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 Irishgnome » Thu Jul 18, 2019 5:19 am

"I would like to know more about your efforts, Irish."

A link to some of my efforts: viewtopic.php?f=83&t=74604

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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by Danespirit » Wed Aug 07, 2019 3:31 am

You're not doing your name any honor here....you're no bad motivator at all..!
Excellent thread. I'll bookmark that for sure.

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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by scrapetoastrechar » Wed Feb 26, 2020 8:24 am

Hi everyone. Long time lurker. I've read all 21 pages and I'm inspired to come at the BadMo barrel from another angle: I'm interested in using them to test the effects of different finishing techniques on the taste of established whisky. So I'd like some feedback on my thought process.

I surmise that the production process outlined on the first page means that I should make the lid first, toast and ensure it will seal etc, and then first fill with sherry and red wine initially to feed the wood and prevent over-oaking. I can then try out Dr. Jim Swan's STR technique and play with charring between subsequent whisky fills.

However, doing this with bottled whisky will mean smaller runs and therefore smaller bain maries. I've managed to source some 1.25qt BMs (bain maries are really scarce in the UK, for some reason) but if I use 1.25" oak my rough calculations show that these will have roughly three times the SA/V of the normal BadMo Barrel.

My current musings are whether I should be creating some form of stainless steel insert for the lid (making it a sort of donut shape) to reduce the amount of wood contacting the whisky? Or, if I'm primarily concerned with 'flavouring' rather than the full benefits of 'aging', will I simply need to reduce the total duration of the spirit in the BadMo? Less time will also minimise ABV loss, although it's pretty damp and cold in the UK generally so I'm not as concerned about that. Happy to hear thoughts, in the interest of promoting an off-label use for what seems to be a thoroughly good idea!

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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by still_stirrin » Wed Feb 26, 2020 9:06 am

scrapetoastrechar wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 8:24 am
...My current musings are whether I should be creating some form of stainless steel insert for the lid (making it a sort of donut shape) to reduce the amount of wood contacting the whisky?

Or, if I'm primarily concerned with 'flavouring' rather than the full benefits of 'aging', will I simply need to reduce the total duration of the spirit in the BadMo?...
Hmmmm...you’re goal is....to “polish” a commercial whisk(e)y? Or a least, change the color and flavor of the commercial spirit? Or, are you trying to “decompose” the science behind Badmotivator’s design? The effort seems like an “exercise” to me.

If trying to polish a commercial spirit, then get a couple of 1.5 liters of spirit and a 4 liter Baine Marie. In fact, I would even get as large as 5 liters with 3 x 1.5 liters of spirits, simply because the “barrel effects” will be easier to anticipate, that is - it won’t be nearly as dynamic and more predictable.

But for me, polishing a commercial spirit would be much easier in a 2 liter Mason jar with a couple of dominoes, toasted and/or charred.

If you’re trying to “downscale” the BadMo barrel, then have at it...as it seems like a smaller vessel is a lot of work for minimal product outcome....just not worth the woodworking required. (my opinion although YMMV).
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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by scrapetoastrechar » Wed Feb 26, 2020 9:27 am

From wider reading on this site it seemed (from my position with no prior experience) that the ability of the spirit to breathe through the badmo head was a plus point over mason jar + sticks. That's why I've landed here really - it seemed like it would be easier to reproduce and compare the effects of various other spirits and methods like STR in a manner that was closer to how it works in a standard barrel size, per the other cited benefits of the BadMo Barrel.

I'm not thinking of using anything particularly expensive but 4 litres will obviously make it more expensive to trial. And yes, this is mostly an "exercise" - I'm interested in it from the point of view of better understanding how cask finishing works. I don't currently have the option of setting up a still (and I have plenty of good whisky/whiskey to drink besides!) but I welcome your input.

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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by Corsaire » Wed Feb 26, 2020 10:56 am

If it's just for finishing, I'd make the small ones and not mess about with donuts. Wood extraction will happen quicker and since you're using commercial spirits a lot of the oxidative aging has happened already.
The results of your commercial (40%?) will probably differ from oir barrel proof spirits, because different alcohol % draws different chemicals from the wood.
Should be a fun experiment nonetheless.

