Do I need to season my barrel?
Seasoning is the process of “breaking in” the barrel to eliminate the sharp oak tannins to help preserve and enhance your port’s natural flavour and character. A barrel that hasn’t been seasoned will drastically change the taste of your port. All barrels supplied by Corowa Woodware are supplied to you fully seasoned, meaning they are ready for immediate use.
How do I clean my barrel?
The outside of the barrel just needs to be wiped down with a damp cloth to remove any dust or marks. The inside of the barrel requires no cleaning, however should you get an excessive sediment build up in the cask (quite rare) simply drain the port into a suitable container then rinse the inside of the barrel out with water. Pour your port back in and resume using the cask as normal.
What is seepage?
In humid climates some barrels will experience a small amount of seepage, this is normal and does not mean your barrel is faulty.
How long does the aging process take?
In a 5 litre cask, 1 month is equivalent to around 1 year in a 300 litre hoghead. In a 10 litre cask around 6-8 weeks is the equivalent of 1 year in a hogshead. This depends on turnover of the port, we recommend keeping the cask at least half full to maintain optimum drinking pleasure.
How much port should I keep in it?
We recommend keeping the cask at least half full at all times to ensure you have a base of mature port. Try to keep it a bit fuller in the summertime as the port can evaporate quicker in higher temperatures with more humidity.
What quality port should I use?
The cask will enhance the flavour of any port, but the higher quality the port the better job the cask will do. The barrels are designed for use of fortified wines only. Do not use the barrels with red or white table wines.
How tight should the bung be?
Let the bung sit loosely in the top of the cask. From time to time it might become swollen and get stuck in the top – if this happens just give it a tap from side to side to remove it.
What do I do if the rings on the barrel become loose?
This is a very rare occurrence, but if it does happen contact use here and we will help you out.
How do I change the tap on the barrel?
You will need a shifter and some plumbers tape which is available at any hardware store.
Watch the video below.