Fear the Firkin!
June 15, 2008 11:45 PM   Subscribe

Are those small novelty wine barrels that one sees in gift shops in the "Bar" area actually meant to hold stuff?

I am currently building the Tiki bar of my dreams. It's all bamboo and thatch with a pirate theme.

I'd love to have one of those small cask/barrel-type things at the back of the bar to look the part but I'd actually like to keep stuff in it. Is this a Bad Idea?

Is there a difference between decorative and working casks? If I keep rum or port or something in it will it leak? Taste horrible?? Dissolve??? Explode?????

Help me, Hive Mind!
posted by ninazer0 to Food & Drink (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
these guys will sell you a meant-for-use wooden cask.
i have no personal experience with them, just found 'em on the net.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 12:42 AM on June 16, 2008

Some are, some aren't. If in the "aren't" category, they may leak or impart an off-taste to the beverage. Ask the store.
posted by desuetude at 6:12 AM on June 16, 2008

Even the ones that are meant for beverage storage will impart flavor. You might like this flavor, of course, but it will increase the longer you keep your spirits in there.

Wooden barrels will all leak the first time you put something in them. Typically, you should fill the barrel with hot water first, to let the wood swell, thus closing the gaps. Then you should keep the barrel constantly wet--don't let it dry out between uses, or you'll need to soak it again. Repeated drying/wetting cycles can cause warpage and permanent leaks.

I make wine at home, and I've given this subject some thought. I've chosen not to get barrels, due to the trouble involved. Look at your local home-brew supply shops.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:05 AM on June 16, 2008

Bear in mind that most barrels have to be kept wet in order to be watertight - the wood swells up and makes the whole thing tight. You might have to fill it with water and let it sit outside or in the sink until it stops leaking.
posted by echo target at 8:07 AM on June 16, 2008

Could you just use the barrel as a sort of shell around a more practical container?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:37 AM on June 16, 2008

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