Aging for 21 years

Treatment and handling after you are done distilling.

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Aging for 21 years

Postby oakgriff » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:01 am

Hello all,

I have a friend who recently had a child, a daughter to be specific. He very much would like to produce some amount of whiskey to be aged until his daughter is of age.

I really have no idea what method of aging would be best for this situation. I don't have the capabilities to distill huge amounts, so I know we would need to use a smaller barrel. Would a smaller barrel make whisky undrinkable after such a long aging? What kind of char would be most conducive for aging a small batch for that length of time? What are the angel's share losses expected when aging in smaller volumes? Would anything even be left after all that time? What's the longest any of you have aged in small casks and what were the results?

A lot of questions, I know. Mostly what I'm looking for is a reality check. Is this even a good idea, or are there other more feasible options?

Thanks!
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby The Baker » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:53 am

Hi, and good luck.
Sorry I can't help personally, not enough knowledge and I am not looking that far ahead, I would be ninety-eight....

But you will get good advice from others.

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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby pfshine » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:52 am

With the smaller barrels you will need to bottle it after a set period of time dependant on barrel size. Then just put it away and forget about it for 20 years. Char/toast is personal taste, I prefer a light char.
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby bluefish_dist » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:01 pm

A small barrel will completely evaporate in 21 years. It would also be over oaked long before it evaporates.

Best bet is to do as mentioned above bottle it when ready and then store the bottles. A 5 gal barrel might only take 3-6 months for aging.
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby johnsparrow » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:54 pm

bluefish_dist wrote:A small barrel will completely evaporate in 21 years. It would also be over oaked long before it evaporates.

Best bet is to do as mentioned above bottle it when ready and then store the bottles. A 5 gal barrel might only take 3-6 months for aging.


I had thought that there were various changes in the chemical structure of whiskey that can sometimes take years to age out, but, you are suggesting we can make this happen in 3-6 mths by using a smaller barrel? Or is it just making a slightly more refined oak tea?
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby pfshine » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:58 pm

Time is the biggest catalyst. It will continue to get better and better in the bottle.
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby oakgriff » Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:14 pm

Alright, so small barrel aging is out for that amount of time looks like. I think part of the allure for my friend is having a single "vessel" that can remain untouched for that length, while somehow imparting value.

Along those lines, is there a vessel that could be constructed to house some amount of liquor for that long while also aging it? A stainless steel or glass container with a oak lid perhaps?

pfshine, it sounds like you are saying that keeping the liquor in an inert container after aging on oak will still allow for improvement of the beverage to some degree?
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby Saltbush Bill » Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:51 pm

This is roughly what happens over that time, in a smaller barrel the losses would be greater.
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby bluefish_dist » Mon Apr 16, 2018 2:06 pm

For reference I lose about 3 gallons in 6-8 months out of a 15 gallon barrel. 1 into the wood and 2 evaporated.

Aging is a mix of several variables, barrel, climate, time, entry proof, and original distillation/cuts. I am no expert, but all effect the product. For example I changed cooperates and what was taking 2-3 months is now taking 6-8 months. Simply by changing the barrel mfg.

My hypothesis about scotch is that they don't do much for cuts as they have lots of time for the aging to do them. I also think they use used barrels to help prevent over oaking along with cost reasons.

Glass would be your best bet for a small qty and long term storage. Then maybe add a small amount of chips. Not much or you will get too much oak.
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby oakgriff » Mon Apr 16, 2018 2:27 pm

Super helpful infographic Saltbush! Thanks

And bluefish, I was always curious as to what the cuts are like for a product that is going to be aged 10+ years, I like your hypothesis.

