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FAQ

Creative Barrels FAQs

What are your display barrels made from?

The majority of our display barrels are made from sustainably sourced premium Pine. We also make Aspen barrels for our coffee customers, per their industry requirements. And we often have American Oak Barrel seconds available as well – call for availability.

What are some common uses for your display barrels?

Wine, beer and spirits distributors love to use our barrels for POP displays. We also provide many bars and restaurants with barrels and barrel ends for signage. Retailers also love our barrels for product displays. And grocers appreciate how our barrels can serve dual function for shipping and displaying coffees, candies and nuts. Our barrels have even been featured in some major Hollywood productions (little films like “Pirates of the Caribbean”).

Do you have barrels in stock?

Yes, we often have standard sizes in stock. Please call for availability and pricing.

What are you minimum quantities?

Some of our standard sizes, such as 50 gal are available in quantities of 50+. True custom orders require a 100 minimum. Please call to discuss your order.

How quickly can you turn an order?

Generally we can turn an order around in 4-6 Weeks from order date. Sometimes less, sometimes more – depending on our backlog, specialty customization and quantities.

Do you make custom barrels?

The majority of our barrels are custom… so if you have an idea for a barrel, but you're not quite sure what's possible, give us a call.

What customization options are available?

We have in-house capabilities for screen printing, laser engraving, stenciling, decals, plastic signs and you can choose custom stain colors (4-5 in stock) as well as silver or black hoops.

What accessories are available?

The list is endless, but here are a few: Castors, Wire Bottle Holders, Food Safe Liners, False Bottoms, Plexi Lids, Spigots, Holder/Cradles, etc.

Do your display barrels hold water?

Our stock Pine barrels do not… but they are easily outfitted with liners to hold ice and liquids and can even be used for dispensing beverages.

Can these barrels be used outdoors?

We do not recommend using our Pine barrels outdoors. We often have American Oak Barrel seconds available – which can be used outdoors. Please call for availability.

Whiskey Barrel FAQs

How long is your turnaround on whiskey barrels?

We typically have a hundred or so or each size barrel in stock, which can be sent out within 48 hours.

How is your wood sourced?

All of our wood is sustainably and responsibly sourced in the US and FSC certified. Most of our American White Oak is from Northern Missouri while a portion is sourced right here in Minnesota. As one of the leading cooperates in the US, our company has its roots in the lumber business (over 100 years of experience) so you can rest assured that your barrels delivery quality, consistency and repeatability in every batch.

How are The Barrel Mill’s Whiskey Barrels made?

We select the finest American White Oak from the highest-quality stave produced in the US – using thicker staves to reduce evaporation loss and increase the quality of the barrel. Each stave is air-dried up to two years, individually molded, traditionally fired bent, toasted and charred to your specifications. We used galvanized steel hoops that are custom made in house. Our heads are put together with tongue and groove joints, charred and sealed with local, organic beeswax. In short, we cooper each barrel with care.

How are the whiskey barrels tested?

Upon completion, each barrel is hand stress-tested with high temperature, pressurized filtered water to ensure there are no leaks. From the first stave to the final assembly, The Barrel Mill’s commitment to quality has no equal.

Why smaller whiskey barrels?

Smaller barrels can mean bigger ROIs due to increased amount of the spirit coming in contact with the barrel. Our smaller Premium White Oak barrels can help you get your product to market faster without sacrificing quality. We currently offer, 5 gal, 10 gal, 15 gal and 30 gal barrels.

What if my barrel leaks?

Well, straight up – it shouldn’t because we test each and every one. That said, if your barrel sits too long unfilled it can become dehydrated and will need to be swelled with water. Before you fill, follow the barrel care instructions that were sent with your barrel. No leaks should occur if you follow these instructions.

Are Oak Infusion Spirals proven for whiskey making?

Very much so. Not only has the design been around for years, it’s been used by many top distilleries (many of which have won the industry’s highest honors) and ETS Labs in California has tested the specific toast and char levels.

Why are spirals used with barrels?

Because new Oak barrels are scarce. Using The Infusion Spiral in a through-bung insertion can enhance old barrels. Many customers also use the spirals with new barrels to get product to market faster.

Can spirals be used in tank systems?

Of course! They are ideal for imparting Oak attributes in whiskey in either stainless steel or plastic tanks. Our customers have used spirals in these applications with great success. (Accolades page)

How do we come up with our dosage recommendations?

Following the dose recommendations on the label will get you roughly the same Oak color, flavor, and aroma in 6 weeks as you would 8 months in a 53 gallon charred Oak barrel. It is easy to over-oak, so please follow the label instructions – you can always add more later.

How is the flavor extracted so much faster as compared to barrels and other Oak alternatives?

Liquids penetrate wood eight times faster when exposed to the end grain of the wood versus the side grain, like barrels and other Oak alternatives.

