Whiskey flavor question

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Whiskey flavor question

Postby Ferthy » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:13 am

I have been distilling off and on for the last year. I have some ujsm on charred oak staves some has been aging for almost a year per the T-Pee method minus the cinnamon sticks.

I have noticed that it does have a nice vanilla oaky taste and aroma. However when I open a bottle of even cheap store bought whiskey I noticed that the aroma is much stronger. Not overpowering. But I open a bottle and you can smell it several feet away almost perfumey in a good way. Whereas my whiskey though it has a decent taste/aroma is sort of flat. I’m looking for ways to boost that vanilla oakey aroma which is there but again just flat. I have added some pure vanilla extract but that runs he risk of being to vanilla-y

Is this due to shorter aging time? Improper cuts? Shorter aging time? Maybe it is a result of not making all grain whiskey? Am I making sense? Does anyone have any or threads they can pint me to as I have not found any that seem to address this particular issue.
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Re: Whiskey flavor question

Postby MichiganCornhusker » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:23 am

Ferthy wrote:Maybe it is a result of not making all grain whiskey? Am I making sense?

Yes.

UJ is a good drink, but it’s not whiskey.
You’re comparing apples and oranges.

However, you can control the flavors you get by managing different toasting temps and charring levels with your aging oak.
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Re: Whiskey flavor question

Postby Hilltop » Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:43 pm

You gotta have the heart in the wood. Cut some small white oak, pin oak or hickory whatever you prefer. Hunt 2 inch trees or limbs and strip the bark. Cook on grill over charcoal until burnt and black. Put the liqueur in wide mouth gallon jars with several pieces of the charred oak. It usually only takes me from 7 to 21 days. Before I used the heart it took forever. Shorter times seem to produce more vanilla, longer tastes more oaky.
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Re: Whiskey flavor question

Postby Copperhead road » Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:28 pm

Hilltop wrote:You gotta have the heart in the wood. Cut some small white oak, pin oak or hickory whatever you prefer. Hunt 2 inch trees or limbs and strip the bark. Cook on grill over charcoal until burnt and black. Put the liqueur in wide mouth gallon jars with several pieces of the charred oak. It usually only takes me from 7 to 21 days. Before I used the heart it took forever. Shorter times seem to produce more vanilla, longer tastes more oaky.

So you don’t season your oak before toasting and charring :shock:
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Re: Whiskey flavor question

Postby Hilltop » Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:54 pm

I dont. Found it works better. I've tried dead trees and live ones. I do cook the tar out of them. Often setting them ablaze. It's all in the heart from what I can see. Brew shop oak takes forever and is missing something. I think it's the lack of heart wood ie center of the tree or limb. Lots of vanilla are produced from trees containing heart. I often do this on my grill I use to put tin foil on it, but don't anymore, my goal is to burn the wood for awhile till grey ashes form on the wood. Rinse it and put the still warm wood into the liqueur for quicker results. Watch the center of a burning log where the heart is, you will notice very quickly that lots of oils boil out of the heart of the log. Try it and see. The center of aged pine trees for example are used to start fires in Dixie, we call it lightered. It burns hot and fast. Using the heart puts more flavor into whisky. I've tried every type of oak and hickory on my property, I prefer the post type oak with long slender type acorns. It's in the white oak family. Hickory ain't bad either.
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Re: Whiskey flavor question

Postby Copperhead road » Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:42 am

Very interesting I thought it would have a bitter taste....
I been buying some real good quality dominos from an exclusive cooperage in Australia and they season there oak for a minimum of 36 months. The oak mini stave fan I got had been seasoned for 60 months to hang below the barrel shive. :shock:
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Re: Whiskey flavor question

Postby Hilltop » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:18 pm

Copperhead road wrote:Very interesting I thought it would have a bitter taste....
I been buying some real good quality dominos from an exclusive cooperage in Australia and they season there oak for a minimum of 36 months. The oak mini stave fan I got had been seasoned for 60 months to hang below the barrel shive. :shock:


I use to hunt for half dead trees, but tried the live ones and cooked the tar out of them and they seem better to me. I turn the outside to a grey ash rinse them off then pitch em in the jar still warm. I'm literally setting these pieces on fire so I think the bitter gets cooked out. The heart wood is the ticket is all i know. Without it, it takes forever.
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Re: Whiskey flavor question

Postby MichiganCornhusker » Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:07 am

Hilltop wrote:The heart wood is the ticket is all i know.

