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Re: Aging whisky

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  • jsducote
    Best thread, I think -- http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?&t=10838
    Message 1 of 20 , Oct 29, 2012
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      Best thread, I think --
      http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?&t=10838

      --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "jsducote" <jsducote@...> wrote:
      >
      > Here's an interesting thought:
      > If spirit needs wood-air interaction to age, and sterile glass jars are an improvement over full-oak barrels, why not combine the two? Mason jars with white oak lids. I came to the idea on my own, but then googled it to find I wasn't the only one who thought of it. There's several discussions on homedistiller.org.
      >
      > -John
      >
      > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, Derek Hamlet <derekhamlet@> wrote:
      > >
      > > At 06:28 AM 10/28/2012, you wrote:
      > > >In my opinion you can age spirits in glass containers using charred
      > > >wood chips just as well as using a barrel and at a whole lot less
      > > >expense. A another plus is you get to select the wood used to age
      > > >the spirits, instead of the manufacturer of the barrel.
      > >
      > > Why barrels? It's because they breathe. Aging is a complex
      > > scientific process. The raw materials have to be there, but some of
      > > the process requires time; that's why a 20 year old single malt costs
      > > more than an 8 year old single malt all things being equal. A
      > > container which breathes like an oak barrel contributes to that chemistry.
      >
    • Rick
      Keep in mind that when you talk about simulating the aging process that this is what was/is called adulteration . There was a book written (Bad Whisky by
      Message 2 of 20 , Oct 29, 2012
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        Keep in mind that when you talk about "simulating" the aging process that this is what was/is called "adulteration". There was a book written (Bad Whisky by Edward Burns) which documented the process in Scotland in the 1800s. This is what led the UK to creating a mandatory aging law of 3 years and 1 day in a government bonded warehouse. That's also why the US doesn't allow the use of carmel coloring. Barrel aging is a "natural" process. As we know, the color of whiskey comes from the oak barrel but the most important thing is the breathing process. As the spirit expands in warm weather, it goes into the pores of the oak. Then, in colder weather it contracts from the pores of the oak back into the barrel cavity. During this process, the oak deposits some of its flavor components but it also extracts some of the undesirable flavor components from the spirit.

        Granted, you can achieve the coloring and some of the flavoring exchange with oak chips but you're never going to match the results of true barrel aging. That doesn't mean we can't keep trying (and having fun in the process) but so far, no one has had any decent results. If so, he big guys would be doing it. Barrel aging for many years is a costly process.

        --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "jsducote" <jsducote@...> wrote:
        >
        > Best thread, I think --
        > http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?&t=10838
        >
        > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "jsducote" <jsducote@> wrote:
        > >
        > > Here's an interesting thought:
        > > If spirit needs wood-air interaction to age, and sterile glass jars are an improvement over full-oak barrels, why not combine the two? Mason jars with white oak lids. I came to the idea on my own, but then googled it to find I wasn't the only one who thought of it. There's several discussions on homedistiller.org.
        > >
        > > -John
        > >
        > > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, Derek Hamlet <derekhamlet@> wrote:
        > > >
        > > > At 06:28 AM 10/28/2012, you wrote:
        > > > >In my opinion you can age spirits in glass containers using charred
        > > > >wood chips just as well as using a barrel and at a whole lot less
        > > > >expense. A another plus is you get to select the wood used to age
        > > > >the spirits, instead of the manufacturer of the barrel.
        > > >
        > > > Why barrels? It's because they breathe. Aging is a complex
        > > > scientific process. The raw materials have to be there, but some of
        > > > the process requires time; that's why a 20 year old single malt costs
        > > > more than an 8 year old single malt all things being equal. A
        > > > container which breathes like an oak barrel contributes to that chemistry.
        > >
        >
      • Derek Hamlet
        ... I think that sums it up quite beautifully. I know all of us border on the verge of brilliance and creativity and one of us one day may slash the gordian
        Message 3 of 20 , Oct 29, 2012
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          At 09:16 AM 10/29/2012, you wrote:

          >Granted, you can achieve the coloring and some of the flavoring
          >exchange with oak chips but you're never going to match the results
          >of true barrel aging. That doesn't mean we can't keep trying (and
          >having fun in the process) but so far, no one has had any decent
          >results. If so, he big guys would be doing it. Barrel aging for many
          >years is a costly process.

          I think that sums it up quite beautifully. I know all of us border
          on the verge of brilliance and creativity and one of us one day may
          slash the gordian knot of instant aging, but I suspect even Star Trek
          failed in that regard. We can still have fun and leave the 20 year
          aging to the big guys.


