A Tale of Two Bourbons

Treatment and handling of your distillate.

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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by Jimbo » Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:30 am

MichiganCornhusker wrote: I'm running one wheated 50/25/12 Corn/Wheat/Barley...
And 13% love? Or is that lbs in the mash? :mrgreen:
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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:18 am

Jimbo wrote:And 13% love? Or is that lbs in the mash?
Ratios, but would work as #/batch too.
57% corn, 29% wheat or rye malt, 14% barley malt. No need for any additional love, it's in there!
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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by MoonBreath » Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:41 pm

So it seems most general consensuses are rite ..Used barrels with added wood adjunct is the way to go...
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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by DFitz » Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:11 pm

MoonBreath wrote:So it seems most general consensuses are rite ..Used barrels with added wood adjunct is the way to go...
I believe it's a matter of taste. I've found using a new barrel for bourbon is going to offer the best product. I think that using a barrel a second time works, but not near as well as a new barrel. The liquor has to sit in the barrel much longer the second time around, perhaps as long as two years versus a single year in a new barrel and in my opinion the flavor isn't as smooth and full bodied as a bourbon from a new barrel. Leaving your bourbon in the bottle for another year new or used barrel emphasizes that smoothness and flavor.

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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by Jimbo » Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:00 pm

DFitz wrote:
MoonBreath wrote:So it seems most general consensuses are rite ..Used barrels with added wood adjunct is the way to go...
I believe it's a matter of taste. I've found using a new barrel for bourbon is going to offer the best product. I think that using a barrel a second time works, but not near as well as a new barrel. The liquor has to sit in the barrel much longer the second time around, perhaps as long as two years versus a single year in a new barrel and in my opinion the flavor isn't as smooth and full bodied as a bourbon from a new barrel. Leaving your bourbon in the bottle for another year new or used barrel emphasizes that smoothness and flavor.
Sure, its always a matter of taste. But my findings here, which were surprising and compelled me to write the post was that the used barrel with added used wood produced a whiskey that was far smoother and far more full bodied than the new barrel, which was predictable and oaky. To be fair the used barrel whiskey sat twice as long in the barrel at 2 years, and the new barrel itself was of dubious quality from barrelsonline. The test is worth repeating, and will be with a better new barrel.
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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by DFitz » Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:25 pm

Please keep in mind my statement about leaving the product in the bottle for an additional year. I found a remarkable difference after that first year, and even more so in the second.

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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Tue Jan 24, 2017 2:44 pm

Hmmm, I do have a used barrel....
I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it but I could fill it with the same recipe that's in my new barrel and see what happens.

I completely agree with the bottle aging. I thought I read once that whiskey stops changing once it's in the bottle, but that is not at all what I'm finding.
I recently ran across a bottle of the S3 whiskey that I made for the Woodshed fest and it is way better now than it was when I put it in the bottle!
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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by bitter » Tue Jan 24, 2017 4:35 pm

MCH, I find it changes after bottling also.. Normally mellows.

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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by Truckinbutch » Tue Jan 24, 2017 4:48 pm

My guess is that if you bottle at barrel strength the changes will continue . Most of the elements are already infused and it's just a matter of time .
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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by Windy City » Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:35 pm

I was originally planning on testing three barrels of same cask strength liquor in three identical barrels in three different locations until Jim came up with this.
I had twenty gals @ 130 proof 65abv rum. I put ten gallons in a once used Gibbs (steam room aged bourbon) barrel and ten gallons in a new Gibbs unused barrel. I may move the barrels around some but if I do I will age them in the same locations and see how they came out in a year.
My original plan was to truly test out the steam room aging by having one barrel in my basement (as a control), one barrel in the steam room and one barrel outside completely open to the elements.
I will still work on this experiment and will be running some rum this weekend and putting some more in the fermenters till I can fill three more barrels for testing.
I am very interested in what a open to elements barrel will do.
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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by Jimbo » Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:39 am

The picture is sideways so we can pop the cork and have it pour directly into our mouth.

I'm certain fresh spirits age in the bottle. You can see it in spades on rums where there's no oak hiding whats happening. I have lots of jars of 62% oaked whiskeys thats done with the barrels and continue to change over the years on the shelf, so TB might be onto something too with aging at cask strength in the bottle.

MCH, side by side an old vs new barrel might give a thin old barrel product by itself, unless you havemany years to wait. I think the key to the rich deep flavors was all the sticks I stuffed in there, ~20, cut from Jack staves and recharred. All the wood being used once, the fresh wood astringency was washed away and it was just a slow caramelization over 2 years.
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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by buflowing » Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:24 am

Jimbo wrote: I think the key to the rich deep flavors was all the sticks I stuffed in there, ~20, cut from Jack staves and recharred. All the wood being used once, the fresh wood astringency was washed away and it was just a slow caramelization over 2 years.
You say your sticks were used once. What did you soak them in before stuffing them in the barrel?

