Wine, Whiskey and Bourbon Barrel Terminology.
A Glossary of Terms
Humans have been using barrels for over two thousand years. For most of that time they were the primary container for transporting and/or storing goods around the globe. The modernization of the last 200 years has led to the barrel being replaced by more practical storage containers, but it has not lost it’s place as the primary vessel for aging spirits. In fact, barrel aging is growing in popularity. Do to the growing popularity of barrels we thought it might be a good idea to help those new to the barrel world with a list of definitions.
Bourbon Barrel Specifications
Barrel Anatomy Terminology
- Stave – A narrow piece of wood with a beveled edge that together with other staves makes up the sides of a barrel.
- Head – The round flat sections that form the top and bottom of a barrel.
- Bung Hole – The hole in a water tight barrel.
- Bung – The plug is is used to keep liquid from coming out of the barrel bung hole.
- Bilge – The center of a barrel’s bulge.
- Hoops – Round iron bands that are used to hold a barrel together.
- Chime – The beveled end of linked staves that holds the barrel heads in place.
Barrel Coopering Terminology
- Cooper – A person who makes and/or repairs barrels
- Cooperage – A barrel workshop or manufacturing facility
- Charring – The process of exposing the inside of a barrel to flame for a small period of time. The type of charring used affects the taste and color of the spirit that is aged in the barrel.
- Barrel Hoop Driver – A tool used to push rings towards the center of the barrel to tighten them or away from the center to loosen them. They can be purchesed at a variety of specialty tool stores.
- Bung Puller – Yep you guessed. This tool is designed to remove bungs.
- Bung Starter – A wooden hammer used to tap the bung stave in order to loosen the bung for removal.