There is a difference between sealing the oak barrel and curing the barrel. Both procedures are very important before using your mini barrel and adding the final product for maturing.
In this article we will explain the differences and how to go about both sealing and curing your new mini barrel.
Sealing the barrel
Sealing is the process of adding water to the barrel and allowing it to sit full of water. Adding hot water is optional and can be used as an extra measure to make sure the barrel is sanitized. But please remember all barrels shipped from Barrels Online follow a strict sanitization process using heat, you can read about the process followed here.
Adding water to the barrel will allow the barrel to absorb the water and start swelling, the process of swelling is what will seal the barrel.
The time it takes to fully swell a barrel for it seal can be anywhere from a few hours up to a week. All barrels are different, and some barrels may have dried out more than others and thus take longer to swell and seal.
It is best to seal a barrel with the top bung off as not to create a vacuum inside. This causes the barrel to not fully seal and is the reason why when you open the tap the barrel starts leaking after it has initially sealed.
Curing the barrel
Curing the barrel is the process of allowing the barrel to sit full of water for at least two days. This is done to remove any excess or loose charring inside the barrel.
Before sealing / curing the barrel, please fill halfway with water, swish then empty in order to remove any small charred debris from inside.
Why is the process of curing needed?
When the barrel is charred the top layer of burnt wood contains a very thin layer of black dust. This dust if not removed will blacken the whiskey, rum, bourbon, Manhattan or whatever spirit is stored inside the barrel
If the barrel seals within a few hours continue to allow it to sit full of water for at least two days. If the barrel takes longer than two days to seal than the barrel has also been cured.
*Please note that bigger pieces of charred wood that have become unhinged and cannot be removed when emptying the barrel can be left inside as they will aid in the aging process.
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