Proof and oaking question

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tauren58
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Proof and oaking question

Post by tauren58 » Mon Jan 04, 2021 1:32 pm

I just did a stripping run with my corn/barley mash and then a spirit run and it tastes pretty good as white dog. I planned to age it, but I forgot the recommended ABV for aging is 120-130 proof and I cut it down to 45%. I have done some reading on here and plan to age in glass jars with oak fingers. My first question is - is it still worth aging 45% white dog or should I chalk it up to a learning experience and look to age my next batch at higher proof?

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Re: Proof and oaking question

Post by OtisT » Mon Jan 04, 2021 2:34 pm

You can certainly age at 45%. Several threads on why most distilleries have historically age their products near 60-65%, and as you would guess it is largely due to money. Much stronger than 60% and the wood barrels would leak more. Less strong spirits and the distilleries need more barrels to age/transport the same amount of final product. Around 60% was right in the sweet spot to maximize profits.

My understanding is that spirits of different ABVs will extract the various flavors from wood at different rates. From what I have read, the lower ABV spirit is more likely to pull a strong vanilla smell/taste from toasted oak because the vanilla molecule is water soluble and you have more water in the lower ABV product. I’ve not done a side by side comparison to test this out. Just sharing what I have read about over the years.

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Re: Proof and oaking question

Post by Bushman » Mon Jan 04, 2021 2:35 pm

I age at 60% or 120 proof. If you like the white dog I would go ahead and drink as is and age the rest.

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Deplorable
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Re: Proof and oaking question

Post by Deplorable » Mon Jan 04, 2021 3:01 pm

If it were my error, I'd keep it white and sip on it while the next batch ages.
Ive got a shit load of booze aging, but nothing to sip on, so I'm still buying.
Something to consider as you slowly build aging stock...
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Re: Proof and oaking question

Post by Durhommer » Mon Jan 04, 2021 3:13 pm

Deplorable wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 3:01 pm
If it were my error, I'd keep it white and sip on it while the next batch ages.
Ive got a shit load of booze aging, but nothing to sip on, so I'm still buying.
Something to consider as you slowly build aging stock...
+1 on sip it white
You have two ears and one mouth for a reason....

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8Ball
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Re: Proof and oaking question

Post by 8Ball » Mon Jan 04, 2021 3:14 pm

Since its already cut to 45%, why not split it into two jars and make a science experiment out of it and report back in 12 months or so? Leave one as is and sip on it as suggested earlier and age the other to see about that info on vanilla that OtisT mentioned. Win-win and we all might learn something too.

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Re: Proof and oaking question

Post by River Rat » Mon Jan 04, 2021 4:08 pm

Age at least some of it. You might love it. I aged some corn/barley/wheat bourbon at 62%, and some more from the same batch at 50%. Both were in glass with sticks for about a year. I preferred the 50% by far. It was much smoother and as stated much more vanilla. Everybody's taste is different though.
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Re: Proof and oaking question

Post by bluedog » Mon Jan 04, 2021 4:54 pm

I also like to age at 100 proof. As mentioned the main motive of aging at a higher proof for most of the big guys is to make more money from a barrel, which isnt a factor for oak chips. At a lower proof you're oaking the water as well as the alcohol, and giving the two a good long time to marry. I vote to age it, you'll never know if you like it until you try.
I also think chips bring more tannin and astringent flavors than a barrel would, and a lower proof pulls less of that, and more of the vanilla out.

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Re: Proof and oaking question

Post by Prairiepiss » Mon Jan 04, 2021 5:04 pm

I age around 50%. Everyone has their favorite proof to age at. Different proofs will give you different outcomes. So you will never know what you will like till you try it. I say give it a shot and see what you get.
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Re: Proof and oaking question

Post by NZChris » Mon Jan 04, 2021 5:13 pm

I discovered early in my winemaking that it is best to make something to drink young before making something that needs aging.

If you do oak it, it may go through a period of several months, or longer, when it is woody and astringent and you'll be asking for help because you think you over oaked it. If that does happen, don't drink it until it comes right in a year or two. If it's in glass, only fill to 2/3rds full to allow for some oxygen in the head space and take the bung out and blow across it a few times a year to exchange the air.

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Re: Proof and oaking question

Post by bluefish_dist » Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:08 pm

In the us, the current limit of 125 entry proof only came about in the 60’s. If remember correctly it was 110 before that. I expect it was a move pushed for economic reasons, not flavor. Higher proof, fewer barrels, less cost.

I found that I liked lower entry proof better. Seems to age slower. I could see why you might do a higher entry proof for used barrels to speed up the process. I have heard scotch can go in around 140. Would make sense since they use used barrels.
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Re: Proof and oaking question

Post by stillanoob » Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:44 pm

I put some 40% ABV on oak. It tasted like licking a stick. Same whisky put on the same oak at 65% came out great, lots of vanilla and caramel. So I age at 65%.

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