Changing process after taste testing finished product

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Canuckwoods
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Changing process after taste testing finished product

Post by Canuckwoods » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:53 am

I have been making whisky for a while now, one thing I would like to be able to do is to adjust my process after tasting the finished product.
I have a batch of HBB that has come of age I find the aroma and palet very good but there is a long burn at the finish what should I have done at the fermentation, distillation, cut, casting etc. to make this better?
But let not keep the discussion to this case how do you change the flavour profile, aroma etc from one finished batch assuming you are following the same procedures recipe.

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Re: Changing process after taste testing finished product

Post by fizzix » Wed Mar 06, 2019 6:35 am

Well Canuckwoods I'm still a newbie but I noticed with my Honey Bear that a diluted sample
right off the spout can be a burner as you describe. However, even just a few months in a small barrel
a (diluted) sample is a much more soothing experience.

Are you casking it too, or sealed jar and chips? Maybe a little barrel "airing" could help you?

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Re: Changing process after taste testing finished product

Post by still_stirrin » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:03 am

“Where’s the burn”? Is it in the mouth after the swallow? Is it in the chest as it goes down? Is it a “burn” or simply “a warmth”?

If it’s in the mouth as you swallow, I would suspect it is from too much of the heads in your spirit. Tighter, more conservative cuts will help you reduce this problem. Congeners from the ferment such as higher alcohols and solvents will contribute to the “burn” in the mouth. Cutting them out will help eliminate them from your product.

If the burn is more of a chest warming, then I’d believe that it is resulting from high proof alcohol consumption. Diluting to a lower proof for consumption will reduce or eliminate the discomfort. This is not a process or recipe problem, rather more of a “machismo” habit.

Also, if the liquor burns you to the point of discomfort, then it undoubtedly is unhealthy for you to consume it like that. Put a little water with your whiskey over some ice cubes and it’ll be much more “user friendly”. It may also make the whiskey more flavorful by allowing your taste buds to better sense the flavors versus being numbed by higher proof alcohol.

In summary, you’ve asked for some opinions regarding your products irrespective of your tool set or processes. And you’re asking with regard to your perspectives, which obviously any reader would have to assume. So, considering my speculation, the two observations I’ve made from my own experiences are what I’ve tried to relate. I hope it helps with some insight.
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Re: Changing process after taste testing finished product

Post by Canuckwoods » Wed Mar 06, 2019 11:28 am

The "burn" is in the mouth. The HBB is aged in glass with toasted oak 3/4 X 3/4 X 5" staves and has aged for about a year.
How much of the good flavour would be lost by redistilling?

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Re: Changing process after taste testing finished product

Post by NZChris » Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:48 pm

How much air space did you have in the vessel?

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Re: Changing process after taste testing finished product

Post by Canuckwoods » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:06 pm

about an inch

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Re: Changing process after taste testing finished product

Post by OtisT » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:20 pm

Is that a pint jar your using with the oak stick?
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Re: Changing process after taste testing finished product

Post by 6 Row Joe » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:28 pm

What proof are you oaking it at and what proof are you drinking it at? Any 100+ proof whisky is going to have a burn. A little water or a ice chip or two will tone the proof down. If that makes it better you can dilute it to 80 proof or so to smooth it out. Also try some glycerin. You can find it at a drug store. It will smooth the liquor out and sweeten it up too. I have used it before oaking with good results. Use the search feature and read up on how much. Shame on me but I don't think I wrote down how much I added but I think it was a teaspoon per quart.
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Re: Changing process after taste testing finished product

Post by still_stirrin » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:48 pm

Canuckwoods wrote:The "burn" is in the mouth. The HBB is aged in glass with toasted oak 3/4 X 3/4 X 5" staves and has aged for about a year.
How much of the good flavour would be lost by redistilling?
I wouldn't redistill this batch. Rather, I would leave the stopper out of the decanter for a day or two. You'll lose a little stock, but you'll also lose those heads from the jar.

On the next spirit run, collect into enough jars that you can make good conservative cuts. Don't be so greedy to fill your aging jars. Again, it is your process that needs to be improved.

Is there hope?
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Re: Changing process after taste testing finished product

Post by NZChris » Wed Mar 06, 2019 6:03 pm

Canuckwoods wrote:about an inch
That's not much room for some O2.