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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by scrapetoastrechar » Wed Feb 26, 2020 11:35 am

Corsaire - thanks, I may give it a shot and see what happens (and provide the results on HB for posterity). I'm looking at options for tester whisky - I think I'll try 40% for trialling the process but I could use a cask strength bottling to compare for 'best' once I've got some form of process down. I've had a look and I can get used cask heads (for cheaper than actual quartersawn oak) which I hope would limit over-oaking compared to freshly made heads. I'll make sure to have enough cut down to do comparisons of the different finishes and to be able to evaluate a second wave of re-re-used heads.

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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by Jthunderbird » Thu Apr 02, 2020 9:52 am

Hey guys, I have been lurking this thread forever and am finally about to build mine (waiting for my seasoned white oak to arrive). I have a question though.

I would like to avoid the bung altogether if possible. What all does the water leak test provide other than just looking for leaks and expanding the wood? Could I theoretically fill full of water, watch it for 2 hours and if no leaks, drain it, pour in whiskey and put my spigot in? It would be done leaking (in theory) and it would still have some swelling to go to lock my spigot in place.

Somewhat related: I saw in a post way earlier that BadMo let his barrel dry out for a week after soaking for a couple days... is this standard practice? If so, could I just go this route and dry it for a week so the wood loses enough size to get the spigot out, then pour in bourbon expecting the same leak results as the water, plug my spigot back in and profit?

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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by OtisT » Thu Apr 02, 2020 11:47 am

Hi jthunderbird.

The bung is a challenging part for sure, because it requires specialty tools and/or a lot of hand crafting to get a good fit. If it is the complexity of adding a bung that is the issue, and not an aversion to having another hole in the barrel head, maybe consider a bolt style fill port. ( Straight hole. Plug with a large diameter SS bolt, large enough that you can get your funnel in the hole needed. Use a little bees wax on the wood threads to keep from leaking.). This pic shows a few barrels using a SS bolt bung.
Some barrels with a bolt bung.
Some barrels with a bolt bung.
I don’t recommend you add/remove the spigot if it’s the type used in much of this thread. The threads on those things are not big, and I don’t think it would remain leak free after repeated insertions and removal. Best to put the spigot on in advance and tightened from the back when possible. (Can forgo the nut on the back side if an extremely tight fit.)

I don’t know of any reason to let the head dry out on purpose. I would treat a Badmo style barrel like any traditional barrel: as a rule, don’t take it apart.
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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by Jthunderbird » Thu Apr 02, 2020 12:31 pm

Thanks for the reply.

So I had thought about using a bolt in the bung, but seems like I have the same issue, namely that I still have to have it in there while the wood swells. So either way the wood swells and I have to remove something, swap liquid then put bolt/spigot back.

I guess the bolt can have wider threads and therefore be a little safer than the spigot being removed. I do have some beeswax ready and waiting.

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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by OtisT » Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:37 pm

OK, so I guess I don’t understand the problem/concern then. Why are you worried about removing and adding back the bung/bolt? It’s intended use is to be removed and replaced when needed.
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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by Jthunderbird » Fri Apr 03, 2020 11:22 am

OtisT wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:37 pm
OK, so I guess I don’t understand the problem/concern then. Why are you worried about removing and adding back the bung/bolt? It’s intended use is to be removed and replaced when needed.
I am only concerned with the initial removal and replacement. I have to fill the barrel with water with the spigot and bung in place so the head can swell and I can ensure no leaks right? Then drain the water and replace with alcohol. To do that, I now have to remove the bung/bolt then replace it after alcohol is poured in.

So I have to remove the bolt while the head is swollen then put it back in and I am worried it would then leak, hence the reason I was wondering if maybe I only keep the water in until no leaks (even if that is only a few hours) then immediately swap the liquid.

Am I wrong in how I am picturing this? I have enough oak to do a few heads so if I royally screw it up, it will be a learning experience but I would really like to knock it out 1st try so I can use that oak for more bbobs.

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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by OtisT » Fri Apr 03, 2020 12:25 pm

Jthunderbird wrote:
Fri Apr 03, 2020 11:22 am
OtisT wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:37 pm
OK, so I guess I don’t understand the problem/concern then. Why are you worried about removing and adding back the bung/bolt? It’s intended use is to be removed and replaced when needed.
I am only concerned with the initial removal and replacement. I have to fill the barrel with water with the spigot and bung in place so the head can swell and I can ensure no leaks right? Then drain the water and replace with alcohol. To do that, I now have to remove the bung/bolt then replace it after alcohol is poured in.

So I have to remove the bolt while the head is swollen then put it back in and I am worried it would then leak, hence the reason I was wondering if maybe I only keep the water in until no leaks (even if that is only a few hours) then immediately swap the liquid.

