Oak and whiskey

Treatment and handling of your distillate.

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nerdybrewer
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Re: Oak and whiskey

Post by nerdybrewer » Wed Feb 17, 2021 6:53 pm

Honest_Liberty wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 3:41 pm
I don't have the trust in small aging. I want to source a quality barrel and fill it, so I can know. That's my aim
I humbly suggest that you research.
There are many actual commercial distilleries already using smaller barrels.
Such as the place I bought my once used Bourbon barrels, 15 gallon size.
Oola in Seattle is the place
They make a high quality Bourbon and they use 15 gallon barrels.
I used one to age my current batch of Panela rum, the 2017.
It is very good, if we were closer geographically I'd share.
I just suggest before committing to a 15 to 20 year aging process in a 55 gallon barrel that you check it out, I mean there's a lot that can happen in that amount of time.
See what real micro distilleries are using, in the case of Oola it's 15 gallon virgin white oak barrels for their Bourbon.

A 15 gallon barrel seemed the right size for what I wanted and how much time I wanted to commit to aging my rum.
Turns out that was a very good choice.

Of course - you do you.
Cranky's spoonfeeding:
http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=52975

Time and Oak will sort it out.

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Re: Oak and whiskey

Post by Deplorable » Wed Feb 17, 2021 7:08 pm

nerdybrewer wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 6:53 pm
Honest_Liberty wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 3:41 pm
I don't have the trust in small aging. I want to source a quality barrel and fill it, so I can know. That's my aim
I humbly suggest that you research.
There are many actual commercial distilleries already using smaller barrels.
Such as the place I bought my once used Bourbon barrels, 15 gallon size.
Oola in Seattle is the place
They make a high quality Bourbon and they use 15 gallon barrels.
I used one to age my current batch of Panela rum, the 2017.
It is very good, if we were closer geographically I'd share.
I just suggest before committing to a 15 to 20 year aging process in a 55 gallon barrel that you check it out, I mean there's a lot that can happen in that amount of time.
See what real micro distilleries are using, in the case of Oola it's 15 gallon virgin white oak barrels for their Bourbon.

A 15 gallon barrel seemed the right size for what I wanted and how much time I wanted to commit to aging my rum.
Turns out that was a very good choice.

Of course - you do you.
+1 There are countless micro distilleries using 5, 10, and 15 gallon oak barrels with great success.
H_L if you're really destined to start a DSP, it would be wise to read some of the papers written on aging spirits in small barrels. Talk to some of the distilleries in your area. I'm sure they started off filling 5, 10 and 15 gallon barrels to shorten the time between barreling and getting products to market. They're also a great way to see what a test mash will mature into without committing to a 1000 gallons of mash.
Use all your senses, and its not that hard. You just have to pay attention.

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Re: Oak and whiskey

Post by Honest_Liberty » Wed Feb 17, 2021 7:13 pm

Ok I'll do that
Sweetfeed 100 proof for drinking white
All grain bourbon for testing my patience
Whatever else is left goes to the Homefree, because, I hate waste

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Re: Oak and whiskey

Post by Honest_Liberty » Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:29 am

I'm really struggling with oak. Big time.

I just tested my (what I thought was loose cut) first AG high oat, high rye bourbon. Been a month or so and it's all oak.
It's the same old story I've noticed with oak stick aging.
Even with following the T-Pee way. It's just all oak tea. I know the oak is good because I cleaned, toasted, and charred a used half wine barrel.

My wife did say it actually smelled like bourbon, which is good I suppose, but it doesn't to me. It smells like woodsmoke and sweetness and tastes the same.

My brandies are all on track, however, to be as good as any I've tasted, and that's a pretty bold statement. I'm not sure why but with Brandy, the maple syrup sweetness is prominent. I've only recently started truly appreciating Brandy.

But with Bourbon, I can already tell, I have to go into the darn acetone notes to pull the flavor profile I'm used to. It's pretty frustrating because I thought I could make a cleaner product than commercial and still arrive at a real bourbon experience.

I'm more confused than when I began. Maybe a few years in the jar will actually bring out an actual bourbon profile and this is just the first rough stage. I've read conflicting information but it appears "dirty" or very loose cuts are required to make the full bouquet and complexity
Sweetfeed 100 proof for drinking white
All grain bourbon for testing my patience
Whatever else is left goes to the Homefree, because, I hate waste

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Re: Oak and whiskey

Post by Deplorable » Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:47 am

My SF tasted like crap after a month. But I stayed the course and put it back in the cupboard. It's 5 months on oak now and getting better. The charred, smokiness has faded. Faint vanilla and a little wet tobacco are most of what I get right now on the nose. Still tastes like a cheap bourbon, so it's gonna stay in the dark cupboard until it gets right.
Try this; pull off a jar, 2/3 full and let it sit without oak for a month and compare that with what's still on oak.
Give it time. It will come around.
Use all your senses, and its not that hard. You just have to pay attention.

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Re: Oak and whiskey

Post by still_stirrin » Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:09 am

Honest_Liberty wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:29 am
I'm really struggling with oak...My wife did say it actually smelled like bourbon...but it doesn't to me.

...with Bourbon... I have to go into the darn acetone notes to pull the flavor profile I'm used to....I thought I could make a cleaner product than commercial and still arrive at a real bourbon experience.

I've read...."dirty" or very loose cuts are required to make the full bouquet and complexity.
Well, maybe your paradigm is wrong. Maybe you’re just used to drinking really cheap whiskey. It sounds like you need to shake some “change” out of your pockets and go buy a bottle of top shelf whiskey to try. Adjust your “target” and you may actually be closer than YOU think.

I like grain flavors in my bourbon, but that does not mean I like heads in them. Tight cuts will result in a better product, although I do add some of the late hearts or early tails to the cask for grain flavor enhancement. But I despise the headache-producing, solventy sweetness from a lot of the commercial products. I’m over it!

And, with a whiskey, you must give it time to mature. “Fast tracking” by nuclear aging is not going to do justice to your product. It’ll get you cheap drinkin’ liquor quickly, but it won’t be the quality of a 10 year old whiskey.

If you’ve got small children in your house, then just wait for the whiskey to age until they’re out of high school. Then tell us how it tastes.
ss
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Re: Oak and whiskey

Post by Honest_Liberty » Tue Feb 23, 2021 3:54 pm

still_stirrin wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:09 am
Honest_Liberty wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:29 am
I'm really struggling with oak...My wife did say it actually smelled like bourbon...but it doesn't to me.

...with Bourbon... I have to go into the darn acetone notes to pull the flavor profile I'm used to....I thought I could make a cleaner product than commercial and still arrive at a real bourbon experience.

I've read...."dirty" or very loose cuts are required to make the full bouquet and complexity.
Well, maybe your paradigm is wrong. Maybe you’re just used to drinking really cheap whiskey. It sounds like you need to shake some “change” out of your pockets and go buy a bottle of top shelf whiskey to try. Adjust your “target” and you may actually be closer than YOU think.

I like grain flavors in my bourbon, but that does not mean I like heads in them. Tight cuts will result in a better product, although I do add some of the late hearts or early tails to the cask for grain flavor enhancement. But I despise the headache-producing, solventy sweetness from a lot of the commercial products. I’m over it!

And, with a whiskey, you must give it time to mature. “Fast tracking” by nuclear aging is not going to do justice to your product. It’ll get you cheap drinkin’ liquor quickly, but it won’t be the quality of a 10 year old whiskey.

If you’ve got small children in your house, then just wait for the whiskey to age until they’re out of high school. Then tell us how it tastes.
ss
Well, we had been given orphan barrel Rhetoric 20 year old as a gift for closing our second home from our realtor. I hated it. Pure acetone. Those things are over $400 from what I researched.

I enjoy Woodford Reserve, but generally I don't spend more than $50 on either scotch or bourbon. I still can't find anything I enjoy much more than old Glenmorangie 10, especially for the price. I like Islay's but again, I'm good with Ardbeg and laphroaig standard expressions.

I don't nuclear age. I believe the time is critical, but I'm concerned that the way this tastes after one month or a month and half is indicative of what to expect.

You are effectively telling me to calm down and just wait it out 4 years? I'll be surprised? I'm going to do that for sure, and continue to keep making all grain.

I really enjoy the all grain tight cut Bourbon white. Straight corn on the nose, a little rye bite and oat softness. It's incredible
Sweetfeed 100 proof for drinking white
All grain bourbon for testing my patience
Whatever else is left goes to the Homefree, because, I hate waste

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Re: Oak and whiskey

Post by Honest_Liberty » Tue Feb 23, 2021 4:06 pm

Do you have a suggestion for a high end bourbon you think I will appreciate that doesn't contain the heads?
Sweetfeed 100 proof for drinking white
All grain bourbon for testing my patience
Whatever else is left goes to the Homefree, because, I hate waste

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Re: Oak and whiskey

Post by rubberduck71 » Tue Feb 23, 2021 7:23 pm

Honest_Liberty wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 4:06 pm
Do you have a suggestion for a high end bourbon you think I will appreciate that doesn't contain the heads?
H_L check out Whiskey Tribe on YouTube for recommendations on store-bought stuff. When you see their whiskey vault, you'll be jealous... (I know I was)

I haven't bought any for myself yet, but Woodford Reserve is in my immediate future. I see you're in the U.S. and you mentioned high rye bourbon, so see if Redemption's High Rye Bourbon is stocked near you - it's pretty tasty. And if you're a rye lover like me, see if you can get your hands on Rittenhouse - it's very yummy for a reasonable price.

A recommendation I've seen somewhere on the site is to let your AG stuff age and then use the sugarheads for short horizon consumption (Odin's Rye Bread is a fav of mine!).
.
Keep learning & enjoy! I know I am still at the front end of that learning curve.
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Re: Oak and whiskey

Post by Deplorable » Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:46 pm

rubberduck71 wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 7:23 pm
Honest_Liberty wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 4:06 pm
Do you have a suggestion for a high end bourbon you think I will appreciate that doesn't contain the heads?
H_L check out Whiskey Tribe on YouTube for recommendations on store-bought stuff. When you see their whiskey vault, you'll be jealous... (I know I was)

I haven't bought any for myself yet, but Woodford Reserve is in my immediate future. I see you're in the U.S. and you mentioned high rye bourbon, so see if Redemption's High Rye Bourbon is stocked near you - it's pretty tasty. And if you're a rye lover like me, see if you can get your hands on Rittenhouse - it's very yummy for a reasonable price.

