Whiskey is an alcoholic beverage, which is prepared by fermenting grain mash. It is one of the most popular drinks in the world which is loved by many people. Since it process involves fermentation, some barrels are needed for its aging,which are called as Casks. These casks are generally make of oak wood and the chemical interaction between the oak and the whiskey gives its pleasant taste. Proper barrels are selected by the master blender who seeks a particular character of whiskey. The taste and flavor of the whiskey depends on the type of whiskey barrel used.
So, let us check the different types of casks used in the preparation of whiskey.
Bourbon Barrels: The capacity of these barrels ranges from 190- 200 liters. There is a particular law in US government about the usage of these Bourbon Barrels. The law states that for a whiskey to be called as Bourbon Whiskey it should be matured at least for two years in new oak barrels, which will quickly impart the color to the wine. These casks are not so expensive.
Hogshead Casks: Hogsheads are the most commonly used casks for maturing whiskey. These casks are either made with new oak wood or with recycled wood from the old barrels. The woods would be cleaned well and fired again to impart that oaky flavor. The capacity of these gallons is 63 gallons., and are a little bit larger than bourbon casks.
Butts: If wine is required in larger quantities these butt casks are used. They hold up to 500 liters and are tall made up of European oak. Since these casks are larger and the contact between whiskey and the wood is low, they require longer periods of maturation.
Puncheons: This cask is similar to butt cask in its capacity which can hold up to 500 liters. These casks are generally available in two types. One is the machine puncheon, which is short and fat and the other is sherry shaped puncheon made up of Spanish oak. The maturation period of whiskey in these casks are also so long.
These are the most commonly used casks for whiskey preparation which give that special and pleasant taste to the whiskey.