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View Full Version : weak, young SW ... what to do?



LikeItWasSodaPop
06-01-2011, 11:22
I came across a stash of 1.75 L 80 proof Old Fitz. They've got faux tax stamps (no tamper resistant caps ... which sort of weirded me out upon opening them!) and contain, from what I can gather perusing this forum, SW juice. I'll post some photos when I can.

The store had them for $12 (!!!), and while I'm pretty jazzed about the find, I'm also a bit disappointed: why oh why couldn't it be the BIB version? This forum has taught me to turn up my nose at watered-down 80 proof bourbons. It does taste good, if by "good" you mean, "what good bourbon tastes like after you put too many ice cubes in and let them melt."

So I'm thinking of getting a mini barrel and dumping my bottles in. Keep it in a nice warm place to get the angels lapping up their share and add some wood influence. I live in Chicago where we have some pretty wild temperature fluctuations. Can keep it up in the attic this summer, then bring it down to the basement in the winter. With any luck, after time, I'll have some higher-proof and older SW.

Is this experiment worth trying? It's about $50 for the mini barrel and I only paid $24 for the bourbon. So I'd end up spending about what I typically spend on a higher-end bottle. And even some of those turn out to be duds. Thoughts?

wadewood
06-01-2011, 13:18
The only way you will increase the proof is if you also add something with higher proof or something like Everclear. The proof is not going to magically increase by dumping it in barrel.

Parkersback
06-01-2011, 13:26
There's a few threads chronicling re-barreling. One that comes to mine is Birdman's. IIRC, most attempts at re-barreling by SB'ers, have not gone all that well, but I might be mistaken.

My suggestion to you, if you find the bourbon unpalatable as is: vat the existing 80 proof bourbon with ORVW 10/107, or better yet, some WLW, the latest year's proof being something like 135. Both of those whiskeys are part of the same family tree. Will it taste just like Old Fitz BIB? I have no idea. Will it taste good? I would expect so.

I have been doing something similar with my WLW, adding a bit of Weller 12 to it to turn down the heat, or adding a splash of WLW to the Weller to turn it up.

LikeItWasSodaPop
06-01-2011, 13:56
I stupidly (?) thought that water evaporates in the barrel, hence my assumption that re-barreling would help. I read the Birdman thread and still can't make heads or tails of the science there. But I think the vatting suggestions are the best idea. It's nice stuff, just too weak for my tastes. I'm sure it will be great "seasoned" with some WLW or Stagg or Pappy 15 or other higher proof offerings that I have on hand.

unclebunk
06-01-2011, 14:20
I stupidly (?) thought that water evaporates in the barrel, hence my assumption that re-barreling would help. I read the Birdman thread and still can't make heads or tails of the science there. But I think the vatting suggestions are the best idea. It's nice stuff, just too weak for my tastes. I'm sure it will be great "seasoned" with some WLW or Stagg or Pappy 15 or other higher proof offerings that I have on hand.

I think that's the best way forward. Any of those that you mentioned will do. Try them all and compare your results!

wadewood
06-01-2011, 20:07
I stupidly (?) thought that water evaporates in the barrel, hence my assumption that re-barreling would help.

not stupid at all. Water and alcohol evaporates from barrels. In the small barrels we are talking about, your proof will not change much. In Ky, proofs often go down over the years, although there are exceptions.

kickert
06-01-2011, 20:14
If you want to lower the proof with evaporation you need to keep it in a hot, dry environment. It all has to do with the osmosis through a semi-permeable membrane. As noted, both alcohol and water evaporate, but if it is humid, the water evaporates slower than if it were dry. However, the lower the starting proof, the more likely it is to raise in proof.

BUT... keep in mind that mini-barrels age things different. The longest you would want to keep new make in a new charred 5 gallon is about 120 days. So with a mini and pre-aged bourbon, you wouldn't want to go much more than a month or two at the most I would think.

Gillman
06-01-2011, 20:26
Personally I would drink it as is. The profile of the 80 proof Fitzgerald was excellent, nutty and sweet, and I would save it for occasions when you don't want extra strength, after dinner say.

However, if you are determined to do something to it, I would not "re-barrel". You are unlikely to get good results that way.

I suggest you mingle it with Weller 107 2:1 which will bring it close to about 90 proof. Or with current Fitzgerald BIB. Or with W.L. Weller where, using 50/50, you will get it to about 100 proof.

