ultrasonic aging experiment

Any hardware used in the mashing /fermenting or aging of product

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Re: ultrasonic aging experiment

Postby SaltyStaves » Thu May 18, 2017 9:25 pm

DBCFlash wrote:To be fair, I will consider running a session with an oak block from start to finish, but I am really skeptical about it's value. I am going to wait until I have installed a cooling fan though, since I believe it will draw a lot more energy and probably create more heat in the controller.


When you do run the test, it may also be a good idea to run an identical control test with passive oaking and maybe also a test with the same distillate pretreated with US and then oaked. Then come back to all three of them several months down the line. This should give you an idea if there is any merit in one treatment over the other.

The thing with disruptive processes like US, is that its similar to the distillation process and it breaks things at the molecular level. With time/aging/ripening in the jar, things will settle/marry and change and that can be good or bad. It really depends on your end goal and how quickly you intend to consume it, but if my goal was to pretreat with US and then long term age, I'd want to be sure that I wasn't cleaning up something that could lead to drinkable New Make now, at the cost of boring brown spirit months/years later.
But half the fun is finding out.

I'm watching with interest. :thumbup:
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Re: ultrasonic aging experiment

Postby skow69 » Fri May 19, 2017 2:19 am

DBCFlash wrote: The second part was the application of "actinic light" with the charred wood chips. Actinic light, as I understand it are specific blue end wavelengths that are used for photosynthesis. They appear to be using some pretty powerful actinic lights to get the reaction from the oak.


Actually plants use mainly red wavelengths for photosynthesis. They appear to be green because they reflect that and absorb the red. If anything, blues would probably inhibit photosynthesis. Also IIRC ultraviolet leds often come with warnings to avoid exposure, like they are not beneficial to human health.
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Re: ultrasonic aging experiment

Postby SaltyStaves » Fri May 19, 2017 2:31 am

skow69 wrote:Actually plants use mainly red wavelengths for photosynthesis. They appear to be green because they reflect that and absorb the red. If anything, blues would probably inhibit photosynthesis. Also IIRC ultraviolet leds often come with warnings to avoid exposure, like they are not beneficial to human health.


You won't find many marine aquariums with red lights. Coral need to photosynthesize and they have more in common with a submerged piece of wood than a leaf on a tree.
This is fairly off topic, so I'll leave it at that.
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Re: ultrasonic aging experiment

Postby skow69 » Mon May 22, 2017 2:51 am

Since we don't have any red oceans, fish tanks are probably more attractive in green. But nobody is photosynthesizing green light.
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Re: ultrasonic aging experiment

Postby DBCFlash » Mon May 22, 2017 3:21 am

skow69 wrote:
DBCFlash wrote: The second part was the application of "actinic light" with the charred wood chips. Actinic light, as I understand it are specific blue end wavelengths that are used for photosynthesis. They appear to be using some pretty powerful actinic lights to get the reaction from the oak.


Actually plants use mainly red wavelengths for photosynthesis. They appear to be green because they reflect that and absorb the red. If anything, blues would probably inhibit photosynthesis. Also IIRC ultraviolet leds often come with warnings to avoid exposure, like they are not beneficial to human health.

Investigate actinism.
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Re: ultrasonic aging experiment

Postby contrahead » Sat May 27, 2017 9:32 pm

I've been offline for a week; because of router problems, family medical appointments and attendance to the needs of visiting guest. Finally fixed the Internet connection problem after crawling around on my hands an knees in search for cat-V cable or DSL phone line issues.

I wish to address a few statements or ideas from “DBCFlash”. (where he said)

-“I would compare the change to be like a pot of chili......1st day you can find or taste each individual ingredient …...but next day the flavors have merged”....
-“I will continue to set aside a dram of untreated each time to make comparisons”
-“the presence of the oak block might interfere with the wave propagation. It's porous nature would likely just absorb the energy”
-“the microscopic cloud of bubbles immediately stopped practically the moment the wood was introduced”

Firstly, the analogy between aging spirits and the seasonings melding in chili - is a very good one.
Secondly, I wonder how many people here recognize how small a dram really is? I've only seen the word used probably on the side of boxes of shotgun shells where “dram equivalent” is supposed to indicate how much recoil is to be expected. (When black powder was the primary propellant in shotguns it was measured in drams ( 1⁄256 pound or  1⁄16 ounce )). Today's US teaspoon is equivalent to exactly  1⁄6 US fluid ounces or  1 1⁄3 US fluid drams. A “shot” is legally defined in the U.S. as having one fluid ounce in volume. The 1.5 oz “jigger” was adopted by bartenders because the “official shot” made for a stingy drink. It would take 8 drams to fill a legal shot glass or 12 drams to fill a normal jigger.

