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Re: Fwd: Ron Zacapa

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  • jamesonbeam1
    Yes Dana, As ZB mentioned, the higher the level of toasting or charring, different flavors in different levels, are released from the wood. The French brandy
    Message 1 of 6 , Jul 23, 2009
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      Yes Dana,

      As ZB mentioned, the higher the level of toasting or charring, different flavors in different levels, are released from the wood.  The French brandy makers use  light to medium toasted barrels (mostly french oak), while our Bourbon whiskey makers use heavily charred barrels (an alligator char).  Since these barrels can only be used once, they are then sold to rum makers (such as Zacapa, who re-chars them as Wal's links show, and Cruzan). They are also sold to Tequila makers and to the Scotch and Irish for their Whisky.

      Depending on the heat level and amount of time (of which there are 4 main toast levels), different flavors will be ehanced.  These are:

      Heavy Toast brings pronounced caramelized, carbonized and toast flavors very quickly - it doesn't need much contact time. It is most often used in big, bold red wines

      Medium Plus Toast is between Medium and Heavy Toast. It has aromas of honey, roasted nuts and a hint of coffee and spices. It seems to be the ideal toast level for red wines

      Medium Toast has less tannins but more bouquet, so will impart more aroma than flavor. It has a warm, sweet character with strong vanilla overtones

      Light Toast fresh oak, coconut and fruit flavors

      French oak tends to be mellower than American which is more pronounced.  http://www.thebarrelmill.com/toast.html

      Theres a nice chart in Tony Ackland's Homedistiller's site - http://homedistiller.org/ (sort of our Bible around here) that shows the different flavors at the different Toasting levels: 


      Diagram from http://www.worldcooperage.com

      While toasting used just heat (between about 250F to over 500F), Charring incorporates open flame with 5 levels - those mentioned above plus the heavy alligator char which actually burns the staves so they look like alligator skin.  Charring tends to give darker, more smoky, carmelized  flavors and colors to distillates.  Almost all Bourbon makers use the alligator char.

      There are some entries on barrels in my Info Base (in the links section) as well as some very good dissertations on rum making -  A good one from Harry's Library: Rum - Production of - Rafael Arroyo
      One of the most comprehensive Rum Making Discussions  and - Rum - Thesis on Making - Sabina Maza G√≥mez

      Vino es Veritas,

      Jim aka Waldo.

      --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "tgfoitwoods" <zymurgybob@...> wrote:
      >
      > ----snip----
      > > I've read that in the aging of Cognac, the freshly distilled brandy is first put into a plain, new, non-toasted or charred barrel for six months, then transferred to a once used non-toasted or charred barrel for another six months. Then more traditional methods are employed such as toasted or charred barrels, caramel, etc. Would be interested in opinions as to what non-toasted/charred oak might have on fresh brandy. Dana
      > >
      >
      > Dana,
      >
      > The brandy extracts *almost* the same wood chemicals from the oak as it would if the oak were toasted, and in roughly the same quantities. The heat of toasting modifies those same chemicals partly, changing the flavor, partly.
      >
      > Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller
      >

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