A recommendation I've seen somewhere on the site is to let your AG stuff age and then use the sugarheads for short horizon consumption (Odin's Rye Bread is a fav of mine!).
.
Keep learning & enjoy! I know I am still at the front end of that learning curve.
Duck
Sugar heads off your AG mash could also be a good way to track your aging AG spirits. If you put oak sticks in the SH at the same ratio as the AG, could you not sample along as it matures knowing that what ever impact the oak is having on the sugar head, its also having on the much better AG spirit? This way, you dont drink all your nectar before it reaches its full potential.
Use all your senses, and its not that hard. You just have to pay attention.

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Re: Oak and whiskey

Post by Toxxyc » Thu Feb 25, 2021 12:54 am

OK I'm dropping here as well. I've been distilling for a few months now and while my batches have been tiny, I've had great success with rum, but terrible with whisky.

I got my hands on some untreated, raw French oak from a local woodworking place (they confirmed the wood is raw and untreated), which I chopped into fingers and use from there.

So the first whisky I made I watered down to 65% ABV (because apparently it extracts more desirable flavours) just used a few fingers of oak, toasted in the oven to the sweet level for 2 hours, and slipped them in the whisky. I left them in there for 4 weeks, tasting and smelling and everything along the way. The whisky was so bad I re-distilled it with a next batch. It was flat, plain and unflavoured, almost like the oak didn't produce flavour at all.

The second one I decided to go a bit more "proper", still using 65% spirit, and bought a piece of American Oak, medium+ toasted, and left it uncharred. I cut a piece (according to how it was recommended) and popped it into the spirit. Alongside that I used a finger of each light, medium and heavy toasted oak, as well as a few "spent" fingers that I have used to make an oaked rum with, and dropped them in there as well. The smell was amazing when I dropped it in, and it just went downhill from there. The end result, after 5 weeks, was an absolute oak bomb. There was no sweetness, no flavour, literally just oak. Tasted like sucking on a piece of wood. Some of my friends and family absolutely loved it and freaked out about it (even some wanting to buy a few bottles), but I hated it (was OK with coke, but that's about it). I gave most away and what was left over I redistilled.

So my current batch I watered the spirit down to 55% ABV (figuring it was maybe a bit strong). I then went and bought proper Kentuky Bourbon barrel wood chips, weighed them out and dosed the spirit slightly below the recommended level. I then also took a single finger of new French Oak, decided that I'm not going to toast it at all, and just charred it properly, and dumped it in there. I'm having more hopes for this batch, but I'd like to know what could have caused the issues before?

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Re: Oak and whiskey

Post by still_stirrin » Thu Feb 25, 2021 4:35 am

Toxxyc wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 12:54 am
....I've been distilling for a few months now and while my batches have been tiny, I've had great success with rum, but terrible with whisky....I'm having more hopes for this batch, but I'd like to know what could have caused the issues before?
Simple......impatience! 4 or 5 weeks on wood is not enough time. In fact, 1 to 3 months aging is about the worst time to expect “good flavor”. Use less wood for a longer duration and you’ll have much better results. Give it a year to begin with and then you can sample it and see how much longer you’ll need.
ss
Attention new distillers: Cranky's spoon feed info
My LM/VM & Potstill: My build thread
My Cadco hotplate modification thread: Hotplate Build
My stock pot gin still: stock pot potstill
My 5-grain Bourbon recipe: Special K

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Re: Oak and whiskey

Post by Toxxyc » Thu Feb 25, 2021 4:52 am

Yeah I've now, in the new batch, cut back drastically with the woods and I'm planning on leaving it a bit longer.

On a side note - I've seen some people make good whiskies in a matter of weeks, without the use of microwaves or heat/cool cycles. How does that work? I'm in South Africa so it's quite temperature swinging around here, so that should speed up the process a bit, no?

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Re: Oak and whiskey

Post by Honest_Liberty » Thu Feb 25, 2021 6:06 am

still_stirrin wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 4:35 am
Toxxyc wrote:
Thu Feb 25, 2021 12:54 am
....I've been distilling for a few months now and while my batches have been tiny, I've had great success with rum, but terrible with whisky....I'm having more hopes for this batch, but I'd like to know what could have caused the issues before?
Simple......impatience! 4 or 5 weeks on wood is not enough time. In fact, 1 to 3 months aging is about the worst time to expect “good flavor”. Use less wood for a longer duration and you’ll have much better results. Give it a year to begin with and then you can sample it and see how much longer you’ll need.
ss
Less wood being the suggested amount in teepee method, roughly equal to barrel sq in, one 3/4" x 3/4" x 5" toasted and charred? That's what I've been doing
Sweetfeed 100 proof for drinking white
All grain bourbon for testing my patience
Whatever else is left goes to the Homefree, because, I hate waste

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