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emr454
10-20-2008, 13:23
After searching and reading about some folks re-barreling whiskey, I was thinking of doing the same with toasted oak chips that can be found in home-brew shops. If I was to buy, say, Ten High or Early Times and add oak chips in an attempt to "add age" to them, should medium or heavy toast chips be used? I know I could just pay a few bucks more for good bourbon, but I'm a DIY'er and curious to know if this will work. Thanks.

Eric

HipFlask
10-20-2008, 14:59
It should change or add flavor much like inserting candy canes adds to or changes the flavor. But I simply adding wood chips to a bottle will not cause it to age. In a barrel that is stored in a open air rickhouse the whiskey ages do in part to the changing seasons. The barrel sucks whiskey into the wood and pushes it back out with the temprature changes from summer to winter. I don't believe that putting wood chips into a bottle that is stored in your cabinet would age very much because it doesn't have this breathing process. You can buy little mini barrels and then store it in a wood shed or garage that would get you the aging experiment you are looking for. I'll post back if I find the barrel website.

Stu
10-20-2008, 15:36
Sorry, Hipflask, I disagree. I've done it twice. I didn't add chips that were store bought, but I had a slat from an old Jim Barrel and i cut off a few thin strips, cut the dirty outside of the barrel off, and toasted them with an acetylene torch. I put the strips in a bottle of Wasmunds (god awful whiskey) I left them there in my garage for five months. The whiskey definitely changed flavor, but not enough to be drinkable. I put the bottle back in my garage and will leave it there until the Sampler. If you come, you can taste it along with some unaltered Wasmunds and I'm sure you'll see a difference. The other experiment was a bottle of homemade pillage from Islay. It was leftovers from nosings at every distillery on Islay at last years Feis Ile. It was good malt whisky to start with, but 5 months in wood made it better. It really seemed to marry the flavors. Unfortunately, I left it in there too long. I wish I had checked it at three or four months. It was too woody, but still delicious. The real pillage is done for charity and a "pirate ship" visits every distillery on Islay and takes a portion of a honey barrel and marry them in an oak barrel for a month. It sold for 500lb/bottle. The owner of the B&B where I stayed gave me a dram and it was OUTSTANDING! He grows barley for Bruichladdich and received two bottles for a gift. At least mine was affordable.

Eric, my advise would be to check it at least once a month to ensure you don't overpower it with wood.

p.s. Dougdog dd a similar experiment with great results.

Dr. François
10-20-2008, 20:13
I had marginal success with my experiment.

You can see the results here:

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9144

BTW, I recommend oven toasting the wood instead of charring.

callmeox
10-20-2008, 20:17
What I learned at KBF:

Beware of Stu when he's carrying he before and after Wasmunds. :grin:

The experiment made awful tasting whiskey into marginally awful tasting whiskey.

Phischy
10-20-2008, 21:26
As per oaking beer, oaking a bad beer means you'll have an oaked bad beer. Sort of the thought of "No matter how much you polish a turd, it's still a turd."

I can imagine that re-oaking a whiskey/bourbon won't change the underlying product.

emr454
10-21-2008, 05:38
Thanks for your input.

I wasnt expecting to make cheap bourbon into top-shelf bourbon, just thought it might make it taste a little better. I'm trying it with cheap rum too. Hopefully it wont smell like denatured alcohol anymore.

Eric

DrinkyBanjo
10-21-2008, 07:15
As per oaking beer, oaking a bad beer means you'll have an oaked bad beer. Sort of the thought of "No matter how much you polish a turd, it's still a turd."

I can imagine that re-oaking a whiskey/bourbon won't change the underlying product.

But on the other hand oaking a good beer appears to make a better beer as in Oak Aged Yeti Stout and the others in the "Oak Aged" series from some of the better brewers. No?

Dr. François
10-21-2008, 07:35
With my experiment, I simply couldn't drink the Beam Rye. It was terrible. Any improvement was better than the product I bought. The oak treatment made the rye drinkable. I still wouldn't pour it on a daily basis, but I'm at least able to drink it now.

HipFlask
10-21-2008, 17:16
Stu, I think you need to reread my comments on this subject. I actually said that putting wood chips into a bottle of whiskey will in fact change the flavor of the whiskey. Just like putting candy canes, grass clippings or maple syrup will change the flavor of the whiskey. But doing this will not "add age". emr454's question was to "add oak chips in an attempt to "add age". In order to "add age" he would need to expose the whiskey to temperature/humidiy swings like you would get if you stuck it in the garage; and preferably in a vessel that can breathe such as a small chared oak barrel that you can purchase online. It sounds like this is exactly what you did in your second example where you said "It was good malt whisky to start with, but 5 months in wood made it better ". The point to all of this is we actually don't disagree all that much all.