Of course, to make alcoholic beverages at home, first of all, you need a moonshine still from a reputable store https://stills-moonshine.com/copper-stills/. Apart from it, you need a good barrel. However, right after purchase, any new barrel contains too many tannins. So before using, it needs:
Usually, preparation of an oak barrel begins with soaking. You need to fill it with fresh cold water, keep for three days and empty the next day. Further water can be kept for 2–3 days again. For 10–15 days it is carried out either the visual and flavoring analysis of the composition of water (it has to be completely transparent and without the smack of wood), or by means of 10% chloric iron (water shouldn’t darken).
After that, the barrel needs to be filled for a half with boiled water and you should add to it up to 10% of the usual soda. Now the barrel can be filled with wine or other alcoholic drinks and corked. In 30 minutes liquid can be drained.
In addition, it is possible to process wood with a hot solution of 2% sulfuric acid.
Next, the barrel is steamed with clear hot water or, whenever possible, steam within 10 minutes. However, it is better to make sure you buy the proper barrel in a reputable store https://stills-moonshine.com/.
The barrel has to be stored in the same conditions in which a drink will be prepared. The approximate humidity indoors has to be 75%, temperature – less than +15 °C (+10 °C, but not below). If the room is too hot or dry, a barrel should be wrapped with polyethylene.
Recommendation: skilled winemakers never use new barrels for making hard liquors — losses are too high. In the first years, oak kegs are applied to fermentation or storage of young wines. And only after several years they are used to store more valuable products.
How to process the used barrel
Used barrels are more preferable for making strong alcohol including moonshine. However, they demand preliminary processing. The matter is that the remains of sugar and other wine materials provide the suitable environment for the development of acetic bacteria, and residual humidity — for a mold.