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Re: Changing process after taste testing finished product

Post by Yonder » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:06 pm

I'd guess taking too much heads into your final product, coupled with not letting your whisky breathe did it for you. Give it some air for a while and it will mellow some. Leave more in the feints jar next run. This hobby is like sex; it's damned expensive but practice is fun. Not to mention that nice warm after glow! :wtf:
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Re: Changing process after taste testing finished product

Post by Canuckwoods » Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:55 am

NZChris wrote:
Canuckwoods wrote:about an inch
That's not much room for some O2.
in a quart jar, how much head space should there be?

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Re: Changing process after taste testing finished product

Post by Canuckwoods » Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:58 am

still_stirrin wrote:
Canuckwoods wrote:The "burn" is in the mouth. The HBB is aged in glass with toasted oak 3/4 X 3/4 X 5" staves and has aged for about a year.
How much of the good flavour would be lost by redistilling?
I wouldn't redistill this batch. Rather, I would leave the stopper out of the decanter for a day or two. You'll lose a little stock, but you'll also lose those heads from the jar.

On the next spirit run, collect into enough jars that you can make good conservative cuts. Don't be so greedy to fill your aging jars. Again, it is your process that needs to be improved.

Is there hope?
ss
I thought I had made good cuts but that was a year ago.

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Re: Changing process after taste testing finished product

Post by OtisT » Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:17 am

Hi Canuckwoods.

I can’t taste what your tastin and like others have said, it sure sounds like a bad cut was likely the cause of the burn and bad tastes.

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Last edited by OtisT on Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Changing process after taste testing finished product

Post by Hilltop » Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:40 am

still_stirrin wrote:“Where’s the burn”? Is it in the mouth after the swallow? Is it in the chest as it goes down? Is it a “burn” or simply “a warmth”?

If it’s in the mouth as you swallow, I would suspect it is from too much of the heads in your spirit. Tighter, more conservative cuts will help you reduce this problem. Congeners from the ferment such as higher alcohols and solvents will contribute to the “burn” in the mouth. Cutting them out will help eliminate them from your product.

If the burn is more of a chest warming, then I’d believe that it is resulting from high proof alcohol consumption. Diluting to a lower proof for consumption will reduce or eliminate the discomfort. This is not a process or recipe problem, rather more of a “machismo” habit.

Also, if the liquor burns you to the point of discomfort, then it undoubtedly is unhealthy for you to consume it like that. Put a little water with your whiskey over some ice cubes and it’ll be much more “user friendly”. It may also make the whiskey more flavorful by allowing your taste buds to better sense the flavors versus being numbed by higher proof alcohol.

In summary, you’ve asked for some opinions regarding your products irrespective of your tool set or processes. And you’re asking with regard to your perspectives, which obviously any reader would have to assume. So, considering my speculation, the two observations I’ve made from my own experiences are what I’ve tried to relate. I hope it helps with some insight.
ss
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Re: Changing process after taste testing finished product

Post by Watters2whisky » Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:11 am

I definitely agree with some of the comments above. It sounds like you’ve got a few heads caught up in there. I had a similar issue with one of my first single malt runs. I wasn’t on point with my head-hearts cut and I had too much crossover. It’s always best to sacrifice some hearts and cut it late. Failing that, I experimented with a few techniques and the best one which worked for me was to do a couple of cycles of freezing and warming and uncapping after each cycle. I crash freeze the spirit then allow it to warm up to about 1 degree C above zero. Open the cap or lid to equalise the pressure (it will have created a vacuum in the bottle during freezing if it is sealed correctly) then close it and sit the bottle or jar in a sink of warm/moderately hot water. Leave it to warm up for about 10-15 minutes and then open the cap/lid again. You’ll notice a pop or blast of air out of the bottle. Sometimes you even get a fine mist which sits on the surface of the liquid. The increased pressure in the bottle will blow off whatever has evaporated to cause the pressure buildup. The stuff that blows off is more likely to be the more volatile compounds in your whisky, I.e. the troublesome heads. Do this a few times and see if you get a smother product. It worked for me after a few cycles and you don’t lose as much product as you would if you left the lid off for a day or two. It’s like a mini lower temperature distillation within the bottle which blows off the heads in small amounts at a time until you’re happy with the taste. I use this method with a lot of my smaller batch new-make stuff to because the cuts come much faster on smaller batches and I sometimes under cut and have a slight new-make ‘funk’ which I need to blow off. Have any of you guys tried this at all?

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Re: Changing process after taste testing finished product

Post by Canuckwoods » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:33 am

thanks
Just getting back into the hobby after a summer break, I'll let you know how it goes.

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Re: Changing process after taste testing finished product

Post by Saltbush Bill » Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:11 am

Only one cause of burn that I know of......to much heads.