White oak:
EFE6B2D1-3030-4711-A81F-B93CBB3E1B38.jpeg

Everything pictured is white oak. The 3 pieces are all variations of color from the white oak pile.
The darker piece they are all setting on is the chunk I use to cut my sticks for aging.

I have a good opportunity to sort through a lot of white oak and I look for the nice dark brown stuff.
When I see a chunk I set it aside for whiskey.

When I cut the lighter white oak it just smells like wood, sometimes almost same as red oak.
When I get a good rich brown piece and cut it it just smells like good whiskey!

Not all white oak is created the same.
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Re: Whiskey flavor question

Postby Ferthy » Fri Jun 08, 2018 3:16 pm

Thanks for the input. I do get oak pen blanks from a local lumber man who sells premium wood for lathers. Which so far seems to work pretty good. It just seems flat but that again could just be from the fact that it is ujsm and not an all grain whiskey. There is some good flavor from the oak though.
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Re: Whiskey flavor question

Postby Copperhead road » Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:35 am

MichiganCornhusker wrote:
Hilltop wrote:The heart wood is the ticket is all i know.

White oak:
EFE6B2D1-3030-4711-A81F-B93CBB3E1B38.jpeg

Everything pictured is white oak. The 3 pieces are all variations of color from the white oak pile.
The darker piece they are all setting on is the chunk I use to cut my sticks for aging.

I have a good opportunity to sort through a lot of white oak and I look for the nice dark brown stuff.
When I see a chunk I set it aside for whiskey.

When I cut the lighter white oak it just smells like wood, sometimes almost same as red oak.
When I get a good rich brown piece and cut it it just smells like good whiskey!

Not all white oak is created the same.

:thumbup: good post!
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Re: Whiskey flavor question

Postby zapata » Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:01 am

Ferthy, I assume those pen blanks are kiln dried? I dont know for sure because I've never used kiln dried, but I've read it is best to not use kiln dried oak.
Dont know how much it's the oak vs the sugar shine though, just something to think about.
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Re: Whiskey flavor question

Postby DAD300 » Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:22 am

If your aged liquor seems flat, it could be your cuts are to narrow.

Pure hearts aged forever are probably going to smell and taste flatter than commercial booze.

Heads and tails contain some of the ingredients for esters to develop during aging. The trick is getting the amount right.
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Re: Whiskey flavor question

Postby Ferthy » Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:10 am

Zapata and DAD300 good ideas to. I do think that my cuts are a bit tight. That is one the things I’m trying to learn a bit more about. I can tell the hearts pretty good. But deciding and figuring it how much tails and heads to add is the trick.

I have been thinking about the wood lately to. My pen blanks are pretty much taped out from last season so I will definitely need to buy some more wood. So maybe I will actually get some staves from a JD barrel. Again there are sellers on eBay and that sell them for wood workers usually pretty cheap. So maybe I will do some research find a reputable seller and buy a few maybe some for this winter.
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Re: Whiskey flavor question

Postby Ferthy » Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:30 am

Or maybe a half barrel planter as that is what many others seem to have done in other threads and posts.
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Re: Whiskey flavor question

Postby zapata » Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:42 am

If you're making American style whiskey I'd get some new wood. Used barrel wood does make a fine drop but if you're trying to up the flavor and aroma I'd get some new wood one way or another.
1 thing I've thought about but haven't tried is seeing if one of the well known barrel makers would sell some. Next time I'm in the market I thought I'd give Gibbs a call and see if they would sell some of their seasoned staves, and maybe even give them a char all around for me. Like a barrel but less work :)
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Re: Whiskey flavor question

Postby Bushman » Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:02 am

Some members add life to their barrels by adding wood chips in the barrel. The plus is it allows it to breath better than just adding chips to jars.
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Re: Whiskey flavor question

Postby DuckofDeath » Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:19 am

Barrel mill sells spirals that are ready to go.
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Re: Whiskey flavor question

Postby Ferthy » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:26 am

I do have a small burr oak forest which is a type of white oak. I just moved last year and now that the trees have leaves I was able to positively identify them. So I will be cutting one that looks to be on its way out and give it a couple years to season out side. That should give me enough for quite some time. Just have to find wood to keep me going in the mean time and learn how to make better cuts.
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