After extensive R&D, US Barrel released a line of true beer barrels on October 1, 2016 at the opening ceremony of the 25th annual Oktoberfest celebration at Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington, NY. So the question is What makes a beer barrel different from a whiskey barrel? As it turns out, a lot of things...
1. The lining
Our beer barrels are intended to be tapped for dispensing under pressure with either a wooden or brass spigot. In the past, coopers would coat the interior of a beer barrel with pitch to eliminate leaks and keep the beer from contacting the oak. Today we use a proprietary blend of USP grade waxes which are completely inert, remain flexible and have a higher than normal melting point to line the barrel. The wax effectively seals any potential leaks, will neither influence nor transfer flavors, remains flexible as the barrel moves and makes for an easily sanitized cask.
2. The tap
One head (the round disk sealing the end of the barrel) has a hole into which the spigot will be driven. To seal the barrel, a spile (a wooden plug) is initially hammered into place just prior to filling with beer. The spile is constructed of a wood which will swell very tightly, keeping the barrel water tight even under pressure. When the spigot is hammered into place, the spile is displaced to the interior of the barrel and will come out through the bung hole when the barrel is emptied and cleaned.
3. Heavy banding
Because the barrel is under pressure for dispensing, extra bands are used to keep the barrel tight.
4. CO2 blanket
Beer must be kept away from oxygen to prevent spoilage, and in order to dispense the beer the barrel must be under pressure. Both of these can be done by pressurizing the barrel with carbon dioxide, or CO2. To do this, we developed a stainless steel adapter which connects the barrel to a standard carbon dioxide tank and regulator. When pressurized, the oxygen is displaced keeping the beer fresh as well as under pressure for dispensing.
For more information on our line of beer barrels and beer dispensing components, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.