Have any Questions?


Jun 08, 2022 View:

Barrel Head Space

Help please. 

If I have a 53 gallon wood barrel how many gallons of Rye whiskey do you recommend putting into the new barrel? I assume you leave head space.

I ask because the local Fire Marschall first thought the barrel size was 55 gallon barrels and filled completely full. He is calculating MAQ based on this data. I thought alcohol in wood barrels was exempt from MAQ.

Trying to get away from H3 occupancy in barrel storage area.

Thank you for you feedback.


For efficient use of your barrels I suggest filling within 1/2 inch of full. If the barrel is completely full then I have found some spirit can "wick" out around the bung.

I have heard that barrels only partially filled can mature more quickly, which might help with the Fire Marshall's calculations. I don't know if it would help, but point out to him that older barrels have lost angels share. Mature barrels have typically lost about 30% of their volume.

Reply:1 hour ago, twalshact said:



Sorry, wrong link


The International Fire Code exempts the storage of ‘alcoholic beverages in wooden casks.’  A recent staff interpretation and code commentary7recognizes this exception in the fire code. 

Whose interpretation? 


Barrel qty is included in maq calculations.  For a single control area without sprinklers, the limit is 120 gallons, 240 with sprinklers.  I think you can have up to 5 control areas.  

This means you either have to have a h area for storage or store outside and then you can be up to 1000 gallons without spill containment if using 53 gallon barrels or so my fire marshal says.  

Reply:8 hours ago, Huffy2k said: