View Full Version : Different barrel proofs

12-17-2011, 17:18
My friend and I were having a conversation. In two whiskies with different proofs in the barrel- one with 110 and the other 125- would the higher proof have more grain and yeast flavors, or would the higher proof strip all flavors?

Will more "spirit" flavor come through in the higher proof offering (grain, yeast) in addition to the higher alcohol? Are there any flavors other than alcohol that would be more prevalant in the higher proof offering?

B.B. Babington
12-17-2011, 21:07
Are you asking about same distillate aged in different barrels resulting in different barrel proofs?

12-17-2011, 21:42
If it is the same distillate, just different entry proofs, the only difference should come from the different concentrations of alcohol/water acting as a solvent on the barrel charr/red layer. Most folks seem to think 60% is optimal.

The only way to get more grain flavors would be to distill it to a lesser proof or use a pot still, which, because of its relative inefficiency compared to a continuous still, results in more cogeners at any given distilling out proof. (I think)

Your question is confusing.

12-18-2011, 09:20
In a recent Whisky Cast episode (341) Woodford Reserve's Chris Morris mentioned when filling "used" barrels for this years masters collection they used a lower ABV. The context seemed to indicate that the lower ABV of the distillate would help pull more flavors out of the barrel. I had hoped to ask Chris some follow ups but he was a no show at the NY Whisky Fest.

12-18-2011, 13:03
Lets start with the premise that this is the same whiskey off the still.

For the sake of the discussion we'll say 135 proof off the still.

For the 125 proof you'll be diluting by 8%

For the 110 proof you'll be diluting by ~23%

So right there you're talking about an unaged spirit starting with only 83% of the starting flavors of the higher proof whiskey. (77% / 92% = 83%)

Less also work under the premise that barrel flavor extraction is a direct, linear result of the amount of H2O in the whiskey.:skep:

The 110 would extract flavor from the barrel ~13% faster

Taking these assumptions:

110 proof = lower grain/yeast flavors, increased wood flavors.

125 proof = higher grain/yeast flavors, decreased wood flavors.

Now of course you can throw all this out the window once you lower distillation proofs to match barreling proofs.

Lower distillation proof + lower barreling proof = more flavor.:cool:

12-18-2011, 17:06
Water is the universal solvent. Water is also where the flavor 'goes.' One might assume alcohol is a better solvent than water, and it probably is for some things, but lower entry proof seems to result in more extraction from the wood because there's more water relative to alcohol. Since a used barrel is lacking in substances to extract, using a lower entry proof is a way to increase extraction of what there is.

12-18-2011, 18:00
right on, what they said.