The main principle you should understand to store and maintain an oak barrel is that a barrel is made of natural material (oak timber). It can be dried up, cracked under the influence of sun light, temperature and air; it can be swelled and get moldy under the influence of water or moist air and etc.
The best way is you buy new oak barrel once you are ready to use it to avoid long storage. Once you get your barrel, all of its parts (tap, bung and stand, hoops) should be visually inspected for cracks, gaps, hoops falling and any defects that may lead to potential problems. To inspect the barrel inside, just insert a light to any bung holes while watch from other hole.
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UK Mainland delivery time is 3-5 days. We deliver our products within Europe and normally it takes 7-10 days to deliver your order.