FREQUENTLY ASKED
QUESTIONS

Have a question? Check out our list of commonly asked ones below. And if it isn’t answered, by all means, send us a message.

How many times can I re-use my aging barrel?

It all depends on your barrel fill and your flavour preferences. You might find a single barrel will produce 3 or 4 great batches of whisky, or even 8 batches of tequila.

Remember, the wood loses some of its impact with every batch. If you prefer a strong oak character every time, you might need to replace your barrel after just a few uses.

Can I use one barrel to age different types of spirits?

Wood is a porous material so your Urban Barrel will absorb flavours from every batch (this is known as “the Devil’s cut”). For example, when you age whisky in an oak barrel, some of its flavour will carry over to your next batch.

Whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, that’s up to you and your taste buds to decide.

You might prefer using separate oak barrels for each type of spirit. But we think one of the joys of barrel-aging at home is the ability to experiment with different flavour combinations to end up with something that’s all your own. Just keep in mind that no two batches are the same.

How do I clean my Urban Barrel?

Regular cleaning will reduce your barrel’s lifespan. Unless you’re switching to a completely different flavour profile for your next batch, just n rinse out your barrel until the water runs clear. After that, you’re ready to re-cure and start the aging process again.

How can I avoid stains on my barrel?

A well-cured barrel makes it easy to just wipe off any spills. But some liquor can stain the wood exterior—even a colourless high-proof spirit like vodka, which can leave a white discolouration.

Some stains may be removed by wiping the wood down with linseed or a wood-finishing oil, which will also restore the original shine.

For an additional cost, you can also add a varnish to some of our oak barrels to extend that pristine, “new wood” look.

Where do our barrels come from?

Our proudly Canadian cooperage is located in Carp, Ont., where we craft all our 5- and 53-gallon barrels out of Quercus alba, American white oak.

Our goal is to provide you with 100% made-in-Canada barrels and we’re working on it. In the meantime, we’re working with multiple suppliers and manufacturers in Canada, the United States and Mexico to get you what you need — and fast. Depending on the barrel size and type (e.g. bourbon barrels), and if the demand is high, we may source your barrel from our team of cooperages in North America to get you barrel aging in no time.

Toasting vs. charring: What’s the difference?

Burning a barrel’s interior primes the wood and makes it easier for the spirit to interact with different components:

Hemicellulose breaks down into toasty caramel notes, colour and aromas
Lactones add woody, coconut-like notes
Tannins become less astringent when exposed to heat
Lignin breaks down into flavour molecules, like eugenol (spiced/cloves) and more famously, vanillin (vanilla).

But toasting and charring are two different burning procedures.

Toasting is a slower process. It involves gently heating the barrel’s interior over an open flame so that the heat penetrates deep into the wood, which takes on a dark brown colour as it mellows.

Charring gives your barrel a burnt interior, like a campfire log after the fire. The carbon in the ash is the filter that takes the edge off your liquor. Charring also imparts darker colours and sweeter flavours since the intense heat caramelizes the wood sugars and releases more compounds that will leach into your spirit

A barrel’s char level can range from No. 1 (medium char), which gives you a mix of complex flavours and aromas, to the greater char depth of a No. 4, which yields a bold and intensely smoky spirit.

Our American oak aging barrels have a medium char. Check out this blog post about the difference between toasting and charring an oak barrel to learn more!

How long does shipping take?

Each of our barrels are hand-crafted at the time of ordering. This ensures that you are receiving a fresh product. Please allow 5 days to craft your barrel and 10-12 for delivery.

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Reach out with any questions

Curing the barrel is the most important first step, if you have any questions about curing, our products or services send us a message.