How are the Infusion Spirals® toasted?

We use state of the art convection ovens for consistency and uniformity. Temperature and length of toasting are kept track of to ensure consistency in every batch.

How are the Infusion Spirals® charred?

Our charred spiral is a product of our custom, conveyor-charring machine that uniformly chars the spiral and immediately extinguishes the flame and ensures consistency.

What are the most popular products?

Our top sellers are American medium (most like #3 standard alligator); American Char #3 similar to the medium toast but adds more color and roasted characteristics.

How long does it take to get the Oak Spirals?

Our products are shipped from stock, packaged in sealed plastic bags for freshness, and usually arrive in four business days by ground transport from our Minnesota facility.

Can the Infusion Spiral® be reused?

No, after six weeks all Oak flavor is extracted. Do talk to your local craft brewery though as many are now seeking used spirals for creating uniquely flavored brews.

Can I make a bourbon with spirals only?

No, charred oak barrels are required for bourbons. Please check with TTB labeling guidelines. Many distilleries are making bourbon-like products with specialty applications.

How many tank packs should I use in my tank?

One tank package per 270 gallons of spirit.

How many 8-inch spirals for should I put in my carboy?

Two 8” spirals are recommended per six gallons of spirits.

How do I connect the spiral pack to the bung?

We suggest using a stainless steel eyelet that is screwed into the bottom of your normal bung and using the included food-grade zip-tie to connect the end of the mesh bag to the eyelet. Another option is to use about three feet of fishing line (20-30 lbs. strength) to tie to one end of the mesh and staple to the other end on the outside of the barrel, next to the bung hole.

Are free samples of the Infusion Spiral® available?

Yes, if you are a commercial distillery. Please contact us to start a trial. All we ask for is a sample of your results.

Infusion Spiral® FAQs

Can the Infusion Spiral® be reused?

No, after six weeks all oak flavor is extracted. Reusing them will not impart flavor into the new wine.

What types of wines work best with the Infusion Spiral®?

80% of the wine used with spirals is red wine, the majority of which are Bordeaux and Rhone varietals. Our Bordeaux Blend French Oak barrel Pack was created specifically for Cabernet and Merlot, but works well with Syrah, too. For Chardonnay, our French oak Medium Toast has been very successful in aging and in fermentation.

What is the difference between French and American Spirals?

The French has a subtler flavoring and a softer mouth feel. American oak typically has a bold aroma and more prominent flavor.

Will it hurt to leave the Spiral in longer than six weeks?

No, but after six weeks virtually all flavor is extracted. Additional time in wine improves integration. We have found best results to come between three and five months in wine.

What are the most popular toast levels?

Our top sellers are French medium, French medium plus and the Bordeaux Blend. Our American medium plus is also popular for richer wines such as zinfandel.

How are the Infusion Spirals® toasted?

We use state of the art convection ovens for consistency and uniformity. Temperature and length of toasting are kept track of to ensure consistency of every batch.

How is the flavor extracted so much faster as compared to barrels and other oak alternatives?

Liquids penetrate wood eight times faster when exposed to the cross grain of the wood versus the side grain, like barrels and other oak alternatives.

How many tank packs should I use in my tank?

Most tank-aged wines get a 25%-30% dose of new oak. In this case, one tank pack for every 1000 gallons of wine is suggested.

How many eight inch spirals for home wine making should I put in my carboy?

One or two eight spirals are recommended per six gallons of wine.

Do the Spirals float?

No, unlike other adjuncts, almost immediately the Spirals will sink into the wine. This is due to the abundance of cross-grain exposure.

Do you have references?

Of course! Call us for references in your area.

Are free samples of the Infusion Spiral® available?

Yes, if you are a commercial winery, distillery, etc. Please contact your representative to start a trial. All we ask for is a sample of your results.

How do we come up with our dosage recommendations?

One-barrel pack gives aroma and flavor impact of a new oak barrel. Removing one or several spirals from the pack can easily control dosages of single-toast barrel packs. Or, treat one barrel at 100% dosage, or higher, and then blend down with neutral wine to achieve your desired oak impact.

How long does it take to get the Oak Spirals?

Our products are shipped from stock, packaged in sealed plastic bags for freshness, and usually arrive in four business days by ground transport from our Minnesota facility.

How do I connect the spiral pack to the bung?

We suggest using a stainless steel eyelet that is screwed into the bottom of your normal silicon bung and using the included food-grade zip-tie to connect the end of the mesh bag to the eyelet. Or, you can order one of our bungs with an extended length at the bottom to wrap the zip-tie directly to the bung. Another option is to use about three feet of fishing line (20-30 lbs. strength) to tie to one end of the mesh and staple or tape the other end to the outside of the barrel.