Sounds like my friends dream of keeping a small barrel for this long isn't too realistic. I'll talk to him about some other suggestions, hopefully we can settle on something suitable. I'll be sure post back here in a couple decades with the results. :)
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby HDNB » Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:46 pm

bluefish_dist wrote: For example I changed cooperates and what was taking 2-3 months is now taking 6-8 months. Simply by changing the barrel mfg.


is naming names ok with you? that's an interesting observation.
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby The Baker » Mon Apr 16, 2018 5:46 pm

Your barrel will need checking from time to time, and if the level is down you can add a little more (suitable) spirit;
for the sake of the spirit and certainly for the sake of the barrel.
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby zapata » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:14 pm

21 years is too long for any American whiskey, in any barrel IMHO. Even the "best" at that age aren't really good, just novel. 12 years is when old bourbon peaks to my tastes, and that's from a full size barrel.
I wouldn't dream of doing this in glass either. 21 years is a long time waiting for some freak accident to bust that carboy. I'd go with stainless for the bulk of the aging. Maybe start in a small barrel, then move to stainless when the oak level is right, maybe a tiny amount of oak in the stainless for the ling haul, like 1 domino per 5 gallons.

You can get stainless beer kegs in 1, 2.5, 3, 5, 5.25, 7.5, and 15.5 gallons. So whatever scale you're working with, there's your vessel. I'd replace the seals on any keg with silicone. And preferably wrap them in PTFE tape. Open the keg and air it out once a year, presumably around her birthday. He can save the barrel for something. "Hey, remember that wooden piggy bank you had as a child, yeah, this whiskey was aged in that first, happy 21st".
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby Swedish Pride » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:56 pm

Ive done the same for my young fella, made the mash the days he was born, he's coming up to 3 now, only 15 yrs to go...
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby bluefish_dist » Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:41 am

To answer the question on which barrel gave faster oaking, I will give names, but don't take this as one is better than the other. While I have not done a lot of barrel aging I have come to the conclusion that you have to match oaking and aging. What I mean by this is quicker oaking can be good for a spirit that had tighter cuts going into the barrel and doesn't need as much time in the barrel to get smooth. A really rough bold spirit may be better in a slower oaking barrel so that you can leave it in longer and not be over oaked. I have used barrels from McGinnis wood products and Gibbs brother cooperage. I also have one on order from the barrel mill. All #3 char.

I started with McGinnis wood products barrels and they oak quickly. The second cooperage was Gibbs brothers and their barrels oak slower. I am using 15 gal barrels #3 char. My rum had picked up plenty of oak in 3 months in the McGinnis and the Gibbs are taking twice as long. Is one better, hard to say. Ultimately the Gibbs might be better since it can be on oak longer and not be over oaked. For time to market, the McGinnis is better.

I tried a second use on a couple of the McGinnis and the time to pick up oak is 2-3 times as long. Again this suggests that second or third use barrels may be better for spirits that need a lot of time on oak.
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby WIski » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:05 am

I've had similar results with the Gibbs compared to Barrel Mill. I have a Bourbon in a Gibbs for over a year and it still is doing fine. I had to pull the Bourbon from the Barrel Mill keg at about 5-6 months fully oaked to my tastes. Both brands have great flavor. I spoke with the folks at Gibbs and toured the Barrel Mill factory which revealed some differences. The wood on the Barrel Mill kegs is thicker and are fully toasted and charred including the heads. The Gibbs barrels do not have any toasting or char on their barrel heads. This makes a difference. Again, as Bluefish mentioned, this is not a promotion of either brand just stating observations. They both are producing very tasty drop. :eugeek:
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby zapata » Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:32 am

what size barrels are you using wiski?
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby WIski » Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:37 am

Zapata wrote;
what size barrels are you using wiski?


I have 5 gallon in Gibbs and 5 & 10 gallon in Barrel Mill.
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby Antler24 » Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:32 pm

I'd age it in 1gallon glass jugs if it were me. Use a surface area of oak similar to that of a full size barrel. Leave it loosely capped for a couple years and then cap it with the oak left in there. Open once in a while to let it breath. I'd do two jugs, identical batches, and use one to sample from every once in a while to judge the progress.
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby TDick » Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:37 pm

oakgriff wrote:Hello all,

I have a friend who recently had a child, a daughter to be specific. He very much would like to produce some amount of whiskey to be aged until his daughter is of age.
A lot of questions, I know. Mostly what I'm looking for is a reality check. Is this even a good idea, or are there other more feasible options?

Thanks!

