I bought two of those Woodinville barrels. Mine were from Rye whiskey. So I decided to make a Rye Barleywine and a Rye Imperial Stout to put in them.
They are an absolutely great investment and you can use them over and over again (though the best whiskey flavor will be after they are initially dumped.) You can even use them for fermentors since the are 8 gallons. You can turn it into a sour project at some point in time after you get bored.
Just be sure to check the beer regularly as it ages. Because of the greater surface are you will pick up the flavors very quickly. A 5 gallon bbl I used a few years ago gave a RIS a great, deep barrel flavor after only 2-3 weeks.
BTW: These barrels smelled fan-damn-tastic!
Couldn't agree with you more. I have used Woodinville's Bourbon and Rye barrels with great success, and they are absolutely no work. Several of our club members just ordered more of them, and the per-unit shipping cost went down just enough (from about $45 each to about $30) to rationalize the purchase. This will be my 4th Woodinville barrel. Someone once asked me whether these barrels are worth the cost. My answer was (and is) that I can rationalize pretty much any homebrewing purchase that I can get past my spouse and into the door.
I've never used them for primary, and have only aged beer and mead that was already fully fermented. No rinsing or cleaning between batches, I just dump and fill. After the third or fourth beer (they are fabulous for aging mead as well), they're perfect for making sours.
If you get enough folks in a club interested, they'll quote you a volume discount, but then they'll ship on a pallet and you need to have them shipped to a location (e.g. homebrew shop, brewery) with a receiving dock. We did that a few years ago, and people liked them so much, the homebrew shop where we shipped them has since bought them for their own stock.