Standard Dimensions of a Whiskey and Wine Barrel

A cellar with a lot of wine barrels.
What You'll Need
Whiskey barrel
Wine barrel
What You'll Need
Whiskey barrel
Wine barrel

Different types of barrels have different dimensions, so a wine barrel would be a different size to an oil barrel. Wine barrels and whiskey barrels may also be in different sizes, as some barrels are simply used for storage while others are used to ferment large amounts of alcohol. The latter will, of course, be considerably larger. While there are a lot of different sizes, as mentioned, there are consistent standards in size based on the barrel's function. Knowing these sizes is handy for the DIY enthusiast. Repurposed barrels give a rustic look to any decor and can be useful for creating tables and chairs for any space.

Wine Barrels

The term wine barrel is also used for any barrel which stores spirits such as brandy or burgundy. The standard burgundy barrel would be around 23 inches in diameter while barrel widths can vary from between 25 inches and 28 inches. A small barrel will only have a 21-inch head.

Larger barrels, such as the 65 gallon drum, will have a 28-inch belly, with 23 inches at either end, and be around 35 inches tall. Height does not normally vary between sizes of barrel, so when planning for any barrel-related DIY projects, measurements for the belly of the barrel should your primary concern.

Whiskey Barrel

Whiskey barrels are usually large enough enough to store 53 gallons—or 200 liters—of liquor, in which is a pretty standard amount to purchase whiskey. A barrel made for this much alcohol would be about 21 inches by 36 inches in size. The circumference of the belly will be around 26 inches, so it will be slightly smaller than the average barrel, but the height will be the same standard length of a typical barrel.

Barrel Uses

Repurposing barrels is a popular DIY project since they can be used for almost anything. For example, you can cut a barrel in half and make one into two matching planters, or even into a miniature pond. They also provide a good base for creating unique furniture pieces without cutting them up at all.

For whatever reason you're using wine and whiskey barrels, be sure to refer to these numbers and measure the space you intend to use for your projects. You'll always want to use the widest part of the barrel for your width measurement to ensure it will fit.

Standard Dimensions of a Whiskey and Wine Barrel FAQ

Are whiskey and wine barrels the same size?

Whiskey and wine barrels can look the same at first glance but there are some differences between them. Anyone in the spirits industry can spot the differences right away.

Whiskey barrels are standardized, meaning they are always the same size. They hold a certain number of gallons of fluid and they have the same height and width.

Standard whiskey barrels hold 50 gallons of liquid. Wine barrels hold 59 gallons of liquid but the height and width can vary between different types of wine.

What is the size difference between a wine barrel and a whiskey barrel?

Whiskey and wine barrels can be very different when it comes to height and width but the main size difference between the two types of barrels is that whiskey barrels hold 50 gallons of liquid, while wine barrels hold 59.

So although sizes change in dimension, the real difference is that wine barrels hold nine more gallons of liquid than whiskey barrels.

Can you put whiskey in a wine barrel?

Because wine barrels hold 59 gallons and whiskey is made in 50-gallon batches, it is possible to age whiskey in wine barrels and in fact, this has started to become a bit of a trend in the spirits industry. Many types of whiskey are aged in used wine barrels, with red wine barrels being a hot choice for distillers right now.

Used wine barrels are especially desired for Scotch. Many Scotland distilleries that make this beverage use sherry barrels to age the brew.

What is the difference between barrel sizes?

Why do barrel sizes differ? It's not just about the best ways to store barrels, actually.

The different sizes of barrels do actually affect the flavor of the beverage that's being aged inside of it. Beverages aged in smaller barrels will have more wood taste than larger barrels.

How long do you leave whiskey in a barrel?

There are lots of different whiskeys and that means there is no one answer for how long whiskey needs to age. Depending on eh type, whiskey can age from two to twelve years.