Definition of cask in US English:



  • 1A large container like a barrel, made of wood, metal or plastic and used for storing liquids, typically alcoholic drinks.

    • ‘But the majority of Cyprus fortified wine is sweet, less distinguished wine, matured for a year in casks stored outside.’
    • ‘Large Slovenian oak casks, producing wines with harsh bitter tannins have been replaced, giving soft supple styles, suitable for early drinking but still with huge ageing potential.’
    • ‘Armagnac is always aged in oak casks before being bottled and sold.’
    • ‘Even a quarter of a century ago, some port still came down-river on rabelo boats piled high with casks to be stored in cool port lodges.’
    • ‘After resting for nine years in charred oak casks, the whiskey is drawn straight from the barrel and diluted to 86.6 proof.’
    • ‘As a result, an increasing number of producers however have begun aging their tequilas in seasoned 50-gallon white oak casks imported from the U.S.’
    • ‘The last is the ‘Reserve’ type, which is a special category of wines aged in small oak casks with the purpose of extracting phenolic compounds from the wood, and then in larger oak casks.’
    • ‘Butter has been stored and shipped in wooden barrels, casks, tubs, and eventually paraffin paper and parchment.’
    • ‘Well, it just so happens that the beneficial phenolic compounds found in the skins and pips of red grapes are also present in oak - and Armagnac spends years maturing in oak casks.’
    • ‘Whisky is always kept in oak casks that have already stored another alcoholic beverage: usually bourbon or sherry, occasionally port and Madeira.’
    • ‘He revealed the secret of the pub's success lies in the oak casks where the beer is stored.’
    • ‘The red wine came from casks stored in some mildewy dungeon and came in two flavors: extra-dry, which was completely undrinkable, and dry, which was merely bad.’
    • ‘A general rule of thumb is that whisky which has been laid down and matured in former fresh oak sherry casks tends to be - after the correct period - a darker colour than that which is matured in refilled white oak casks.’
    • ‘Some wines will undergo a further period of maturation in oak casks before bottling.’
    • ‘It looks to be delivering fuel oil, but as the driver hooks up a hose from the back of the truck, it turns out the hose is suctioning out aged cognac from casks stored in dank caves below the castle for bottling at the modern plant down the road.’
    • ‘Around 90% of bourbon is stored in their oak casks which, according to American law, can only be used just once.’
    • ‘Distilled twice in the odd-looking Charentais still, with only the heart, not head or tails, of the run, then aged for many years in oak casks, cognac eventually acquires its distinctive, warm, woody, rancio flavour.’
    • ‘Bigger reds, such as Bordeaux's Cabernet Sauvignon, usually spend two years maturing in oak casks, as do Spain's gran reserva Riojas and Italy's brutish Barolos.’
    • ‘Further south the heady brew is cognac, aged in oak casks and sought out by connoisseurs around the world.’
    • ‘Winemakers cook lesser varieties in casks stored in heated rooms or in steel vats warmed by hot water pipes or heating coils.’
    barrel, keg, butt, tun, vat, drum, tank, vessel, hogshead, firkin, kilderkin, pipe, pin
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The quantity of liquid held in a cask.
      ‘a cask of cider’
      • ‘In addition, local microbrewery Wild Rose Brewery features a cask of real ale on the first Friday of each month at a different pub each month.’
      • ‘I never found out where he lived, but every day at about 7am he would turn up and sit downstairs next to the gas meters where he hid a cask of cheap wine to share with his friends, also cleaners, in the street.’
      • ‘In return, he promised a cask of gun powder as well as a large, rich ransom for the safe return of Betty and the babies.’
      • ‘Resuscitation efforts were aided when a cask of the ship's brandy bobbed alongside.’
      • ‘There was a cask of water with a ladle in the far corner of the yard.’
      • ‘In the British Navy, they call rum Nelson's Blood because his body was preserved and returned home from the Battle of Trafalgar in a cask of rum.’
      • ‘A cask of gunpowder was fired close to the wall of the Clerkenwell House of Detention, at 3.45 p.m. on December 13, 1867.’
      • ‘Among the prizes are signed football tops from both Rangers and Celtic football clubs, and a cask of Famous Grouse whisky, which should hopefully attract the connoisseurs out and bid.’
      • ‘People were shown, apparently in distress, and a man was shown walking over lava to save a cask of Guinness from a damaged building.’
      • ‘He left a cask of wine in his cellar for some years.’
      • ‘They will only produce eight casks, each containing around nine gallons, of the 4.9% ale.’


Early 16th century: from French casque or Spanish casco ‘helmet’. The current senses appear only in English; from the late 16th to the late 18th centuries the word also denoted a helmet (compare with casque).