Whether you’re a homebrewer, homebrew club, or small craft brewery, you may be in the market for a barrel or two. Barrel aging provides complexity and depth of flavor to beers like imperial stouts, sours, and wild ales.
We’ll highlight 10 of the best places to buy barrels for aging beer. These vendors have been specifically selected for their quality and reputation.
Before we start, you need to know that when buying barrels for aging beer, make sure the barrel is suitable to store beer. Don’t buy decorative or very old barrels. Save those barrels for rainwater collectors or rustic furniture.
The vendors highlighted here have all been proven to supply top quality barrels. Brewers trust these suppliers with their quest for the very best flavor in their barrel-aged or barrel fermented beers.
Keystone Homebrew Supply, from Montgomeryville, PA, sells used 5, 10, and 15 gallon whisky barrels. They’re super clean, handled with care, and leak-free. They get their used barrels from Bluebird Distilling, in nearby Phoenixville.
Keystone is our preferred barrel vendor because of their amazing price to quality ratio. Whether you’re aging clean stouts and barley wines, or want to ferment wild ales, you can be sure that the barrel you receive is suitable for the job.
|5 Gallon Bluebird Distilling Wheat Whiskey Barrel||Perfect for big imperial stouts and especially wheat wines.||$115|
|5 Gallon Bluebird Distilling 4 Grain Whiskey Barrel||Perfect for stouts, old ales, barley wines, and mixed-fermentation beers.||$115|
|10 Gallon Bluebird Distilling 4 Grain Whiskey Barrel||Great option for a larger format whiskey barrel.||$125|
|15 Gallon Dad's Hat Rye Whiskey Barrel||Amazing price and quality to use as a primary fermenter or in a solera project.||$99|
There are plenty more options for barrels and we’ll cover them all below. Here’s our quick summary to help you with your decision:
Homebrew Barrel Comparison
|Keystone Homebrew Supply||Best for 5 to 15 gallon used barrels $$||Pennsylvania||American Oak||Used||5 gal to 15 gal|
|Barrels Unlimited||Best new barrels but expensive $$$$||California / Indiana||American Oak||New||5 gal to 59 gal|
|Oak Barrels Ltd||Best small size barrels $$||Texas||American White Oak||New||1L to 20L|
|Austin Homebrew Supply / Adventures in Homebrewing||Best overall selection for 5 gallon barrels $$$||Texas / Michigan||Various||New and Used||1 gal to 53 gal|
|Midwest Barrel Co.||Impressive selection of great quality used barrels $$$||Nebraska||Various||Used||5 gal and up|
|Wine Oak Barrels||Best barrels for European homebrewers $$||Serbia||Sessile oak||New||1L to 50L|
|Northeast Barrel Company||Best selection of brand name distillery barrels $$$$||Pennsylvania||Various||Various||5 gal and up|
|The Barrel Broker||High end and high quality used barrels $$$$||Wisconsin||Various||Used||15 gal and up|
|Barrels Direct||Very high quality new and used barrels $$$$||Maine||Various||New and Used||5 gal and up|
|MoreBeer||Reliable smaller size vendor $$$$||Ships from various||Mainly Hungarian Oak||New||5L to 20L|
Hand crafting American oak barrels for over 40 years, you can trust Barrels Unlimited for their great quality products. Based in California – with another cooperage in Indiana – they offer new oak barrels from 5 to 59 gallons. Rest assured, the barrels are well-built and will not leak.
Barrels Unlimited sells accessories like barrel stands and wooden or brass spigots, so they’re really a one stop shop to get you started. Choose between either toasted oak, for subtle spicy wood notes, or charred oak, for robust and sweet wood flavor.
Barrels Unlimited Barrels
|5 gallon||$219.50||Perfect size for 5 gallon homebrewers|
|10 gallon||$232.00||Amazing for solera projects and 10 gallon homebrewers|
|15 gallon||$244.50||Use for big soleras and for primary fermentation|
|20 gallon||$257.00||Great for small craft breweries|
|30 gallon||$272.00||The sky’s the limit!|
With a range of affordable, small volume barrels, Oak Barrels Ltd give unique solutions to experimental brewers. These Texas-based coopers use White American Oak with a medium toast, which is great for a clean oakiness with complex depth of flavor. Each barrel comes with a stand and spigot, making them extremely easy to use.
The available volumes are 1L, 2L, 5L, 10L, and 20L. For homebrewers, the 20L – or about 5 gallon – size is most interesting. But the smaller volumes can be awesome for fun experiments.
As with any small volume barrel, oak flavor will develop very fast due to the large ratio of surface contact.
Oak Barrels Ltd Barrels
|1 liter / 0.26 gallon||$29.95||Great for very small batch and super quick oak extraction experiments|
|2 liter / 0.53 gallon||$32.95||Great for very small batch and super quick oak extraction experiments|
|5 liter / 1.32 gallon||$53.95||Perfect for 1 gallon, small batch brewing|
|10 liter / 2.64 gallon||$89.95||Divide a 5 gallon batch to age half on oak|
|20 liter / 5.3 gallon||$149.95||Perfect size for 5 gallon homebrewers|
Since 1991, AHS has helped thousands of hobby brewers, first at their Austin location and eventually through their web shop. Their barrel selection ranges from 1 gallon to 53 gallon, and they offer both new and used barrels.
