Help with Peated Whisky Oaking

All styles of whiskey. This is for all-grain mashes.

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Wino2Distill
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Help with Peated Whisky Oaking

Post by Wino2Distill » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:52 am

Dear friends,

I'm looking for some advice on ageing my peated whiskey. I need to consolidate the cuts of my spirit run, but I should end up with about 6L of 80%. The grain bill proportion is about 80% peated Simpson's barley with 20% malted wheat.

I have a 20L charred American oak barrel which has had 10L of bourbon and 10L of rum run through the same "half" of it. So I still have 10L of barrel that was not directly exposed to liquid, which could be used unless I want a rum influence, which I don't know if it is a good idea.
I also have access to French and American oak chips and mini staves of various toast levels.

I know virtually nothing about ageing Scotch whisky, but I do understand oak and it seems to me that the heavy peated flavours need to be balanced with freshness and/or salinity. Hence, shouldn't heavy oak aromas such as moka and caramel be avoided?

Any thoughts or experiences you'd like to share to help guide me would be appreciated. I'm hoping not to wreck this pretty good base that I have!
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corene1
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Re: Help with Peated Whisky Oaking

Post by corene1 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:27 am

From what I know of Scotch whiskey it is typically aged in once used bourbon sherry or port barrels, sometime a combination of them such as a double casked Scotch. Typically aged at about 60% ABV , hard to know exactly as they tend to be tight jawed about the entire process. Even a 5% change ,plus or minus, in ABV will change the finish of the whisky. I just bought a bottle of 14 year old Balvenie carribean cask Scotch. and it is quite good. It is started in a bourbon barrel and finished in a rum barrel. Hope this helps.
carribean scotch.jpg

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Re: Help with Peated Whisky Oaking

Post by JellybeanCorncob » Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:45 am

Hey Wino:
I use once used bourbon staves that were toasted and charred. I’ve even soaked the used staves in sherry for a time before I put them in my spirit. I age around 58 to 63% ABV.
It works for me.
Good luck
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Re: Help with Peated Whisky Oaking

Post by kiwi Bruce » Sat Feb 02, 2019 11:52 am

corene1 wrote: I just bought a bottle of 14 year old Balvenie carribean cask Scotch. and it is quite good.
Youv'e got a good taste in single malts there girly...
Wino2Distill wrote: Hence, shouldn't heavy oak aromas such as moka and caramel be avoided?
Personal preference...what I can tell you is the "big boys" use different cask toasts and char levels and blend them to taste when their done. Have a read of this...viewtopic.php?f=4&t=67274
Have a good look around as there is a fair bit of knowledge here on HD on the topic.
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Wino2Distill
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Re: Help with Peated Whisky Oaking

Post by Wino2Distill » Mon Feb 04, 2019 10:09 am

Thanks guys, I will follow your advice!
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OtisT
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Re: Help with Peated Whisky Oaking

Post by OtisT » Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:43 am

Hi wino2distill.

I’m in the same situation as you, making peated whiskey for the first time and wondering how to age it. Unfortunately, I only had new barrels on hand so I could not put my new make into something once used. I’m ok with using new barrels. My main concern, after sampling the new make was that one, maybe both batches I made may be overly heavy on the peat and smoke. So, in addition to the two different batches of peat smoked spirits, I made a third single malt batch with no smoke and no peat, and I barreled that too.

I figured that in a year or two when my peated batches are ready to bottle, I will have something equally aged to blend them with. I’m not sure if I will need or want to thin out the peat or smoke. If I find out a year or two from now that I do want to tame the peat/smoke, I’d be pissed to no end if I didn’t have something to blend them with.

I hope yours turnes out well. I guess we both have some waiting to do.

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Re: Help with Peated Whisky Oaking

Post by LWTCS » Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:55 am

corene1 wrote: I just bought a bottle of 14 year old Balvenie carribean cask Scotch. and it is quite good.
Yeah that's a good one.
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Re: Help with Peated Whisky Oaking

Post by JellybeanCorncob » Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:13 pm

Wino2Distill wrote:Dear friends,

I know virtually nothing about ageing Scotch whisky, but I do understand oak and it seems to me that the heavy peated flavours need to be balanced with freshness and/or salinity. Hence, shouldn't heavy oak aromas such as moka and caramel be avoided?

Any thoughts or experiences you'd like to share to help guide me would be appreciated. I'm hoping not to wreck this pretty good base that I have!

I mentioned this in another post and haven’t done it since because I now have plenty of once used bourbon oak staves that I use to age my barley malt whiskey in. “DerWo” sugested it because I had no used bourbon staves at the time. He said to boil my new charred oak staves in water for 5 to 10 minutes. This will help take tannins out of the wood and mimic rapid aging. What I did was use the nuclear aging technique. I put the new charred oak and water in a quart canning jar. I think I went threw 3 or 4 cycles bringing the water to a boil in the microwave then put the lid on tight and let it cool. The process sucks the tannins out of the wood and mimics aging. Like being a kid and sucking the flavor and color out of an ice pop. What’s left is the ice and not much flavor. It worked well for me. And it was one nice drop. Wish I had some of it left to compare with what I have now.

It worked for me.
Again: Good luck to you
JBC
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Re: Help with Peated Whisky Oaking

Post by kiwi Bruce » Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:52 pm

OtisT wrote:making peated whiskey for the first time and wondering how to age it. I only had new barrels on hand so I could not put my new make into something once used. I’m ok with using new barrels...may be overly heavy on the peat and smoke. So, in addition to the two different batches of peat smoked spirits, I made a third single malt batch with no smoke and no peat, and I barreled that too. I figured that in a year or two when my peated batches are ready to bottle, Otis
Okay I'm speaking as a single malt head...you'll want to rethink the "two years on new oak"... what you'll get is a smokey, peaty bourbon tasting single malt. The reason the commercial scotch distillers use "used oak" is to drastically reduce the tannic taste that is part of the Bourbon flavor profile. Which is what I try to follow. I've used JD chips and had okay results, but I strongly recommend getting some used bourbon staves...you can find them on line...but this time of year you should be able to find 1/2 barrels at local hardware stores that can't be returned when they come apart...I got one for $5 but $10 or $20 would still be a good price. I put my white dog in 1/2 gal ball jars with two of Pig Roasters staves...viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6890 I keep tasting over the next couple of weeks and when it tastes like it's too much oak, I change the wood to two pieces of twice use and let it go for another week...take the wood out and let it age in the fridge for five weeks (Oden's rest) and you'll be very close to done.
"when it tastes like it's too much oak"...the oak taste reduces over the next few weeks so you can go a little over-board with the oaking...Kiwi
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Durhommer
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Re: Help with Peated Whisky Oaking

Post by Durhommer » Tue Dec 17, 2019 12:03 pm

ive taken the once used bourbon oak out and added used port wood i got online its been in for a few days the smell is becoming something great with a dark color
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Wino2Distill
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Re: Help with Peated Whisky Oaking

Post by Wino2Distill » Sun Jun 21, 2020 8:02 am

So I've just taking this out of barrel after 16 months. Given that I'm working with a 20l barrel, I think this is plenty of time for oak contact, but you tell me.
The alcohol is at 50% down from 68% when I filled barrel but I did add water a couple of time over the last few months.
Flavour is great, but the peat has been subdued substantiallly to almost nothing.
I'm likely going to fill barrel back up to 50% with Apple schnapps. After that I may just restart the cycle of bourbon, rhum, whisky, brandy on the other half of this charred barrel which has not been in direct contact with anything. I have run out of bourbon and down to one bottle of rhum!

Cheers!
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