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v50.08 · v0.47.05This article is about the current version of DF.
Note that some content may still need to be updated.
Barrels are storage units that, like bins and bags, conserve stockpile space by containing several items of the same type. They can be made out of wood at a carpenter's workshop (requires one log for each barrel) or forged from metal at a forge (requires 3 metal bars). Non-magma forges also require one bar of fuel. If a barrel is empty, the sprite will show an empty barrel with no lid; if it has one or more items, the barrel will have a lid. If the barrel contains a liquid, the barrel will have no lid and show the top of the liquid it contains, as well as having a tap attached to it, making the barrel resemble a keg.
For information on managing barrels in stockpiles, see using bins and barrels. When a barrel is emptied, it may be used again. Barrels are stored in a furniture stockpile under the Large Pots/Food Storage section, and can be specified by the Material Type = Wood.
For most uses, barrels can be replaced by a large pot, which has the same storage capacity (and requires no wood or metal) and is only one quarter as heavy as a barrel made of the same material. Typical stone pots will be 33% heavier than wooden barrels. Fire clay "stoneware" pots weigh the same as a wooden barrel, while earthenware pots are lighter but must be glazed.
Barrels are used in building dyer's shops and asheries. Using a valuable masterwork or artifact barrel to build one of these buildings can significantly increase fortress wealth.
Barrels can hold up to 60 prepared meals, plants, or cheeses, 30 pieces of meat or fish, any number of units of brewed alcohol (but only a single stack), 100 units of lye or milk, or 6000 eggs regardless of size. However, alcohol brought at embark will be in barrels that only contain up to 5 units each; this due to alcohol barrels allowing only 1 stack and embark items coming in stacks of 5 units or less.
The name of a barrel can vary by circumstance: the name of an empty barrel is the material it is made of, e.g. "tower-cap barrel", otherwise a barrel will be named for what it contains with its material appended, e.g. "dwarven wine barrel (tower-cap)". Additionally, if a barrel is assigned for use in a stockpile, the number of the stockpile will be appended, e.g. "dwarven wine barrel (tower-cap) <#1>".