The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Treatment and handling of your distillate.

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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by der wo » Sat Mar 19, 2016 1:13 pm

Now the discussion becomes interesting for me. :D

Ok. Probably, with water full saturated air will not be able to carry extra ethanol. Here probably you are right, the loss of ethanol can be affected by the humidity.

I have two "but":

-Loss while barrel aging is only partial evaporating. The first part is diffusion through the wood, which is not influenced by air humidity.

-After a loss of say 20% of the ethanol there will be a difference in taste in dependence of the air humidity while the loss? Why? I think after diluting to the same strength both drinks would be equal. Of course this is theory. In practice one of the barrels would need more time for 20% loss and this would affect other things like the leeching out of the wood.
Of course you can accelerate or slow down the loss with temperature and perhaps with humidity, but that's all. I don't believe there is a different taste character after the same loss. At best, if you want for example 20% loss for a soft taste and exactly the same color like Jack Daniels after one year, air humidity is one of many minor factors to hit this target. But if you don't use an original barrel, what means many of the factors are not original and can be changed, you don't need the climate of Kentucky to age bourbon.

Cheers. I am looking forward to your contra. :D
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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by kiwi Bruce » Sat Mar 19, 2016 4:31 pm

There must be a difference in the character of each barrel. The big bourbon houses rotate their barrels, what was stored up is moved down and down is moved up. What was stored inside is moved out to the outer walls and outside is moved back in....and this is repeated four times a year. Then to get a consistent bottling, they are all blended together.
By the way 20% loss is hideously high...I think .02% a year is the figure JD put out. I just read that the most important part of the barreled spirit, when it comes to aging/maturing, is the ullage space. The decreases or increases of the outside air pressure allow the ullage to expand and contract, forcing the spirit into the oak walls or sucking it back out. Balvenie bottled a 50 year old cask and sold it last year. The cask had lost half it's volume, and the bottles sold for $30,000 US EACH....Kiwi
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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by Badmotivator » Sat Mar 19, 2016 8:48 pm

kiwi Bruce wrote: By the way 20% loss is hideously high...I think .02% a year is the figure JD put out.
On average, a barrel of maturing Glenfiddich will lose about 2% of volume per year of aging, more of it alcohol than water. That means that every year, a cask loses the equivalent of five bottles of cask-strength whisky. With thousands of casks in each of their 46 warehouses, you can do the math to get some idea of how well the angels of Dufftown drink. It could be worse—some American whiskies, aged in the scorching heat of the American South, can easily lose around 15% of a cask by volume to the angel's share every year. During especially warm summers that figure can jump to as high as 25%. In any case, the angel's share is a necessary part of the whisky making process. (from http://www.popsci.com/glenfiddich/angelsshare" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow)
kiwi Bruce wrote:I just read that the most important part of the barreled spirit, when it comes to aging/maturing, is the ullage space.
Cool. Badmo Barrels have that too. But the MOST important part? More than ingredients, mash, yeast, ferment, distillation, wood species, wood quality, previous use, toast, char, and climate?
kiwi Bruce wrote: Balvenie bottled a 50 year old cask and sold it last year. The cask had lost half it's volume, and the bottles sold for $30,000 US EACH....Kiwi
My calculator puts that at 1.4 % per year. Damn, it must be cold and wet there. :)

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The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by Badmotivator » Sat Mar 19, 2016 9:39 pm

der wo wrote:Now the discussion becomes interesting for me. :D
I knew I'd hook you in eventually. :)

I'm sorry to say that the meaning of your post was slightly opaque. I think I got the main idea though. You are proposing this hypothesis: cask A takes 5 years to lose 30%, cask B takes 7 years to lose 30%, flavor ends up the same if all other variables are the same. Did I get your meaning?

What I THINK I want is a loss rate that is similar to the industry. For Scotch, very low, around 2%/year. For bourbon, quite high, perhaps 10-20%/year. I don't know why I think I want this, except that it would be congruent with the aim of this whole project.

The aim of this project is to closely simulate a large oak barrel in its normal conventional use, but for smaller volumes and at low cost. So far we've got these things correct: cost, appropriate materials, SA/V, successful mechanical seal, well-described repeatable method. The loss rate is the only active issue.