          Derek
        • tgfoitwoods
          Some of this I can t entirely accept. First, the big boys have to turn a profit, and we not limited by that. I think most accomplished hobby distillers have
          Message 4 of 20 , Oct 29, 2012
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            Some of this I can't entirely accept. First, the "big boys" have to turn a profit, and we not limited by that. I think most accomplished hobby distillers have gone back to a product they used to admire, only to find that now they can taste heads or tails or some other flaw in the spirit, flaws that they themselves would never commit.

            Also, a few months ago, a group of 7 or 8 of us did a blind tasting of 6 bourbons. We tasted for both nose and palate, and one of my bourbons was hands-down better, by all accounts, than everything except the Woodford Reserve. It handily beat the 10-year-old single barrel Evan Williams, although it was only 6 or 7 years old. The funny part is that while I age now with home-heat-treated bourbon barrel splints, that old bourbon was aged with LHBS oaks chips.

            Do not accept limitations just because you are not a "big boy"; in many cases they are just making money by banging that whiskey through an industrial column still, instead of doing it right with a pot still.

            McDonalds is also a big boy. Can you make better hamburgers than that?

            --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, Derek Hamlet <derekhamlet@...> wrote:
            >
            > At 09:16 AM 10/29/2012, you wrote:
            >
            > >Granted, you can achieve the coloring and some of the flavoring
            > >exchange with oak chips but you're never going to match the results
            > >of true barrel aging. That doesn't mean we can't keep trying (and
            > >having fun in the process) but so far, no one has had any decent
            > >results. If so, he big guys would be doing it. Barrel aging for many
            > >years is a costly process.
            >
            > I think that sums it up quite beautifully. I know all of us border
            > on the verge of brilliance and creativity and one of us one day may
            > slash the gordian knot of instant aging, but I suspect even Star Trek
            > failed in that regard. We can still have fun and leave the 20 year
            > aging to the big guys.
            >
            >
            > Derek
            >
          • waljaco
            There are more oak-aged wines than their are oak barrels. I doubt that most drinkers would know the difference. wal
            Message 5 of 20 , Oct 30, 2012
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              There are more oak-aged wines than their are oak barrels. I doubt that most drinkers would know the difference.
              wal

              --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "tgfoitwoods" <zymurgybob@...> wrote:
              >
              > Some of this I can't entirely accept. First, the "big boys" have to turn a profit, and we not limited by that. I think most accomplished hobby distillers have gone back to a product they used to admire, only to find that now they can taste heads or tails or some other flaw in the spirit, flaws that they themselves would never commit.
              >
              > Also, a few months ago, a group of 7 or 8 of us did a blind tasting of 6 bourbons. We tasted for both nose and palate, and one of my bourbons was hands-down better, by all accounts, than everything except the Woodford Reserve. It handily beat the 10-year-old single barrel Evan Williams, although it was only 6 or 7 years old. The funny part is that while I age now with home-heat-treated bourbon barrel splints, that old bourbon was aged with LHBS oaks chips.
              >
              > Do not accept limitations just because you are not a "big boy"; in many cases they are just making money by banging that whiskey through an industrial column still, instead of doing it right with a pot still.
              >
              > McDonalds is also a big boy. Can you make better hamburgers than that?
              >
              > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, Derek Hamlet <derekhamlet@> wrote:
              > >
              > > At 09:16 AM 10/29/2012, you wrote:
              > >
              > > >Granted, you can achieve the coloring and some of the flavoring
              > > >exchange with oak chips but you're never going to match the results
              > > >of true barrel aging. That doesn't mean we can't keep trying (and
              > > >having fun in the process) but so far, no one has had any decent
              > > >results. If so, he big guys would be doing it. Barrel aging for many
              > > >years is a costly process.
              > >
              > > I think that sums it up quite beautifully. I know all of us border
              > > on the verge of brilliance and creativity and one of us one day may
              > > slash the gordian knot of instant aging, but I suspect even Star Trek
              > > failed in that regard. We can still have fun and leave the 20 year
              > > aging to the big guys.
              > >
              > >
              > > Derek
              > >
              >
            • Carl
              I know for fact that most oak aged wines are aged in huge stainless vats with bags of toasted chips, all computer calculated. It was even shown on a TV program
              Message 6 of 20 , Oct 30, 2012
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                I know for fact that most oak aged wines are aged in huge stainless vats with bags of toasted chips, all computer calculated. It was even shown on a TV program as well at a winery of which I know the owners very well.
                Jan.





