The barrel I picked up from Lost Abbey was emptied within the last few weeks, and it wreaked of Brandy when we drove it home, so I hope it didn't dry out too much. I haven't yet filled it with water to see if I need to swell it (I hope not), but my plan now is to first fill it with a measured quantity of water to verify the volume. For some reason there was some discrepancy at the brewery as to the actual volume of this thing. One guy said 50 gallon, one guy said 30. I couldn't eye ball it so I went home with the one this time. Once I fill it, I'll let the thing sit with liquid in it for awhile to see if there are any leaks.
Fast forward to actually swelling this thing, I'm going to need to build some sort of stand for it. It will be over 300 lbs after filling, that's just with 30 gallons, so the stand will need to be pretty strong.
The dual barrel stand that they had at the brewery would have been perfect, and I could have just elevated it a little bit with some cinder blocks, but they're metal and I can't weld. I was hoping I could put something together out of wood, like two X's out of four by fours and wood joiners or some other kind of framing nail. Then I'll use cinder blocks to elevate the whole thing so that I can hopefully gravity feed in and out of the barrel. I'll probably buy some cheap cloth to cover up the cinder blocks since this is going in the house too.