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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by der wo » Sun Mar 20, 2016 2:58 am

kiwi Bruce wrote:By the way 20% loss is hideously high...I think .02% a year is the figure JD put out.
Of course 20% a year would be crazy for a distillery, which want to age 8-18 years. But not for many of us, who wants to age only one year. I like badmotivators numbers so far.
0.02% is the abv loss not the volume loss. Of course the abv loss depends heavily on the air humidity. If it is wet, mainly ethanol evaporates. If it is dry, also water evaporates. So the spirit in Kentucky stays almost same in abv, the spirit in Scotland goes down in abv. But the total loss is higher in Kentucky because of the higher temperature. So aging is faster in Kentucky (of course also because of the fresh barrels).
-abv loss in Scotland: 0.2-0.6% per year. In Kentucky around zero. Some whiskeys even rise in abv.
-volume loss in Scotland: 2-2.5% per year. In Kentucky much more.
Yes, barrel rotation and ullage space are variables too.
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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by der wo » Sun Mar 20, 2016 3:44 am

Badmotivator wrote:I'm sorry to say that the meaning of your post was slightly opaque
I'm sorry. All of you can correct my language mistakes at any time, especially when I do the same mistake again and again, I would be happy.

What I mean is: If you have two equal barrels and both have lost 20% of the ethanol, then there is no real difference in taste, if one of the barrels has lost more water than the other barrel. So air humidity (what controls mainly the water loss) is not a main factor for your plans. Perhaps you can slow down the evaporation a bit with humidity, because the air is more saturated, but you cannot change the taste character of aging. Air humidity has no effect on the permeation through the wood, only an effect on the evaporation at the outside surface and mainly on the water, not on the ethanol.

The important factors for your design are temperature, wood thickness, wood quality/toasting/charring/first or second fill and barrel size (surface/volume -ratio).
Besides the many advantages of your design the downside is, that you cannot control everything all the time. You cannot react easily, for example if you see "Now it has lost 20% ethanol and it tastes soft like it has lost enough, but the color and the wood flavors are still too light. I fear, when the color is right, I will have lost 50% ethanol." Of course you have this downside also (and even more) with normal 255l-barrel aging and it is ok for us, that Scotch has a lighter color after 10years than Bourbon. With sticks you don't have this problem, you can control the evaporation and the addition of wood flavors seperately. But I don't want to fight a sticks vs BBOB here. I only want to utter my opinion and give reasons for, that you don't have to do huge efforts about the air humidity.

I understand very good, that you want to reach the same numbers like the industry. I want it too. It's because aging needs such a long time and I hope with original numbers I am a little more on the safe side and I can exclude some mistakes.

Perhaps someday you will see, another Bain-Marie size (different surface/volume -ratio) is better for aging under the conditions you can offer (temperature) and the conditions you want (aging time, wood extraction, ethanol loss). For 2% per year you will need much thicker wood and probably a larger barrel. I think and hope, this thread is still active in many years. Of course it depends on you.
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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by Hillbilly Popstar » Sun Mar 20, 2016 5:20 am

Why is Jack Daniels always used as a bench mark on this forum?

I thought the goal was to make good whiskey?
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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by der wo » Sun Mar 20, 2016 5:46 am

I think, because everyone knows JD, it's a normal whiskey, nothing special. And it's documented more than the most smaller companies perhaps.

Of course many more expensive whiskies are better than JD. But I don't think it's because of the temperature or humidity in their warehouses. So what's wrong, to quote their numbers?
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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by rad14701 » Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:51 am

der wo wrote:I think, because everyone knows JD, it's a normal whiskey, nothing special. And it's documented more than the most smaller companies perhaps.

Of course many more expensive whiskies are better than JD. But I don't think it's because of the temperature or humidity in their warehouses. So what's wrong, to quote their numbers?
Actually, Jack Daniels is an exception to the rule because they are one of the few commercial distilleries that implements preliminary filtering through charred maple , supposedly for mellowing, before aging in charred oak barrels - otherwise known as The Lincoln County Process... Many would say that JD isn't all that mellow even after preliminary mellowing followed by a few years on oak... I definitely wouldn't use JD as my benchmark... I can drink it but have had far better over the years...

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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by Hillbilly Popstar » Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:05 am

I guess I can see how people refer to JD often cause their numbers are available and we all know what it tastes like.

But personally, as a comercial product, I think Jim Beam is a better whiskey. Not much is gonna be smoother for under $16/5th.


