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Quartersawn American White Oak, weathered for 4 years in Kentucky. (About this wood)
Stainless steel can and spigot. White Oak bung. Beeswax around the croze.
1.7 gallon (6.4 L) capacity
Made right here in Eugene, Oregon
About Badmotivator Barrels
Badmotivator Barrels are simply stainless steel cans (bain marie inserts) with wooden barrel heads pressed into them. The wood is quartersawn American White Oak which has been weathered to remove and modify tannins as well as to promote the microbial breakdown of some of the hemicellulose and lignin into organoleptically interesting molecules. To fill and empty the barrel there is a bunghole and a bung. For convenience they also include a stainless steel spigot. To ensure that there are no leaks, beeswax is applied between the head staves, and around the edge of the head where it contacts the can. Since July 2022, I have begun to fix each barrel head in the can with three stainless steel nails in order to prevent head movement during environmental changes which create positive pressure inside the can.
Surface Area to Volume Ratio
The design of the barrels is intended to mimic the conditions inside a large oak barrel such as those used in the aging of whiskies, rums, tequilas, brandies, and others.¹ The spirit should have a similar exposure to an area of oak, per volume, as in the big casks. The surface area to volume ratio (SA/V) of the 1.8 gal Badmotivator Barrel is 27.8 in²/gal. If you under-fill them by a bit and rest them head-down, you increase the effective SA/V ratio. For example, 1.25 gallons resting in such an orientation sees 40 in²/gal. 1 gallon, head down, gets you 50 in²/gal.
By comparison, the SA/V ratio of a standard American barrel is about 54 in²/gal, but only when full. As the angels take their share and the liquid level drops, so does the SA/V. Well-aged spirits in these barrels spend a lot of their time resting on less than 50 in²/gal. Puncheons, often used to age rums, sherrys, and used to “finish” whiskies, have a SA/V around 17 in²/gal.
In my experience, these barrels do not over-oak or under-oak spirits. They contribute a rich and fascinating blend of oak flavors, none of them harsh (unless you use un-seasoned or under-seasoned oak) or unpleasant.
Whiskey barrel stave thicknesses range from ¾” to 1”. Badmotivator Barrel staves are about 15/16” thick. In the future I may experiment with thinner staves, but for now I have no information about what benefits they may bring .
The spirits industry uses casks of many sizes. Among others there are Quarter Casks (13 gal), Barrels (≈53 gal), Hogsheads (≈63 gal), Barriques (≈79 gal), Sherry Butts (≈130 gal), Puncheons (both “machine” and “sherry shape”)(≈123 gal), Port Pipe (≈172 gal), Gorda (≈185 gal). There are others, of course. All of them have different SA/V ratios, from higher to lower as the cask size increases. (Source: Difford’s Guide)
Barrels we have carried: