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 bitter » Sun May 13, 2018 4:16 pm

This should last a little bit
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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by Chickenbone » Sat Jun 02, 2018 7:46 am

We have an almost unlimited supply of 1/4" white oak planks and are planning to toast and char our sticks the T-Pee way. Given that most here use sticks with a thickness = to or > 1/2", I'm wondering if the sticks we will make are going to be too thin, especially for charring purposes.

I also toasted a few 1 x 5 x 1/4" sticks in the oven at 400 degrees but may have left them on too long. The house smelled ethereal at about the two hour mark but after four hours the smell greatly dissipated. Should be able to still use them after four hours toasting at 400, yes? Did I take them past their peak?
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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by OtisT » Sat Jun 02, 2018 8:37 am

My personal opinion is that 1/4” is too thin. When toasting sticks I try for a gradient of toast, with the inside of the stick receiving less toast. Hard to get a gradient with no depth/thickness. This is just my preference.

IMHO, think you toasted way too long for that thickness of wood. My guess would be somewhere less than an hour for 1/4” thick pieces to toast all the way through. As you toast, pull a stick once in a while and crosscut to look for toast penetration. My understanding is that temp determines the level of toast, while time determine the level of penetration. Once the center has reached toast temp, there is no benefit to toasting longer.

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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by der wo » Sat Jun 02, 2018 8:56 am

Chickenbone wrote: The house smelled ethereal at about the two hour mark but after four hours the smell greatly dissipated. Should be able to still use them after four hours toasting at 400, yes? Did I take them past their peak?
Make new sticks. There is not much left in those sticks but a few burnt flavors.
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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by Chickenbone » Sat Jun 02, 2018 10:26 am

Thank you Otis and der wo for confirming my suspicions. The sticks I over toasted will make their way onto the grill. Since 1/4 inch is all we have right now, I think I will try toasting a new set for a much shorter period of time. More like an hour as Otis suggested. I’m thinking of toasting four sticks total per gallon with each stick toasted at a temp corresponding to a flavor peak on the chart. It’s all a shakedown cruise for us right no, so we’ll see how it goes.
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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by Shine0n » Sun Jun 03, 2018 6:06 am

I toast mine (1"×1"×5") for two hours and it works well, I have some locally sourced white oak I cut myself but I also have a half barrel from the feed store I cut into the size I wanted.

I believe 1 hour is the max you'd want for 1/4", maybe even 45 minutes.

Try some for half hour, then 45 minutes and then one hour, then you'll know what level of toast you have and could use them in different applications for different spirits.

Good luck

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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by Distillernz » Sun Jun 03, 2018 10:02 pm

Just wondering how the flavour changes with time? I am ageing a neutral spirit at 130 proof using one toasted and charred oak piece about 1" by 1" by 3" per quart. Now after a week I have sampled and the flavour is not quite was I was hoping for. I have only used the JD chips before and they were pretty good. I realise the original post said a month and a half on the oak and then a month and a half with oak removed will flavour change a lot in this time?

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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by greggn » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:59 am

Distillernz wrote:I am ageing a neutral spirit at 130 proof using one toasted and charred oak piece about 1" by 1" by 3" per quart. Now after a week I have sampled and the flavour is not quite was I was hoping for.

Oaking a neutral isn't going to give you much in the way of depth or complexity of flavor.
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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by OtisT » Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:55 am

Distillernz wrote:Just wondering how the flavour changes with time? I am ageing a neutral spirit at 130 proof using one toasted and charred oak piece about 1" by 1" by 3" per quart. Now after a week I have sampled and the flavour is not quite was I was hoping for. I have only used the JD chips before and they were pretty good. I realise the original post said a month and a half on the oak and then a month and a half with oak removed will flavour change a lot in this time?
That’s a proper sized stick for the volume. :-). In my experience, the spirit will smell/taste bad/worse soon after adding oak and it won’t start improving for many months. (6-12 months and more in some cases). This may vary by wood type and wood seasoning, with more seasoned wood making the turn for the better sooner that unseasoned oak. I find the smell of the young oak offensive at first, but it will eventually subside and will be taken over by vanilla and other wood related eaters. While the smell of a youn oak is not good to me, the taste is even worse.