But I digress...
Let's not get off topic.
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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Sun Mar 20, 2016 8:44 am

Got my first BadMo together and soaking!
I had an old reclaimed piece of 1/4 sawn oak, 1-3/4" thick, that I used for the pieces.
Stuck a paper template to the face of it and cut it close on a bandsaw, then finished the shape on a stationary sander with the table tilted slightly to give me the bevel.
Worked great, hammered right into place. I've got it filled with mostly odds and ends whiskeys that I had left over from other bottlings, so it will be a mix. Just wanted to get one under my belt to see how the process works. Super easy.
Bummed that I forgot to take a photo of the charred underside. I slowly charred it with a torch, after toasting the underside on my grill for about an hour.
Will post more pics when the head seals and I have it up on a stand. I got a 6-pack of the bain maires, so 5 more to go... Thanks for this great idea!
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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by Badmotivator » Sun Mar 20, 2016 9:31 am

MichiganCornhusker wrote:Got my first BadMo together and soaking!
I had an old reclaimed piece of 1/4 sawn oak, 1-3/4" thick, that I used for the pieces.
Stuck a paper template to the face of it and cut it close on a bandsaw, then finished the shape on a stationary sander with the table tilted slightly to give me the bevel.
Worked great, hammered right into place. I've got it filled with mostly odds and ends whiskeys that I had left over from other bottlings, so it will be a mix. Just wanted to get one under my belt to see how the process works. Super easy.
Bummed that I forgot to take a photo of the charred underside. I slowly charred it with a torch, after toasting the underside on my grill for about an hour.
Will post more pics when the head seals and I have it up on a stand. I got a 6-pack of the bain maires, so 5 more to go... Thanks for this great idea!
Fabulous! As far as I know you are only the second person on earth to make one. :)
It might be a good habit to record, either on the barrel head, barrel back, or on a note next to the barrel, these data:
Distillate story (recipe, distillation method, wide or narrow cuts)
Barrel head toast level
Barrel head char level
Barrel weight soaked but empty
Weight of distillate
Fill date

That's awesome that you had nice thick oak to work with. I'd sure like to find some.

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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Sun Mar 20, 2016 9:49 am

Badmotivator wrote:As far as I know you are only the second person on earth to make one.
Well, there should be more to follow, it was very easy to put together.
Being my first sorta test Badmo, I don't really have the recipe for the mix of whiskeys that I put in there.
For my next barrels I will keep track of all the details. I am planning on keeping track of the weight on this one, though, to see if I can collect any useful data for the thicker oak head.
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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by Badmotivator » Sun Mar 20, 2016 1:49 pm

I can't remember if I said this explicitly, so here it is. After a day of swelling if you notice a little more weeping than you'd like either at the edge or at the seams of the barrel head, go ahead and pound the whole thing a tiny bit deeper into the Bain-Marie insert. The taper of the can will act like a barrel hoop, squeezing the barrel head even more. I cured one weepy barrel this way. I used a rubber mallet to avoid marring the oak surface. Hammer marks are ugly.

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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by der wo » Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:28 am

Do professional distilleries control the air humidity in their warehouses? I never heard about that, so I think, they don't.
If I was the boss of a major cheap-bourbon brand and the main goal is to lower the costs, one of the most important aims would be, to lower the ethanol loss in the barrels. If air humidity lowers the ethanol loss, I would rise the humidity. They don't. So I think they have found out, that the effect is low.

Really great work Cornhusker.
-Barrel weight soaked but empty
-Weight of distillate
These two numbers would be the most important to observe the aging with the thicker lid.
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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by Hillbilly Popstar » Mon Mar 21, 2016 6:59 am

der wo wrote:Do professional distilleries control the air humidity in their warehouses? I never heard about that, so I think, they don't.
If I was the boss of a major cheap-bourbon brand and the main goal is to lower the costs, one of the most important aims would be, to lower the ethanol loss in the barrels. If air humidity lowers the ethanol loss, I would rise the humidity. They don't. So I think they have found out, that the effect is low.

