Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Treatment and handling of your distillate.

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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by der wo » Sat Jun 04, 2016 3:32 am

HDNB wrote:
der wo wrote:
HDNB wrote:consistantly. 380 is my magic temperature. 400 is too hot and gets acrid. 350 and below is woody.
In an oven? Do you have a specific duration at 380? Or do you think, a half hour more or less is all the same?
3/4-1" thick (stave thickness) kinda wood, soaked for couple hours to rinse them, 1.5hours at 380. then medium to heavy char, then into the likker.
Those numbers are not far away of what I tried out and had success. Definetely useful advice imo.

But are you sure, toasting longer at lower temp or shorter at higher temp would be worse? Or much different in character? Is the 380 really a magic temp for you or only in the context of duration and thickness? If you have read my recent posts here, you know I doubt it. But of course I could be wrong.
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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by masonsjax » Sat Jun 04, 2016 4:29 am

I experimented with a couple of different temps for toast as well. 380 and 400, for 2 hrs each. I call them medium and heavy. Then I char to alligator skin. Both come out very nice but heavy comes out darker color and a little sweeter and more caramel aroma. It's the one I prefer as it's closer to the bourbons I love. Medium is nice too, more subtle and the vanilla notes are perhaps more pronounced. I don't think either are even close to being acrid. I would recommend experimenting and seeing what works for you. I just got a bunch of apple wood I'm gonna play with, see how that works out.

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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by HDNB » Sat Jun 04, 2016 6:34 am

this is probably the thing i experiment with the most; i like my likker recipe it's fairly consistant.
i can add to the data set a bit with the things i note, but Masonjax is right, just go with what works for you. (i tried apple, didn't like it and cherry wood gave me a headache within minutes of sampling)

smaller chips give over more/faster. i like a 2 tablespoon/ 23L carboy of "medium toast french oak" shredded chips from the wine store as an adjunct to the blocks i prepare the T-Pee way.

1/2 hour at 380 doesn't do enough, the flavours don't come through in a timely fashion.
an hour is ok
an hour and a half is where i settled for time in/flavour out
two hours didn't make a change from 1.5 hours (or more specifically "only" 1.5 was not substantially different than 2 where i started.)
i did one batch i forgot and it got over 3 hours and the flavour was acrid/astringent. i never did another so it may have been something else.
400 for 2 hours was acrid, bitter, astringent did this twice.
400 for an hour was still the same.
350 was woody like oak tea at 2 hours. it was better after 9 months, but not as good as 380*.

the thing is there is soooo many variables that i tend to try things once or twice, adjust until i find what i want and run with it...so no real empirical evidence, just observations.

lately, i'm tring different levels of char now on 380* wood. so far i have found the best results with a spectrum of no char>>>heavy char with a bent towards the larger% no char as giving the broadest flavour (most complex?) in the shortest time period... about 30% no char, 30 medium and 40heavy...but it takes more time than 100% heavy char to get to the sweet spot.
(I started 100% heavy char and have been working downwards) 100 is the sweetest, most robust flavour. (not flavourS though)

the block sizes have not exceeded 2.5" x fit in a carboy in size (.75-1") so no data on bigger for you.

and somewhat misguided and likely dangerous, dropping still glowing chunks in the likker and sealing in smoke in the carboy will carry over a smokey flavour (that i enjoyed) don't know i will continue this practice though...

lower temp toast and no char are the only types i find taste woody and take forever to get palatable. no char toasted tastes ok to me but is slooow in giving over.

all IMHO, of course.
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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by der wo » Sat Jun 04, 2016 6:56 am

Thanks much for the long post.

So you experienced, with 380 you get within a broad spectrum of duration a good taste. Because there are so many other variables to try out, you decided to stay with this proven temp and play more with the other details.
HDNB wrote:lower temp toast and no char are the only types i find taste woody and take forever to get palatable. no char toasted tastes ok to me but is slooow in giving over.
Did you ever try no toast and medium or heavy char? I ask, because for example the JD wood looks untoasted.
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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by HDNB » Sat Jun 04, 2016 7:21 am

der wo wrote: Did you ever try no toast and medium or heavy char? I ask, because for example the JD wood looks untoasted.
i did no toast medium char of an ex-bourbon barrel. it was a really light flavour after 6 months, no change after 9 months. flavour all but disappeared when ice or water was added to sample.

i did a few jars of JD chips when i started out (on UJ). it was undrinkable. after almost a year i cut it with equal parts white UJ and that thinned it enough to drink. I gave 3 quarts to a friend who drinks JD he thought it was over the moon. I still have a pint, it's not hard to leave on the shelf. much too strong, acrid, bitter and JD-tasting for my appeal. i probably over-did it with about an inch of chips in the litre jar.

the best results have been the T-Pee way...
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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by der wo » Sat Jun 04, 2016 7:53 am

Thanks.
I mostly use JD-blocks and saw sticks from it, 1" thick or a bit less. It's the only source of white oak available in Europe. But it's already seasoned and looks not bad I think.

