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Oak Barrels

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  • HappyHerbalist first started offering Oak Casks back in 1999. Over these years we have developed a very refined and easy brewing system. With each order we include our 68 page brewing guide. Our eagerness to share and help develop ferments has made the HappyHerbalist  a leader in Probiotic Brewing.  We continue to help individuals, small farmers market brewers, and small and medium size commercial brewers. We guarantee your success.
  • Oak Barrels for Fermenting by HappyHerbalist
  • We offer your choice of Spigots
1. Plastic  offers the fasted flow rate. Best if you are always in a hurry. Another advantage is it clogs less often
2. Wood with Metal Inserts. Popular with our Beer and Whiskey friends. Has the look and feel of all wood, with a faster flow rate than the all wood 
3. Wood with food grade plastic insert.Offers alternative to the metal insert and a faster flow rate than the all wood.
3. All Wood. Nice and Sweet. Have to have more patience.
  • Comes with Cloth Cover and extra large rubber band, Campden tablets for storage or sterilization, Optional Cork or Wood Cover.
  • Get one for a friend. :))
We can place the spigot at any level you desire. 
Standard hole for spigot is a 3/4 inch.
Let us know what we can do for you.
  • Alternative to buying a oak barrel.
  • HappyHerbalist Brewing Kombucha and probiotics since 1997. As a California licensed Acupuncturist and Medicinal Herbalist who has studied and passed the California Examination for the prescription of Herbal Medicine has taken that experience into the realm that the father of Modern Medicine (Hippocrates) sought so long ago. Let your Food be your medicine and your Medicine your Food.
  • HappyHerbalist Continuous Brewing
Oak Barrels
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 Product Description

Quality Oak Casks. Produce the Finest Ferments. 

Kombucha Tea, Ginger Beer, Japanese Water Crystals, California Bees, Tibicos, Water Kefir,  Vinegar, Cider, Wine, Beer, or Whiskey or your own special brew.  Everything is simply better brewed or aged in wood barrels. 

Comes with cloth cover, choice of spigot, sterilizing and conditioning tablets, optional cork or wood cover, and our HappyHerbalist's Continuos Brewing  Guide. full support and satisfaction guaranteed. 

Guaranteed Satisfaction. 

All natural all wood. We do not varnish or coat the outside of our barrels, A outside coating will prevent the barrel (and the ferment) from receiving oxygen. This albeit minute exchange is necessary for the proper fermentation of both aerobic and anaerobic ferments and proper aging of the ferment. essential to properly release oaky flavor and color to the contents. Varnish only serves to keep the outside of the barrel looking good. Nor do we wax line our barrels. Wax lining is used in some French Vinegar production. Wax prevents alcohol from being absorbed by the barrel, and thus less conversion of alcohol to acetic acid and weaker the vinegar. Not a problem for our family folk ferments where less alcohol is preferred. 


Sizes of our Barrels and Brewing Capacity.


5 liter (1 1/3 Gallon)  measures 8 x 8 x 11 High

Brewing Capacity (leaving 2 inches from the top) 150 ounces (~ 1 1/5 Gal) 

 produces 16 - 31 ounces daily 


10 liter (2 1/2 Gallon)  measures  10 x 10 x 12 High

Brewing Capacity ((leaving 2 inches from the top) 288 ounces (~ 2 1/4 Gal)

produces 30- 60  ounces daily 


20 liter (5 Gallon)  measures  12 x 12 x 14 High

Brewing Capacity ((leaving 2 inches from the top) 448 ounces (~ 3 1/2 Gal)

produces 45-90 ounces daily


50 liter (13.2 gallons)  produces 128 - 200 fluid ounces daily. Produce a Gallon or more a Day !


Choice of Spigots

 We offer your choice of Spigots:

1. Standard:  Wood with Metal Inserts. Popular with our Beer and Whiskey friends. Has the look and feel of all wood, with a faster flow rate than the all wood. Free. No additional charge.