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Re: Changing process after taste testing finished product

Post by cayars » Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:35 am

Watters2whisky wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:11 am
I definitely agree with some of the comments above. It sounds like you’ve got a few heads caught up in there. I had a similar issue with one of my first single malt runs. I wasn’t on point with my head-hearts cut and I had too much crossover. It’s always best to sacrifice some hearts and cut it late. Failing that, I experimented with a few techniques and the best one which worked for me was to do a couple of cycles of freezing and warming and uncapping after each cycle. I crash freeze the spirit then allow it to warm up to about 1 degree C above zero. Open the cap or lid to equalise the pressure (it will have created a vacuum in the bottle during freezing if it is sealed correctly) then close it and sit the bottle or jar in a sink of warm/moderately hot water. Leave it to warm up for about 10-15 minutes and then open the cap/lid again. You’ll notice a pop or blast of air out of the bottle. Sometimes you even get a fine mist which sits on the surface of the liquid. The increased pressure in the bottle will blow off whatever has evaporated to cause the pressure buildup. The stuff that blows off is more likely to be the more volatile compounds in your whisky, I.e. the troublesome heads. Do this a few times and see if you get a smother product. It worked for me after a few cycles and you don’t lose as much product as you would if you left the lid off for a day or two. It’s like a mini lower temperature distillation within the bottle which blows off the heads in small amounts at a time until you’re happy with the taste. I use this method with a lot of my smaller batch new-make stuff to because the cuts come much faster on smaller batches and I sometimes under cut and have a slight new-make ‘funk’ which I need to blow off. Have any of you guys tried this at all?
I do something similar a lot. Even on a strip run I'll take the first 1/3 of each strip (likely most heads) and do a microwave, freezer, microwave, freezer run. I happen to know from trial and error that on my 1200 watt microwave 2:20 brings 800 ml of spirit up to 165F which helps to blow off a lot of junk. Now when I do my spirit run I already have reduced a lot of heads. I again do this to the first 1/3 of my spirit run as well but use shorter times as I only collect 200 to 400 ml depending on where I'm at in the "heads" run.

Then after I've aired out my spirits for a day and chosen my cuts for keepers I throw in some oak and do the normal nuclear ageing again.
I'll take what heads I still have left that I didn't use, nuke them again then store them in a gallon jug.

By this point the heads aren't so bad at all and are similar to Everclear 150/190 in taste (if not a lot better).
I'll often just grab a jar of these processed heads and use them for lemonchello, apple pie moonshine or similar heavily masked concoction just like if you were using Everclear itself. Depending on mood I might redistil these heads and throw out the very top and bottom, but still use about 75% of the run as a high proof Everclear substitute which ends up being better than Everclear if you proof both down to 80 and taste side by side. Everclear is rather nasty tasting but works well for "chellos" and "pies" and so do the reprocessed heads I've found!

Also knowing I've got an immediate use for those heads allows me to take better hearts cuts for the true spirits I was doing the batch for in the first place. The tails I always recycle as that adds to the flavor for each additional run of whiskey.

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Re: Changing process after taste testing finished product

Post by Twisted Brick » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:12 am

Canuckwoods wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:55 am
NZChris wrote:
Canuckwoods wrote:about an inch
That's not much room for some O2.
in a quart jar, how much head space should there be?
Six months after filling several handles near the top with bourbon newmake, I had more burn than when I started. It was recommended here to fill only 2/3 of each bottle. Six months later the spirit has matured nicely.

Including too many heads (and tails) requires an extended aging period, a strategy employed by commercial distilleries with big barrels and a lot of time on their hands. Like its said, time and oak can fix anything.
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Re: Changing process after taste testing finished product

Post by Cschmidtke » Thu Jul 16, 2020 5:04 pm

Still a nube but I have noticed that mine burns the right amount at 100 proof but I did find that it burns less when I do a stripping run with my thumper attached and then re run the whole batch. Idk if that helps but that thumper makes a world of difference in mine..... or is it a placebo?

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Re: Changing process after taste testing finished product

Post by Chucker » Wed Jul 22, 2020 5:46 pm

How tightly do you try to seal your jars? I do all my aging in gallon jars and a bunch of toasted/charred oak sticks for at least 6 months but generally not much more than a year. The cap on the jug stays loose for the whole time.
I got rid of the last of the “heat” by moving to all grain from a corn sugarhead.
Using white oak instead of red oak also made an incredible difference in the relative sweetness. Since doing this I have no need to add glycerin to the finished spirit, not that I was using much anyway.

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