This information originally supplied by 1000 Oak Barrels.
The Hoops are Loose or Have Fallen Off
1000 Oak Barrels are handmade without the use of any nails. As the wood dries, the barrel shrinks and the hoops loosen. Hooping is fitted in location, but is only stabilized after the curing process when the barrel swells into place due to the expansion of the wood.
Simply hand-force the the hoop into its proper location and slightly tap the banding's side with a blunt item around the entire circumference of the barrel until tight, then proceed to the curing process.
I Hear Something Rattling in the Barrel
It is common for the barrel to have small pieces of wood inside. Your barrel is charred internally and can cause pieces from the inside to separate from the body. The more charred surface that comes in contact with the spirit, the faster it will age. Simply strain your spirit through a coffee filter before drinking.
How do I Insert My Spigot?
Please be conscious that your spigot is the most delicate part of your new barrel. You will have to hand-force the spigot into the hole as far as it will go. Turn the moveable top piece to the side then tap in using a rubber mallet or hammer with a towel to prevent your spigot from cracking.
Ensure that once your spigot is in place it is in at the proper angle, as once the barrel is cured the spigot will swell as well and be permanently stuck in that position.
How Do I Cure My Barrel?
Your barrel must swell to ensure proper function. Use boiling or hot water and fill your barrel to the top through the bung hole. When doing this, place your barrel in an area that allows for seepage coming through the wood (i.e. kitchen sink, outside, tub, etc.) Although there may be no leaks immediately, the wood does need to swell internally for a period of time before use.
Curing the wood will minimize the absorption of spirit into the body of the barrel.
My Barrel is Taking on a Blackish Color
This is referred to as "leaching." All barrels can produce a discoloration during the curing process. As the water makes its way through the wood, it will push out coloration from anything in its way. This is perfectly normal and seen in all commercial barrels.
When I Turn My Spigot, Nothing is Coming Out
Remove the bung when dispensing to release pressure and allow for air flow.
After Many Months, There's Little (Or No) Spirit
Smaller barrels age 8 to 10 times faster than a full-sized 53 gallon barrel. Therefore, the "angel's share" (natural evaporation) is also increased. Due to its rapid aging process, most spirits are at their optimum result within one to three months.