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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
BARREL
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2008/050306
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention discloses a stave for use in constructing a barrel for maturing an alcoholic beverage, and to a barrel made from such staves, the barrel having a cylindrical barrel wall. The stave includes an elongated flat panel allowing the staves to be reversed for operative use of both its faces for the maturation of the alcoholic beverage.

Inventors:
VAN DE MERWE, Anthony, John (12 Firs Street, 7130 Somerset West, ZA)
Application Number:
IB2007/054357
Publication Date:
May 02, 2008
Filing Date:
October 26, 2007
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
VAN DE MERWE, Anthony, John (12 Firs Street, 7130 Somerset West, ZA)
International Classes:
B27H3/00; B27H3/02; B27H5/00; B27H5/02
Foreign References:
GB2183593A1987-06-10
US4227621A1980-10-14
DE19626666A11998-01-08
US7240609B22007-07-10
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GERNTHOLTZ, Richard, Otto, Paul et al. (Dr Gerntholtz Inc, P.O. Box 8, 8000 Cape Town, ZA)
Download PDF:
Claims:

CLAIMS

1. A stave for use in constructing a barrel for maturing an alcoholic beverage, the barrel having a cylindrical barrel wall, the stave including an elongated flat panel.

2. A stave as claimed in claim 1, in which the panel is a rectangular plank.

3. A stave as claimed in claim 1 or 2, in which the panel has opposite first and second end walls, opposite first and second side walls and opposite first and second face walls, wherein the first side wall is concavely curved and the second side wall is convexly curved.

4. A stave as claimed in claim 3, in which the concavely curved side wall is complementary to the convexly curved side wall, in use, being adapted to allow neighbouring panels to respectively cooperate and engage along their abutting side walls when forming a barrel wall.

5. A stave as claimed in claim 3 or 4, in which the panel has an elongated ridge protruding from its convexly curved side wall.

6. A stave as claimed in any one of claims 3 to 5, in which the first face wall has a first pair of slots extending transversely between the side walls and the second face wall has a second pair of slots extending transversely between the side walls.

7. A stave as claimed in claim 6, in which the first pair of slots and the second pair of slots are offset from each other relative to the end walls.

8. A stave as claimed in claim 6 or 7, in which the first pair of slots and the second pair of slots extend substantially perpendicularly to the elongated length of the panel.

9. A barrel for maturing an alcoholic beverage including a cylindrical barrel wall constructed with a number of staves as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 8.

10. A barrel for maturing an alcoholic beverage including a cylindrical barrel wall constructed with a number of neighbouring staves as claimed in any one of

claims 6 to 8, wherein the first pair of slots of neighbouring staves cooperate to form two inner annular channels on the barrel interior and the second pair of slots of neighbouring staves cooperate to form two outer annular channels on the barrel exterior; and opposite head panels being located in the inner annular channels.

11. A barrel as claimed in claim 10, which includes at least one band extending externally around the barrel wall to secure the staves in position in the barrel wall.

12. A barrel as claimed in claim 11, in which the band is located any one of the outer annular channels.

13. A barrel as claimed in claim 11 or 12, which is suspended in a rectangular frame from cables joined to the bands.

14. A method of using a barrel to mature an alcoholic beverage including the steps of constructing a side wall of the barrel with a number of staves; of inserting the alcoholic beverage into the barrel; of removing the alcoholic beverage from the barrel; of dismantling the barrel; and of reconstructing the barrel with the staves reversed, such that a face of the stave previously facing outwardly from the barrel faces inwardly into the barrel.

15. A method as claimed in claim 14 which includes the step of reconditioning any one of the staves by removing a layer of contaminated material from the respective stave.

16. A stave substantially as hereinbefore described and illustrated with reference to the accompanying schematic drawings.

17. A barrel substantially as hereinbefore described and illustrated with reference to the accompanying schematic drawings.

18. A method of using a barrel substantially as hereinbefore described and illustrated with reference to the accompanying schematic drawings.

Description:

BARREL

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates to a barrel.

More particularly, the present invention relates to a barrel for use in maturing or aging alcoholic beverages in the wine or spirits industry or as a fermentation tank.

