Whiskey Salvage

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

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OtisT
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Whiskey Salvage

Post by OtisT » Tue May 07, 2019 11:52 am

I had a shelve full of whiskey aging experiments that go back a couple of years. Different batches of all corn and bourbon, each with different wood amounts and preps. I’ve learned what I am going to learn from them so after bottling a few of the keepers and tossing some stinkers, I decided to recycle the rest.

I mixed it all together, diluted it down to 45%, and ran it through my pot still nice and slow. I can tell from my cuts this run that a few years ago I used to be more loose with them than I am now. Of the 18 jars collected I tossed 1-3 and 17-18.

What made the cut is not bad at all, though it is different. No smell of new make at all. It still has a slight smell and taste of oak. It is not offensive, no bad tastes or aftertastes, and I didn’t mind drinking it but it was a bit hot on the tongue even at 40%.

I plan to put this all in a second use whiskey barrel. (Previous use only one year.) Given that it it pretty clean of heads/tails now and has no new make smell, I’m guessing this will age out quickly. I’m hoping this will make a good mixing whiskey by the time I’m done with it.

Otis

PS. Today I am doing the same with all of my rum experiments.
Otis’ Pot and Thumper, Dimroth Condenser: Pot-n-Thumper/Dimroth
Learning to Toast: Toasting Wood
Polishing Spirits with Fruitwood: Fruitwood
Badmotivator’s Barrels: Badmo Barrels

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NZChris
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Re: Whiskey Salvage

Post by NZChris » Tue May 07, 2019 1:35 pm

If there is wood in any of the jars, chuck it in the boiler with the spirit.

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Re: Whiskey Salvage

Post by OtisT » Tue May 07, 2019 2:08 pm

NZChris wrote:If there is wood in any of the jars, chuck it in the boiler with the spirit.
Too late, I’m already on jar 5. :D

I did save some of it in a jar for adding to future spirits.
Otis’ Pot and Thumper, Dimroth Condenser: Pot-n-Thumper/Dimroth
Learning to Toast: Toasting Wood
Polishing Spirits with Fruitwood: Fruitwood
Badmotivator’s Barrels: Badmo Barrels

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Re: Whiskey Salvage

Post by OtisT » Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:56 pm

Oooo, this is turning out good.

I just cracked open this barrel and drained a few fingers of my whiskey salvage batch. While the color is light, this has turned out to be a damn smooth and tasty bourbon whiskey in only 7 months in the barrel. I’m gonna let it continue to age, but I know now I can tap this barrel any time I need a descent drop to sip on. Way better then my mixing whiskey.

Otis
Otis’ Pot and Thumper, Dimroth Condenser: Pot-n-Thumper/Dimroth
Learning to Toast: Toasting Wood
Polishing Spirits with Fruitwood: Fruitwood
Badmotivator’s Barrels: Badmo Barrels

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pope
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Re: Whiskey Salvage

Post by pope » Mon Dec 09, 2019 9:15 pm

Distilling wouldn’t ‘undo’ some or any of the chemical bonding that is aging, right? So it should taste mature for its age? Anyway sounds great and I’m sure you’ve been enjoying the tidied up shop.
"A little learning is a dang'rous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again." - Alexander Pope

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Re: Whiskey Salvage

Post by Twisted Brick » Mon Dec 09, 2019 10:36 pm

What a coincidence, Otis. I was just reading about how the guys at a Cincinnati distillery age their bourbon for 3 years and then blend them. After blending the bourbon is aged again before bottling. It sounds like any time new spirits meet and mingle, there is a degree of new compounds being created and it takes a bit of time for them to finish their extended 'development'.
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Re: Whiskey Salvage

Post by OtisT » Mon Dec 09, 2019 11:02 pm

pope wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 9:15 pm
Distilling wouldn’t ‘undo’ some or any of the chemical bonding that is aging, right? So it should taste mature for its age?
I can’t answer the first question. I know that after distilling I could smell wood characteristics and some new/different smells but overall nothing familiar to what I expect in a whiskey. So sure, some of the chemical bonds remained and I may have even made some new ones with the heat. Can’t speak to the science but I am liking the results so far. This has a lot of vanilla forming too, which I know is coming from the barrel. The last spirit I had in it, bourbon sugar head, came out with lots of vanilla too.

Tasting mature for its age? I speculated the same, that it should mature in short order considering some of the wood/toast remained and there was no new make, heads or tails smell/taste that I needed to wait for to go away. I guess technically this stuff is 3+ years old though.

Having done a fair amount of ester creation experiments in the past and creating some really bad batches, I was worried this may go the same way. I am pleasantly surprised. Gives me a little confidence and even makes me want to go taste my 20 month old “high ester bourbon” to see how it’s doing. Last I checked it was no bueno.

