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MJL
12-17-2011, 13:58
While reading one of the Whisky magazines this month I noticed an article on the possibility of bottle aging of whiskies. I can see how an opened bottle of spirits, exposed to air might interact with elements in the air to produce differing flavors. I can even see how alcohol can escape past an older cork to lower a proof level after a number of years. I can see how light, heat or cold might alter flavors and colors in whiskys. What I cannot see is how a sanatized bottle, properly sealed, filled with virgin spirit can possibly allow variables inside that would induce continued aging inside a glass container.

MarkEdwards
12-17-2011, 14:07
Same for bottle aging of ales. How does that work?

MJL
12-17-2011, 14:31
When I was homebrewing beers I came to understand that the bottle contents of traditional beers were no where as shelf stable as most store bought beers. Store bought beers, in the USA are usually pasteurized and thus any yeasts in the bottle will be killed off. Traditional beers are bottled with living yeasts that are used to produce a last bloom of carbon dioxide to seal the cap onto the bottle. I can see how those living yeasts can survive long enough to continue to produce changes as long as they have conditions to do so. Since whiskies are distilled any yeasts are killed off in that distillation. Now there is always a chance of some sort of yeast surviving in the high alcohol environment of the barrel and then making it into the bottle but some one will have to show me those yeasts that can survive the 100+ proof of a barrel or even the inside of a whisky bottle.

Flyfish
12-17-2011, 15:01
As a home brewer, it is my understanding that beer is a metaphor for ecology; that is, the yeast continues producing alcohol and carbon dioxide until it produces so much that it dies in its own by-products. The more complex ales continue to change over time because there are flavor ingredients that evolve in the bottle. This does not happen when the product is distilled, as in the case of spirits. Bourbon picks up a relatively high percentage of its flavor from contact with the barrel. Beer, on the other hand, can not penetrate glass and pull additional flavors from it. The same principle applies to bourbon. Once it is in the bottle, it can no longer penetrate and draw flavors from its container. Once bottled, whatever it is, it is.

Rockefeller
12-29-2011, 09:58
New member here
(http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16944)

I've noticed that my bottle of bourbon (example: ORVW10/107) once opened, evolves quite quickly compared to my open bottles of scotches. Is there a reason for the difference in how quickly air effects the taste of bourbon vs. scotch or is this an isolated incident?

sailor22
12-29-2011, 10:37
Don't know about the Scotch but the example you mentioned, ORVW 10/107, is one I have noticed changes quite a bit after it is about half empty and sits for some period of time.

Rockefeller
12-29-2011, 10:47
Don't know about the Scotch but the example you mentioned, ORVW 10/107, is one I have noticed changes quite a bit after it is about half empty and sits for some period of time.

Thanks, good to know. When I first opened the bottle, I thought it was just ok. But after a few revisits, it really rounded out for me and gained tremendous flavor.

BourbonBaron
12-29-2011, 10:52
Thanks, good to know. When I first opened the bottle, I thought it was just ok. But after a few revisits, it really rounded out for me and gained tremendous flavor.

Many here will tell you (and I will agree wholeheartedly) that some air time does a lot of good for most any wheated variety of bourbon. I have been saving empty bottles so that I can pour some of my new stuff into them so that both bottles get some air time more quickly.

Zanaspus
12-29-2011, 12:26
I'm not sure either way, but this (a bit down the page)

http://www.maltmaniacs.org/malt-111.html#09-02

is an interesting read on the subject.

MJL
12-30-2011, 05:15
Interesting article. I have also wondered if the oils and flavoring elements might not further combine and create more complex new flavors; albeit on a very small level yet perceptible level, inside the bottle.

When my gradmother died, in 1991, she left behind a number of bottles of bourbon and scotch dating back to the pre-prohibition era into the 1990s. We drank those bottles and found brands like J&B blended Scotch out of an early 1940s era bottle to be actually terrible when compared to 1990s era J&B. We found sediment on the bottom of the 1940s J&B and the flavors were, well lacking and flat. If I did not know any better I would say that 50 years of aging had allowed some essence to age beyond what the blender had intended. It has been awhile but my memory was that the cork stoppers were intact on that bottle.

As far as giving air to improve bourbons I have thought about this too. I wonder if there are not elements in whiskies that are masked by alcohol. Allowing a certain amount of the alcohol to escape into the atmoshphere then allows the nose to perceive these elements.

tmckenzie
12-30-2011, 05:29
I know for a fact white goods like fruit brandy and corn whiskey will change in the bottle. But it normally happens for a bout the first 6 months then slows down a lot. The corn mellows and sofetns some, and the fruit flavors in the brandy become more pronounced.

macdeffe
12-30-2011, 15:34
Its well known that whisky changes after the bottle is opened. Usual for the better, but dregs can loose flavour.

OBE, old bottle effect is another discussion and its somehow theoretical as the product that was but in the bottle years ago might not be similar to what they put in the same brands today

Personally I think that whiskeys from very old bottles (20+, if not 30+) often seem to have lost its spirit burn and be more smooth and less woody, but I can only speak from few examples

I also think this has happened for AH Hirsch which has been stored for at least 1 decade on stainless steel tanks, but not to the same degree as for some 70's and early 80's bourbons I have tasted

Steffen