I am still a noob.
I would think make enough to try several ways.
You could fill the 10 gallon barrel and as the angels get their share, top it off.
Or as someone suggested, put it in a jar with enough oak to keep the ratio the same as a commercial barrel.
That would allow you to age it longer because many "experts" say some parts of the aging just take time.

Only reason I am adding my one cent worth. I heard an interview with I think it was Fred Noe at Jim Beam.
His OPINION is that bourbon shouldn't be aged over 12 years because the oak takes over and ruins the taste.

Even though I just got into this, I'm thinking of doing the same for my sons until their weddings.
They just got out of college but from the looks of things, I have PLENTY of time.
Good luck.
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby 6 Row Joe » Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:59 pm

I have used 1/4 cup of American white oak chips in quart jars for a couple weeks or so for a smooth finish and great color.
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby nerdybrewer » Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:27 pm

If the barrel is important to him then suggest after aging the spirit and transferring to whatever he uses long term he fill that barrel with water and check on it from time to time.
Then when the time is nigh empty it and put the spirit back in, for presentation alone that can't be beat.

And to whoever said Scotch is put away dirty - you're right.
"Let time and oak sort it out"
Cranky's spoonfeeding:
http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=52975

Time and Oak will sort it out.
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby 6 Row Joe » Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:47 pm

nerdybrewer wrote:
And to whoever said Scotch is put away dirty - you're right.
"Let time and oak sort it out"


Love it! Where's my "like" button!
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby Bvritr » Thu Apr 19, 2018 1:30 am

I aged a few quarts as I usually do and bottled one for my daughter that her and I mashed up and ran together. She named it 'You and Me" and drew up a label I printed. Plans are to enjoy it on her 18th birthday together, until then it sits in the closet.
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby Kareltje » Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:15 am

oakgriff wrote:Alright, so small barrel aging is out for that amount of time looks like. I think part of the allure for my friend is having a single "vessel" that can remain untouched for that length, while somehow imparting value.

Along those lines, is there a vessel that could be constructed to house some amount of liquor for that long while also aging it? A stainless steel or glass container with a oak lid perhaps?

pfshine, it sounds like you are saying that keeping the liquor in an inert container after aging on oak will still allow for improvement of the beverage to some degree?

Not long ago I read about a German distillery that ages in earthenware vessels. And there was a link to a factory of that kind of vessels. Very hot baked earthenware and/or well glazed. Can not find it again, but the factory claimed that the drink got smoother and more balanced without causing drunken angels.

Found it: Preussische Spirituosen Manufaktur in Berlin. Also a museum.
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby Nabatean » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:06 am

Hi there

Just like the baker, I will be long death when you drink that nectar. :-)

In Georgia (caucasus) they use qvevrni to make wine. Stored underground and since the qvevrni is porous, they coat the inside with beeswax.
A kind of similar method is used in Lebannon with some Arak.

Anyway, here my 2 cents.

Coat a small new oak barrel on the outside with beeswax. Fill the barrel with spirit. Bury the barrel in dry white sand in your cellar.
Check yearly.

Or get a qvevri from Georgia and bury it in your cellar.
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby oakgriff » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:24 am

Thanks for all the suggestions!

I do like the idea of coating the outside of the barrel in beeswax, I'd love to experiment with that. I'll talk to my friend and see what he thinks about some of y'alls solutions.

I'll check out the info on that german distillery too
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby zed255 » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:30 am

Have you looked at Badmotivator's "Bain Marie Barrel' thread?

https://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=60032
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby oakgriff » Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:36 pm

I did take a look through that thread a while ago, before my friend had his request.

If you know, does he mention how long he plans to keep the whiskey stored?
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Re: Aging for 21 years

Postby Badmotivator » Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:48 pm

Shoot, maybe I should just jump in here. :)

I am hoping to send stuff into the far future. I have a whole bunch of rum barrels. Some will get aged for a long time (5 years? 10?) and others will get partially bled and refilled like a solera. I have a few bourbon barrels that I hope to age for 7 or more. I keep trying to add more barrels and I bide my time by drinking beer. :)

The evidence I have so far supports the idea that barrels of this kind are suitable for long-term aging.
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