Really great work Cornhusker.
-Barrel weight soaked but empty
-Weight of distillate
These two numbers would be the most important to observe the aging with the thicker lid.
I bet even the cheap brand distilleries have aging warehouses that take humidity, temp, and air movement into account when they were designed.
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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by der wo » Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:15 am

But to have into account is not enough.
You can dry the air with heating and you can dry the outside of the barrel with air movement. Both result in higher evaporation. But to reduce the loss (if air humidity really reduces the ethanol loss), you have to humidify the air, for what you would need to install a electrical humidifier system.
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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by Hillbilly Popstar » Mon Mar 21, 2016 11:33 am

der wo wrote:But to have into account is not enough.
You can dry the air with heating and you can dry the outside of the barrel with air movement. Both result in higher evaporation. But to reduce the loss (if air humidity really reduces the ethanol loss), you have to humidify the air, for what you would need to install a electrical humidifier system.
So you don't think engineering measures can create the desired humidity with archetectiral design?

Maybe this is why good Whiskey is made in certain places?
Are there any very successful distilleries that age in arid climates?
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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Mon Mar 21, 2016 11:57 am

Badmotivator wrote:After a day of swelling if you notice a little more weeping than you'd like either at the edge or at the seams of the barrel head, go ahead and pound the whole thing a tiny bit deeper into the Bain-Marie insert. The taper of the can will act like a barrel hoop, squeezing the barrel head even more. I cured one weepy barrel this way. I used a rubber mallet to avoid marring the oak surface. Hammer marks are ugly.
After 24 hrs I have no weepy.
Here's how I did mine:
I tipped the bain maire up and filled it to the approximate level with whiskey. Then I hammered my oak head into place with a big ass steel mallet.
Then with it still tipped up, I kept filling it to the top of a 3/4" fill hole that I had drilled in the oak. The level would go down a bit and I'd refill. Did this for about 6 hrs.
Then I made a VERY rough dowel plug for the hole by cutting a piece of white oak and sanding it into a sorta round shape. I filled the barrel one last time and slowly tapped the plug into place.

I didn't want to whack it too hard for fear of popping the head out of the bain maire from the pressure of hitting the plug into place, because there was very little air to compress inside the barrel.
As I tapped it, booze would ooze out around the plug, so I know it was soaking in it. I left it like that, tipped up, overnight.

This morning I laid the barrel down and there was some slight seeping around the plug, but none around the oak head. I gave the plug a couple more whacks, and viola, a perfectly sealed up Badmo.

I started making a stand for it, but broke the blade in my bandsaw. I'll post up a photo when I get it made up.
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The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by Badmotivator » Mon Mar 21, 2016 1:33 pm

MichiganCornhusker wrote: As I tapped it, booze would ooze out around the plug
As it sits, you might get an accumulation of caramel/wood goo around your plug. If you do, wipe some on your finger and smell it! It's a fascinating, alluring, exciting smell.

And yes, I do realize how nasty that sounds. Don't care. :)

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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by kiwi Bruce » Mon Mar 21, 2016 2:32 pm

Scout in his post....Oak used in Cooperages...was saying the the maturation can vary in individual casks made from the same tree, at the same time, from the same cooperage.....so I think we can expect the same from the heads on our BB's

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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Tue Mar 22, 2016 6:29 am

Full of booze and sealed up my barrel is clocking in at 1.860 Kg. I'll keep you posted as the angels come and go.
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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by der wo » Tue Mar 22, 2016 7:27 am

Hillbilly Popstar wrote:So you don't think engineering measures can create the desired humidity with archetectiral design?

Maybe this is why good Whiskey is made in certain places?
Are there any very successful distilleries that age in arid climates?
Of course you can build your warehouse under earth, like a wine cellar. There you can have more humidity and also cold. But does JB and JD this?

Why do the French age Cognac in barrels, although it's dry there?

Yes. Many distilleries are near the sea, where is normally a wet climate. It's because spirits were important for mariners. So in regions with mariners a distillery tradition came up.

But why are in Kentucky and Tennessee so many and so big distilleries? Perhaps because of the strong contrast between summer and winter temperature? In Scotland you have the opposite. Mild winter and summer. Or because of the good water or grain quality? There are many regions with good water and grain. Or something with taxes? Synergy? I don't know.
But why mainly after the prohibition? Changed the prohibition the air humidity?

Why are so many whisky-distileries in Scotland and Ireland, but not in England? The climate is the same. Why age the English Gin not in barrels, although the climate is the same?