I've tried different methods of toasting (oven, pan, grill, microwave) before charring. With an oven it's very evenly and repeatable, but no distillery uses an oven. They all use open flames. They say, it gets more complex this way, because of the different toasted layers. So I want to find out, what happens, if I treat my sticks in future only with a flame. Duration, color of flame, adjustment of the torch, distance from flame to stick... unfortunately difficult repeatable variables, with an oven it'e easier...
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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by Swedish Pride » Sat Jun 04, 2016 8:40 am

Man, that's a lot of solid info HDNB.
Much obliged, I'll have to try re toasting my whiskey staves I have, so far I've only charred them as I reasoned they were toasted once why do it again?
BTW, you must have gotten a hold of a bogey apple tree, I love the flavor of mine, happy to send you some if you want to give it a go.
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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Sat Jun 04, 2016 8:47 am

I have toasted at various temps and I would say that it more about temperature than duration.
At 380F the oak becomes a bit more tan, but won't continue to darken even if left in oven for hours.
Darker toasting requires higher temps, not longer times. I've gone as high as 425F and had good results, and temps that high will make the oak fairly dark.

I find it takes about 90 minutes for the toast to penetrate the entire stick.

Only time I got acrid was when I did a heavy char without toasting first.

I always left my sticks in for at least 6 months, up to a year, and I don't feel like my stuff is over oaked.
At least not to me.
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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by der wo » Sat Jun 04, 2016 9:35 am

Ok. For a dark color you need a high temp. But of course with high temp you can also have a light color, if you stop it earlier. Will wood toasted 2h with 350 taste different than shorter toasted at 400 to exactly the same color? If not, we should write about colors not temperatures.

I don't want to convince here members not to use an oven and perhaps alufoil, I am only searching solid arguments. I also respect individual tasting notes, but of course a objective proof would convince me easier.
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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by T-Pee » Sat Jun 04, 2016 9:47 am

Anyone asking for objective proof for any particular method would do well to try it themselves and share the results with the membership which is exactly what this thread was intended to be in the original. That it turned into the most recent "go to" thread for this aspect of the hobby was a pleasant surprise to me. I was only sharing a personal discovery with the membership.

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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by Hillbilly Popstar » Sat Jun 04, 2016 9:51 am

I find that when applying a heavy char the resulting product tastes way too smokey. Like I dropped liquid smoke into the whiskey. But toast only, brings out the vanilla and sweeter flavors.

I like to toast 2 hours at around 350-375 then I bump it up 50 degrees for an additional 30 minutes. I set the sticks directly on the oven rack.

Sounds like I need to work on my charing methods.

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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by der wo » Sat Jun 04, 2016 10:14 am

T-Pee wrote:Anyone asking for objective proof for any particular method would do well to try it themselves and share the results with the membership which is exactly what this thread was intended to be in the original. That it turned into the most recent "go to" thread for this aspect of the hobby was a pleasant surprise to me. I was only sharing a personal discovery with the membership.
Yes of course. I want to discuss and decide, what could be worth to try next.

We all know between trying it and tasting it is many months aging. And all the other variables are confusing.
My results up to now are very chaotic. Also because I changed my oak source. I first used pen blanks (selled as white oak, but it looks more like european oak. I don't know), I seasoned it, I cut it in sticks. But the sticks were thinner than the sticks from JD-blocks I now make. So my results from the past are not 100% adaptable for my sticks today. I remember, the darkest stick (4h oven 430F) tasted worst. But I didn't taste much difference between light and medium toast. My result between light and heavy char was, that I will char a bit less in future.

Sorry, up to know I don't asses my results trustworthy enough, that I could share them with the membership.
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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by der wo » Sat Jun 04, 2016 10:20 am

Hillbilly Popstar wrote:I find that when applying a heavy char the resulting product tastes way too smokey.
Do you extinguish the sticks after charring? I have always done it and never had a smokey touch. I drop them in water. I also found, that heavy charred sticks have less sweetness and vanilla.
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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by Hillbilly Popstar » Sat Jun 04, 2016 10:23 am

der wo wrote:
Hillbilly Popstar wrote:I find that when applying a heavy char the resulting product tastes way too smokey.
Do you extinguish the sticks after charring? I have always done it and never had a smokey touch. I drop them in water. I also found, that heavy charred sticks have less sweetness and vanilla.
Yes, I toasted, then while still hot I lay them across a lit barbecue until I got a heavy alligator texture. Then I dropped them in water and rinsed them gently so as to not knock any of the scale I had just created.

