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Whisky Barrels vs Wine Barrels | What’s the Difference?

There are only a few differences between wine and whiskey barrels, but even the smallest change can have an impact on flavor. The flavor of your final product will depend heavily on the type of barrel you choose; therefore, it’s important to know whether to choose wine or whiskey barrels.

The Size of Whiskey and Wine Barrels

The first and most obvious difference between wine and whiskey barrels is the size and volume. Whiskey barrels have a traditional volume of 53 gallons, while a wine barrel’s volume can vary depending on the product. Due to the standard volume, the size of a whiskey barrel rarely differs; however, a wine barrel will vary in size based on volume. Additionally, whiskey barrels are smaller on average–due to the standardization of whiskey barrel sizes.

Material Differences Between Barrels

Whiskey barrels are almost always made of oak. Wine barrels frequently use oak as a material, while other woods are rarely used. The same is not true of wine barrels. Though they frequently use oak, wine makers are more likely to use various types of wood to impart unique flavors to the finished product. Maple, hickory, or walnut can all have drastic effects on the final flavor, which may make certain wines unique.

Toasting and Charring

Perhaps the largest difference between whisky and wine barrels is the level of toasting on the interior of the barrel. Wine barrels are often toasted either at light, medium, or dark levels. Toasting is used to impart wood flavors into a wine. For whiskey barrels, however, the inside of the barrel is often charred for the opposite reason.

When charred, the whiskey barrel builds up a thin layer of charcoal. This charcoal layer acts like a filter, removing impurities from the finished product. Removing these impurities will result in a milder whiskey with a cleaner taste. Now that you know the difference between whiskey and wine barrels, you can make the best decision for your next batch. Don’t forget that a barrel can also make a wonderful decorative piece or display. Creative Barrel supplies beautiful display barrels for every need. Find out more by contacting us.

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