The new barrels are from reputable producers, guaranteed to be leak free and produce some tasty barrel aged beers. What sets them apart is their rotating range of used American oak barrels. From used whisky, rye, and even maple syrup barrels, you can find any type to suit your needs.
Austin Homebrew Supply is owned by Adventures in Homebrewing (Michigan). Both websites offer essentially the same products. It might be beneficial to compare shipping costs between the two.
Our favorite items are:
Austin Homebrew Supply Barrels
|5 Gallon Rum Barrel||$195.00||Rum barrels can add a spicy, complex, and sweet character that works great with stouts and barley wines.|
|5 Gallon Gin Barrel||$195.00||Gin barrels work amazingly for lighter colored beers like saison and golden sours.|
|5 Gallon Rye Barrel||$175.00||Imagine the spicy and deep oakiness of a rye barrel aged imperial stout.|
Located in Nebraska, Midwest Barrel Co. sells a wide array of new and used barrels across all volumes. Whether you’re looking for a large oak primary fermenter or a small 5 gallon barrel, you can be sure of high build-quality.
They’ve got a rotating range of unique barrels, often at unbeatable prices.
Midwest Barrel Co. Barrels
|5 Gallon White Oak Barrel||$129.00||Great all-purpose barrel for homebrewers.|
|15 Gallon Far North Spirits Rye Whiskey Barrel||$119.00||Used rye barrels are amazing for bulk aging stouts and strong ales.|
|30 Gallon Gin Barrel||$149.00||Amazing and inexpensive 30 gallon gin barrel great for saison and wild ale primary fermentations.|
For European brewers, Wine Oak Barrels offers great quality products at very reasonable prices. They sell new and used large format barrels, as well as a collection of new small batch oak barrels.
Located in Serbia, they’re a practical solution for European homebrewers looking for small volume barrels.
The barrels are made from European oak trees called “sessile oak” and you can choose between medium charred or toasted.
Wine Oak Barrels
The very impressive range of used whisky barrels at Northeast Barrel Company will surely get stout brewers excited. A range of volumes from distilleries such as Four Roses, Jack Daniels, and Heaven Hills make them a go-to for top-quality oak. They also have more standard, affordable 5 and 10 gallon new and used barrels.
As you can imagine, their selection is always changing. Some of our favorites from these Pennsylvanians include:
Northeast Barrel Company Barrels
|5 Gallon Bourbon Barrel||€119.00||Perfect for your bourbon barrel aged stout experiments.|
|10 Gallon Bourbon Barrel||€125.00||Even more stout!|
|53 Gallon Jack Daniel’s TN Whiskey Barrels||€129.00||Large format oak fermentation in Jack Daniels barrels… need we say more?|
The Barrel Broker offers a massive, rotating selection of used barrels from all types of spirits and wine. Located in Wisconsin, they select the finest barrels from around the world to re-sell to breweries and individuals.
You can trust that the barrels will be top-quality, leak free, and produce some amazing beer. They also sell specialized barrel racks in case you’re serious about expanding your barrel program.
A couple great barrels at the moment are:
The Barrel Broker Barrels
|15 Gallon Dark Rum Barrel||€139.00||Spicy dark rum can add amazing complexity to a stout or sour beer.|
|30 Gallon Used Bourbon Barrel||€149.00||Larger format used bourbon barrel for big boozy stouts or to use as a primary fermenter.|
Barrels Direct is located in Maine and offers a nice selection of new and used barrels in a wide range of sizes. From small format all the way to foeders, you’ll surely find what you need for your project.
They’ve got a wide range of used brand name spirit options from nearly every spirit you can think of. Some of our favorites in their product range include the following:
Barrels Direct Barrels
|New 5 Gallon American Oak Barrel||€175.00||Great all-purpose barrel for homebrewers.|
|Used 5 Gallon Peach Brandy American Oak||€170.00||Very unique smaller format barrel can be used from stouts, to sours, to Belgian ales.|
|Used 10 Gallon Old Sugar Distillery Rum Ex-Brandy American Oak Barrel||€180.00||Cool barrel for an interesting project at a good price.|
Of course, one of the internet’s most prolific homebrew shops has you covered for barrels too! MoreBeer’s selection is limited, but with a number of new oak options. They have sizes from 1 liter to 29 gallons made mainly in Hungarian oak.
They are priced on the higher side, probably due to the use of primarily imported barrels.
|Balazs New Hungarian Oak Barrel - 20L (5.28 gal)||€229.99||Great all-purpose barrel for homebrewers.|
|New American White Oak Barrel - 5L (1.32 gal)||€99.99||Leak proof, easy to use, and suitable for aging 1 gallon batches.|
|Balazs New Hungarian Oak Barrel - 10L (2.64 gal)||€199.99||Solid option in the 10L range.|
We’ve outlined ten great vendors for buying wood barrels of various types and sizes. When making your selection, be sure to consider shipping costs – as barrels can be quite expensive to ship.
Always double check that the barrel is suitable for aging beer and not just for decorative purposes. On top of that, used barrels should be handled properly: wet, sealed, bug-proof, and leak-free.
If you have any questions about barrel selection, feel free to reach out to us! We’d be happy to help you on your way to making amazing barrel-aged stouts and sours.