Finally, wood is very porous and probably does act like a big sponge that absorbs energy, but; perhaps you are not using enough energy. After watching several videos on ultrasonic cleaning I noticed that several setups used multiple transducers and multiple frequencies to clean items. Cavitation alone without wood chips probably benefits new-make spirit. Upping the amplification of the acoustic energy delivered seems necessary to overcome the loss absorbed by added wood.

I am hesitant to speculate how far or how fast the spirit soaks into dry wood chips, and then what might be happening at the molecular level if vapor cavities begin to form on the surface or below the surface of that wood. Also: the bubbles from boiling and the “bubbles” from cavitation are very different. During a boil, gas in solution within the liquid is released and since it is lighter than the liquid – it will rise to the surface. Bubbles caused by cavitation however are voids or vacuums caused by the liquid being pulled. These type of bubbles contain no gas or vapor. While these short -lived bubbles might not be compelled to rise they can implode vigorously instead – creating those intense little shock waves that are substantial enough to eat metal away from propellers, turbine rotors and pumps.
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Re: ultrasonic aging experiment

Postby DBCFlash » Sun May 28, 2017 4:06 am

In this case, a "dram" represents an unmeasured, small quantity of spirits, maybe half a shot or so. Enough to have a decent taste or three.

My UAD is no longer functional. I built a nice case for it, wired in a digital timer and a cooling fan and once it was all back together, it didn't work. I've been trouble-shooting it and it looks like my transistors are blown. I'll probably order a new board, but I also might try just replacing the transistors. I knew this device was a delicate little flower, but this is just stupid.
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Re: ultrasonic aging experiment

Postby DBCFlash » Sat Jul 01, 2017 6:42 pm

Talked to a friend who is working with some electrical engineering grad students and I might be getting some help replacing my ultrasonic driver with something more robust.
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Re: ultrasonic aging experiment

Postby contrahead » Tue Jul 04, 2017 7:45 pm

An old foreman used the expression “I'm busier than a cat covering up shit”. It kind of fits my situation at the moment.

The fermentation bucket works almost every day of the year, the still every couple of weeks. But for the time being and until the weather changes, experimentation will have to take a back seat to water-sports, outdoor construction projects and travel.
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Re: ultrasonic aging experiment

Postby contrahead » Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:33 pm

Thought I'd drop a newfound link in this thread, to an informative blog about ultrasonic cleaning. The blog is not organized like a book but can be searched by category or keyword. There are short multiple or weekly installments for each month in the archives. A few examples follow.

http://techblog.ctgclean.com/2012/01/ul ... what-is-q/

http://techblog.ctgclean.com/2012/01/ul ... -hardware/

http://techblog.ctgclean.com/2011/11/ul ... implosion/

http://ctgclean.wpengine.com/wp-content ... ng-LD1.wmv
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Re: ultrasonic aging experiment

Postby markx » Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:33 am

I have been experimenting with the ultrasound ageing technique lately and from what I've seen so far working with rather old (10+ years cask aged) rye whisky I could summarize as following:
1) Subjecting the drink to ultrasonic treatment really does alter its character. The changes are not too subtle and extend into all characteristics of the product as far as smell, taste and coloration are concerned.
2) The effect of ultrasound is in strong conjunction with the effect of surrounding atmosphere. Subjecting the drink to aeration after or before ultrasonic treatment produces totally different characteristics.
3) The effect of rapid characteristics change initiated by the ultrasonic treatment extends over a month after the actual treatment has been performed.
4) To get strongly noticeable effects the ultrasonic treatment has to be run continuously for at least 5 days.
5) When used in conjunction with aeration the treatment can either improve or worsen the characteristics of the drink depending in which order the operations are performed. Namely subjecting the drink to aeration before ultrasonic ageing seems to harshen the taste and make the drink actually appear younger than before the treatment. Doing it in reverse order: aerating after ultrasonic treatment seems to favor the formation of a smooth well aged taste and a noticeable darkening of color.

