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View Full Version : What accounts for bourbons of same proof having such big differences in heat/burn?



BB Slim
06-03-2013, 21:02
I had a 4R1B last night that was rich, spicy, sweet and smooth with minimal heat and burn at 50% abv. Tonight I am having an OFBB which has nice spice and richness but considerably more heat and burn than the 4R1B at 49% abv. I just assumed the alcohol content had the largest influence on the heat and burn. This tasting suggests I am mistaken and am curious what factors besides alcohol content contribute to the expression of heat and burn in bourbon?

Bmac
06-04-2013, 00:05
My understanding is that it starts with how good or bad the new make is. If it was poorly distilled it will have quite a bit of bite/burn. Also, age plays a role. The younger the whiskey the more bite as well. FR ages their SB at 9 years while OFBB is 4 years. Also, I have heard a few times that OFBB is quite harsh. I can't find it here in Texas, so I haven't been able to test that theory.

Jwilly019
06-04-2013, 00:16
My understanding is that it starts with how good or bad the new make is. If it was poorly distilled it will have quite a bit of bite/burn. Also, age plays a role. The younger the whiskey the more bite as well. FR ages their SB at 9 years while OFBB is 4 years. Also, I have heard a few times that OFBB is quite harsh. I can't find it here in Texas, so I haven't been able to test that theory.

OFBB is 4 years old? I don't have a bottle of the 2012 release, but my bottles of the 2010 and 2011 are both 12 years old.

smknjoe
06-04-2013, 00:22
OFBB = Old Forester Birthday Bourbon ~96 proof about 10-13yr.
OFBIB = Old Forester Bottled in Bond which is now Signature 100 proof or either Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond 100 proof both are 4yr. if I'm not mistaken.

Bmac
06-04-2013, 00:31
OFBB = Old Forester Birthday Bourbon ~96 proof about 10-13yr.
OFBIB = Old Forester Bottled in Bond which is now Signature 100 proof or either Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond 100 proof both are 4yr. if I'm not mistaken.

Aw snap. I got confused between OFBB and OFBIB. So.....disregard my comparison.

Therefore I will say if it still burns at that age (12 - 15) it's probably not quality distillation -__-

Bmac
06-04-2013, 00:32
OFBB is 4 years old? I don't have a bottle of the 2012 release, but my bottles of the 2010 and 2011 are both 12 years old.

Yeah, looks like I goofed up with the acronyms.

darylld911
06-04-2013, 04:14
Just to hazard a guess (not sure if anyone has any ideas of how to test this theory amongst all of the other variables!), but would entry proof make a difference? I would think that something going in at 125 proof versus 110 proof would pick up "more" in the same period of time (although that may not have squat to do with burn). I've always had the same basic assumption. In fact, when blind tasting to guess what something is, I'll compare it to some BIB just to see how it feels in comparison.

Brisko
06-04-2013, 07:33
There's a lot more to "burn" than alcohol. Wood tannins, for instance.

tanstaafl2
06-04-2013, 10:12
There's a lot more to "burn" than alcohol. Wood tannins, for instance.

Not to mention your own palate from night to night and what else you may have consumed recently!

sailor22
06-04-2013, 10:46
A lot of the sensation of "burn" comes from the amount of heads and tails present. Not sure that the alcohol itself has a lot of "burn" taste. I have tasted white dog fresh from the still that had no burn at all.

Balcones Winston
06-05-2013, 11:40
I asked Chip for an answer. It was way over my head and he was using words I can't even spell. But the gist is that burn/heat is caused by solvents in your distillate that are a specific group of non-ethanol alcohols. They are always present in whiskey, but the size and shape of your still and speed of your distillation will produce them in different concentrations.

black mamba
06-05-2013, 15:14
I always thought ER to be extremely hot for a 90 proofer (BT mashbill #1).
ETL at the same 90 proof is never hot (BT mashbill #2).

Balcones Winston
06-06-2013, 10:49
I always thought ER to be extremely hot for a 90 proofer (BT mashbill #1).
ETL at the same 90 proof is never hot (BT mashbill #2).
Forgot to mention, style of fermentation will also affect concentrations of compounds that lead to burn.

squire
06-06-2013, 11:03
My Father's generation would refer to a lack of burn as 'smooth', not very technical but those guys knew their Bourbon.

weller_tex
06-06-2013, 11:43
I agree that what you had to eat, or did not eat, time of day..etc can change the sensation as well. I can have the same bourbon and at different times get varying amounts of burn. Frankly, I like some burn.

Brisko
06-06-2013, 11:46
I asked Chip for an answer. It was way over my head and he was using words I can't even spell. But the gist is that burn/heat is caused by solvents in your distillate that are a specific group of non-ethanol alcohols. They are always present in whiskey, but the size and shape of your still and speed of your distillation will produce them in different concentrations.

