Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

We have four main sections to our FAQ page -

  1. Engraving
  2. General Barrel Usage
  3. Product Issues
  4. Shipping and Returns

If you cannot find the answer to your question on this page, head on over to our ‘Contact Us’ page and send us a message! We’d be happy to hear from you.

Engraving

How many lines of engraving do I get?

On any of our products, you can engrave up to three lines of text, with twelve characters per line. Just write your preferred engraving in the appropriate box during your ordering process.


How much does engraving cost?

An additional $9 per barrel.


Will engraving delay my barrel being shipped?

You should give the barrel another 1 - 2 weeks for delivery.


Can I engrave a logo?

Yes! Make sure you check the ‘engraving’ box when you place your order and, in the special notes section, let us know you would like a logo engraved on your barrel. Then, send us the logo at info@northamericanbarrel.com (please reference your order number in the email) and we will adjust it for our laser-engraving procedures!


Where does the engraving go?

On the front face of the barrel. We are not able to engrave the staves, stand, etc. at this time.


General Barrel Usage

What’s the difference between a varnished and an unvarnished barrel?

Varnish protects the outside of the barrel from liquid stains; it keeps your barrel prettier, longer. But it does make the barrel less breathable, which makes unvarnished barrels better for aging.


How does aging work?

As your barrel breathes, the spirits pass through the charring on the inside of the barrel. This causes many of the impurities of the beverage to be slowly filtered out, leaving your spirits smoother. In addition, the spirits take on some of the tannins in the barrel, causing that beautiful discoloration, and delicious, mellow taste.


How long should I age my spirits for?

Because our barrels are small, they age your spirits much faster than the large barrels you see in distilleries! Here’s the approximate number of days you should age your spirits to get the same effect as a years worth of aging in a large barrel:

1 L - 58 days

2 L - 80 days

3 L - 90 days

5 L - 105 days

10 L - 134 days

20 L - 173 days

The first few times you use a barrel, they can age even faster than these estimates - a good rule of thumb for the 1 - 3 liter barrels is to taste-test your barrel every few days starting at the end of week two. For the larger barrels, start taste-testing every week, starting around day 70. Your spirits could be ready sooner than our rough estimates - so pull your spirits out as soon as you think they’re ready, to avoid over-oaking!


How do I cure/use my barrel?

Curing the barrel is step number one, and very important (or you’ll lose a lot of your whiskey!). Check out our barrel user guide for directions on how to cure and use your barrel.


How do I store the barrel while aging?

It’s important to keep your barrel away from direct sunlight and heat/dehumidifying sources. It is best if you keep the barrel in a cool (though not cold) environment. If you live in a very hot environment, or must leave your barrel near a heat/dehumidifying source, wipe the outside of the barrel with a damp cloth twice a week or so, to prevent the barrel from drying out. Please note that this may alter the external appearance of the barrel.


Can I reuse my barrel? How many times?

Your barrel should last you about eight years, if you take good care of it! However, the barrel is most effective in its first six - eight uses (you may need to age products for longer periods of time after that).


Should I clean it between uses? How?

If you are aging spirits, you do not need to clean it between uses as long as you are aging the same spirit each time. However if you are not aging spirits, or are switching which spirits you are aging, you should make sure to clean the barrel.

For directions on how to clean the barrel, head over to our barrel user guide !


How do I store the barrel while not aging?

Check out our barrel user guide for how to store your barrel for long periods of time. Make sure you check the water level every few months, and refill with fresh water if necessary.


What are your favorite things to age?

Honestly, there are too many things to pick from! While most people age spirits (seriously, any of them), we’ve heard stories of people aging beer, barbeque sauce, wines, vinegar and more. The only thing we wouldn’t recommend is pickles.


Product Issues:

My barrel is leaking! What do I do?

First - have your tried curing it? If so, and it’s still leaking, the first thing you should do is grab some bees, candle or (best option) barrel wax and attempt to seal the leak. Dry off the affected area, and spread the wax over the leak. If this still does not fix the issue, send us an email through our ‘Contact Us’ page with a picture of the barrel and we’ll work out a solution with you!


A band is loose - is my barrel defective?


There seems to be less alcohol in my barrel now, than when I started. What happened?

The infamous Angel’s Share! As the wood breathes, some liquid is lost due to evaporation. This is more pronounced in barrels with a larger surface area to volume ration (a.k.a. the smaller barrels). The longer you age, the more you lose - you can lose 10% from a small barrel in just a few months. But be rest assured, your barrel is not leaking - the Angels just wanted to give your spirits a quick taste test!

Shipping and Returns:

I need to return my barrel - what’s your policy?

Refund/Return Policy:

Original sales receipt must accompany returns.

We accept returns for exchange or refund 7 calendar days after delivery of the product. At our sole discretion after 7 calendar days, we will offer an exchange or store credit only. Items must be in "new, unaltered and unused condition". Definition of new, unaltered, and unused condition is:

•without showing signs of wear or damage in any way

•within 7 calendar days of the delivery date (after 7 days no returns are allowed)

•must not be a special order or a custom order


If an item is received damaged or is incorrectly shipped by us, please contact Customer Support immediately using our Contact Us page. Items that are defective and shipped from us, or items that you did not order but received from us, will qualify for store credit or a cash refund.

Refunds are contingent upon inspection of item(s) once we receive it.


There is a 15% restocking fee for returned items that are not being exchanged and are not damaged. Again you MUST contact us within 7 days if you intend to return ANY item back to our store. Items returned to us AFTER 7 days and WITHOUT contacting us will NOT be refunded.

Customer is responsible for all shipping costs if seller is not at fault.


Can I get my barrel shipped faster? I need it for an event this week!

Barrels are a perishable product, and thus we generally do not keep them ‘in stock’, but rather are constantly producing them. If you need a barrel shipped faster, your best bet is to contact our customer service team, so they can let you know what we have on hand! You can call 585-739-7338 or use our ‘Contact Us’ page to send a message.


Is shipping free?

On orders of $99 or more, you betcha!