                On 30/10/2012 10:28 PM, waljaco wrote:
                 

                There are more oak-aged wines than their are oak barrels. I doubt that most drinkers would know the difference.
                wal

                --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "tgfoitwoods" <zymurgybob@...> wrote:
                >
                > Some of this I can't entirely accept. First, the "big boys" have to turn a profit, and we not limited by that. I think most accomplished hobby distillers have gone back to a product they used to admire, only to find that now they can taste heads or tails or some other flaw in the spirit, flaws that they themselves would never commit.
                >
                > Also, a few months ago, a group of 7 or 8 of us did a blind tasting of 6 bourbons. We tasted for both nose and palate, and one of my bourbons was hands-down better, by all accounts, than everything except the Woodford Reserve. It handily beat the 10-year-old single barrel Evan Williams, although it was only 6 or 7 years old. The funny part is that while I age now with home-heat-treated bourbon barrel splints, that old bourbon was aged with LHBS oaks chips.
                >
                > Do not accept limitations just because you are not a "big boy"; in many cases they are just making money by banging that whiskey through an industrial column still, instead of doing it right with a pot still.
                >
                > McDonalds is also a big boy. Can you make better hamburgers than that?
                >
                > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, Derek Hamlet <derekhamlet@> wrote:
                > >
                > > At 09:16 AM 10/29/2012, you wrote:
                > >
                > > >Granted, you can achieve the coloring and some of the flavoring
                > > >exchange with oak chips but you're never going to match the results
                > > >of true barrel aging. That doesn't mean we can't keep trying (and
                > > >having fun in the process) but so far, no one has had any decent
                > > >results. If so, he big guys would be doing it. Barrel aging for many
                > > >years is a costly process.
                > >
                > > I think that sums it up quite beautifully. I know all of us border
                > > on the verge of brilliance and creativity and one of us one day may
                > > slash the gordian knot of instant aging, but I suspect even Star Trek
                > > failed in that regard. We can still have fun and leave the 20 year
                > > aging to the big guys.
                > >
                > >
                > > Derek
                > >
                >


              • Derek Hamlet
                ... True, and with the massive increase in wine consumption over the past 25 years that was a natural way for the industry to proceed. However, the truly
                Message 7 of 20 , Oct 30, 2012
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                  At 11:22 AM 10/30/2012, you wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  >I know for fact that most oak aged wines are aged in huge stainless
                  >vats with bags of toasted chips, all computer calculated. It was
                  >even shown on a TV program as well at a winery of which I know the
                  >owners very well.

                  True, and with the massive increase in wine consumption over the past
                  25 years that was a natural way for the industry to
                  proceed. However, the truly great wines that are also very
                  expensive and prepared in oak barrels and aiming at a chemistry that
                  makes for complexity and ability to continue aging and improving for 25+ years.


                  Derek
                • Rick Wrightson
                  In 1988, I had the privilege of having lunch with Robert Mondavi at his winery in Napa Valley. He explained that they had tried to go to stainless steel but
                  Message 8 of 20 , Oct 30, 2012
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                    In 1988, I had the privilege of having lunch with Robert Mondavi at his winery in Napa Valley. He explained that they had tried to go to stainless steel but quickly discovered that they could not beat the maturation of oak barrels and for their quality wines, and were moving back to the traditional methods (of France)...I had with me a French friend whose family has owned Le Montrachet for 300 years and Mr. Mondavi was honored to have my friend and told him that they taste the Mondavi wines against le Montrachet in their attempt to match its quality. Unfortunately, both Mr Mondavi and my French friend are now decease but their wines live on.
                    [looks like we've gone a little off track from whiskey ;-))
                  • jsducote
                    I can t speak for anyone else, but I don t think this thread was about cheating or simulating anything. My recollection is that it started with an observation
                    Message 9 of 20 , Oct 30, 2012
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                      I can't speak for anyone else, but I don't think this thread was about cheating or simulating anything. My recollection is that it started with an observation that full-barrel aging of small batches did not give optimal taste. The way I read it was that there's a difference between the big barrels and smaller ones, saying nothing about big corporate distillers versus homemade. Thus, regardless of how long it takes, there are various ways to achieve small-batch aging.
                      -j

                      --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, Derek Hamlet <derekhamlet@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > At 09:16 AM 10/29/2012, you wrote:
                      >
                      > >Granted, you can achieve the coloring and some of the flavoring
                      > >exchange with oak chips but you're never going to match the results
                      > >of true barrel aging. That doesn't mean we can't keep trying (and
                      > >having fun in the process) but so far, no one has had any decent
                      > >results. If so, he big guys would be doing it. Barrel aging for many
                      > >years is a costly process.
                      >
                      > I think that sums it up quite beautifully. I know all of us border
                      > on the verge of brilliance and creativity and one of us one day may
                      > slash the gordian knot of instant aging, but I suspect even Star Trek
                      > failed in that regard. We can still have fun and leave the 20 year
                      > aging to the big guys.
                    • waljaco
                      I have not come across a chemical analysis that shows a difference between the two methods. Maybe you need to justify an expensive wine or whisky with some
                      Message 10 of 20 , Oct 31, 2012
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                        I have not come across a chemical analysis that shows a difference between the two methods. Maybe you need to justify an expensive wine or whisky with some pseudo-science...
                        wal

