Whiskey barrels for rainwater collection

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by ArtfulDodger, Jun 1, 2006.

  1. ArtfulDodger

    ArtfulDodger Member

    Oct 22, 2005
    I just bought two large whiskey barrels (actually used to make whiskey - you can smell it!) that I intend to use for collecting rainwater from downspouts. (The barrels are still complete: the lids are on, and they are completely sealed.) How can I configure these barrels to do this? Should I cut holes in the tops? Should I try to remove the lids? If so, how does one do this?
    I'd like to use the second one for overflow from the first so I can store more water: how would I connect them for this?
    Also, the water will be used for irrigation of my garden very close by, so I'll need to install outlets near the bottom of the barrels. Any suggestions on how to do that?
    Any help would be appreciated. :help:

  2. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 13, 2004
    Darn, if you were closer I would trade you some nice rot-proof plastic rain barrels and use the whiskey barrels to brew or age a batch of beer in. Nothing quite like a brown ale or a stout or maybe a porter which was aged a bit in whiskey barrels.

    For rain barrels, I would leave tops on, just cut holes for water to get in, to avoid algae and mosquitoes in the water. What I have done to connect rain barrels is to put a drain valve at the bottom of each one, and connect them together with hose between the drain valves. That way they all have about the same water level. But that may not be what you want to do. I would put a drain at the bottom (side) of each one, and then put an overflow on the barrel that the water goes into first, putting the overflow near the top, and run a hose from that overflow to the top of the second barrel. The first one could be up on blocks to make it 6 inches or so above the other barrel. I use a "floor flange" of galvanized iron to connect a pipe nipple and ball valve to the barrels. I use ball valves (3/4" size) because the lever handle makes it obvious if it is open or close, and because someone gave me a dozen or more good, nearly new ones. Here's a pic of a floor flange so you know what I am talking about:

  3. Unregistered

    Unregistered Well-Known Member

    Aug 27, 2004
    It shouldn't matter if you are using the water on your garden but most oak whisky barrels are charred on the inside. The can give off a slight flavor for some a while.
  4. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    Between Crosslake and Emily Minnesota
    All I can say is that you better hurry and get some water in them or else they'll dry out and leak.