This makes a lot of sense. I believe that these compounds must be pretty volatile, too, as the effect often dissipates with sufficient airtime.

Flyfish
06-06-2013, 12:38
My Father's generation would refer to a lack of burn as 'smooth', not very technical but those guys knew their Bourbon.
About 40 years ago, I used to go to the family farm on weekends to help my wife's father and uncle clear some brush. After a couple hours we would adjourn to the root cellar where there was a big barrel of apple jack. We'd toss some back and the old guys would says, "Wow, that smoooooth!" By which they meant, "Ok, so it tastes like lighter fluid and the fumes have removed all of our nose hairs but it beats clearing brush." These gentlemen also drank boiler makers and they always came out with that same "Wow, that's smoooooth!" In those days, a kid from the city didn't argue with real men.

sailor22
06-06-2013, 12:45
That generations fixation on smooth is what led to the popularity of blended canadian whiskeys. Todays generations fixation on smooth is what led to the popularity of Vodka.

smknjoe
06-06-2013, 12:50
About 40 years ago, I used to go to the family farm on weekends to help my wife's father and uncle clear some brush. After a couple hours we would adjourn to the root cellar where there was a big barrel of apple jack. We'd toss some back and the old guys would says, "Wow, that smoooooth!" By which they meant, "Ok, so it tastes like lighter fluid and the fumes have removed all of our nose hairs but it beats clearing brush." These gentlemen also drank boiler makers and they always came out with that same "Wow, that's smoooooth!" In those days, a kid from the city didn't argue with real men.

To admit burn would be to admit you were a pussy. Can we say that here?

squire
06-06-2013, 13:24
I don't mind, ask the pussies.

mbroo5880i
06-06-2013, 13:28
To admit burn would be to admit you were a pussy. Can we say that here?

"that." There I said it!

black mamba
06-06-2013, 13:41
Hey, it's not iced tea. If it didn't have some burn, what would be the point. Admitting it burns doesn't make you a pussy . . .
not drinking it because it burns makes you a pussy.

It's kinda like hot sauce. Everyone has their level of burn that they like.

Balcones Winston
06-06-2013, 14:04
To admit burn would be to admit you were a pussy. Can we say that here?


I don't mind, ask the pussies.

http://i.minus.com/iOnuAr331TbT8.gif

jburlowski
06-06-2013, 15:08
That generations fixation on smooth is what led to the popularity of blended canadian whiskeys. Todays generations fixation on smooth is what led to the popularity of Vodka.

And both generations were just trying to get laid. :cool:

Brisko
06-06-2013, 15:22
About 40 years ago, I used to go to the family farm on weekends to help my wife's father and uncle clear some brush. After a couple hours we would adjourn to the root cellar where there was a big barrel of apple jack. We'd toss some back and the old guys would says, "Wow, that smoooooth!" By which they meant, "Ok, so it tastes like lighter fluid and the fumes have removed all of our nose hairs but it beats clearing brush." These gentlemen also drank boiler makers and they always came out with that same "Wow, that's smoooooth!" In those days, a kid from the city didn't argue with real men.
Be sure and ask for Guzzler's Gin. A nice, smooth drink (http://youtu.be/Al2xOOTMmLo).

Richnimrod
06-06-2013, 19:49
Heads & tails, distillation style, shape of the still, proof into the barrel, jeez; this is fun! :cool:
I always learn so much in these forums. You guys just rattle this stuff off like it's nothing; but, to me it's AMAZING!!!!
From my common sense, I bet the heads and tails explanation is a big part of the 'burn'. Don't know; ...just sayin'....:rolleyes:

mbroo5880i
06-06-2013, 20:03
The burn and color help remind me that I am not drinking water.

393foureyedfox
06-06-2013, 20:26
I don't mind, ask the pussies.


awesome reply!


i dont like "smooth". then again, i dont like harsh, just for the sake of being harsh. harsh young isnt good. harsh old is. kinda why i refuse to buy anything under 100 proof. a good "bite" makes a good bourbon to me. Love Bookers and KC 120 proof, and settle into BIB's for daily drinks. If 80-90 proof was all there was, id give up bourbons altogether.

nblair
06-06-2013, 20:42
There's a lot more to "burn" than alcohol. Wood tannins, for instance.

I think this is a main contributor. If a barrel is 10 years old and aged on the top floor of a warehouse, I think it would taste much "hotter" due to the intense oak influence. I would also think a similar barrel aged in the middle floors or lower floors would seem more well rounded and not have the same "heat".

Pikesville
06-06-2013, 22:05
A lot of the sensation of "burn" comes from the amount of heads and tails present. Not sure that the alcohol itself has a lot of "burn" taste. I have tasted white dog fresh from the still that had no burn at all.

