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43475RE: [Distillers] cheap bourbon?

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  • Robert Hubble
    Sep 8 9:48 PM
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      Hi Gamer,

      I'd like to add a bit, if I may. I'll do it inline.

      Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

      >To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
      >From: tampagamer@...
      >Date: Mon, 8 Sep 2008 18:36:43 -0400
      >Subject: RE: [Distillers] cheap bourbon?

      >What makes the difference is both the
      >quality of the brewing ingredients as well as aging

      Certainly that's important, but if you crank up the heat to get
      fast output, and cheat a lot on your cuts (in the name of economy)
      you'll convert good beer to swill that'll take eons to age to

      From my successes and failures, I'll bet good money the big kids
      don't waste 30 years' aging on anything but their best batches.

      >Ageing in done in large wood kegs that are
      >charred this is what over time gives aged liquor it color and that takes years
      >in large kegs however there are two ways to cheat the many years it requires in
      >those large kegs

      >The first is to increase the surface area

      Learning this was *the* pivotal point in my stillin' life. It's probably
      as close as I'll ever come to being born again.

      >which can be done to age in smaller kegs so the smaller the keg the less time
      >is required so if you age in one to 3L
      >charged kegs

      You can also put the keg inside the whiskey for the same effect.
      Toasted and/or charred splints cut from a whiskey barrel to a size
      that fits in the neck of a gallon glass jug (full of whisky, of course)
      works beautifully, and you can adjust the amount during the aging

      >You move ten year to two to three years and
      >this is how artisans do it

      Hear, hear!

      >Note you can re-char the inside of a small
      >keg with a propane torch however you can only do this so many times before you
      >char thru it so not the cheapest way

      I've got 20 or 30 pounds of whiskey barrel to cut up into splints,
      so I don't mind pitching the used up stuff.

      >The other way is simply to add caramel to
      >color which is cheep so this is how corporations do it

      I guess some of them may. To me, equation of aging and color
      is simplistic. The olfactory ticklers produced by judicious oaking
      (or wooding, as some I've tasted) with wood toasted and/or
      charred, combined with concentration changes and oxidation
      of all those wood chemicals to vanillins and other nummy
      compounds, are just way too lushly complex to be replaced
      with caramel.

      Ah well, maybe I'm just a romantic.

      Tasted the latest apricot eau de vie with a stillin' friend this
      morning, while picking plums for another batch. Three months
      on oak, and already showing beauty.

      >>While perusing my local liquor store's bourbon section
      >>with prices from $9 a 750 ml. to $100+ and got to wondering....since
      >>everything from the grain bill to the minimum aging time in specific woods is
      >>pretty much dictated by law, how do they make a "cheap" bourbon? Is
      >>it really just barrels that didn't turn out so hot so they market them under a
      >>lesser brand? cheers! -mike

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