I have so far performed 2 blind tasting sessions with the resulting beverages from three different treatment regimes and stemming from one source of whisky:

a) Untreated 10+ years cask aged rye whisky as the control
b) 10+ years cask aged rye whisky treated with ultrasound for 5 days in a closed glass bottle
c) result from previous treatment subjected to mild aeration with a wooden air stone and aquarium pump for 12h
d) 10+ years cask aged whisky subjected to mild aeration for 12h and then treated with ultrasound for 5 days

Ultrasonic treatment was performed in glass vessels with a RETCH UR1 cleaner unit in continuous operation mode at 55C temperature. The temperature arose from just the heat of the transducer losses in the bath and no external heating was applied. Aeration was carried out at 19-20C through a miniature wooden air stone and propelled by an aquarium air pump. The amount of air going through the samples was not monitored, but it was mild enough to not change the alcohol content appreciably during the 12h cycle.

The tasting results were as following:
Sample a) : Rather mediocre in all aspects, some rugged edges in the taste profile despite the rather long maturation period. Drinkable, but not going to win any prizes.
Sample b) : Appreciably milder than the control sample, more rounded taste profile, noticeable vanilla and caramel tones arising in the aroma, ever so slightly darker than control sample.
Sample c) : Much darker in coloration than the first two samples, wonderful caramel and vanilla like aroma, almost perfectly smooth taste without any rugged notes of the original control sample, definitely the best of the four samples.
Sample d) : Almost as dark as the sample c, aroma profile also very similar to sample c, but perhaps a bit less intense, taste very much degraded with a profound sharpness and totally opposite to previous sample. It seemed much younger than even the control sample with profound sharp extending notes and a very bad burn that slowly built up in throat after tasting.

None of the participants could believe that all the samples stemmed from the same source. The taste and smell characteristics were too different at first glance.


Perhaps not as scientific as one could desire, but there seems to be quite a lot going on around the ultrasonic treatment technique. Definitely worthwhile to investigate more deeply and especially in conjunction with aeration, as this proved to enhance the effects under certain conditions. What is also noticeable is the fact that the processes initiated by the treatments seemed to go on in closed bottles quite intensively for over a month afterwards. The taste and aroma profiles continued to quickly develop for all samples and then seemed to run into a plateau. Interestingly sample d did not improve much and despite a rather nice aroma it remained quite harsh, as if all the previous ageing had been undone for the part of taste...
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Re: ultrasonic aging experiment

Postby Bushman » Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:58 am

Most use ultra sonic aging as a kickstart on newly distilled products. I have no data but would not think it would enhance a product that has been aged for 10 years. Sounds like you have well documented your tests!
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Re: ultrasonic aging experiment

Postby markx » Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:14 am

Bushman wrote:Most use ultra sonic aging as a kickstart on newly distilled products. I have no data but would not think it would enhance a product that has been aged for 10 years. Sounds like you have well documented your tests!


As my mother always told me: "One must always try new things" :D But jokes aside...the vibrations actually play quite some tricks on the aged spirits. I must admit that I have not yet tried it on newly distilled spirits, but I am sure that there will be some effects. The patterns for obtaining best results may of course differ from the ones that apply to the aged stuff, but time will tell.
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Re: ultrasonic aging experiment

Postby jonnys_spirit » Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:42 am

What was the frequency of the ultrasound and is it possible to modulate the frequency or amplitude with another audio signal? Ie; music...

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Re: ultrasonic aging experiment

Postby markx » Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:32 am

jonnys_spirit wrote:What was the frequency of the ultrasound and is it possible to modulate the frequency or amplitude with another audio signal? Ie; music...

Cheers!
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Please find the respective data in the link below:

https://www.retsch.com/products/assisting/cleaner/function-features/

There is no option to regulate output power or characteristics on the UR1 unit....it just blasts with full power in continuous mode at 38kHz which is one of the standard oscillating ranges for transducers.
As for modulating the signal, it can be done if one custom builds the driver hardware in the appropriate way, but it is complicated and energetic losses would be big for frequency modulation. The transducers exhibit a certain selfoscillation frequency and the drive circuit and tank/horn assembly is tuned closely into that specific frequency to obtain resonance and hence a high efficiency. It must be noted that the selfoscillation frequency is highly dependant on many factors (basically every piece of equipment in physical contact with the transducer will shift the frequency). Long story short....it is quite difficult to tune a ultrasonic generator to high output efficiency and one has to be well versed in the science behind it to achieve a satisfactory result. Just taking a transducer, gluing it to the bottom of a bowl and connecting a generic drive circuit will rarely produce anything good. I tried it myself, but found that it is way easier to use a commercial high efficiency unit than trying to craft something on your own.
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