 2. Wood with food grade plastic insert.   Offers alternative to the metal insert and a faster flow rate than the all wood. Food Grade Plastic.

 3. Plastic  Food Grade Plastic.with silicon washer. offers the fasted flow rate. Best if you are always in a hurry. Another advantage is it clogs less often

 4. All Wood.  Nice and Sweet. Have to have more patience.


Choice of Tops:

1.  Cloth with extra large rubber band

2.  Cork. Cork may swell and form a air tight seal - but not always especially when taking off and on often.

3.  Oak Wood top. Looks great, keeps out most bugs but not air tight. 



Made from American White Oak.  Why OAK?

Oak Barrels adds a nutty, buttery flavor and additional tannins to the ferment. Tannins are necessary to a ferment. In kombucha tannins are obtained from the tea. Tannins also produce the astringent quality that some find appealing.  Though the tannins will be exhausted over the years, they may be replenished with oak chips. 

Oak Casks also breathes. This allows oxygen into the ferment below the SCOBY, where the bacteria are attempting to suffocate the yeasts into fermentation. This reduces the potential alcohol levels, adds greater yeast contribution to the flavor profile,while allowing greater oxygen to acid ratios producing a crisper fresher brew. 


Wild Lambric Beers. The sour and unique character of these beers originates from the metabolic activities of various yeasts, lactic acid bacteria (LAB), and acetic acid bacteria (AAB). which are fermented and matured  in the same wood casks for up to three years at up to 25C (77F). Does that sound familiar! With Kombucha you don't have to wait that long ! That's wild.


 Why is the barrel burnt on the inside?

We give our barrels a medium toast. Toast, or charring is burning the wood to a certain degree. This charcoal serves many purposes. Primary for our ferments, the charcoal filters out undesirable elements like methanol (toxic alcohol). It reduces the ethanol (alcohol) and acetic acid levels slightly which allows a more complete ferment of the sugar. A more mellow brew. 

Each year the beneficial probiotic bacteria and yeasts impregnate the wood, over time each cask develops a unique character of health and flavor. One special kombucha yeasts, Brettanomyces, favors wood and may survive alone and abandoned for years. Used properly a cask will last more than a life time. 

I have speculated that kombucha may have made its way to America by the Chinese railroad workers, and those panning for gold in the Sierra’s.  They may have found a better use for those discarded beer barrels than just for storing their Chinese tea in. 

 Why do we place the spigot so high ?

We intended our barrels for fermenting and not simply to store or age a ferment. Which it does a fine job at. But with an active ferment, the yeast will continue to pile up sediment on the bottom. Many folks find this  sediment (called lee’s) desirable. Finding sediment in your beer bottle is where a brewery deliberately does not filter their beer and its called bottle conditioned, i.e. naturally carbonated and unfiltered beer. 

Yes, you can eat (or drink) the sediment. It’s just yeasts. High in nutrition, protein and vitamin B’s.  Some folks say it gives them gas, some say it shows their bravery. 

Some brews develop fuller more complex profiles when aged on the lees.  None-the-less Sediment will continue to clog the spigot so we moved the spigot up. Besides its easier to fit a glass under.  


Independent testing Kombucha brewed in our Oak Barrels. 

We selected Silver Needle White Tea, as this tea is lightest in flavor and would allow a greater perception of what the Oak had to offer. The results were fantastic. it produced a smoother deeper flavor yet very fine. The White Tea flavor in our opinion was richer but still delicate..  Also as expected from the Oak, there was the mellowness and very slight buttery character. Well brewed. 

However it  did slightly reduce the gluconic acid levels (when compared to our glass brew). However it should be noted that overall Silver Needle White Tea fermented in a Oak Cask still produced far greater gluconic acid levels than kombucha tea made with a black, green or combination of black and green tea fermented in glass. With our American White Oaks casks you can produce a fine fermented beverage rich in taste and benefits.

