High Ester Bourbon

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Re: High Ester Bourbon

Postby zapata » Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:43 pm

That spreadsheet is worth 10k words! And it shows you know a thing or two about running a still that your jar selection was perfect, switched to big jars after just 1 jar of late heads and 1 of hearts. Just for bragging rights, did you make the call to switch jar sizes on the fly, or was it predetermined? Either way it's impressive, sometimes when I pre-plan it jar size I miss guess and end up with 10 small jars of hearts or something unnecessary.

I guess it's a fair assumption that the sour would have gone away fairly quickly in ageing anyway, but if you were doing it again do you think you could have still made the cuts without waiting, or would the sour have overpowered everything else?
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Re: High Ester Bourbon

Postby vqstatesman » Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:09 pm

Loving the attention to detail and methodical documentation on this thread. Keep it up.
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Re: High Ester Bourbon

Postby OtisT » Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:26 am

zapata wrote:That spreadsheet is worth 10k words! And it shows you know a thing or two about running a still that your jar selection was perfect, switched to big jars after just 1 jar of late heads and 1 of hearts. Just for bragging rights, did you make the call to switch jar sizes on the fly, or was it predetermined? Either way it's impressive, sometimes when I pre-plan it jar size I miss guess and end up with 10 small jars of hearts or something unnecessary.

I guess it's a fair assumption that the sour would have gone away fairly quickly in ageing anyway, but if you were doing it again do you think you could have still made the cuts without waiting, or would the sour have overpowered everything else?


Thanks. I do like my spreadsheets. :-) I have spent a lot of hours on this column and document a lot of runs in excessive detail, so most of my predictions on the volume I will collect and about where cuts will be are fairly accurate. As for bragging rights, I was planning for one more 400 ml jar, but after smelling jars 7 and 8 I went ahead and started the big jars to ensure I filled both and was back to small jars before bottoms hit.

I don't have your confidence that it would have gone away quickly with aging. This smell was new to me. I spent some time thinking about what I would do if the sour did not go away. The first hint of sour was not until the second large Hearts jar and was stronger in the following jars. At 24 hours I would have taken the big hearts jar and the next small jar, but no more (including the next three I took today.) That said, before I mix anything I would have done some reading about sour to see what others have done about it and how it turned out. It could have been a good thing for all I know. ;-)

This is the second time where long airing really impacted my cuts. Last month it was a stripping run cut of rum that was loaded with banana and other luscious fruit smells and rum taste. Three days later and none of that fruit was there, just normal rum strip with a healthy bottom. :-(

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Re: High Ester Bourbon

Postby Saltbush Bill » Thu Mar 08, 2018 2:38 am

OtisT wrote:The jars really opened up after three days airing. As time passed I could single out and identify smells more easily.

Well there ya go :thumbup: ...exactly why I always recommend that newbies air for at least 3 days before trying to make cuts ....it makes the whole process so much easier.
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Re: High Ester Bourbon

Postby CatCrap » Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:08 pm

OtisT wrote: I learned how to get consistent reading from both strips and my meter, adjusting PH has been no more difficult than any other step of the process.


Otis


What are you doing specifically to get a more accurate reading, or how to use the pH meter properly? I got one off amazon first for 20 bucks, just picked up a new one "Hanna" brand, that was a little more. Is there anything in particular to be aware of to using this tool properly? Other than calibrating or rinsing it with distilled water (i've done neither so far). How often does one need to calibrate?"

Also going to follow this and the Rum thread closely. High ester/intense aroma spirits is definitely a goal for me.

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Re: High Ester Bourbon

Postby CatCrap » Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:25 am

So... perhaps it's too early to say, Otis, but would you call this experiment a success? Sounds like you DID get some different results than your normal HBB run.. but.. were they the results you Expected? Wanted? Could replicate again?

Curious about your final conclusions? Perhaps it's too early. Is aging in the badmo barrel the final step? That would mean we'd have to wait to hear results.. :cry: Argh! Not only do i have to wait to age my own product.. i have to wait for you to age yours!? Waaah. Just kidding. That's a KEY step in this process. After all.. that shit aint bourbon yet, right? Note to self: Check this thread next march. (yeah right like my stoned brain can remember to check this in a year)

Great thread. What's next otis... High Ester Brandy? Oooooh i hope so!!!

Otis, would you be able to, very generously, provide a blank copy of your spreadsheet? I love the detail in it. I suppose i could edit the one you provided eh? Seems like an awesome tool for recording your run results for comparing later. I know for me it's tough to remember the details of a spirit run without writing it down. I do write it down, but not quite as organized as you.

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Re: High Ester Bourbon

Postby OtisT » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:16 am

CatCrap wrote:What are you doing specifically to get a more accurate reading, or how to use the pH meter properly?
How often does one need to calibrate?"


Ok, here is how I approach testing PH. I’m no pro. This is simply what works for me.

I have both strips and an inexpensive PH meter. For strips, I have both wide range and the narrow range. Strips don’t work for dark ferments, like my rum.

The best tip I have is to know what you are expecting up front, based on the recipe. I use predictions as a sanity check on future readings. This is easier once you are familiar with the recipe and have some history with it. When you test, if your numbers are close to what you expected then you can trust the reading. If things don’t match, retest. If the numbers are not as expected, review the recipe to see what you may have missed that caused numbers to be so far off.

I found that my PH meter never stays on one number. The numbers keep dropping the longer I leave it in. I’m a bit obsessive on getting numbers right, so this drove me crazy, waiting for it to settle on a number, and I did not trust it. I put the meter away and fermented for a year w/o using it again before I was forced to try again. I noticed that the meter quickly went to the expected number when using the PH test solutions, so what I finally found worked for me was to dip it and only wait a few (2 or 3) seconds to take the reading. Next I rinse the meter and retest right away. Assuming they are close to expected, that is my number.

If the recipe is new or I changed some ingredients, I use strips to double check PH from the meter. I dip two at once to make sure they match. Test wide range first, then narrow if the wide was close to the narrow region. For me, Close counts with strips. I am often looking for a PH that is above the narrow band range so with those I am simply looking to ensure I am above that range.

Lastly, I make sure my reading change in the direction and distance desired when I adjust PH. I’m usually adding Potassium Carbonate to raise PH because I use backset/dunder in most ferments these days. Get to know how many grams it takes to move your numbers a set amount, then your readings are simply confirmations and not unknowns. Again, I feel that close counts on PH so don’t overly add products if you over shoot a bit.

When adding ingredients to adjust PH, dissolve it in a fair amount of hot water first before mixing in well.

I don’t calibrate unless I am seeing numbers I don’t expect.

Hope this helps. Otis
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Re: High Ester Bourbon

Postby OtisT » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:39 am

CatCrap wrote:So... perhaps it's too early to say, Otis, but would you call this experiment a success? Sounds like you DID get some different results than your normal HBB run.. but.. were they the results you Expected? Wanted? Could replicate again?

My spirit has no Offensive smells/tastes so I consider that a success. It's been so long since I made HBB without mucking with the recipe that "Normal" is hard for me to compare to. I am confident I could replicate this again.

CatCrap wrote:Curious about your final conclusions? Perhaps it's too early. Is aging in the badmo barrel the final step? That would mean we'd have to wait to hear results.. :cry: Argh! Not only do i have to wait to age my own product.. i have to wait for you to age yours!? Waaah. Just kidding. That's a KEY step in this process. After all.. that shit aint bourbon yet, right? Note to self: Check this thread next march. (yeah right like my stoned brain can remember to check this in a year)

Too early for any final conclusions. I will add any notes to this thread as I taste this over time. The barrel is the last step other than time. I think this will remain in the Badmo for multiple years, but I will be pulling a bottle worth here and there over time. I have or plan to have enough barrels filled that I wont need to drain this one prematurely.

CatCrap wrote:Great thread. What's next otis... High Ester Brandy? Oooooh i hope so!!!

I will be doing more bourbon using this process and will post those results here as well. I have a few other recipes I want to make first, so likely summer will be my next bourbon. I have only been working with barrels for 7+/- months. My goal is to get enough small barrels started early this year that I can be selective about what I drink/share and what I leave to sit longer. I'm a bit of a hoarder and part of my desire to distill is social, so having a collection of drinkable spirits is important to me.
Yes, Brandy will be coming this fall. I found a new friend with a good sized personal orchard who wants me to make him a still. I hope to work together with him this coming season to process all he can ferment. ;-) Super excited about this.