Otis
Otis’ Pot and Thumper, Dimroth Condenser: Pot-n-Thumper/Dimroth
Learning to Toast: Toasting Wood
Polishing Spirits with Fruitwood: Fruitwood
Badmotivator’s Barrels: Badmo Barrels

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Re: Whiskey Salvage

Post by OtisT » Mon Dec 09, 2019 11:13 pm

Twisted Brick wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 10:36 pm
What a coincidence, Otis. I was just reading about how the guys at a Cincinnati distillery age their bourbon for 3 years and then blend them. After blending the bourbon is aged again before bottling. It sounds like any time new spirits meet and mingle, there is a degree of new compounds being created and it takes a bit of time for them to finish their extended 'development'.
My process was different. I distilled mine after aging for up to 2+ years in jars before it went into a barrel.

I also know some distilleries that do what you described. My favorite local distillery, House Spirits, blends a big batch of oak aged whiskey then they put that spirit in various types of used barrels for finishing. (Different oak, rum, port wine, etc) I really enjoy tasting at their bar because I can taste the same base whiskey that was finished in different ways, each on different barrel types. Very much like my multi barrel type experiments with rum. It really helps a person understand what different barrel types can do for a spirit when you can taste them side by side.

Otis
Otis’ Pot and Thumper, Dimroth Condenser: Pot-n-Thumper/Dimroth
Learning to Toast: Toasting Wood
Polishing Spirits with Fruitwood: Fruitwood
Badmotivator’s Barrels: Badmo Barrels

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Re: Whiskey Salvage

Post by pope » Tue Dec 10, 2019 7:26 am

I’ve got an insane amount of ujssm in aging experiments, I should probably do the same... the last few years I’ve really disliked the cut so I’m excited at the idea of tossing a jar of heads.
"A little learning is a dang'rous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again." - Alexander Pope

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Re: Whiskey Salvage

Post by OtisT » Tue Dec 10, 2019 8:33 am

pope wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 7:26 am
I’ve got an insane amount of ujssm in aging experiments, I should probably do the same... the last few years I’ve really disliked the cut so I’m excited at the idea of tossing a jar of heads.
Sounds like you should try this if your not gonna drink those jars otherwise. It will definitely help you clean up bad cuts and if you put the results on good oak it may turn out nice.

Two smells that I have found that don’t clean up well through re-distillation are Acrid and Scorch. If you have jars with those smells I recommend you don’t add those jars to the larger batch and simply dump them. Good luck. Otis
Otis’ Pot and Thumper, Dimroth Condenser: Pot-n-Thumper/Dimroth
Learning to Toast: Toasting Wood
Polishing Spirits with Fruitwood: Fruitwood
Badmotivator’s Barrels: Badmo Barrels

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Re: Whiskey Salvage

Post by pope » Tue Dec 10, 2019 12:26 pm

They're sub-par right now, no flaws really just some oakings clearly don't add to whiskey like others, and over time I think my standards for cuts have gone up... pretty much the same boat I think. I've done my time learning the hard way that scorch = trash, I'll keep the acrid thing in mind... you're talking about excessive tannin notes or something else?
"A little learning is a dang'rous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again." - Alexander Pope

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Re: Whiskey Salvage

Post by OtisT » Tue Dec 10, 2019 1:33 pm

pope wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 12:26 pm
They're sub-par right now, no flaws really just some oakings clearly don't add to whiskey like others, and over time I think my standards for cuts have gone up... pretty much the same boat I think. I've done my time learning the hard way that scorch = trash, I'll keep the acrid thing in mind... you're talking about excessive tannin notes or something else?
I got that Acrid smell from using some wood that was toasted too hot. It’s hard to describe, but it reminds me of some of the smell from a wood stove chimney. For oak, anything toasted around 450F and above gets that nasty smell (to me.). I’ve been keeping it to 400F, +/- 20F and I like my oak there. You get a little nasty smell by charging, but not enough to matter when all is said and done. Just my personal experience.

Otis

PS. All this repair talk got me motivated to fix two barrels I have that included too much tails. 18 months in and I just don’t like it, and I don’t think it’s gonna get better. I just started one repair run now. Not sure when I will get to #2. I’m gonna throw them back in the same barrel after cleaning them up.
Otis’ Pot and Thumper, Dimroth Condenser: Pot-n-Thumper/Dimroth
Learning to Toast: Toasting Wood
Polishing Spirits with Fruitwood: Fruitwood
Badmotivator’s Barrels: Badmo Barrels

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Re: Whiskey Salvage

Post by Twisted Brick » Tue Dec 10, 2019 7:00 pm

OtisT wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 11:13 pm

My process was different. I distilled mine after aging for up to 2+ years in jars before it went into a barrel.

