Making an oak barrel?

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Forum topic by golfer12 posted 11-20-2015 03:22 PM 989 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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38 posts in 2006 days

11-20-2015 03:22 PM

Topic tags/keywords: oak barrel homebrew

Let me start off by saying that I know making an oak barrel is a very difficult task. So I am a homebrewer and a pretty handy woodworker (Ive made a few humidors, I usually make furniure/tabletops/butcherblock) and the new rage in brewing is barrel edged beers. I was wondering if someone had plans for making a small oak barrel? The only oak barrels I can get near me cost over $100 and some of them are too large for my needs. I need to make a barrel that can hold 5 gallons of liquid. If someone knows anyone that sells barrels for under a 100, Id be happy with that.

11 replies so far

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 1468 days

#1 posted 11-20-2015 03:44 PM

Can of worms here. I posted a similar question a while back. This is the best I got in my searches.

It was more of a mental task more than wanting to do so. Good luck. Yes, I read the book. No, the answers are not there in. But you will learn more about cooperage than you ever wanted to know.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

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38 posts in 2006 days

#2 posted 11-20-2015 03:52 PM

thanks for the reply, looks like S.O.O.L lol

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881 posts in 2680 days

#3 posted 11-20-2015 04:52 PM

Just over the past two weeks I’ve been actively researching coopering as a buddy and I are going to experiment with distilling. There are a lot of bits and pieces all over the internet. I have not found definitive plans that give step-by-step instructions. There are too many variables and fine tuning that are required. You could try to go old school and exclusively try coopering with hand tools (several specialized tools are required) or you could try and go mostly modern with power routers, templates, etc.. Steaming, fire, precise tapered and curved cuts, a way to draw the staves into each other under pressure, NO GLUE, etc.. I will eventually post my barrel attempts as a project. IMO the price tag you see for the barrels for sale are WELL worth it when you factor the amount of time, effort, and expense for special tools.

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

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38 posts in 2006 days

#4 posted 11-20-2015 04:58 PM

im definitely not going to be able to afford that. I knew it wasn’t an easy task but I didnt think making a small barrel would be that difficult. I’ll just keep searching for a 10 gallon barrel that I can eventually use for home brewing

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7106 posts in 2437 days

#5 posted 11-20-2015 05:12 PM

I don’t think this will help you in making one, but it’s a video of a mill making smaller apple barrels that is pretty fascinating to watch (at least I thought so). They do have some fairly unique machines though…

The Apple Barrel Industry - Shingle & Stave Mill in Production


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View bigblockyeti's profile


5317 posts in 1958 days

#6 posted 11-20-2015 05:13 PM

$100 for an oak barrel that won’t leak and you can safely put something in to be consumed by humans is a screaming deal, even if it is larger than what you need.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

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38 posts in 2006 days

#7 posted 11-20-2015 05:24 PM

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460 posts in 1370 days

#8 posted 11-20-2015 05:27 PM

I agree with 454…
Proven barrels not to leak would be worth it.

-- -

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1950 posts in 2036 days

#9 posted 11-20-2015 06:01 PM

Heres a video of bucket maker.
It’s kinda sad but I liked it.

-- Aj

View mahdee's profile


4042 posts in 2005 days

#10 posted 11-20-2015 06:26 PM

I am a home brewer as well and barrel aged anything gives me the worse headache regardless of the amount. However, If I was going to add a little oak flavor to my beer, instead of making a wooden barrel, I would use a few oak sticks and once the brewing was finished, I would put the sticks either in the freezer or oven dry them. Depending on how often you brew, all that sugary/malty stuff combined with wild yeast, bacteria and relative humidity can be a recipe for potentially ruining the next batch at best and poisoning at worse. I am sure the pros have a process of some sort to get these kegs ready for the next batch without risking loss of equipments and or litigation money.


View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 1468 days

#11 posted 11-20-2015 06:36 PM

The best IPA I ever had was aged in oak bourbon barrels.


Or if youre near Winston Salem NC during that special time of year. Go by Foothills brewery. Its called Seeing Double IPA. Yep, its that good.

I dont remember when THAT time of year is.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

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