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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by buflowing » Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:38 am

This might be a good place to re-introduce this post.

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=60514

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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by Jimbo » Wed Jan 25, 2017 8:44 am

Buflo,

They were used once by way of being staves in a 53g Jack Daniels barrel. I picked up some fresh smelling, freshly cut half barrel planters, and cut the staves into 1 x 1 x 5" sticks. Sanded the grime off the outside layer. Recharred all 6 sides, then soaked them for a couple hours in a bucket of water to rinse off any loose charcoal.

I have some used Balcones barrels that I continue to reuse over and over again, and just add fresh sticks (per above) for every new batch. Ive found this results in a better beverage than just aging in jars with sticks, which I also do. No doubt due to the breathing and losses from the barrel.

Thats an interesting article you linked. Altho at first glance seems he promotes spiral cut for rapid aging, which I disagree with, for the simple reason you expose your liquor to loads of 'tyloses' goo that fills the pores in white oak. Its one of the reasons white oak is used for barrels, that goo seals up the staves. But there is a BIG difference between rip cut staves and thousands of intentional end cuts exposing heaps of open pores and this goo on purpose. Just my opinion, do as you wish. http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopi ... 7#p7450934
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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by Jimbo » Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:03 am

This is an interesting table on surface area per volume from that paper, and question that comes up often on this forum.
sav.JPG
Its in cm^2 per liter. So converting to square inches per gallon we get.

5 gal barrel = 116.2 inch^2/gal
10 gal barrel = 95.6 inch^2/gal
53 gal barrel = 52.8 inch^2/gal

Adding my 20 sticks at 22 square inches per, is 440 more square inches or 88 more per gallon. Almost doubling the surface area of my 5g barrel. In practice more than that as the sticks take up some of the 5gal volume, but you gotta draw a line with this insanity at some point.

Its also confirmation on my sticks which, for the size I use, I calculated a while ago to be about the same as a 5gal barrel when using 1 stick per quart jar. Looks like I got pretty close. How about that shit.
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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by buflowing » Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:32 am

The reason I asked Jimbo, is that I don't consider sticks cut from used barrel staves as being used sticks. I consider them half used, half new. The inner surface is certainly used, and the inner half of the side surfaces are partly used. The outer surface and outer half of the sides I consider unused. Big difference between those fresh split and charred sticks from those pulled from a jug or barrel after a period of booze treatment. The truly used sticks I like for my single malts, especially wheat.

A trick I like to use for all my new sticks is to boil in water for 5 minutes before use. I toast before and char after. I don't recall who first suggested this, but I find it helpful to remove some of the tannins and "roughness".

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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by Jimbo » Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:45 am

Thanks, Ill remember that boiling trick for new white oak.

BTW, some of you asked if I blended both, to get the smooth caramel and a touch of the new oak spank in there together. I have, and thats how Im drinking it now. Its delicious. I took a bottle to band rehearsal that way last week and it was gone before we turned our gear on. :shock: Altho that's probably not saying much, them souse's are known to destroy any bottle set in front of them.
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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by der wo » Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:49 am

buflowing wrote:I don't consider sticks cut from used barrel staves as being used sticks. I consider them half used, half new. The inner surface is certainly used, and the inner half of the side surfaces are partly used. The outer surface and outer half of the sides I consider unused.
:thumbup:
And even the one inner side is not really used, if you recharr it.
There are a few Single Malt brands using partially recharred barrels. Talisker Skye is an example, I think 100% recharred barrels. The result is a relatively dark and sweet whisky, although it is very young. Ugly sweet IMO. At least in comparision with the Talisker 10.
I consider sticks from barrel staves, sanded, toasted and charred as 90% unused wood.
buflowing wrote:A trick I like to use for all my new sticks is to boil in water for 5 minutes before use. I toast before and char after. I don't recall who first suggested this, but I find it helpful to remove some of the tannins and "roughness".
I do similar with french oak barrel sticks before I use them with sherry for Malt Whisky.
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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by Jimbo » Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:59 pm

Used, half used, 90% used or whatever you want to call them. The important thing here is they dont have that new oak tannic astringency.

They certainly have loads of flavor tho. So Im on board with '50% Used and Tempered' if we need a name for them. :roll:
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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by buflowing » Wed Jan 25, 2017 2:40 pm

Sorry, can't agree with you on that.