CatCrap wrote:Otis, would you be able to, very generously, provide a blank copy of your spreadsheet? I love the detail in it. I suppose i could edit the one you provided eh? Seems like an awesome tool for recording your run results for comparing later. I know for me it's tough to remember the details of a spirit run without writing it down. I do write it down, but not quite as organized as you.

Just use what I posted. You can easily clear the cells to enter in your own data. Having the data there can help reverse engineer my work, so I recommend you simply Copy the worksheet and leave the original as a reference. Are you familiar with using spreadsheets, formulas, conditional formatting, etc.? If not, I can give you some pointers on using the tool so you get correct results and the formulas don't get hosed. One quick tip is that I use a background color on cells that are calculated so I know not to enter into them. Some of the rows in the Production section use conditional formatting, so they only change color when you put a "1" in them.

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Re: High Ester Bourbon

Postby OtisT » Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:55 pm

3 Month Aging Update

It's been three months since I barreled this and I wanted to try a sample and see how my bourbon was doing. I know it's not even close to ready, but I want to sample over time to see how this progresses. This is a mostly full 7L Badmo barrel; American white oak with a 400 F toast and a healthy char.

Color
It's taken on color nicely. Proofed down to 40% it is medium yellow. (If I were to pee this color, I may start thinking I need to drink just a bit more water.)

Smell
Smell wise I was first hit by Char, then Toast, then a slight sharp bite like new spirit or sugar bite. After that I start detecting some other notes of sweet, spice, possibly fruit, and I got a faint floral. I can faintly detect a sweet vanilla beginning to form.

Taste
Tasting this, the toast and char dominate with a slight alcohol after-burn. Leaves a descent warm coating on my tongue and a non-offensive aftertaste I can't put words to.

Other Observations
I noticed my spirit appears to have some light "Legs" on it as I swirl it in the glass.

I did not take an ABV reading, as I only pulled 10 ml for the taste.

Overall, a non-offence experience and my only concern at this point is that bite. I'll check this again in another couple of months.

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Re: High Ester Bourbon

Postby Copperhead road » Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:09 pm

Saltbush Bill wrote:
OtisT wrote:The jars really opened up after three days airing. As time passed I could single out and identify smells more easily.

Well there ya go :thumbup: ...exactly why I always recommend that newbies air for at least 3 days before trying to make cuts ....it makes the whole process so much easier.

I am a big fan of long term airing (weeks not days)
If it’s not made of copper it simply ain’t proper......
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Re: High Ester Bourbon

Postby zapata » Wed Jun 06, 2018 3:59 pm

Copperhead road wrote:I am a big fan of long term airing (weeks not days)

Good to hear, because I have a run that's been airing for 3 weeks waiting for me to cut it. I really dont know if it's the longest I've aired, I will often take more than a day or two, but rarely weeks.
If I were to pee this color, I may start thinking I need to drink just a bit more water.

:D
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Re: High Ester Bourbon

Postby OtisT » Sat Aug 11, 2018 7:11 pm

5 month tasting report

I decided to check in on my high ester bourbon today. After 5 months in the barrel this bourbon has made the turn to something that smells/tastes drinkable. Yes, it is very young yet, but it no longer smells of new make and I can no longer detect that “bite” I described after tasting at 3 months. I’m getting a nice bourbon profile with sweet corn, char, and toast. I am getting a faint Vanilla and I am really happy that I can still detect some of the floral smell I found when making cuts.

I am not getting much in the way of richness or mouthfeel yet, and hoping that will come with more time on oak.

My other “high ester” experiment with rum developed a really distinguished taste that is just not quite right, and I am letting it age out more to see what comes of it. That had me worried about the high ester process but after tasting my high ester bourbon today I am happy to find that this drink has nothing that offends my pallet.

Overall it seems like a really nice light tasting young bourbon, and it should just keep getting better. I plan to let this one sit a long time, though I will be pulling a small personal sample now and again.

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