in the barrel. Between hot and cold seasons the liquid expands into and contracts out of the wood, accelerating those wood interactions.

Your Red Head Oak barrel can be used more than once to age spirits, but how many times varies on the type of liquor being aged. The impact caused by the oak decreases with each use. This is a general guideline on how many times barrels can be used before being replaced.

  • Tequila: 10 times
  • Rum: Seven times
  • Whiskey or bourbon: Four times
  • Wine: Once

In between batches, make sure the barrel’s always filled with water so it doesn’t dry out. That water needs to be changed about every two to three weeks so the barrel doesn’t mold.

The Subtle Difference Charing Can Make

In order to turn a high-proof moonshine into a smooth spirit it takes time and a barrel. But all barrels are not created equal. In addition to the wood used, the barrel itself must be prepared by burning the insides. There are basically two methods—toasting or charring—each imparting different flavor notes. The main difference is how much heat is used.  

Charring burns barrels to a crisp, creating charcoal that filters the spirit, removing some of the liquor’s harsher elements. The high temperatures of charring cause the wood sugars to caramelize, allowing, sweeter flavors like caramel and honey to come through. The higher the char level number, the darker the char and the deeper the burn. This will affect both the flavor and the color of the spirit being aged.

By comparison, toasted barrels are lightly heated, resulting in a dark brown toast rather than a blackened char. Toasted barrels have more vanilla and spicy accents since the wood sugars aren’t heated enough to caramelize. The shade of the liquor will also be lighter.

At Red Head Barrels, we finish all of our wooden barrels for sale with a medium char for perfectly balanced essences of caramel and vanilla. Our barrels vary in size from 1 liter to 20 liters, with some used 53 gallon barrels also available. Each comes with a wooden spigot, a bung and a stand.

The Red Head Barrel Difference

Red Head Oak Barrels sells handmade American oak barrels specially designed for aging and mellowing rum, whiskey, bourbon, tequila, brandy, wine, beer and more. Proprietor Steve Mayes—AKA Red—experimented with barrel aging for many years before opening Red Head Oak Barrels in 2013.

A U.S. Navy Veteran, his business philosophy is to over-deliver and give his customers more than they expect. A Baton Rouge native living in Dallas for over 25 years, Red Head Barrels believes in “lagniappe,” an expression in Louisiana that means “a little extra.”

We have a variety of recipes and liquor making kits so you can turn ordinary spirits into top shelf liquor for a fraction of the price. Make your own flavored Canadian, Kentucky, Tennessee, or Irish Whiskey, Bourbon, Scotch, Spiced Rums, and more at home for about $10 a fifth.

We have hundreds of 5-star reviews and stand behind every product we make. A multi-generational team of professional expert coopers make our wooden staved vessels by sanding and tapering the oak staves so that they fit the hoops perfectly without nails and glue. The oak aging barrel is perfectly charred during assembly and each comes with a wooden spigot, a bung and a stand. Call us with any questions you have at 469-969-0449 or see our website for more information.

All of our wooden barrels for sale are made from the finest American White Oak that has been properly aged and seasoned to give the best flavor possible. Our wooden barrels for sale are available in many styles for many purposes. Of course the traditional charred oak barrels for flavoring and aging whiskey, rum, tequila, bourbon, wine and brandy are our best sellers. We also have our new Ageless barrels available. They are coated on the inside with bees wax and work as a great dispenser without changing the taste of your drink. The Red Head Barrels can also come pre-infused with your favorite liquor. They make great Kombucha barrels for aging your brew or even for storing and infusing your cigars. You are sure to find several you like here. Don’t forget that all of our barrel products can be personalized to make the best gift.