BTW, we are not off-topic. We are still discussing, if badmotivator should use a humidifier or not. :wink:
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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by Hillbilly Popstar » Tue Mar 22, 2016 7:30 am

der wo wrote:
Hillbilly Popstar wrote:So you don't think engineering measures can create the desired humidity with archetectiral design?

Maybe this is why good Whiskey is made in certain places?
Are there any very successful distilleries that age in arid climates?
Of course you can build your warehouse under earth, like a wine cellar. There you can have more humidity and also cold. But does JB and JD this?

Why do the French age Cognac in barrels, although it's dry there?

Yes. Many distilleries are near the sea, where is normally a wet climate. It's because spirits were important for mariners. So in regions with mariners a distillery tradition came up.

But why are in Kentucky and Tennessee so many and so big distilleries? Perhaps because of the strong contrast between summer and winter temperature? In Scotland you have the opposite. Mild winter and summer. Or because of the good water or grain quality? There are many regions with good water and grain. Or something with taxes? Synergy? I don't know.
But why mainly after the prohibition? Changed the prohibition the air humidity?

Why are so many whisky-distileries in Scotland and Ireland, but not in England? The climate is the same. Why age the English Gin not in barrels, although the climate is the same?

BTW, we are not off-topic. We are still discussing, if badmotivator should use a humidifier or not. :wink:
Maybe in a warehouse full of barrels in storage, the evaporation saturates the air and can be managed better?
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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by der wo » Tue Mar 22, 2016 7:41 am

Hillbilly Popstar wrote: Maybe in a warehouse full of barrels in storage, the evaporation saturates the air and can be managed better?
No. The angels are too thirsty. :lol:
But I agree: Badmoto doesn't need a humidifier, he needs more barrels! :D
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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by Badmotivator » Tue Mar 22, 2016 8:47 am

Right now my four Badmo Barrels are filled with bourbon-type whiskeys. For those, a 15% annual loss rate is appropriate. Same for any rums I might make. I do have a 4 gallon traditional barrel filled with brandy from last fall (800 pounds of Chardonnay grapes!) and I am considering finding or building a "cave" to age it in. The cave would also be appropriate for Scotch and Irish whisky.

Thanks for helping me clarify all this, gang.

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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Tue Mar 22, 2016 10:21 am

My triple Badmo rack.
I'm going to put 3 on this, then maybe stack another 3 on top.

I'm surprised by how much the wood swells up to close any gaps. The plug I made was very irregular in shape, but once it soaked up the hooch it closed up the hole just fine.
Being my first one, I put it together without a spigot. I figure I can always pull out the plug later and replace it with the spigot.
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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by Badmotivator » Tue Mar 22, 2016 12:19 pm

MichiganCornhusker wrote:My triple Badmo rack.
I love it! Thanks for posting that.

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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by Badmotivator » Thu Apr 14, 2016 3:35 pm

Badmo Barrels #5 and #6. "M" for medium toast, "0" for char level zero. These are earmarked for the two gallons of Pinot Noir brandy I finished yesterday. They sealed immediately without any soaking time, but I'm going to give them a 24-hour soak just for good luck. :)

I made the rounds really really tight in the insert this time. I had to seriously pound the piss out of those barrel heads to get them in. They even stretched the stainless steel very slightly, visible as a curvy reflection on the side of the can. Snug.
IMG_0410.jpg
Anyone else building any?

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kiwi Bruce
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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by kiwi Bruce » Thu Apr 14, 2016 4:39 pm

der wo wrote:
Hillbilly Popstar wrote: Maybe in a warehouse full of barrels in storage, the evaporation saturates the air and can be managed better?
No. The angels are too thirsty. :lol:
But I agree: Badmoto doesn't need a humidifier, he needs more barrels! :D
.... In discussing barrels in warehouses...one of the most important aspects of warehouse management is the rotation of the barrels. What's up comes down, what's in goes out, what's down goes up and whats out comes in....four times a year, hot and humid to cold and damp. This gives the spirit a good sloshing around each time it's moved and it also allows the warehouse manager to inspect the barrels for leakage and damage, so that the spirit can be transferred into new cooperage if the need arises. These "bad" barrels can't be resold to the single malt industry so, these are what you'll see cut in half at your local garden centers and hardware stores....good wood for us to age on, they are getting pricey now. My local Lowe's wants $50 a half barrel.
Getting hung up all day on smiles

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