The typical Oak Whiskey Barrel in size is 190-200l (53 US gal/42-44 imp gal) and dimensions are height 36’’(~90cm), top& bottom lids 22’’(~55cm), middle 26-28’’(~66-70cm).Empty barrel weighs average 110lbs(~50kg).
The barrel is made of 31-33 staves with 2 lids (ends) and held together by 6 steel hoops and 12 rivets.
The most common whiskey barrel is made from American white oak (These are the best for use in the whiskey barrel ageing process, as their sole purpose is to better the whiskey. When using this size whiskey barrel it is appropriate to let it be for six to eight years
Most casks come in various sizes from about 200 to 650 litres.
200 litres (barrel) and 250 litres (hogshead) are the most common sizes.
To produce Scotch whiskey, several types of barrels are used:
- Butt – approx. 475-500 litres
- Puncheon – approx. 450-500 litres (lower and wider)
- Hogshead – approx. 225-250 litres
- Barrel – approx. 190-200 litres ( also known as the ASB -American standard barrel or bourbon barrel
- Quarter – approx. 45-50 litres (a quarter cask is a quarter of the size of the ASB but with the same dimensions)
- Whisky Octave- approx. 45l – 68l
In different parts of France, the shape and volume of the barrels tend to be individual.
In Burgundy, the barrel with a capacity of 228 litres (59 US gal/49 IMP gal) is considered as the standard.
These barrels are called ‘Burgundy type’. The shape of the barrel is very low, probably because many basements in the Burgundy have low entrances.
Also, the volume “piece” has its own meaning: 228 litres is the number of grapes that can be collected by one person in one day.
Similar size for a “Barrique Bordelaise” barrel (Bordeaux barrel) – 225 litres.
The Bordeaux barrel is currently the most popular among the world’s winegrowers.
Porto barrel (approx. 550-650 litres)- for porting – resembles cigars.
The size of the leader is German beer casks – up to 12 thousand. litres!
Good casks, well cared for, can last for up to 50 years or longer.
Each drink has its own traditions of ageing.
American whiskey resists only in new barrels, cognac – both new and pre-applied.
Most of all, compared to barrels, lucky just to Scotch whiskey producers.
Scotch whisky uses barrels used for bourbon. Most barrels used for ageing scotch Whisky were originally used to age bourbon in the USA. Scotch Whisky is almost aged in used barrels while bourbon is required to be aged in new oak.
The reusable barrel technique gave us whiskey, the world’s most popular alcoholic beverage.
European barrels make up only about five percent of all barrels used in the Scotch whiskey industry.
Currently, barrels are manufactured by large, even multinational companies. Most of them – the American Independent Stave Company (USA, France, Australia, Bulgaria). The largest European companies are in France: Sabaté Diosos SA and. François Frères Tonnellerie
The barrels are made from the following types of oak:
- Quercus robur – French oak (red)
- Quercus cerris is an oak from the north of Spain
- Quercus alba – America’s “white” oak.
Nowadays, oak barrels are no longer the first necessities, but without them, we would have deprived our favourite wines, whiskeys, brandies, bourbons, cognac…
Oak-wood is dense, hard, resistant to moisture. The beautiful colour and texture, elasticity and other properties make it possible to use the material in the building and furniture industry extensively. If the trunks are kept underwater for years without air, then they become darker, they become even more durable (“shaded oak”). The lack of flexibility and scent in wood is very valuable for the production of cognac, alcohol, beer, wine barrels.