I totally agree. When tasting at Leopold Bros, we tried the heads, hearts and tails right off the second distillation run. Heads were nasty, nail polish remover or $8 per handle vodka smell (and taste). Those went bye-bye. The hearts didn't burn, even at 70% alcohol, just left a warming sensation. The tails were funky and burned somewhat, but not unpleasant like the heads. Very informative session.

Bmac
06-07-2013, 01:05
Sorry but I don't buy the concept that it's supposed to burn. The PVW 15yr didn't burn and it's 107 proof. My William Larue Weller 2010 didn't burn either; however it did create some warm heat. A heat that no other bourbon has matched since.

Most of the low end bourbons are all burn. That and Woodford Double Oaked. It's like a flash of flavor and then prepare for pain. My guess is, if you drink enough of it on a daily basis, your tongue and taste buds are so numb you couldn't tell if it was burning you or not.

I bet if you stop drinking for a month and started back, you'd feel the burn again.

tmckenzie
06-07-2013, 03:58
I will rethink my position some, at least on still proof of rye. We had some issues getting our new still to run. Got it fixed yesterday, They way I am running rye is at a higher proof to get the profile I want, but it is just off the beer still, so it has a syrupy, look coming off the still and it coats the mouth some when you drink it. So sometimes it is not the still proof, but how it is brought off the still.

squire
06-07-2013, 04:21
If someone want's to take the position higher quality whiskys have less burn I certainly won't argue with them.

sailor22
06-07-2013, 08:38
I totally agree. When tasting at Leopold Bros, we tried the heads, hearts and tails right off the second distillation run. Heads were nasty, nail polish remover or $8 per handle vodka smell (and taste). Those went bye-bye. The hearts didn't burn, even at 70% alcohol, just left a warming sensation. The tails were funky and burned somewhat, but not unpleasant like the heads. Very informative session.

Sounds a lot like the talk David Perkins of High West gave here in Tallahassee. He passed around samples of heads, hearts and tails and some mixes of them. It convinced me that what we call burn is often the nasty tastes from the less desirable parts of the run. OTOH it showed me that some of those tastes in small doses when mixed with the sweeter product and barrel flavors produced by aging create the complexity and fulsomeness we enjoy. There might be a little burn associated with the complexity. That balance is the art.


Most of the low end bourbons are all burn.

It's cheaper to make juice that has more of the nasties in it. Cheaper to make so it retails for less usually.


If someone want's to take the position higher quality whiskys have less burn I certainly won't argue with them.

Yep, less, but certainly not no burn.

Restaurant man
06-07-2013, 08:54
[QUOTE=Bmac;348269]Sorry but I don't buy the concept that it's supposed to burn. The PVW 15yr didn't burn and it's 107 proof. My William Larue Weller 2010 didn't burn either; however it did create some warm heat. A heat that no other bourbon has matched since.

I think the wheaters feel softer because the spicyness of the rye can intensify the feeling of "burn" just my opinion

tanstaafl2
06-07-2013, 13:02
The burn and color help remind me that I am not drinking water.

In some parts of the world I have found the color not to be all that helpful in making the distinction. I didn't drink that water but I expect it would have had it's own particular burn as well!

callmeox
06-07-2013, 13:13
I would accept the heads/hearts/tails reasoning for bourbon if the macros were not made in a column still.

squire
06-07-2013, 13:15
Scott I was just about to post that very thought.

Balcones Winston
06-07-2013, 13:31
I would accept the heads/hearts/tails reasoning for bourbon if the macros were not made in a column still.
Because?

When I spoke to Chip about this, he was very specific that column stills are more likely to produce harsher alcohols, especially if you run your distillation fast.

callmeox
06-07-2013, 13:55
Because?

When I spoke to Chip about this, he was very specific that column stills are more likely to produce harsher alcohols, especially if you run your distillation fast.

How do you equate Chips answer with heads/hearts/tails? Does running a column fast make it all heads or all tails and no hearts?

Like asking three railroad engineers the time, asking distillers the same question can lead to different answers.

According to earlier threads, heads/tails are not column still concepts except for still startup and shutdown.

Taking that to a logical conclusion, if there's a short run on a column it could have an effect, but how many short runs do you think they make on the column at Beam or HH?

squire
06-07-2013, 13:57
That's not a given Winston, the classic whiskys of America, Canada, the Brandys of Armagnac and most of the World's finest gins, vodkas and rums are all made with a column still. To say that less desirable whisky can be with a column still is misleading because equally bad or worse whisky can be make with a pot still.

Bmac
06-07-2013, 17:39
Because?

