Does whiskey continue to age in bottle?

Treatment and handling after you are done distilling.

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Does whiskey continue to age in bottle?

Postby Iamnotanalcoholic » Fri Dec 09, 2005 11:30 am

I am aging my whiskey in a glass gallon jar with some oak chips that I got off an old red wine barrel that I charred. I also throw a half a canned peach in and some peppercorns. The color looks perfect after about 2 weeks BUT the whiskey still has that "new liquor" smell and taste. I don't want it to get too woody by sitting on the chips but I want it to be smooth too. So if I take the wood out and just let the whiskey sit on its own will it eventually get smooth? Or do I need to something else? Do I need to filter it thru carbon now?
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Postby Uncle Remus » Fri Dec 09, 2005 2:19 pm

No don't filter it through carbon or you'll have vodka, carbon will pull all flavour and colour out of it. You can let it sit on wood chips for a long period, just don't use too much.
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Postby Iamnotanalcoholic » Fri Dec 09, 2005 3:57 pm

And how much wood is too much is just experience right? I've had home made whiskey that was way too woody and I want something that makes people go "wow". My thought is to yank almost all the wood out once it gets to the right color and then just keep one or two chips in it to age. Does that sound right?
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Postby The Chemist » Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:41 pm

A qualified "yes". Don't ask, I won't tell.

If you think it's getting to woody, remove the wood and let it sit.
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Postby The Chemist » Fri Dec 09, 2005 8:53 pm

theholymackerel wrote:Booze will age and smooth with time alone.


Amen to that. Thinking about it, I believe I can say more without giving away any company secrets.

Even if you put newly distilled spirits in a bottle, and let it sit there, there will be improvement in quality. If you add some wood compounds, there will be even more improvement. The wood doesn't have to stay there the whole time. For those with access to a nice library, check out the chapter by Vernon Singleton in The Chemistry of Winemaking, called something like "Aspects of the Wooden Barrel as a Container". The same chemistry, on steroids, applies to spirits.
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Postby Bum Chops » Mon Dec 12, 2005 12:16 am

hmmm, now i would i have said thats crazy, bullsh*t, whatever, but clearly this is not the case. how the hell does alcohol improve without anything added to it? just wondering what the chemistry behind this is?

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Postby TRANSPLANTED HILLBILLY » Mon Dec 12, 2005 4:42 pm

I noticed after my first couple runs the collected hearts went through several rapid flavor changes for about 2 1/2 months, slowed after that. Still have about a quart left from that Feb. cook. I better go check on that, NOW!
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Postby duds2u » Wed Dec 14, 2005 10:55 pm

Sririts definitely do improve with age. I have a bottle (well it's only half full now) of 12 year old Chivas Regal that was willed to me after an uncle died. The real age of the scotch is closer to 50 years old. The difference between this one and a "new" 12 year old is dramatic. This one is very smooth and honeyed, almost like a liqueur.
Yep, age doth make a difference.
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Postby Guest » Thu Dec 15, 2005 12:55 pm

I think what happens is that you still have oxidation of some of the more reactive components in the distillates(esters, and phenols) that make it harsh when it is young, as they oxidise they lose the harshness and contribute to the flavor profile. That is the reason for the oak barrel, it allows some of the tannins to oxidise to vanillian compounds that emphisis the sweetness you taste later.
Hey Chemist is there a method that will allow the oxidation to procede at a faster pace?( besides lighting it on fire)

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Postby thecaptain » Thu Dec 15, 2005 3:43 pm

Hey Chemist is there a method that will allow the oxidation to procede at a faster pace?( besides lighting it on fire)

Furball[/quote]

lol let it burn !!! no just kidding that would be a crime to waste it.
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Postby Watershed » Thu Dec 15, 2005 11:34 pm

Stopper the bottle with cotton wool to allow air exchange or use an airstone ( a stainless steel one ) and pump.
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Postby USarmy21 » Fri Dec 16, 2005 11:39 pm

would puting pieces of oak in with the wash when its distilling increase the oxygen of the distillate??? im asking this because i remember back in middle school we did a lab with pop cicle sticks and a glass beaker and when we heated the beaker up with the pop cicle sticks in side the pop cicle sticks would give off oxygen and would light when exposed to a flame.
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Postby Watershed » Sat Dec 17, 2005 1:33 am

You've got that confused somewhere - the test for oxygen is to introduce a smouldering taper into a beaker of the gas at which point it relights.
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Postby The Chemist » Sat Dec 17, 2005 11:29 am

USarmy21 wrote:would puting pieces of oak in with the wash when its distilling increase the oxygen of the distillate??? im asking this because i remember back in middle school we did a lab with pop cicle sticks and a glass beaker and when we heated the beaker up with the pop cicle sticks in side the pop cicle sticks would give off oxygen and would light when exposed to a flame.