BACKGROUND TO INVENTION

Most wines and spirits are aged or matured in wood barrels to allow certain flavours and aromas to be extracted from the wood and imparted to the alcoholic beverage. Most extraction occurs in barrels made of fresh wood whereafter repeated use of the same barrel leads to lower levels of extraction. This happens because during the maturation process, the alcoholic beverage leaves a residue of precipitated materials on the wood, such as tartrates or yeasts. These precipitates normally penetrate into the wood to a depth of about V 4 inch. Once all the components that can be extracted from the wood have been extracted, the barrels are considered exhausted and are either discarded or kept purely for storage purposes.

In conventional barrels the barrel walls are substantially thicker than the depth to which the precipitated materials penetrate. As such, and due to the high costs of the barrels, a number of methods of reconditioning barrels have been developed, which include the cutting or shaving of the barrel inside to remove the wood layer containing the precipitated materials. However, this can only be done to a certain extent as otherwise the barrel staves become structurally too weak and can also become misaligned leading to leakage. In conventional barrels, the outside of the barrels almost invariably consists of wood containing no precipitated material but which cannot be used for aging purposes.

It is an object of the invention to suggest a maturing barrel, which will assist in overcoming these problems.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

According to the invention, a stave for use in constructing a barrel for maturing an alcoholic beverage, the barrel having a cylindrical barrel wall, includes an elongated flat panel.

The panel may be a rectangular plank.

The panel may have opposite first and second end walls, opposite first and second side walls and opposite first and second face walls, wherein the first side wall is concavely curved and the second side wall is convexly curved.

The concavely curved side wall may be complementary to the convexly curved side wall, in use, being adapted to allow neighbouring panels to respectively cooperate and engage along their abutting side walls when forming a barrel wall.

The panel may have an elongated ridge protruding from its convexly curved side wall.

The first face wall may have a first pair of slots extending transversely between the side walls and the second face wall has a second pair of slots extending transversely between the side walls.

The first pair of slots and the second pair of slots may be offset from each other relative to the end walls.

The first pair of slots and the second pair of slots may extend substantially perpendicularly to the elongated length of the panel.

Also according to the invention, a barrel for maturing an alcoholic beverage includes a cylindrical barrel wall constructed with a number of staves as set out herein.

Further according to the invention, a barrel for maturing an alcoholic beverage including a cylindrical barrel wall constructed with a number of neighbouring staves as set out herein, wherein the first pair of slots of neighbouring staves cooperate to form two inner annular channels on the barrel interior and the second pair of slots of neighbouring staves cooperate to form two outer annular

channels on the barrel exterior; and opposite head panels being located in the inner annular channels.

The barrel may includes at least one band extending externally around the barrel wall to secure the staves in position in the barrel wall.

Each band may be located any one of the outer annular channels.

The barrel may be suspended in a rectangular frame from cables joined to the bands.

Further according to the invention, a method of using a barrel to mature an alcoholic beverage includes the steps of constructing a side wall of the barrel with a number of staves; of inserting the alcoholic beverage into the barrel; of removing the alcoholic beverage from the barrel; of dismantling the barrel; and of reconstructing the barrel with the staves reversed, such that a face of the stave previously facing outwardly from the barrel faces inwardly into the barrel .

The method may includes the step of reconditioning any one of the staves by removing a layer of contaminated material from the respective stave.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

The invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying schematic drawings.

In the drawings there is shown in :

Figure 1 : A perspective view of a barrel according to the invention;

Figure 2 : An end view seen along arrow II in Figure 1 ;

Figure 3 : A perspective view of a side wall plank used in the maturing barrel shown in Figure 1;

Figure 4: On an enlarged scale, a perspective view of the area indicated by arrow IV in Figure 3;

Figure 5 : A side view seen along arrow V in Figure 4;

Figure 6: An end view seen along arrow VI in Figure 4; and

Figure 7: On an enlarged scale, a partial end view corresponding to that indicated by arrow VII in Figure 6, showing an alternative embodiment of the side wall plank.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

Referring to Figures 1 and 2, a maturing barrel in accordance with the invention, generally indicated by reference numeral 10, is shown. The barrel 10 includes a cylindrical wall 12 formed by a number of elongated staves 14 that are arranged adjacent to each other in a substantially cylindrical manner. The respective open ends of the barrel 10 are closed off by opposite head panels 16. The staves 14 and head panels 16 are held together by two metal bands or straps 18 that extend around the outside of the side wall 12 in the vicinity of the head panels 16 and which are tightened by clamps 20. If needed, more than two bands 18 can be provided anywhere along the length of the side wall 12.

