MOBA showing all it's component. Stainless steel vessel, the electric barrel, custom lid for easy pouring and MOBA's oak tile packages.

What Is MOBA: The World's First Modern Barrel

MOBA, a portmanteau of Modern and Barrel, is a revolutionary tool for barrel aging distilled spirits.  Many alternative barrel designs have been tried throughout the years, but MOBA is the first to marry rapid maturation techniques to the barrel form factor and handling methods.  Though distilled spirit rapid maturation technology has existed for over 100 years, only recently have the tools to enable high quality maturation been available en masse.  MOBA enables exploration and creation of distilled spirits in a manner that will revolutionize the world of distilled spirits. 


Wooden barrels were designed to move goods over long distances.  Advances in materials technologies saw industry move away from wooden barrels to metal, plastic, paper, and composite vessels to transfer the bulk of materials.  However, wooden barrels have kept their place in the processing of alcoholic beverages and other consumables since they can dramatically improve the flavors of these liquids over time – lots of time.  Marketing messaging that spans generations has shaped the public perception that more time in a wooden barrel equates to superior flavor, though of course this is only partially true.  New barrel designs have also been engineered to adjust flavors or make the logistics of moving barrels in a rickhouse more streamlined.  However, most of these new designs do not fundamentally change how producers mature their spirits.  Some producers have switched to smaller barrels.  This switch alters the ratio of wood to spirit as compared to a typical 50 gallon barrel, which dramatically alters the flavor profile.


Rapid maturation is not a new concept.  We have reviewed scientific literature on distilled spirit maturation dating back to the early 1900s.  Thanks especially to Reazin, Ebeler,  and Rittschof for their seminal work reporting the factors and responses of spirit maturation.  Major distillers have developed technologies like this in their laboratories, and use them to improve the flavor profile of brands we know and love, and reducing the time needed to generate them otherwise.  Based on the knowledge harvested from literature, and hundreds of laboratory experiments, MOBA has been designed to control four things which impact the maturation process.  MOBA heats and mixes the mixture of spirit and wood.  This speeds up the diffusion rate between wood compounds and compounds in the distilled spirit.  This also accelerates the breakdown of wood into other compounds that improve the flavor profile of distilled spirits, and accelerates reactions that take place during maturation.  Critically, and in stark contrast to infusion methods, MOBA also ensures the required oxygen and energy is available to promote the reactions that create molecules that are present in matured spirit.  These molecules are largely various esters that impart fruity, floral, and nutty notes.  Additionally, oxygen facilitates the mouthfeel and complexity expected in matured spirits.  Neither of these critical reactions are possible using traditional infusion methods alone.  


Why now?  Several disparate events have occurred in the past decade.  Our inspiration came from the recent supply-demand schism that started to occur in the late aughts.  While the most important research was done in the 1980s, the availability of this information was limited until the late aughts.  Only more recently has the popularity of distilled spirits and craft spirits production increased to the point where third-party analytical labs have become accessible to prove what our noses and palates suspected.  Maker spaces and prototypers also enabled MOBA – we worked extensively with Landi Industries in Ohio to make the beta units that are currently criss-crossing the United States.  Lastly, the code libraries and cloud management systems that run the firmware and software have enabled our one-man software team to set the groundwork for what we believe will become the world’s foremost platform for exploring, experimenting, and discovering the world of distilled spirit.  Without these events coalescing in and around one another, it is unlikely that MOBA could have been conceived or invented.


Experience MOBA for yourself with the world's first smart maturation barrel.

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