Am I wrong in how I am picturing this? I have enough oak to do a few heads so if I royally screw it up, it will be a learning experience but I would really like to knock it out 1st try so I can use that oak for more bbobs.
I don’t think you have anything to worry about. Yes, you want them in place during the leak test, because sometimes those two locations (around the spigot and/or bung hole) are where the leaks are at. I have removed wooden bungs and bolts a few dozen times on some barrels and I don’t see new leaks frequently. On a few occasions I will need to put a dab of wax on the threads again, or take a small piece of sandpaper to the wooden bung and bung hole to smooth it out before re-inserting to get a good seal.

Note on bolts. Make sure you don’t cross thread the hole when putting the bolt back. Use a light touch and make sure it is threading exactly on track before applying a wrench. If you cross thread it, you may need to drill the hole one size larger and use a bigger bolt.

If the barrel does not leak when you first fill it with water, I personally don’t think you need to let it keep soaking. I have maybe 1 leaker for every 4 barrels I make, and in most cases the leakers self seals within an hour. Sometimes I need to apply a little wax and/or flame to aid in that process.

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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by Jthunderbird » Thu Apr 16, 2020 6:36 pm

Hey maybe a dumb question here. Making my 1st barrel this week and just realized I have nothing to melt the wax with. On Badmo's videos, looks like he has a little melter but everything I've seen online says to use a double boil to melt it.

Is there something I can use in the garage to melt it? Not sure how the wife will feel with me using her stove for my nonsense.

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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by Corsaire » Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:26 pm

Camping stoves? Pot of water and an old tin can with the wax in it?

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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by Jstroke » Fri Apr 17, 2020 4:29 am

JT,

Just to reiterate others, but hopefully to help settle the nerves and give a practice run, try taking a piece of scrap wood—any type handy, drilling a hole (same bit size as the bolt) and then screw in the bolt. It might take some pressure to get the threads to bite. However i think it will surprise you how tight that bolt is. Have an wrench/socket handy.

Hope that helps
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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by seabass » Sat Jun 06, 2020 6:08 pm

Hey badmo,

You remember the hole size you used for the stainless tap? Directions for the tap are a 5/8 hole, but that's without threading it through wood.


Edit: it's an m16 x 1.25 thread. Looks like large end of tolerance for minor diameter of the threads is .575in (I don't speak metric). So either 14.5mm or 37/64in drill bit should allow threading directly into wood before soaking.

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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by zapata » Sun Oct 11, 2020 5:19 pm

Hey woodsy people. Forgive me if this has been addressed earlier. But I may have casually stumbled across a source for planks wide enough for 1 piece lids. Any reason to not do that rather than mussing with the dowels, biscuits, tongues or grooves? The wood is air dried, though not seasoned, so I would probably just chop it into squares for seasoning. Then pick up the process just skip the joining bits.

Or do the joints do something something?

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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by SaltyStaves » Sun Oct 11, 2020 5:48 pm

zapata wrote:
Sun Oct 11, 2020 5:19 pm
Or do the joints do something something?
Does a couple of functions. Pressure changes force the joined staves to push against each other as the wood expands and contracts. If it were a single disc, it would pop out of the bain marie. Its a stress relief.
Its also considered a major highway for gas exchange as the space between them opens and closes fractionally with barometric changes. Without them, it might take significantly longer for those micro-oxidation benefits to reach the spirit.

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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by zapata » Sun Oct 11, 2020 8:43 pm

Damn, I think you're right. I don't want you to be right, because I think it'd be cool if you weren't. But if anybody can read... this language, the answer is probably in here
Vivas, N. Modélisation et calcul du bilan des apports d’oxygène au cours de l’élevage des vins rouges. IV – Elevage des vins rouges en conditions d’oxydations ménagées controlées. Progrès Agric. Vitic. 1999, 116, 305−311
Or, we could not be cheeky bastards and admit I found that here:
https://www.iscbarrels.com/2018/01/30/o ... on-part-1/
OXYGEN CAN ENTER THE BARREL THE FOLLOWING WAYS:
1. Directly through the wood
The physiological makeup of oak allows gases to pass directly through the wood while remaining liquid tight.

2. Through the joints and bung of the barrel
Oxygen permeating through the joints and bung will not only get introduced to the spirit directly, but will also replenish the constantly depleting supply of oxygen in the head space.

