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With new French Oak barrels running over a thousand dollars each, how does one go about finding good quality used barrels?

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3 answers

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You could check out wine country classifieds? 

Or Ours? http://www.enotools.com/free-classifieds/used-french-barrels
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Working with a reputable used barrel broker is always a great place to start. They usually have access to a variety of barrels and can typically (if a good broker) can locate what you desire. I guess it ultimately depends on what it is you'll be using the barrel for (wine, beer, spirit, other). It will depend on how much oak flavor you want, or not want. 
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You have to consider the effect on the product first. While new French barrels are expensive, a used barrel will not provide the same effect. Moreover, used barrels will also carry some level of flavor and effect from its previously aged liquid.

With that said, your best bet is to look at Bourbon producers for used barrels. Bourbon has to be aged (for any amount of time) in new, charred, oak. Therefore, they have a lot of used barrels to sell. Bigger producers send them on to Scotland. It is becoming harder and harder to find good used barrels, but a good starting point are any local, craft, distillers in your area.
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