My fortress is overflowing with food barrels, but there is very little drink left. I do have seeds for brewing more, but cannot, since there are no more barrels. There is no wood available for making more. What can I do?

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    Make billon barrels. Dat tetrahedrite. You can also make stone pots. – kotekzot May 8 '12 at 15:32
  • I suppose I would still need to burn wood to get charcoal then? Or dig down to magma, but I've got enough trouble as is. – Anna May 8 '12 at 15:36
  • Yeah, if you don't have coal. Stoneware is virtually unlimited and requires pretty much no investment whatsoever. – kotekzot May 8 '12 at 15:38
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    Did not know stone pots could work as barrels. I would have saved so much effort if I knew that when I started... – Anna May 8 '12 at 15:43
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    Rock pots are new in the recent version of DF 2012. They're a lifesaver. – Shadur May 8 '12 at 19:34

You can also make barrels out of metal (at a forge or magma forge by a dwarf with metalsmithing enabled), and in recent versions you can also make large pots out of stone (at a craftsdwarf's workshop by a dwarf with stonecrafting enabled).

  • How to make the pots? I am playing 34.07, which is the latest version. – Anna May 8 '12 at 15:37
  • Never mind, I found it in the craftsdwarf workshop. – Anna May 8 '12 at 15:38
  • The added benefit of metal barrels is that they are more resistant to vermin teeth, protecting their precious contents. – kotekzot May 8 '12 at 16:40
  • @kotekzot stone is just as resistant as metal. (I thought?) – Raven Dreamer May 8 '12 at 18:55
  • @RavenDreamer I'm not really sure, the latest mention of barrel material affecting vermin is for 0.28, before stoneware was introduced. Still, billion barrels are awesome. – kotekzot May 8 '12 at 21:11

To set a number of reserved barrels, hit p to bring up the stockpiles menu. On the right, about half-way down, you'll see the number of (fortress-wide) reserved barrels. The keys to change the number of reserved barrels are shown after the number of barrels currently reserved, use * to increase the number, / to decrease the number. I personally recommend reserving at least 20.

If your number of empty barrels drops below that, barrels will not be used for storing dry goods (seed bags, plants, meat), they'll only be used for jobs that require barrels, such as brewing.

If you're running low on barrels for brewing, the best solution is usually to make rock pots, by enabling stonecrafting for one of your dwarves, and selecting first rock then make rock pot at a craftsdwarf's workshop.


Create a stockpile of food. Set it to only accept drinks. Then, set it so its reserved barrels is half the stockpile (ie, 24 space stockpile, then set the reserved barrels to 12). This means that 12 barrels will always be kept in the stockpile, so they will be available to the brewer for making drinks.

As for making them, you can make barrels from wood (using carpenter's shop) and metal (using a forge). You can make large pots from stone (using a craftsdwarf shop).

  • Reserved barrels are fortress-wide, not per stockpile. Also, the question was "how", and your answer is "do it". – Theodore Murdock May 8 '12 at 17:16

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