What are cross cut staves?
First off, the wood "paneling" part of the traditional barrel is made up of staves, which are bound together with wooden or metal hoops.
No two staves, in traditional barrels, are the same shape! They have different thicknesses, widths, lengths, and curvatures! They are traditionally flat, with little texture on the inside. Normally, the spirit, or wine, or beer, inside of the barrel interacts chemically with the wood on the outside, bringing the flavor of the wood to the liquid inside. Spirits can penetrate a flat stave ½ the depth of a human hair every 7 days.
On the other side of the coin of complexity, HONEY COMB Staves (patented barrel alternative created by Black Swan Barrels and Russ Karasch) are very intricately shaped. The particular shape of these staves maximize the rate of extraction and accelerate the aging of the process. They provide the highest surface area to volume ratio for extraction.
In the middle of these two options are cross cut staves. It's less costly than the HONEY COMB method, because the method of producing a cross cut stave is not as expensive as honey combing a stave. It provides a similar "high performance" result, but costs less!
Cross cutting exposes the “end grain” and the wood’s capillaries. This results in alcohol will moving into the wood- the same way that water and nutrients moved through the tree while it was alive. This is an incredibly efficient method of working with the wood, as it results in aging a spirit 8 times faster than traditional means! It will extract even more quickly for beer and wine, as there is a higher ratio of water to content. In fact, beer and wine will age anywhere between 10 to 20 times faster than the average aging time! We are currently in the process of testing specifically how long it takes beer and wine to age with cross cut staves, in conjunction with the University of Northern Colorado, Colorado State University, and the University of Minnesota. We are using a variety of different products and methods to test exactly what the time it takes is, but for now, very, very quickly will suffice!
The inventor of the cross cut stave, Russ Karasch, first patented the idea back in 2002. Does the name Russ seem familiar to you? It should, as Russ is also the inventor of Squarrel Barrel technology! And I mentioned his name less than a paragraph ago. Russ is a brilliant inventor, and we are very lucky to work with his brilliant concepts here at Squarrel.