Otis
Gotcha. After re-reading (and putting my drink down) I see that you really took advantage of your latest cut knowledge in creating what was certainly a superior product from the original. This is good to know.
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Re: Whiskey Salvage

Post by pope » Wed Dec 11, 2019 7:28 am

OtisT wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 1:33 pm
For oak, anything toasted around 450F and above gets that nasty smell (to me.). I’ve been keeping it to 400F, +/- 20F and I like my oak there.
I’m going from memory but did you use a pancake griddle type surface/steel plate to toast your fruit wood experiments? Sorry if I have that wrong. But if that’s the case do read/control temp with a laser thermometer? Or do you just pop it in the oven at 400?

I’ve been buying stavin toasted products for consistency and then charring myself so I don’t do much roasting but I did toast some oak for like 4 hours at 450 once and the house smelled great but the whiskey tasted like bbq sauce. It got better but never totally desirable.. it’s early now but I might hunt down a jar for tonight and look for that acrid flavor.
"A little learning is a dang'rous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again." - Alexander Pope

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Re: Whiskey Salvage

Post by OtisT » Wed Dec 11, 2019 8:55 am

pope wrote:
Wed Dec 11, 2019 7:28 am
OtisT wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 1:33 pm
For oak, anything toasted around 450F and above gets that nasty smell (to me.). I’ve been keeping it to 400F, +/- 20F and I like my oak there.
I’m going from memory but did you use a pancake griddle type surface/steel plate to toast your fruit wood experiments? Sorry if I have that wrong. But if that’s the case do read/control temp with a laser thermometer? Or do you just pop it in the oven at 400?

I’ve been buying stavin toasted products for consistency and then charring myself so I don’t do much roasting but I did toast some oak for like 4 hours at 450 once and the house smelled great but the whiskey tasted like bbq sauce. It got better but never totally desirable.. it’s early now but I might hunt down a jar for tonight and look for that acrid flavor.
I use both an oven and a griddle.

The griddle for me is a hotplate with a 1/4” thick plate of aluminum on top. It is mainly for making barrel staves though, where I need one side of a board toasted and the other side raw. Yes, I use an IR thermometer to check wood temps when using the griddle. I pretty much know what setting to use that gets me close then I check the wood every 10 minutes with the thermometer as I rotate the woods location for an even toast. Yes, I did some fruitwood on this setup, but I switched to my oven when I figured out how to get consistent t results with it. And the oven is a lot easier too.

It took me a while but I finally figured out how to get consistent results in my oven so I do all my toasting there now, except for barrel boards. One issue was it was gas, and I had hot spots and inconsistent toasting. I fixed that by placing a large cookie sheet on the bottom rack to disperse and evenly spread the heat to the racks above. It’s an old oven and the temp was of off too. I bought two standalone oven thermometers and use those to tell me what the real temp is vs using the oven’s built in thermometer. Once I did those two things I started getting nice and consistent toasting results from my large kitchen oven.

Acrid is a smell. To me it is a sickly sweet smell and like any smell is hard to describe. Not sure how to help you out there.

Otis
Otis’ Pot and Thumper, Dimroth Condenser: Pot-n-Thumper/Dimroth
Learning to Toast: Toasting Wood
Polishing Spirits with Fruitwood: Fruitwood
Badmotivator’s Barrels: Badmo Barrels

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Re: Whiskey Salvage

Post by pope » Wed Dec 11, 2019 9:06 am

gotcha! I could probably get one of those sommelier learning kits, I work with essential oils so I know plenty of botanical smells but am not that good with describing flaws.
"A little learning is a dang'rous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again." - Alexander Pope

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Re: Whiskey Salvage

Post by OtisT » Wed Dec 11, 2019 11:20 am

pope wrote:
Wed Dec 11, 2019 9:06 am
gotcha! I could probably get one of those sommelier learning kits, I work with essential oils so I know plenty of botanical smells but am not that good with describing flaws.
Maybe an easier solution. Preheat your oven to 500F then put a small stick in for 30 minutes. Plop that stick into a small jar of spirits for a few weeks then open it up and give it a whiff. That should give you an idea as to what acrid smell is. I have read that some people toast that hot, so it may not be a flaw but a preference. It’s not for me.

Otis
Otis’ Pot and Thumper, Dimroth Condenser: Pot-n-Thumper/Dimroth
Learning to Toast: Toasting Wood
Polishing Spirits with Fruitwood: Fruitwood
Badmotivator’s Barrels: Badmo Barrels

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Re: Whiskey Salvage

Post by pope » Wed Dec 11, 2019 1:10 pm

Have you heard of sand shading? Maybe I'll play with that too whenever I get around to toasting my own.

I'll try the acrid stick trick! Still need to try a few sips of my bbq whiskey tonight. Even bad flavors can be interesting over ice.. in small doses.
"A little learning is a dang'rous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again." - Alexander Pope

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