Something like the JD chips, or other previously used wood, won’t have as much of a harsh/young oak to it and would likely taste better sooner ( or maybe that should be said, it won’t taste as bad up front.)

When sampling what’s in your jars, be sure to let the jars air out first each time you sample. Even a jar of good stuff can smell a bit off right after opening. I find that opening jars and let them air for 30 minutes before sampling makes a huge difference by allowing some of the most offensive and off smells to dissipate.

I also find that jars smell better before they taste better. An early change I get is some of the sweet smells, like vanilla after a few months. The taste of young oak lingers longer, taking more time to work out.

This is just my opinion, but Oak in a neutral would not be exciting to me. Something akin to oak tea. I think the oak needs something in addition to ethanol in order to develop into something nice. With enough time you’ll probably end up with something that smells nice, but the taste may be a bit flat. ( speaking from personal experience. ;-) )

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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by thumper123 » Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:23 pm

I have found your aging process to be very similar to my own, and I can tell you that it's the very best way for us novices to produce a great product.
My kids love my bourbon, and they're always trying to compare it to the commercial products out there. They present me with an incredible array of microdistillery products on holidays in an attempt to best my stuff - all in fun. I've noticed that some are pretty good, but others are nearly impalatable. The really bad ones seem to be aged on bad wood or something. They taste green. I don't know what the hell they are doing - red oak? poorly dried white? I can only assume that leading up to the aging process that the distillers could certainly make an acceptable spirit, but when it comes to barreling they fall down. Any thoughts on this.

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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by Honest_Liberty » Fri Feb 22, 2019 8:33 am

So I've had terrible results up to this point, here is what I've done:

Cut wood into 6" x 5/8 -3/4" x about the same. Not exact because I used a hatchet.

A bunch toasted at 380 for 90 minutes.
Another few just charred with the MAP torch, with once glowing stopped. I can't remember if i doused.

Put two sticks of each in separate 750ml bottles of 60% sweetfeed double distilled glory, about two months ago.
Been taking random taste tests. Extremely underwhelming and unimpressive, although the nose is the toasted is superior.

The charred smells of new sneakers and tastes like campfire smoke. It's friggin terrible. I'm so disappointed.

The toasted is more mellow, no camp fire smoke taste, but just... Boring and not worth drinking in my estimation.

I am a bit of a whiskey snob. I'll drink and enjoy cheap, don't get me wrong, (Jim Beam black suit me fine for everyday bourbon fix), but when it comes to the work I'm putting in I want to create something I'd pay $100 bottle.

Right now i couldn't pay a bum to take this ish off my hands.

I'll likely go back to Jack Daniels chips and nuclear aging. I sampled my first single pot run I aged that way, about 8 months after being off the oak... We forgot about it...

It tasted incredible! I really wish I could have success with this method but I'm nervous about bulk aging my all grain batches once I have 5 gallons if I'm likely to produce such pure shite.

I don't know what I'm doing wrong

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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by OtisT » Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:25 am

Honest Liberty, it takes more than two months of aging on new oak to produce a $100 bottle of whiskey. Patience. My experience with sticks is that I don’t see any turn for the better before 3 or 4 months minimum, sometimes up to 8 before it starts smelling remotely nice, and even then you will still want them to age longer if you can. If you do revert back to JD chips and nuking for your big batch do yourself a favor and stash away a few jars with your sticks in them and try them next year (vent monthly.)

Re: charring. I had a horrible time getting a char I liked but I finally figured it out. This is just my opinion but I think my problem was the gas types I tried in combination with the wrong tool (a small hand torch). The small hand torch had me charring with the torch too close to the wood, and I think it was so close that the gas had not fully burned, leaving a bad taste. The small torch also meant that I did not char all the surface at once, so where I started was more burnt than where I ended.