The barrel 10 is suspended in a rectangular frame 22 by cables 23 joining the bands 18 to the frame 22. The cables 23 can also alternatively be joined to the clamps 20.

Referring now to Figures 3 to 6, a single stave 14 is shown. The stave 14 is an elongated flat plank 24 being of substantially rectangular shape and having opposite end walls 26,28, opposite side walls 30,32 and opposite face walls 34,36.

The side wall 30 is concavely curved and the side wall 32 is convexly curved 32, with both side walls 30,32 having a similar radius. The side walls 30,32 are thus adapted to engage with associated corresponding side walls 30,32 of neighbouring staves 14 when a number of the staves 14 are arranged adjacent to each other to form the cylindrical wall 12.

Two transverse slots 38,40 are cut into the face wall 34 each being located near to one of the opposite end walls 26,28. On the opposite face wall 36, two further transverse slots 42,44 are cut into the face wall 36 each being located near to one of the opposite end walls 26,28. The slots 38,42 are offset from each other

so that the slot 38 is further away from the end wall 26 than the slot 42. Similarly the slot 40 is nearer to the end wall 28 than the slot 44. The slots 38,40 and 42,44 extend substantially perpendicularly to the elongated length of the plank 24.

The staves 14 are made of wood, such as oak.

As the staves 14 are substantially flat, i.e. the face walls 34,36 are planar, a cylindrical barrel 10 is formed that does not have the conventional curved shape centrally in the side wall of a wine barrel. This has the advantage in that the barrel 10 is easier to handle and to store.

In a further embodiment, shown in Figure 7, the side wall 32 can be provided with protruding elongated ridges 46 that extend linearly along the length of the plank 24. During the construction of the barrel 10, these ridges 46 are compressed against the side wall 30 of the neighbouring stave 14 to ensure an improved seal between the abutting neighbouring staves 14 and to prevent leaking of any liquid contained in the barrel 10. In an alternative embodiment, which is not shown, the ridges 46 can be provided on the side wall 30 to be compressed against the side wall 32 during use.

In use, the barrel 10 is constructed and an alcoholic beverage, such as wine, beer or spirits is inserted into the barrel 10 for aging, maturation or fermentation. The barrel 10 is initially constructed so that the heads 16 are inserted into the slots 38,40 and the bands 18 are located in the slots 42,44 to tighten and seal the barrel 10. The alcoholic beverage is thus able to contact the face wall 34 to extract the wood flavours and aromas. After the face wall 34 is fully contaminated with precipitate material, the barrel 10 can be taken apart for reconditioning. Due to the flat form of the staves 14, the reconditioning can be conducted much easier than in comparison to the curved staves of conventional barrels.

The flat form of the staves 14 also allows the staves 14 to be reversed so that the heads 16 are inserted into the slots 42,44 and the bands 18 are located in the slots 38,40 to tighten and seal the barrel 10. The alcoholic beverage is thus

able to contact the face wall 36 to extract the wood flavours and aromas. This allows more efficient use of the wood in the barrel during the aging process.

The frame 22 assists in the packing and storing of the barrels 10 during the aging process by preventing undesirable compression forces acting on barrels 10 at the bottom of a barrel stack. This allows more efficient use of cellar space as more barrels 10 can be stacked on top of each other to a higher height without causing damage to the barrels 10 at the bottom of the stack. It also assists in the handling of the full barrels 10 during transport.

The flat form of the staves 14 further assists during transportation of empty barrels 10 as the various parts of the barrel 10 can be machined in a factory and then flat-packed for shipping to an end-user who will construct the barrel 10 themselves on-site.

Also, after final use is made for maturation purposes, the exhausted barrel 10 can be dismantled for secondary use, such as in the manufacture of furniture. In such event, the flat form of the staves 14 is preferential as it allows easier machining and allows more effective use.