If you are a fan of whiskey barrels these guys are a great read!
When we last visited Rolling Thunder Barrel Works, cooper Nate Lindquist was raising skirts.
Now comes the magical part of barrel making. But instead of a wand, Nate uses a blowtorch.
Toasting And Bending
The secret to coopering is heat. Heat is what makes our tough as nails Oregon White Oak easier to bend and shape.
This stage of barrel making begins as Nate places the skirts over small fires in metal buckets called cressets.
There are two things happening here. The fires toast the insides of the barrel to caramelize the sugars in the wood. It’s a lot like toasting a marshmallow. Eating a plain one is sweet, but a toasted marshmallow tastes even better.
Meanwhile, as the barrels toast, hydraulic rings push the open ends of the skirts together until you get something that looks like this.
Toasting is critical because how you toast releases different flavors from the wood. A light toast…
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