If i made enough new make, I'd be able to do a comparison. I've got a couple unused staves from ISC, as well as ample used ones. Maybe I'll do a quicky UJ batch and see what I can do.

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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by Jimbo » Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:31 pm

What is it youre not agreeing with me on? Are you saying used barrel staves do have the new oak tannic astringency, or are you saying they dont have loads of flavor?
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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by buflowing » Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:59 pm

There's plenty of tannins and roughness and flavor.

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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by Jimbo » Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:09 pm

ok we'll have to disagree on that point. In hundreds of jars and multiple barrels I definitely have not get the tannins and sharpness on used wood.
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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by WIski » Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:42 pm

I'm pretty new to all of this. I currently have several new barrels with their first fill. They all have this astringent industrial taste. The first 2 months or so the taste was not so strong and actually quite pleasing. When the flavor started getting strong I considered draining the barrels to glass and finishing the aging off wood. I have read here that these strong tannin flavors will change into the vanilla and caramel flavors I want. To tell you the truth I'm scared shitless all this hard work is going to be a bust. But I'm going to trust the advise from the masters here that have said keep the new make in a new barrel for one month per gallon of volume. I will then finish aging off wood. Only time will tell but I am very concerned I've over done it already.
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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by bship » Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:43 pm

WIski, Im no expert on this but i too have gotten the "industrial taste" early on with split white oak and cherry wood. I about drove myself nuts tasting, smelling, reading... worrying that all was wasted, till i just had to leave it alone. Boy it sure smoothed out. Im happy i didnt take it out when it was like that , My thinking is it could stay like that..{dont know that for sure) I think, and from what ive read time in the barrel will sort it out. Good luck it must have been a lot of time in the shed to fill em up :thumbup:

Jimbo, did you lose 3 gallons, or retrieve 3 gallons from the barrel ?

Thought i should add that it was a slight taste, and what worried me was the product that i kept white seemed smoother, this was in the first 2-3 weeks.
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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by Jimbo » Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:45 pm

Wiski, dont fear. From what I could gather from used barrels I bought (fill/empty dates scrawled on the heads) and some stuff online, commercial places use 5 gallon barrels for 8-10 months. So if you pull it at 5 months I cant imagine for a second youll have a problem. Assuming your cuts were good. Mine was in the barrel for almost 14 months (like I said below time got away from me), but its good, and from what folks below say will get better still in the bottle smoothing out that tannin bite. Since they speak from experience I believe them and just wait it out. My own experience with brand new wood is limited, so Im learning right along with many of us. Dodging this tannin bite is a price to pay to make a proper 'bourbon' which requires new wood, and probably explains why so many (the best of em) are lost in rickhouses for many years before being sold. I have a bottle of Jim Beam Black thats 8 years old and still has a hell of a spank. Knob creek is 9 years old and has that same fresh wood varnish character, but somehow balances this wood resin varnish thing with smoothness and incredible drinkability. Im a big fan of Knob Creek.

At the end of the day, drinking spirits, and making spirits for drinking yourself, is all about finding what you like (captain obvious). Its been a bit of a revelation for me. Many decades a whiskey drinker (all types), Im still wrapping my head around the various flavors - Canadian (thin clean), Irish (sweet clean), Scotch (smoked complex), Bourbon (varnish made delicious), Tennessee (clean and simple). Of course thats a gross over simplification, books have been written about each. The best part, and most exciting for me, is learning enough about each to be able to shoot for the style in the brewroom.
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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by Jimbo » Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:45 pm

bship, I got 3- 3.5 gallons from each of the 2 barrels described.
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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by buflowing » Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:23 pm

Hey jimbo, no irritation intended. Just my observations. Which may very well be different from everyone else's. Prost!

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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by WIski » Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:54 pm

Thanks for the reassurance guys. With all the time and care spent the unknown is a little unnerving.

Jimbo, along with my new barrels I also have a used Balcones barrel I use for apple brandy. It too has 12 month aging cycles marked on the head. I read an article on the craft guys using small new barrels but blending the strong oaked product with purchased young whiskey to get a more flavorful product they could market sooner with their personal name stamp. I'm rollin with the advise given here and pulling my juice after 5 months then aging off wood for a while. Someone here said the hardest ingredient to put in a good bottle of whiskey is patience. Boy were they right.....

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Re: A Tale of Two Bourbons

Post by buflowing » Fri Jan 27, 2017 10:32 am

Jimbo wrote: I have a bottle of Jim Beam Black thats 8 years old and still has a hell of a spank. Knob creek is 9 years old and has that same fresh wood varnish character, but somehow balances this wood resin varnish thing with smoothness and incredible drinkability.
looks like someone's done his homework.
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