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Don Vassie American White Oak Ageing Barrels

Don Vassie Ageing Barrel FAQ..... 
What are the barrels made from?
Our barrels are made from premium quality American White Oak. The staves are air dried for two years and all barrels have a medium char.
Are glues or nails used to make the barrel?
No, our barrels are all hand crafted with no use of glues or nails.
How should the barrel be stored?
Barrels are best stored in a cool damp environment such as a wine cellar. This will keep the exterior from drying out and minimise evaporation.
How many times can I use my barrel?
With proper care, you can use your barrel for 8 to 10 years. Following the cleaning and re-charing instructions will insure a long life for your product and be sure to not let your barrel dry out.
The hoops are loose or have fallen off... What do I do?
Our barrels are handmade without the use of any nails. As the wood dries the barrel shrinks and hoops loosen. Hooping is fitted in location but is only stabilized after the curing process when the barrel swells into place due to the expansion of the wood. Simply hand force the hoop into its proper location and slightly tap the banding’s side with a blunt item around the entire circumference of the barrel until tight. Then proceed to the curing process.
When I opened the box and pulled out the barrel, I hear something inside the barrel rattling...?
It is common for the barrel to have small pieces of wood inside. Your barrel is charred internally and can cause pieces from the inside to separate from the body. THIS IS GOOD NEWS! The more charred surface contact with the spirit, the faster it will age. Simply strain the spirit before drinking.
How do I cure my barrel?
All barrels need to swell to ensure proper function. Use boiling or hot water and fill your barrel to the top through the bung hole. When doing this, place in an area that allows for seepage coming through the wood (i.e. kitchen sink, outside, tub etc…) Although there may be no leaks immediately, the wood does need to swell internally for a period of time before use, a minimum of 3-5 days is preferred. Curing the wood will minimise the absorption of precious spirit into the body of the barrel.
My barrel is taking on a blackish colour:
This is referred to as “leaching”. All barrels can produce a discoloration during the curing process. As the water makes its way through the wood, it will push out coloration from anything in its way. This is perfectly normal and seen in all commercial barrels in the beer, wine and distilling world.

What should I do if nothing comes out of my spigot when I turn it?
Remove the bung when dispensing to release pressure and allow for airflow.
What should I do if there is little or no spirit after many months?
For smaller barrels, the aging process is accelerated, and most spirits are at their optimum result within 1 to 3 months. Taste periodically and remove the contents into a bottle with appropriate aging notes when accepted best to your pallet. If you have teenagers in your home, you may also want to investigate the “My Little Angels Share” option.
How often should I clean my barrel?
For hard spirits such as whiskey, rum or tequila, clean the barrel after two or three batches (or every 1 to 2 years). For wine, cider, liquor or other low alcohol content spirits, clean after each batch.
How do I clean my barrel?
Dissolve the Barrel-Kleen into warm water. Fill the barrel with this cleaning solution and soak for 24 hours. Empty and rinse 3 times with hot water. 2) Dissolve the Neutralizing Acid into warm water. Fill the barrel with this neutralizing solution and soak for 15 minutes. Empty and rinse the barrel 3 times with hot water. 3) To re-char the barrel interior, drain the barrel for 3 hours. Place a butane torch in the bung and spigot hole and re-char the inside.
How should I store my barrel?
To prevent the barrel from drying out and minimize the possibility of contamination, barrels should always be stored full with spirits or water with sterilizing solution. When storing the barrel, fill it with a mixture of sterilising tablets and cool water and leave it in a cool, damp place until you are ready to use it again.
How long should I age my spirits?
There is no formula for the perfect time to age your spirits. Age to taste! It is suggested to taste your spirits every week and once aged to YOUR taste, start drinking or move it to a glass bottle to stop the aging process.
Do smaller barrels age the spirit faster than large barrels?
A: Yes, due to the greater surface or contact area ratio, small size barrels will age 5 to 10 times faster than your standard 55-gallon barrel. This means that one month in a small barrel will produce the equivalent aging to 1 to 1 1/2 years in a full-size barrel.
 

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