Determining which pathway provides the most oxygen to the spirit is continually being tested. One experiment showed that most of the oxygen entered through joints within the first two years.*
So not only does it matter, it may matter a lot. Which really makes me wonder if a joint length / volume measurement might be as relevant as surface area / volume? The badmo design was inspired by surface area. Might be an ideal number of staves to make the lid from would really fine tune it?

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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by OtisT » Tue Oct 13, 2020 7:50 am

zapata wrote:
Sun Oct 11, 2020 5:19 pm
Hey woodsy people. Forgive me if this has been addressed earlier. But I may have casually stumbled across a source for planks wide enough for 1 piece lids. Any reason to not do that rather than mussing with the dowels, biscuits, tongues or grooves? The wood is air dried, though not seasoned, so I would probably just chop it into squares for seasoning. Then pick up the process just skip the joining bits.

Or do the joints do something something?
One solid piece will be more prone to leaking, unless you can find a piece with a very straight and square grain. See the drawing below of three pieces of Quarter Sawn Oak.

An oak board will allow liquid to pass perpendicular to the grain. The blue lines show the path of liquid flow that is perpendicular to the grain. If your QS board is not perfectly square, most are not, you can see how liquid has a direct path from face to face. By limiting the width of staves, you can prevent a clear path face to face and minimize leaking for boards that do not have a perfectly square grain.

The board on the left has no path from face to face, and is the best for minimizing leakes. These boards are typically from the center of an old oak tree, and not common in wide widths.

The center board will work for a barrel stave. Liquid can leak from the inside face to an edge of the board, but not all the way through to the other face. You may see a bit more leaking around the joints between staves, and some would consider this enhanced breathing.

The board on the right has a path for liquid face to face and is not a good board for a stave because it will be much more prone to weep/leak through the board.
QS oak grain examples
QS oak grain examples
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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by OtisT » Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:02 am

zapata wrote:
Sun Oct 11, 2020 8:43 pm
So not only does it matter, it may matter a lot. Which really makes me wonder if a joint length / volume measurement might be as relevant as surface area / volume? The badmo design was inspired by surface area. Might be an ideal number of staves to make the lid from would really fine tune it?
The grain of each piece will impact breathability, which is related to your thoughts on selecting the number of seams for a barrel head. So, you can adjust width for more/less seams and/or you can select a grain that will increase/decrease the breathability of a lid. See my post above. Just more to consider. Otis.
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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by zapata » Wed Oct 14, 2020 12:00 am

Interesting, so it may be worth trying with the right truly square and tight grain? Possibly taking a hit on less oxidation but probably no leakage? Wide old growth is available, for a pretty penny. Bonus though is that the old growth are one off special trees, so he knows where each one came from, how old it is, why it came down, etc. Be kinda neat to know the story of the wood.

I could of course just get some and see. If the grain is perfectly square, give a solid top a go, and if not then just make staves. Wide old growth is like quadruple what my local place quoted for generic QS white oak, skinny old growth is still probably double. But even if it works out to $15 or $20 a piece, that's still cheaper than barrels, and I'd likely get the tree's story too.

Will update if I get some, thanks.

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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by Irishgnome » Wed Oct 14, 2020 11:41 am

zapata wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 12:00 am
Interesting, so it may be worth trying with the right truly square and tight grain? Possibly taking a hit on less oxidation but probably no leakage? Wide old growth is available, for a pretty penny. Bonus though is that the old growth are one off special trees, so he knows where each one came from, how old it is, why it came down, etc. Be kinda neat to know the story of the wood.

I could of course just get some and see. If the grain is perfectly square, give a solid top a go, and if not then just make staves. Wide old growth is like quadruple what my local place quoted for generic QS white oak, skinny old growth is still probably double. But even if it works out to $15 or $20 a piece, that's still cheaper than barrels, and I'd likely get the tree's story too.

Will update if I get some, thanks.
Zapata,
I have a large board weathering outside. It is large enough to make a head for a Badmo 2.0.
The plan was to compare wood that was cut, then weathered to wood that was weathered, then cut. I may cut a large enough section to make a head and see what happens. Probably just keep a drip tray under it and check it daily to see what happens.
The board still needs a few months out in the elements, but its worth a go.
Cheer
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Re: The Badmotivator Bain-Marie and Oak Barrel

Post by zapata » Thu Oct 15, 2020 3:45 am

Sweet! I certainly don't know, but from what I infer, cut then weathered is preferred. It certainly seems to be the way the pros do it given their stave lots. And my guess is it more effectively strips tannins while fungi get a head start on degradation processes. But you never know.

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