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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by der wo » Sat Jun 04, 2016 11:29 am

Hillbilly Popstar wrote:
der wo wrote:
Hillbilly Popstar wrote:I find that when applying a heavy char the resulting product tastes way too smokey.
Do you extinguish the sticks after charring? I have always done it and never had a smokey touch. I drop them in water. I also found, that heavy charred sticks have less sweetness and vanilla.
Yes, I toasted, then while still hot I lay them across a lit barbecue until I got a heavy alligator texture. Then I dropped them in water and rinsed them gently so as to not knock any of the scale I had just created.
Perhaps the barbecue is the problem? I use a propane torch.
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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by Hillbilly Popstar » Sat Jun 04, 2016 11:30 am

der wo wrote:
Hillbilly Popstar wrote:
der wo wrote:
Hillbilly Popstar wrote:I find that when applying a heavy char the resulting product tastes way too smokey.
Do you extinguish the sticks after charring? I have always done it and never had a smokey touch. I drop them in water. I also found, that heavy charred sticks have less sweetness and vanilla.
Yes, I toasted, then while still hot I lay them across a lit barbecue until I got a heavy alligator texture. Then I dropped them in water and rinsed them gently so as to not knock any of the scale I had just created.
Perhaps the barbecue is the problem? I use a propane torch.
I had considered that. Guess I need to invest in a propane torch to find out.

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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by Hound Dog » Sat Jun 04, 2016 12:41 pm

I got too smokey of a flavor by not rinsing the sticks off. I dropped them straight in and it was way too much. I char sticks with a propane torch, toss them in a half gallon mason jar then rinse vigorously, and repeat a few times. This prevents too much smoke. I haven't paid as much attention to toasting as you guys have. In the past I used JD barrel chunks cut into sticks but now I use my own white oak.I just took some sticks today that I cut up last year and left outside to weather, lightly charred them, rinsed and put in some white whiskey that has been on the shelf a while. I will see how that turns out in a few months.
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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by Mikey-moo » Sat Jun 04, 2016 1:18 pm

HDNB wrote:lately, i'm tring different levels of char now on 380* wood. so far i have found the best results with a spectrum of no char>>>heavy char with a bent towards the larger% no char as giving the broadest flavour (most complex?) in the shortest time period... about 30% no char, 30 medium and 40heavy...but it takes more time than 100% heavy char to get to the sweet spot.
(I started 100% heavy char and have been working downwards) 100 is the sweetest, most robust flavour. (not flavourS though)
Brilliant info - thanks HDNB! Are you charring all sides of the sticks/cubes equally? My thoughts are that charring only a couple of sides of the sticks would give increased variation and therefore increased complexity to the resulting tasty beverage.
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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by Hound Dog » Sat Jun 04, 2016 1:21 pm

Mikey-moo wrote:
HDNB wrote:lately, i'm tring different levels of char now on 380* wood. so far i have found the best results with a spectrum of no char>>>heavy char with a bent towards the larger% no char as giving the broadest flavour (most complex?) in the shortest time period... about 30% no char, 30 medium and 40heavy...but it takes more time than 100% heavy char to get to the sweet spot.
(I started 100% heavy char and have been working downwards) 100 is the sweetest, most robust flavour. (not flavourS though)
Brilliant info - thanks HDNB! Are you charring all sides of the sticks/cubes equally? My thoughts are that charring only a couple of sides of the sticks would give increased variation and therefore increased complexity to the resulting tasty beverage.
There's a thought. I have been doing a light char with my torch pretty even.
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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by HDNB » Sat Jun 04, 2016 4:46 pm

Hound Dog wrote:
Mikey-moo wrote:
HDNB wrote:lately, i'm tring different levels of char now on 380* wood. so far i have found the best results with a spectrum of no char>>>heavy char with a bent towards the larger% no char as giving the broadest flavour (most complex?) in the shortest time period... about 30% no char, 30 medium and 40heavy...but it takes more time than 100% heavy char to get to the sweet spot.
(I started 100% heavy char and have been working downwards) 100 is the sweetest, most robust flavour. (not flavourS though)
Brilliant info - thanks HDNB! Are you charring all sides of the sticks/cubes equally? My thoughts are that charring only a couple of sides of the sticks would give increased variation and therefore increased complexity to the resulting tasty beverage.
There's a thought. I have been doing a light char with my torch pretty even.
i was charring evenly as possible.

on the last batch i charred 2 sides heavy, one light and left the bottom side uncharred to get a mix of chars....no tastes yet, its about 8 weeks old. (instead of mixing different char levels of cubes. This seemed the easier way to get to the % of diff. chars)
like the other comments^^^ i have only noticed smoke when i don't wash with water first, and just drop them in the hootch hot.

