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FAQs. General Information
How many times can I use my oak barrel?
The number of times you will be able to reuse your barrel will depend on a few factors. You might find a single barrel will produce 3 or 4 great batches of whiskey or 8 batches of tequila.
The barrel will lose a bit if its effectiveness with over time. If you prefer a strong oak character with each batch you might need to replace your barrel after just a few uses.
Properly caring for your barrel will help to extend its life.
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 barrel?
Regular cleaning will reduce your barrel’s lifespan. Unless you’re switching to a completely different flavour profile for your next batch, just 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?
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.
Check out this blog post about the difference between toasting and charring an oak barrel to learn more!
Engraving & Quality
Engraving is done using a laser machine but the actual engraving look and feel may vary from barrel to barrel because of changes in the oak wood surface between barrels. Some engravings may appear darker or lighter even if the same laser settings were used.
The area available to engrave is determined by the size of the barrel and by the space needed by the spigot. The engraving is done in the area above the spigot as to avoid the engraving being covered by the spigot.
Please note that engraving will be sized to fit the barrel size and the smaller the barrel the harder it will be to see detailed logos or long phrases.
Proof of engraving
We will only send proof of engraving before shipping if requested by the customer at the time of ordering or if we have concerns about the artwork provided for engraving. On all other cases no proof will be emailed.
File types for engraving
While we accept most file types (PNG, JPG, GIF, PDF) for engraving, the best artwork to use is a vector graphic. See below for examples of great designs.
Where do you ship?
We offer shipping throughout USA and Canada.
I haven't received my item. What can I do?
Each of our barrels are hand-crafted at the time of ordering. This ensures that you are receiving a fresh product. Please allow up to 7 days to craft your barrel and 4 days for Purolator delivery.
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept Visa, MasterCard and PayPal.
I need help with my engraving design.
We have a team designers on standby to assist with your logo for a $25 design fee. When purchasing your barrel you will be present with the option for design services. Please fill out with as much information or links to designs you like. Our designers will review your request and get in touch.
I've received my barrel, now what?
Before using the barrel, you should cure the barrel. Your oak aging barrel is made of wood and stored empty so your barrel may need to swell back up before use. Please review our curing instructions.
If for any reason you are not happy with your purchase you may return it within 30 days of initial delivery and receive a complete refund. Please note original shipping charges as well as return shipping charges are not refunded.
Faulty barrels and/or parts that are covered under the manufacturer’s warranty will be replaced at no extra cost.
Barrels that have been used beyond the curing process, personalized or returned later than 30 days are non-refundable.
Manufacturer’s Limited Warranty
Barrels and/or parts will be replaced under the following circumstances:
- Barrel will not seal due to cracks or holes in the wood. Barrel must first be left to cure for at least five (5) days in order to determine if in fact it won’t seal;
- Spigot, bung or stand arrive broken or if spigot leaks when added to the barrel;
- Barrel hoops break during curing process;
– Engraving incorrect logo or name on the barrel, provided engraving instructions were properly submitted by the customer;
Conditions not covered under the manufacturer’s limited warranty:
- Barrels are not made to withstand pressure other than in normal use. If the barrel is filled with contents that build up pressure causing the barrel staves or head to bend, bulge or pop and result in leaks, it will not be covered under the manufacturer’s limited warranty.
- Barrels incorrectly stored without water for long periods of time, causing the oak to dry and shrink and/or the hoops to fall off and/or leaks that cannot be sealed.
To process a replacement barrel under the manufacturer’s limited warranty, we require you to email us a picture of the issue at email@example.com