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Re: Barrel Topping Off

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  • Todd
    Sorry for a late reply, but Ron Zacapa uses the Solera Method for producing a fantastic 23 Solera rum. If you you do decide to top it off, this would be a
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 1, 2011
      Sorry for a late reply, but Ron Zacapa uses the Solera Method for producing a fantastic 23 Solera rum. If you you do decide to top it off, this would be a great idea. How many barrels can you fit in your attic?

      T-

      --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Harry" <gnikomson2000@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      >
      > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "thegreatcarlini" <thegreatcarlini@> wrote:
      > >
      > > Should I top off smaller, 10 gallon, barrels as they age? After a portion of the bourbon evaporates to the angel's share, the air space above the liquid (the ullage) compresses as the barrel heats up, reducing the pressure to push the liquid into the wood. Several threads in the whiskey forum, and most threads in the wine forums, suggest top off. This keeps the barrel full, allowing the bourbon to expand fully into the oak as the barrel goes through the temperature cycle.
      > >
      > > I have two 10 gallon charred oak casks in the semi-finished attic above my garage. The eldest, at 12 months, has lost some whiskey to the angels, and the youngest, at 2 months, is still full. These barrels initially sat in my cool basement, and then were hoisted into the attic last month. After 30 daily hot & cool cycles, the old one has not leaked through the bung, but the youngest has leaked, pressuring through the bung plug.
      > >
      > > Is this an issue for the professionals with their 50 gallon oak casks? During a tour of the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, I did not see infrastructure in the barrel houses to open and check the level of each barrel or plumbing systems provide water to fill the thousands of barrels in storage.
      > >
      > > Does size matter?
      > >
      >
      >
      > Commercially, spirits barrels are only opened by the master blender, who tests the degree of aging to determine if the spirit is ready for dumping (preparation for bottling). They are never 'topped off'. Wines are regularly topped off to prevent bacterial spoilage. Spirits are their own bactericide due to the alcohol strength.
      >
      > The only system I know of that is different, is the Solera system. But this is long-term maturation & blending process designed to output a consistent aged product. And it's resource & labour intensive. I've never seen it used commercially for spirit, other than brandy. Mostly it's wines, some beers, and vinegars that use this method. See here...
      > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solera
      >
      > HTH
      >
      > Slainte!
      > regards Harry
      >
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