i use a mapp torch, my BBQ is in use daily it would make the wood taste like charred meat almost for sure.... :think: hmmm....
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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by Danespirit » Sat Jun 04, 2016 4:51 pm

der wo wrote:
Hillbilly Popstar wrote:I find that when applying a heavy char the resulting product tastes way too smokey.
Do you extinguish the sticks after charring? I have always done it and never had a smokey touch. I drop them in water. I also found, that heavy charred sticks have less sweetness and vanilla.
I place my sticks on a heatproof surface and hit them with the propane torch until I like what I see and smell.
Of course, I won't overdo things, so they begin to burn (flames).
A tip I also gave a member in another thread, is to rinse the sticks under cold water.
Just enough to get rid of the sod and excessive coal formed on the surface.
Works quite well for me...maybe others can use this info..

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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by der wo » Sun Jun 05, 2016 1:29 am

Hound Dog wrote:I haven't paid as much attention to toasting as you guys have. In the past I used JD barrel chunks cut into sticks but now I use my own white oak.I just took some sticks today that I cut up last year and left outside to weather, lightly charred them, rinsed and put in some white whiskey that has been on the shelf a while. I will see how that turns out in a few months.
That means without toasting it before charring? Was it your first try without toasting or do you have tasting results? How thick are the sticks?
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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by Hound Dog » Sun Jun 05, 2016 3:39 am

der wo wrote:
Hound Dog wrote:I haven't paid as much attention to toasting as you guys have. In the past I used JD barrel chunks cut into sticks but now I use my own white oak.I just took some sticks today that I cut up last year and left outside to weather, lightly charred them, rinsed and put in some white whiskey that has been on the shelf a while. I will see how that turns out in a few months.
That means without toasting it before charring? Was it your first try without toasting or do you have tasting results? How thick are the sticks?
Correct, no toast, just charring aged Appalachian white oak from my property. The sticks are roughly 1 x 1/2 × 4". I have used JD barrel blocks before also and just split the pieces down to about 1/2" thick with a chisel then charred them. They work ok but with an abundance of wood at my disposal, I prefer to use it. Seems more home authentic that way :ebiggrin:
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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by Shiny Coke » Fri Jun 10, 2016 7:59 am

der wo wrote:
Hillbilly Popstar wrote:I find that when applying a heavy char the resulting product tastes way too smokey.
Do you extinguish the sticks after charring? I have always done it and never had a smokey touch. I drop them in water. I also found, that heavy charred sticks have less sweetness and vanilla.

I think this is where I F'd up on my gallon of Rye from previous posts back. I realized I wanted an extra stick after the first day of ageing so I grabbed a previously toasted one from stock and charred it. I then dropped it into the Rye without quenching in water first and I'm sure this is why I've got something that tastes like the soup you have in the bottom of the pit after you put out the camp fire. :(

Creating a new thread to ask you guys what you'd do with it so's I don't muddy this one up.

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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by spiff » Thu Jul 07, 2016 11:47 am

Just replying to buying a torch just for this... this might be a good candidate for an alcohol burner and put your dregs to good use. Or would that take too long?

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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Thu Jul 07, 2016 11:55 am

Not sure if this has been mentioned in here, but it makes a big difference if you char the sticks immediately out of the oven from toasting, or if you let the sticks cool back down first.
If you toast around 400F, the oak is already so hot that the charring will go MUCH further into the stick. A heavy char can even turn the whole thing into a piece of charcoal. Cool first.
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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by thecroweater » Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:26 pm

Hope this isn't over repeated in these 14 pages but.. . I find charing toasted sticks gives a really acrid smokey flavour great for BBQ sauce but bloody awful for whiskey.
I am wholly over the heavy char sticks and believe charring is best suited to larger barrels for long term aging, in fact its my opinion heavy toasting dumps all over the lightest of charring. With toasting you get all the caramelization with none of the acrid burnt stick flavour. I have not charred oak for a few years and I doubt I will in the foreseeable future :thumbup:
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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by masonsjax » Thu Jul 07, 2016 8:18 pm

I've tried all manner of combinations of toast levels and char levels. My favorite combination so far has been 2 hours in the oven at 400F, and heavy alligator char on all sides. This is with white oak from a used wine barrel head cut into 3" sticks, roughly one inch wide by 3/4" thick. One stick per 600ml at 65% in quart jars. I can't say Ive ever had a hint of acrid in any of my aged goods. I filter through a single cotton ball in a funnel.

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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by T-Pee » Thu Jul 07, 2016 8:28 pm

To each his own in this wonderful hobby.

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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by Jeffrich » Tue Jul 19, 2016 3:25 am

Thanks for a Great write up T-Pee! Being new to this, it will be a great help!

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