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View Full Version : Aging Your Own in a Minature Barrel



brewcrew
01-30-2012, 10:41
I was given a 1 liter charred oak barrel by a friend in my homebrew club. I was thinking of starting out with some bourbon in the barrel but am having a hard time deciding what.

Has anyone tried this?

What would you start with?

I originally thought of putting something simple in like Maker's Mark to see what differences would occur with some extra age in a barrel. Then I thought maybe instead I would get a bottom shelf brand and see if it gets any better with additional age. Then I thought maybe some "white dog" they sell would be a nice experiment to develop my own private bourbon. I assume the time in the barrel would be less due to greater contact area for such a small sample.

Any ideas or suggestions?

callmeox
01-30-2012, 11:07
If you add bourbon to the barrel you won't get a bourbon that has been aged more...you will get a woodier bourbon...and pretty quickly at that.

I wouldnt waste white dog on the experiment since it needs more than just exposure to wood to mature. Try putting in something that you think would improve with the addition of oak flavors and keep a close eye on it.

Bourbon Boiler
01-30-2012, 16:50
See here for a small reference:

http://straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16346

Enoch
01-31-2012, 08:08
I tried this using a 5 liter barrel. Placed 5 liters of Evan Williams BIB in it and left it 30 days. I now have 4.9 liters of VERY strong, pine-like flavored nasty bourbon.

c2walker
01-31-2012, 09:24
I tried this using a 5 liter barrel. Placed 5 liters of Evan Williams BIB in it and left it 30 days. I now have 4.9 liters of VERY strong, pine-like flavored nasty bourbon.

My experiment was a failure as well, but I just left the whiskey in the barrel...guests seem to get a kick out of pouring straight from the barrel and when covered up with coke it doesn't really matter how it tastes. So, good tasting bourbon: Fail. Novelty: Win.

Enoch
01-31-2012, 14:27
My experiment was a failure as well, but I just left the whiskey in the barrel...guests seem to get a kick out of pouring straight from the barrel and when covered up with coke it doesn't really matter how it tastes. So, good tasting bourbon: Fail. Novelty: Win.


Do you allow the bourbon to get stronger and stronger.

I have thought about finding a way to seal the inside of the barrel with a resin or something and do the same but haven't found an easy way to do it yet.

wadewood
01-31-2012, 15:05
I ruined some WT and then tried some 4Roses YL with same result. Thinking I might try aging soy sauce.

toddinjax
02-01-2012, 02:53
Yeah, I think you have to have some level of trust that the folks making bourbon know what they're doing...when they make a bourbon.

Happyhour24x7
02-03-2012, 03:26
I have a couple of friends who have used small barrel to age manhattans and have them " on tap". Worked pretty well in my opinion, although one of them (actually a local bar) had to bottle them after a certain point when they started to overage. Going to try that myself shortly. Another friend tried it with JD and Jameson- he figured both were good but could use some oomph. The JD turned out ok, but the Jameson was ruined.

Bourbon Boiler
02-04-2012, 13:58
I actually have some good news in this thread. In the old one I was following (among others) some 51/49 corn/wheat from the Grand Traverse Distillery since last summer. I pulled the remains of it today, and I have to say I really enjoyed the taste of what came out.

It was very dark, the color of a dark supermarket brand syrup. The nose wasn't anything remarkable, just a typical bourbon. The mouthfeel was heavy and viscous, but short of "chewy". It's one of those where you can take a very small sip, but still get a very strong flavor.

The initial flavor was very good, and more complex than it had been through the aging process. I picked up notes of citrus, cinnamon, and tobacco. The finish was long, strong, and very heavily loaded with oak.

Basically I spent $60 and 6 months making a product that I would buy any day for $35 to enjoy later that night. But as I remind myself, it's more about the journey than the destination.

silverfish
02-04-2012, 16:19
Basically I spent $60 and 6 months making a product that I would buy any day for $35 to enjoy later that night. But as I remind myself, it's more about the journey than the destination.

Yeah, that about sums it up regarding the smaller home barrel projects.
Pretty much hit or miss - if you don't mind shelling out some dough and
waiting a while, maybe it'll turn out not half-bad.

smokinjoe
02-04-2012, 16:32
I actually have some good news in this thread. In the old one I was following (among others) some 51/49 corn/wheat from the Grand Traverse Distillery since last summer. I pulled the remains of it today, and I have to say I really enjoyed the taste of what came out.

It was very dark, the color of a dark supermarket brand syrup. The nose wasn't anything remarkable, just a typical bourbon. The mouthfeel was heavy and viscous, but short of "chewy". It's one of those where you can take a very small sip, but still get a very strong flavor.

The initial flavor was very good, and more complex than it had been through the aging process. I picked up notes of citrus, cinnamon, and tobacco. The finish was long, strong, and very heavily loaded with oak.

Basically I spent $60 and 6 months making a product that I would buy any day
for $35 to enjoy later that night. But as I remind myself, it's more about the
journey than the destination.

Bravo, BB! 10 bucks a month for some fun. Sounds like a deal to me.
:toast:

Bourbon Boiler
02-04-2012, 18:28
I have a couple of friends who have used small barrel to age manhattans and have them " on tap". Worked pretty well in my opinion, although one of them (actually a local bar) had to bottle them after a certain point when they started to overage.

Were the Manhattans completely made and aging in the barrel? I was considering this, figuring that all of the individual ingreedients are commonly barrel aged anyway. My hesitation was with the bitters, and whether they should have been added in the barrel or upon pouring.

Happyhour24x7
02-05-2012, 06:09
BB, I will have to check for you and let you know. I know bitters were not added to my glass when one was poured for me. I seem to remember one of them saying that the bitters were in there, but I'd rather be sure. Stay tuned.

Bourbon Boiler
02-05-2012, 14:27
Bravo, BB! 10 bucks a month for some fun. Sounds like a deal to me.
:toast:

Thanks Joe. Put that way, it is a deal. One thing I'm glad I did was save about 2 ounces from every 2-3 weeks (give or take, there's a gap or two in there) so I can go back and do a vertical tasting on it later.

Josh
02-06-2012, 10:02
I did a similar thing with my 5 liter barrel and distillate from GTD. The first fill was not great but not terrible either. For the second fill I put some BT White Dag in there and it turned out much better. The third fill, peated Malt from GTD, was even better, but I left it in a tad too long. I am currently trying to decide whether to cut it up for smoker chips or try something else in there. Knob Creek Single Barrel with a peated cask finish might be interesting!

brewcrew
02-10-2012, 17:19
Thanks for the info!

BB - Thanks for the link to the other threads. I did a search before i posted and didn't find anything. You will have to update us on the vertical. Seems like there were regular changes during the aging process based on your other updates.

Bourbon Boiler
02-18-2012, 08:25
I barreled a mix of VOB, Vermouth, Brandy, and Bitters today in the barrel previously used for the wheated bourbon. I don't plan to let this sit too long, since everything has already aged at least to the minimum already. I do enjoy the thought of offering someone a Manhattan directly from the barrel.