BARREL MASTER PRO TIPS
**YOU MUST INITIALLY SWELL YOUR BARREL WITH WARM WATER BEFORE YOU CAN FILL IT WITH WHISKEY. EXPECT IT TO LEAK. OVER TIME, HOURS TO A DAY OR TWO, THE WOOD WILL ABSORB THE WATER AND SWELL. AS IT DOES, IT WILL SEAL THE LEAKS PRODUCING A CASK READY FOR USE. ONCE YOU'RE CONFIDANT THE LEAKS HAVE STOPPED, EMPTY THE WATER AND FILL IT WITH WHISKEY!**
Whiskey aging is a complex and interesting process. Once the whiskey is in the barrel, it quickly begins to pick up the color and undertones of the oak barrel. As the spirit darkens, it absorbs aspects of the oak and wood sugars as it soaks into the wooden staves. The charring of the inside of the barrel caramelizes the wood sugars and imparts sweeter vanilla and caramel notes. Within a few weeks, the spirit will have taken on a much darker and richer appearance, and as time passes the whiskey will continue to develop as the flavors deepen and evolve. Ideal aging time for a first fill Barrel Master whiskey barrel is generally thought to be around 2-5 months**, but YOU are the Barrel Master, so you must decide when the whiskey is ready.
**Over-aging is a distinct possibility with smaller barrels who have a much higher surface-area-to-volume ratio than the standard 53 gallon whiskey barrels. That is why you are strongly encouraged to sample your whiskey routinely (about once/week) so you can monitor and appreciate it’s aging progression.
You could keep it as a trophy of your Barrel Mastery, but if it sits empty too long, it’ll start to dry out and eventually fall apart (barrels are designed to be filled with liquid, when they sit around empty the wood dries up and shrinks) So what to do….
You could get more bottles of Barrel Master un-aged whiskey and refill the barrel to do it all over again. Or you can barrel age a cocktail, which is a phenomenal way to allow the cocktail ingredients to slowly and completely mingle together while simultaneously developing new depths of flavor with whiskey, oaken barrel notes. You can also make all sorts of different cocktail components that would make your local bar jealous, from homemade bitters, to shrubs, to tinctures and beyond, there’s no limit to what you can concoct. And if you happen to do a little home brewing, you could use the whiskey barrel to barrel age some of your homebrews!