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Re: Oak Kegs: Charred or Toasted?

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  • jamesonbeam1
    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
    Message 1 of 3 , May 2, 2008
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      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 )

      However:
      "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:
      http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/TheCompositionOfOak/index.htm

      Vino es Veritas,
      Jim.

      --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "castillo.alex2008"
      <castillo.alex2008@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      > 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?
      >
      > Alex
      >


      Think breakfast. What's the difference flavour-wise between burnt
      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.

      Slainte!
      regards Harry
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