Never heard of that one. Can't see as it would work. I have seen some articles about putting wood chips/chunks in the distillation path, maybe it was in the "secrets they don't want you to know book". Can't remember what it was supposed to do, though.
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Postby TN.Frank » Sat Dec 17, 2005 11:32 am

Actually, from what I've read(mostly here on the web site.) charred oak does two things that make whiskey taste better. First the charrcoal helps to absorb some of the "nasty" stuff that's in your whiskey and , Second, the sugars that are in the wood leach into the whiskey and give it more of a sweet, mellow flavor. That's why "sweet woods" like oak, apple or maple are normally used.
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Postby The Chemist » Sat Dec 17, 2005 11:55 am

TN.Frank wrote:Actually, from what I've read(mostly here on the web site.) charred oak does two things that make whiskey taste better. First the charrcoal helps to absorb some of the "nasty" stuff that's in your whiskey and , Second, the sugars that are in the wood leach into the whiskey and give it more of a sweet, mellow flavor. That's why "sweet woods" like oak, apple or maple are normally used.


But in the wash, during distillation?
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Postby TN.Frank » Sat Dec 17, 2005 12:30 pm

Nope, after you've distilled and it's in the bottle. That's when I add the charred wood. Most distilleries that age in oak barrels leave the whiskey at around 130 proof then cut it after it ages, something about the higher alcohol content breaking down the sugars in the wood to give the whiskey better flavor.
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Postby Tater » Sat Dec 17, 2005 4:47 pm

lol
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Postby stoker » Sun Dec 18, 2005 6:41 am

you can maybe put some hydrogen peroxide in it, if the H2O2 doesn't react with the etanol or other stuff,
then it decomposes during a couple of months i think in O2 and water
and the alcohol can age

but i'm surtenly not sure
who wants to try :D

correct me if i'm wrong
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Postby USarmy21 » Mon Dec 19, 2005 9:42 pm

good idea but i remember someone told me hydrogen peroxide is a free radical and is very reactive with other chemicals
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Postby stoker » Tue Dec 20, 2005 8:37 am

so it is

or in something fixed to the inside of the barrel
so the hydrogenperoxide can't make contact with the alcohol
( though it has contact with the gasses)
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Postby Uncle Remus » Tue Dec 20, 2005 10:32 am

I don't know about the rest of you guys, But personally I never add anything but natural ingredients to my wash or distillate. A big part of the reason I make my own booze is so I know what I'm drinking.
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Postby golden pond » Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:37 am

Yep Uncle Remus, I'm with you also, it was invented with natural ingredients and only needs the skills of a distiller, in his or her selection of the ingredients, when and how to run it and age it. I'm certain I would not attempt to use some of the recipes and ingredients I see here or other places on the internet and then think about drinking it or even asking someone else to either.
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Postby stoker » Wed Dec 21, 2005 12:24 am

i won't attempt to do it either, it was just an idea
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Re: Does whiskey continue to age in bottle?

Postby Howler104 » Thu May 15, 2014 6:59 pm

I know this post is really old but I think that since whiskey is aged charred wooden barrels. The aging process changes as the temperature changes. The liquer as the temperatures change is drawn in and out of the wood different compounds are taken from the wood and different compounds are taken from the liquer . At times during the aging process the liquor will taste better and sometimes worse and someone has to sample this to figure right time to bottle. Oxygen plays a role in this as well. So to my point I would say that adding chips to a sealed jar wouldn't work correctly because there wouldn't be any give and take in that process. However it would change the flavor some who knows is good or bad. What if you used any kind of old glass jugs or whiskey bottles with a plug made out of your desired wood that fit somewhat snug when still dry. Charred on the end that is contact with the liquor seal it on the very edge with some wax but don't completely cover over the plugs end with wax. That will keep it from leaking and give the plug time to swell and seal with the bottle and store it on its side as you do wine. Also if your good working wood you could make a wooden ring for a mason jar and store that on its side also. Do this in a place where it won't be exposed to sunlight but it will be exposed to temperature changes. Seems this would work to me.
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Re: Does whiskey continue to age in bottle?

Postby rockchucker22 » Thu May 15, 2014 8:15 pm

Howler104 wrote:I know this post is really old but I think that since whiskey is aged charred wooden barrels. The aging process changes as the temperature changes. The liquer as the temperatures change is drawn in and out of the wood different compounds are taken from the wood and different compounds are taken from the liquer . At times during the aging process the liquor will taste better and sometimes worse and someone has to sample this to figure right time to bottle. Oxygen plays a role in this as well. So to my point I would say that adding chips to a sealed jar wouldn't work correctly because there wouldn't be any give and take in that process. However it would change the flavor some who knows is good or bad. What if you used any kind of old glass jugs or whiskey bottles with a plug made out of your desired wood that fit somewhat snug when still dry. Charred on the end that is contact with the liquor seal it on the very edge with some wax but don't completely cover over the plugs end with wax. That will keep it from leaking and give the plug time to swell and seal with the bottle and store it on its side as you do wine. Also if your good working wood you could make a wooden ring for a mason jar and store that on its side also. Do this in a place where it won't be exposed to sunlight but it will be exposed to temperature changes. Seems this would work to me.

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