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Used Bourbon Barrel Re-Use


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Anyone experience with aging their spirit in previously used bourbon barrels? If so, I am curious about the number of uses that can be expected. I know the extraction of flavors will decrease with each fill and empty, but is there any kind of rule-of-thumb here?

Any help will be greatly appreciated. The cost of barrel experiments in Hawaii is quite a bit higher on the mainland due to our outrageous shipping costs. I would like to simply avoid any obvious mistakes.

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Hi smoogdob

In Ireland and the UK we use Ex-Bourbon barrels all the time. You can get 3 uses no problem. I Scotland they get a 4th use in but they are not that concerned about extracting color on the 4th use. What I mean buy that is that the spirit will loose its fire but not take on much flavor or color from the casks. The Scots then re-char the 4th fill casks but I would avoid this if possible. Re-chars are not great casks and take some skilled work to get right.

So if I was distilling in Hawaii I would not have a problem with 3 uses and you can get a 4th if you needed it.


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