                        --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, Derek Hamlet <derekhamlet@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > At 11:22 AM 10/30/2012, you wrote:
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >I know for fact that most oak aged wines are aged in huge stainless
                        > >vats with bags of toasted chips, all computer calculated. It was
                        > >even shown on a TV program as well at a winery of which I know the
                        > >owners very well.
                        >
                        > True, and with the massive increase in wine consumption over the past
                        > 25 years that was a natural way for the industry to
                        > proceed. However, the truly great wines that are also very
                        > expensive and prepared in oak barrels and aiming at a chemistry that
                        > makes for complexity and ability to continue aging and improving for 25+ years.
                        >
                        >
                        > Derek
                        >
                      • Peter Davis
                        A question I have that I could`nt find an answer for What happens if I was to put rum chips in a pot still when I am cooking the wash. will any of that flavour
                        Message 11 of 20 , Oct 31, 2012
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                          A question I have that I could`nt find an answer for
                          What happens if I was to put rum chips in a pot still when I am cooking the wash. will any of that flavour come across??
                          ----- Original Message -----
                          Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 5:40 AM
                          Subject: Re: [new_distillers] Re: Aging whisky

                           

                          In 1988, I had the privilege of having lunch with Robert Mondavi at his winery in Napa Valley. He explained that they had tried to go to stainless steel but quickly discovered that they could not beat the maturation of oak barrels and for their quality wines, and were moving back to the traditional methods (of France)...I had with me a French friend whose family has owned Le Montrachet for 300 years and Mr. Mondavi was honored to have my friend and told him that they taste the Mondavi wines against le Montrachet in their attempt to match its quality. Unfortunately, both Mr Mondavi and my French friend are now decease but their wines live on.
                          [looks like we've gone a little off track from whiskey ;-))

                        • Derek Hamlet
                          ... Whiskey or wine, there are so many similarities. If those craft brewers keep up with the good work they are doing then that too will be an art form. Derek
                          Message 12 of 20 , Oct 31, 2012
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                            At 11:40 AM 10/30/2012, you wrote:
                            >
                            >
                            >In 1988, I had the privilege of having lunch with Robert Mondavi at
                            >his winery in Napa Valley. He explained that they had tried to go to
                            >stainless steel but quickly discovered that they could not beat the
                            >maturation of oak barrels and for their quality wines, and were
                            >moving back to the traditional methods (of France)...I had with me a
                            >French friend whose family has owned Le Montrachet for 300 years and
                            >Mr. Mondavi was honored to have my friend and told him that they
                            >taste the Mondavi wines against le Montrachet in their attempt to
                            >match its quality. Unfortunately, both Mr Mondavi and my French
                            >friend are now decease but their wines live on.
                            >[looks like we've gone a little off track from whiskey ;-))

                            Whiskey or wine, there are so many similarities. If those craft
                            brewers keep up with the good work they are doing then that too will
                            be an art form.


                            Derek
                          • tgfoitwoods
                            Peter, While I ve never done it, I d be amazed if any of the oak flavors would come across. Oak flavors are primarily tannins and lignins, and those compounds
                            Message 13 of 20 , Nov 1, 2012
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                              Peter,

                              While I've never done it,  I'd be amazed if any of the oak flavors would come across. Oak flavors are primarily tannins and lignins, and those compounds are not volatile. I'm not sure if the vanillins that are oxidation products of the tannins and lignins are volatile, but they won't exist yet when you put the chips in the wash.

                              Of course, I'm just guessing here.

                              Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller Making Fine Spirits

                              --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Peter Davis" <davis668@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > A question I have that I could`nt find an answer for
                              > What happens if I was to put rum chips in a pot still when I am cooking the wash. will any of that flavour come across??
                              > ----- Original Message -----
                              > From: Rick Wrightson
                              > To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
                              > Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 5:40 AM
                              > Subject: Re: [new_distillers] Re: Aging whisky
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > In 1988, I had the privilege of having lunch with Robert Mondavi at his winery in Napa Valley. He explained that they had tried to go to stainless steel but quickly discovered that they could not beat the maturation of oak barrels and for their quality wines, and were moving back to the traditional methods (of France)...I had with me a French friend whose family has owned Le Montrachet for 300 years and Mr. Mondavi was honored to have my friend and told him that they taste the Mondavi wines against le Montrachet in their attempt to match its quality. Unfortunately, both Mr Mondavi and my French friend are now decease but their wines live on.
                              > [looks like we've gone a little off track from whiskey ;-))
                              >
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