Our Oak Casks, with the spigot higher is great for Continuous Brewing Method This is simply the easiest method to ferment kombucha. Once under way just add fresh pure water, sugar and tea.

Of course you may use this art piece as the more common single stage  method but do consider the advantage of the Continuous Brewing method. 

With Continuous Brewing the  “optimum” health benefit of the nutrients are more readily available. Another advantage is that there is no need to do weekly cleaning, no need to worry about the kombucha mushroom, mold is less likely to form , Great Kombucha Tea is readily available, and there is less need to do bottling or extra storage. Simply pour off a cup of perfect Kombucha. 

Only continuous brewing of the kombucha allows the formation of different acids that are constantly being produced and broken down through out the active ferment.  Kombucha Researcher Mike Roussin indicated that at 80F and 7 days the ferment has the greatest variety of health benefits (vitamins, oxalic acid, etc). However, he also noted that the longer fermentation proceeds the more beneficial acids have a chance to form. Some of these acids don't even appear until 14-21 days in the process.  These acids are largely responsible for the detoxifying nature of Kombucha Tea and are the catalysts we seek in brewing Kombucha Tea. Glucose content maximizes around the 8th or 9th day. This implies that gluconic acid production could not peak until after that point. Gluconic acid is the biggest single contributor to the detox effect.A longer brewing cycle, say 20-30 days, may deplete the total sugar or reduce the caffeine content, but the taste is pretty much undrinkable.  With Continuous Brewing the complete range of nutritional benefits is always present and can be maintained by bottling.


Setting up your new American Oak Cask

Place in an area that will allow for some leakage (like in the tub)

Push in the wooden spigot. Add a few light taps with a hammer.

or if using the plastic spigot the washer may go on the inside or outside. Hand tighten only be careful not to overturn and strip the plastic not.

Fill 75% with warm water. Avoid getting the outside of the barrel wet. Black spots may appear. Rinse off with vinegar and dry.

Leave until any leaks stop and the wood has properly swollen.

Next, drain the barrel and flush it with clean water until water runs clear from the barrel.

Then add the camden tablets. One tablet per gallon. Dissolve in a glass of warm water, then add to barrel. 

Swish and around so it comes in contact with all the interior of the barrel.

Drain the solution,

rinse the barrel well,

You are now ready to fill with kombucha, Ginger Beer, Japanese Water Crystals, Water Kefir, California Bees, Tibicos or your favorite ferment.

The barrel should be filled and maintained at 75-80% level.

NOTE: We guarantee our barrels against initial leakage and damage. The barrel is expected to swell and not to leak upon following the directions above. Damage after is not warranted. The TOP, has been cut open. This does not affect the integrity of the barrel, but may cause wrapping and create an uneven surface. We do not guarantee against this type of wrapping. The pieces themselves may be removed. Such removal will not violate the integrity of the barrel. The barrels may discolor, become black on the outside. This is normal. Thee is a food-grade varnish that may be used to prevent this. However we have found the majority of our clients prefer all natural and do not want any ingredients leaking into their brew. All our barrels are all natural, all wood. 

Note 2: the interior of the barrel should ALWAYS be moist and should not be allowed to dry out. A dried out barrel will leak. If you decide not to use the barrel for awhile, fill with water, cover and set in a clean cool area. Add camden tablet (one per gallon) for storage, or add a few cups of vinegar. If possible maintain the water below a pH of 4.0.

Alternative to purchasing a new Oak Cask is to use Oak Spirals. This is cheaper and to a large extent successful. The oak pieces do impart some natural attributes pretty much the same as if barrel aged or barrel brewed. Personally I do not have the same affinity of the oak spirals a sI do of drawing off a tall glass from by cask.  But hey, oak spirals do work. Check it out in our ACCESSORIES for other options as well. 


At this time our Kombucha Tea is the only know cure for EBS.

Additional Information

Continuous Brew Guide, Step by Step with pictures

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