That way, some of the sweetness and character of the DSP 16 Fitz is preserved but "freshened" and boosted by a current wheat-recipe bourbon. It won't be bad, for sure.

Gary

T Comp
06-01-2011, 21:17
Personally I would drink it as is. The profile of the 80 proof Fitzgerald was excellent, nutty and sweet, and I would save it for occasions when you don't want extra strength, after dinner say.

However, if you are determined to do something to it, I would not "re-barrel". You are unlikely to get good results that way.

I suggest you mingle it with Weller 107 2:1 which will bring it close to about 90 proof. Or with current Fitzgerald BIB. Or with W.L. Weller where, using 50/50, you will get it to about 100 proof.

That way, some of the sweetness and character of the DSP 16 Fitz is preserved but "freshened" and boosted by a current wheat-recipe bourbon. It won't be bad, for sure.

Gary

I've a few SW OF Primes myself and mostly drink as is but on occasion vat as above. My favorite bourbons are the one that are closest to barrel proof (though I always bring them down to at least 100 proof) but enjoy the diversity of some 80 proofers. No different than my love for big heavy red wines but still crave a rose or pinot or reisling at times. The sweetness of the classic SW profile, that Gary alludes to, makes it perfect as a "digestif" similar to cognacs and brandies, which often don't exceed 80 proof either. Now that being said, I probably still want a finale of something just a tad stronger which is amazing as to how my tastes have now changed too.

StraightBoston
06-01-2011, 21:36
Personally I would drink it as is. The profile of the 80 proof Fitzgerald was excellent, nutty and sweet, and I would save it for occasions when you don't want extra strength, after dinner say.

However, if you are determined to do something to it, I would not "re-barrel". You are unlikely to get good results that way.

I suggest you mingle it with Weller 107 2:1 which will bring it close to about 90 proof. Or with current Fitzgerald BIB. Or with W.L. Weller where, using 50/50, you will get it to about 100 proof.

That way, some of the sweetness and character of the DSP 16 Fitz is preserved but "freshened" and boosted by a current wheat-recipe bourbon. It won't be bad, for sure.

Gary

I really like Gary's 2:1 with Old Weller Antique recipe -- that was my initial thought (though I like his recommendation to drink it anyway even better!)

LikeItWasSodaPop
06-01-2011, 21:46
I expected brilliant responses, and I got 'em. I'll try the vattings suggested and perhaps a few others and report back!

gblick
06-02-2011, 08:14
I often vat my old dusty Prime/80 with barrel-proofs like WLW and even GTS. But IMO another thing that works very well with the lower proofs is to just take BIGGER sips.

BourbonKiller
06-02-2011, 13:19
I think of 80 proof whiskeys as primer/gateway whiskeys. By that I mean I will frequently choose a lower proof whiskey as my first couple of pours since I am typically going to make it disappear rather fast.

mosugoji64
06-02-2011, 23:10
I think of 80 proof whiskeys as primer/gateway whiskeys. By that I mean I will frequently choose a lower proof whiskey as my first couple of pours since I am typically going to make it disappear rather fast.

It's funny how many of us now think that 80 proof is nothing. But I fondly remember my 80 proof days when I could enjoy several pours without worry. Now the higher proof stuff sneaks up on me and knocks me on my ass! :lol:

mrviognier
06-03-2011, 05:02
I dunno...call me a purist, but I'm in the camp that says "don't F with it". You've got yourself some pretty special Bourbon there...a piece of history in a bottle. As you have written, you like the flavors of the juice, but the proof is not as high as that which you normally drink. Then don't make it your normal drink. Drink it when you're feeling nostalgic, and want to savor a glass of from one of the most-storied distilleries in all of Bourbondom.

To my way of thinking, vatting your find with other Bourbons is tantamount to buying a painting by a master and adding some flourishes with your own paintbrush. You bought these bottles because you knew just how special they were...enjoy them as is.

MacinJosh
06-03-2011, 07:43
Likeitwassodapop,

How can you be certain the Old Fitzgerald you have is SW juice? I've recently been doing A LOT of digging on this topic (DSP, UPC codes, glass etching dates, licenses and operating permits, etc.) and plan on posting my findings/questions in another thread for the "dusty experts" to mull over. I'm just curious which guidelines you are using to identify your bottle as SW juice?


Josh

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