In reviewing some winemaker notes for an upcoming e-mail, the editing team found themselves scratching heads over the term hogshead. While it was not the first time some of us had heard that word, none of us could say exactly what it was… so we turned to google and wikipedia!
A Hogshead is a unit of volume, primarily for beer, spirits and wine, most often used in the UK and Australia, from what I can tell.
KensWineGuide.com (which has an excellent glossary) says that a Hogshead is: A cask or barrel of varying capacity used to ship wines (and spirits). A hogshead can vary in size from approximately 225 liters to about 275 liters (about 60 to 73 U.S. Gallons).
Wikipedia now says that a hogshead basically refers to 63 gallons (for wine).
In our search for the definition of hogshead, we came across a few other units of measurement for wine that sound like they came out of the latest Harry Potter book. Not sure if they are best suited to carry wine or butter beer, but we’ve added them to our vocabulary.
Pipe (or Butt): About 126 gallons (2 hogsheads fit into a Pipe)
Firkin (also known as a Puncheon or Tertian): About 84 gallons (one and a half hogsheads fits into a Firkin)
Hogshead: 63 gallons or 2 barrels
Barrel: We all know what a barrel is, but it holds about 31 and 1/2 gallons and two barrels fit into a hogshead
Rundlet: 18 gallons
What other cool units of measurements do you know that hold wine?