Whiskey Barrel FAQ’s

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Can you buy used whiskey barrels?

Yes, you can. Celtic Timber stock a greater volume and range of oak whiskey barrels than anyone else in Europe. We deliver for free to any address in mainland UK, and highlands and islands for a small surcharge.

What are whiskey barrels made from?

Whiskey barrels are made from solid oak and the staves are held together using strong, steel bands.

Why do coopers use oak for Whiskey Barrels?

Oak is the ideal wood for whiskey barrels for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is a strong and durable hardwood. Oak also provides both taste and colour to whiskey and can be manipulated to create distinct flavours, depending on the blend. It is often charred, for example, to add to the smokey flavour of certain whiskeys.

The use of oak for whiskey barrels also ensures that they are still strong and sturdy after they have been used in the distillation process. This makes them ideal to be re-used for whiskey barrel planters.

Can whiskey barrels be re-used?

Barrels can be used over and over until they fall apart. The more that they are used however, the less flavour and colour is drawn from the oak into what is being distilled.

As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended that whiskey barrels are re-used no more than 4 times in the trade or 2 – 3 times for Scotch whisky.

The flavour of the whiskey adds itself perfectly for these barrels to be used in ageing and are perfect for certain breweries and for some beer and cider flavours.

How big are whiskey barrels?

The most popular size of whiskey barrel is 40 Gallon (approximately 180 litres) but they are made in all shapes and sizes, up to 120 Gallon (approcimately 550 litres). Stock does vary depending on availability from the distilleries but approximate sizes and dimensions of the whiskey barrels are:

  • 40 Gallon Oak Whisky Barrel: Height – 880mm, Belly diameter – 630mm, End diameter – 550mm
    55 Gallon Traditional Hogshead Oak Whisky Barrel: Height – 1020mm, Belly diameter – 755mm, End diameter – 550mm
    55 Gallon Dumpy Oak Whisky Barrel: Height – 880mm, Belly diameter – 730mm, End diameter – 625mm
    90 Gallon Dumpy Puncheon Oak Whisky Barrel: Height – 950mm, Belly diameter – 950mm, End diameter – 830mm
    110 Gallon Puncheon Oak Whisky Barrel: Height – 1100mm, Belly diameter – 950mm, End diameter – 765mm
    120 Gallon Butt Oak Whisky Barrel: Height – 1320mm, Belly diameter – 920mm, End diameter – 675mm

Are whiskey barrels watertight?

All of our whiskey barrels arrive at our premises freshly emptied and watertight. However, over time the staves can dry out and shrink, meaning that they will no longer be water-tight. Any orders for whiskey barrel water butts or whiskey barrels for re-use in distillation are tested before being dispatched to ensure that they are watertight and all of the barrel’s steel bands are pinned to ensure that the barrel remains strong structurally.

Does a whiskey barrel need to be treated to remain outside?

No – these barrels are stored outside and weathered. Should you wish, you can treat them with Osmo Oil or something similar that will enhance the features of the wood and may help protect it from algae and any further weathering.

What do you use a whiskey barrel for?

Due to the high-quality materials and expert craftsmanship used in the creation of whiskey barrels, they remain strong, durable and diverse in their potential re-uses.

The history of the barrels also adds to its character, meaning that buying a whole whiskey barrel for a pub table instantly adds charm to your business, or we can fit kiln dried oak to the top of the barrels and engrave them for a more finished look.

They are also perfect when cut in half as whiskey barrel planters for your garden or business. The size of the barrel planters can make them perfect for large trees such as bamboo, palm trees or apple trees.

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