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twalshact

Barrel Head Space

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Help please. 

If I have a 53 gallon wood barrel how many gallons of Rye whiskey do you recommend putting into the new barrel? I assume you leave head space.

I ask because the local Fire Marschall first thought the barrel size was 55 gallon barrels and filled completely full. He is calculating MAQ based on this data. I thought alcohol in wood barrels was exempt from MAQ.

Trying to get away from H3 occupancy in barrel storage area.

Thank you for you feedback.

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For efficient use of your barrels I suggest filling within 1/2 inch of full. If the barrel is completely full then I have found some spirit can "wick" out around the bung.

I have heard that barrels only partially filled can mature more quickly, which might help with the Fire Marshall's calculations. I don't know if it would help, but point out to him that older barrels have lost angels share. Mature barrels have typically lost about 30% of their volume.

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1 hour ago, twalshact said:

I thought alcohol in wood barrels was exempt from MAQ.

You were not fully informed.  You have many codes to consult, fire, building and electrical.  The biggest determing factor is your AHJ (authority having jurisdiction) and his interpretation of the codes.  It is very unlikely you will be able to avoid a H3 classification in your barrel area unless you have less than (I believe) 30 gallons of spirits.  This link does a pretty good job of explaining the codes that affect distilleries.  http://ferar.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/pub_Distiller_Winter2018.pdf

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The International Fire Code exempts the storage of ‘alcoholic beverages in wooden casks.’  A recent staff interpretation and code commentary7recognizes this exception in the fire code. 

Whose interpretation? 

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Barrel qty is included in maq calculations.  For a single control area without sprinklers, the limit is 120 gallons, 240 with sprinklers.  I think you can have up to 5 control areas.  

This means you either have to have a h area for storage or store outside and then you can be up to 1000 gallons without spill containment if using 53 gallon barrels or so my fire marshal says.  

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8 hours ago, Huffy2k said:

The International Fire Code exempts the storage of ‘alcoholic beverages in wooden casks.’  A recent staff interpretation and code commentary7recognizes this exception in the fire code. 

Whose interpretation? 

The people who write the codes were asked to justify the discrepancy between the fire code and the building code. 

The OP's original question was about avoiding H-3.  Once you exceed MAQ you are H occupancy for barrel storage.  We have all seen and/or read on this forum about the guy who has 100 barrels and is F-1.  In that case the AHJ has only looked at the fire code and not at the building code.  The OP's fire marshal has consulted both codes.

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