The solution I found that solved my problem was a propane attached flame thrower. ($20 at harbor freight.). I now char sticks either on one side or two and I’ll do a dozen or two in a single batch. With a pitcher of water near, I line up all the sticks side by side on concrete then blast the entire lot for 25-30 seconds then gently douse all the sticks at once. (Gentle so you don’t knock off the scales of char). With the big blast area, the torch head is plenty far away from the wood and it seems all the gas is being burnt clean, so no more bad smells.

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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by Honest_Liberty » Fri Feb 22, 2019 2:59 pm

Ohhhhhh! Snap! I appreciate it.
I'm going to do this on the burr oak i picked up. Already toasted.

Thanks for clarifying. I must have misunderstood what you tipped originally. Thank you sir!
I'll just set them in the garage and wait. Cool

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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by ShineonCrazyDiamond » Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:01 pm

Soak the charred sticks in water overnight to grab some of that "smoke" before it gets in your whiskey.
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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by Honest_Liberty » Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:56 pm

Awesome. Thanks. I was worried it would be the opposite

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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by Little Hank » Fri Feb 22, 2019 5:05 pm

I really am in no way qualified to give advice here but thought I'd just share my experience. I did a sweet feed run and went to a local wood craft shop and bought a 1/2" dowel rod of white oak. I cut it in 3 5" lengths, baked at 400 for 15 min or just till the aromas started to fill the kitchen wrapped in foil. I have a LP gas stove. I Then pulled the sticks out, light the top burner and stuck the stick in with tongs. I let the dowel rod fully catch fire for about 45 sec. to a min. And the outened it under water for a few seconds. I used 4 sticks for 500 ML and let it set for 4 weeks. This was my first batch of sweet feed and I wasn't really impressed, surprise but after the oak sticks it was much better and I was able to tolerate the flavor. I just started running some all grains mash( just corn and malted barley) and once I get my cuts right I'll try it again so I know if my method will really work to my liking. Once again thanks for all the helpful reading ya'll post.

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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by T-Pee » Fri Feb 22, 2019 8:51 pm

Sweet feed + charred oak = 3 months minimum. Leave it alone. It'll come around. :thumbup:

tp

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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by Honest_Liberty » Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:26 pm

I heated the bottles I have up on the stove in water tonight. They were out in the cold the last 2 months? Hell, it's been like 3 months already but almost all cold because of winter. I haven't heated up until tonight. They've been placed in the garage tonight. Tomorrow afternoon, back to heating up. tomorrow night back to the garage (I'll repeat 3 more times) where they'll stay until fall.

I'm pretty sure I tossed in the oak before we closed on our newest home, which would have been before Dec 20. It may have been as early as November 20'ish. I think its the torch, plus not dousing (but again, 50'/50 on what I remember doing. IIRC I lightly doused just to get glow done and then set outside, but then again, sh#t I can't remember.. Seriously. I must start taking notes!!! laziness is holding me back.

I did get a very amazing chocolate back end tonight when I tasted the toasted oak bottle (much sweeter but much, MUCH smoother than Makers at 45%. my wife tasted and agreed). It was outstanding. Lingered for nearly 30 seconds in diminishing residual flavor until so slight it turned into a soft memory. Very promising!

both at 60%, 750ml. (I can't tell if the photo saved properly at 600x338. Pardon if it didn't. First time I'm trying this
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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by Honest_Liberty » Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:43 pm

So I have had this SF recipe, very tight cuts, sitting oaked in a gallon jug at my cabin at high altitude for about 12 months now. It tastes terrible.
flat. pepper. bland. oak.

it is undrinkably terrible and I'm getting very frustrated with not being able to make a robust whiskey. I must need to add some heads and tails because it tastes nothing like a whisky at all. Then again its a rumsky. I dunno.

my chapitalized concord brandy is aging great though, with the same time, size jar, and oak

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Re: Oaking and aging the T-Pee way

Post by zed255 » Mon Oct 19, 2020 5:47 pm

I'm no expert, but I think anything home distilled has to be put up surprisingly dirty to resemble almost any commercial example. Tight cuts are for drinking white and making loose cuts are better for ageing on wood. Also, I think AG batches will stand up better than any sugar based recipe. Maybe I'm off base here as I'm just really getting into AG now but I can see the potential in these efforts already.
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