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How To Prepare New Whiskey Barrel Before Use

Using small barrels is a great way to age many types of liquor, including whiskey. Never pour liquor into a new barrel without taking the time to clean it, since it will inevitably have sawdust or other debris that can ruin any drink unless you’re serving drinks to termites. Here are some tips from A Bar Above on how to get a new oak barrel for sale ready for liquor.

Soak Spigot and Plug

First, remove the spigot and plug.

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Rinse and soak in water for 30 minutes. This softens the wood, making it ideal for inserting into the barrel without splitting.

Rinse Barrel

Place a funnel in the plug hole. Place a bucket under the spigot hole to catch spilled water. Pour one to two liters of water down the funnel.


Plug up the spigot hole with your thumb. Pour more water into the barrel so it’s about halfway full. Close off the plughole with a finger. Shake the barrel to remove any debris for 15 seconds. Pour the water away.

Replace Spigot

Place the soaked spigot back in the hole. Place a folded towel on top. Use a hammer lightly to tap it into the barrel. The barrel may make some strange noises, but this is normal.

Final Rinse

Fill the barrel with warm water. This helps make the barrel watertight. Let the water sit for at least six hours, then drain.

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