Re: Oak Kegs: Charred or Toasted?
- Hey Alex,
There are 4 or 5 different levels of char here in the US. The
Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey makers around here like to use a
heavier char. This is a posting I made to Bill a while back:
"The influence of bourbon barrels can be further sub-divided
according to the degree of charring. The scale ranges from one to
four, beginning with a `burnt toast' effect, and culminating in
an `alligator char,' the popular term for a number four, as the
surface resembles alligator hide. Various malt distilleries have an
inventory of bourbon barrels with a range of char levels, with a
heavier char typically giving greater amounts of vanilla, creme
caramel, toastiness and hint of smoke, not to mention more intense
colour. Alternatively, a milder char promotes greater sweetness,
honey and vanilla, while also endowing the spirit with more body."
From ( http://www.homedistiller.org/aging.htm )
"Heads and barrels are now ready for the flame. "The majority of our
customers go for the #4 char level," said Wickham. "We do them to the
customer's specifications." There are five levels of char, grades 1-
5, but every distiller in the industry uses levels between 3 1/2 and
4 1/2. It takes about 60 seconds per barrel to do a #4 char; the
flame is pulled through the barrels with blowers to get an even char.
The heads simply move along a conveyer over the flame."
From ( http://www.whiskeypages.com/classics-bourbon-char.asp )
Also theres an article in Harry's Library (also in the Info base) on
Oak's effect on flavors, smoothing and aging. See:
Vino es Veritas,
--- In email@example.com, "castillo.alex2008"
>Think breakfast. What's the difference flavour-wise between burnt
> I think I´m buying an oak keg instead of oak chips but I don´t know
> which is better between a charred oak keg or a toasted one. Which is
> the difference? which is best? why?
toast & brown toast? Or as we bakers used to say..."when it's brown
it's cooked, when it's black it's f#@ked.
Toasted kegs give caramelisation. Charred kegs do this also, but with
a little added smoothing (and flavour change) due to the char.