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What is the difference between a $150 barrel and a $750 one?

Is there a significant benefit to using more or less expensive barrels?


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Lisa Lombardo from QT Designs

Helllo 
The difference between the 2 is the $150 barrel is used and the $750 is Brand new and not used.

Sep 13, 2016

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Joe Lutomske from ENOTOOLS

     I'm not sure how old the question is. There are some good points to consider in previous responses. The question is tricky because I am not aware of any new barrels available for $150. On used barrels, proceed with caution. It is best to know your source and ask for references. In that case, it is probably worth a few extra dollars to buy from a broker. 
    On new barrels, the range is really about $225 to $1100 per barrel. So it gets even harder to answer without knowing what is going in, for how long, and to what end? What are we trying to impart, sublimate or enhance?
     As said before, Most barrels are from America, Romania, Hungary, and France.  The prices will go from low to high in the same order; Respectively. 
Subcategories within those countries of origin can also effect price. For example, I have seen prices on American barrels move from low to high when you go from Missouri to Kentucky or Appalachian to Minnesota. On the barrels from "France" the prices go from low to high as you go from "French" to  Center of France to certain designated forests with Troncais as the least available designation. 
     It is important to interview a few sources of barrels before you buy to see if you are getting the same advice for your application. 
    For example, I would recommend two completely different barrels for an 18 month aged Lodi, California Cabernet and a 24 month aged North Fork of Long Island Merlot. 
     And what you get for your money is really all about consistency, which comes from wood which expresses a place in a somewhat predictable fashion. Each cooperage will have a different expression of the wood in their barrels, as aging location on the staves, toasting methods, and coopering procedures all have their influence. 
    On that note, no one cooperage is going to be perfect for whatever you make. Barrels and oak adjuncts are like the spice rack. Different barrels and adjuncts at different price points can be used in an endless amount of combinations to arrive at a good result with a fairly low average cost when amortized over the life of of the barrel on a per bottle basis. 
     You can actually justify the cost of a $1000 barrel versus a $500 barrel if you use them for five years and keep the percentage of new oak under control. Barrels either make a good change, a bad change, or no change. Two great barrels and three clean but neutral barrels tastes better than five crappy barrels!

Apr 14, 2016

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Marceil Van Camp from Trust Cooperage

The price difference is going to be related to a variety of factors such as varietal, year purchased, amount of time wood was seasoned, country of origin, your location, and many more. The benefit of purchasing a new barrel is that you can choose exactly what you are looking for whereas buying a used barrel may result in unknown impacts on whatever you are putting into the barrel.

Sep 24, 2015

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Csilla Nagy from Hungarian Oak Barrels

It depends on what flavor profile you are looking for. American, Hungarian and French oak all provide different flavors. Distilleries like/use smaller barrels but wineries prefer larger sizes. Understandable hence the volume. 

Aug 18, 2015

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Lucas Brewer from Quality Wine Barrels

$150 will get a used barrel, most likely neutral in oak extraction, whereas $750 can get a new barrel. The cost is lower for USED, American Oak, older and last filled with red wine, or higher for French Oak, newer and white. 

Jan 15, 2015

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Noah Steingraeber from Rocky Mountain Barrel Company

Depends on what barrel it is you're seeking. Are you seeking new or used? 

Sep 16, 2014

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