When I spoke to Chip about this, he was very specific that column stills are more likely to produce harsher alcohols, especially if you run your distillation fast.

Yeah, I think you're right. This reminded me of a video I watched on Rum production. The Distiller stated that the first part of the new make that comes off the still has high sulfur content and they typically discard it and catch the medium portion. They said that is the best part.

So it is possible that, at least the cheap stuff, it's probably all made from the "head" of the new make.

sutton
06-07-2013, 17:50
So it is possible that, at least the cheap stuff, it's probably all made from the "head" of the new make.

That is where much of the methanol is, so it certainly couldn't be "all" of it or they'd poison their customers ... but they probably cut over sooner and cut out later, if that is what you mean ... yields more quantity with each run but lower quality new make. But some of the interesting stuff is in the tails, knowing when to make the cuts is the art and science of it all.

squire
06-07-2013, 17:58
Bmac that's actually due to the high concentration of sulfur naturally occurring in the volcanic soil where the sugar cane is grown, particularly in the Caribbean Islands. The sugar refining process produces molasses as a by product which has a much more concentrated sulfur content and since the molasses is the primary product used for rum distillation the sulfur must be dealt with by the distiller. It's a problem that has nothing to do with the size, shape, type or style of the still.

squire
06-07-2013, 18:10
Guys, once a column still is up and running the heads and tails are removed within the column itself and do not make it into the finished whisky. That's a simplified explanation but close enough to be a general statement. This is why a column still is always referred to as being efficient when compared to the old fashioned pot still which is itself a glorified tea kettle whose fore shots (heads) can be very dangerous to drink.

tmckenzie
06-09-2013, 05:06
Guys, once a column still is up and running the heads and tails are removed within the column itself and do not make it into the finished whisky. That's a simplified explanation but close enough to be a general statement. This is why a column still is always referred to as being efficient when compared to the old fashioned pot still which is itself a glorified tea kettle whose fore shots (heads) can be very dangerous to drink.

You are right on the money, you get heads on start up and tails on shutdown. When that sucker is running right, the heads and tails are not in there. Some of the worst whiskey I have drank, all of it micro, was made on a pot. Where you make your whiskey at is in the cooker and fermenter. You cannot improve it anyway whatsoever by distilling it. You can make it worse though. If you put crap in, you WILL get crap out, and there is a lot of crap mash being boiled off in this country.

squire
06-09-2013, 11:02
Tom you're reinforcing that old saying good whisky is made in the mash barrel, not in the still.

sailor22
06-09-2013, 17:22
Aren't column stills tunable? Can't the distiller pull out or leave in the compounds he chooses? I'm not a distiller or chemist but I seem to recall being told that that was the big advantage besides the possibility of continuous running.

Also I am under the distinct impression that Armagnac being mostly produces by very small farms is almost entirely pot still and that Cognac is also even thou it is produced on a much larger scale.

15660 15661

Tom, could "heat" be the result of bad mashing? Perhaps a mold or bacteria in the grain?

jburlowski
06-10-2013, 15:13
Also I am under the distinct impression that Armagnac being mostly produces by very small farms is almost entirely pot still and that Cognac is also even thou it is produced on a much larger scale.




I've always heard that Armagnac is made using column stills and, unlike cognac, is double-distilled.

tanstaafl2
06-10-2013, 16:18
I've always heard that Armagnac is made using column stills and, unlike cognac, is double-distilled.

To say that one is done one way and the other is done the other is apt to be troublesome as it does not leave room for the exceptions! Cognacs traditionally use pot stills although I don't know if a continuous still is prohibited or just not the traditional method. I suspect it is the latter.

Most armagnacs use a continuous still which producers think gives a more full flavor fruit forward component. But armagnac can be made with a pot still if the distiller so chooses and according to the recent post on Spirits Journal (http://spiritsjournal.klwines.com/klwinescom-spirits-blog/2013/6/10/an-interview-with-marc-darroze.html)some of the smaller producers may be distilled using a traveling alembic still more similar to cognac.

And isn't it the reverse for number of times distilled? Armagnac is generally once while cognac is twice.

squire
06-11-2013, 14:22
Yes, column stills are very flexible and by drawing off distillate from different levels of the column the stillman can create a desired flavor profile and capture other attributes.

tmckenzie
06-12-2013, 04:50
Yes, column stills are very flexible and by drawing off distillate from different levels of the column the stillman can create a desired flavor profile and capture other attributes. This is only true with coffey type tills, they have rectifier columns. Ky style beer stills do not work that way. The way you control what you get is the speed of mash through the still and the amount of steam you give it. The hotter the column the lower the proof, the colder the column the higher the proof.

squire
06-12-2013, 06:17
Actually I was trying not to sound technical as my point was the column still and the pot still work differently.

Leopold
06-14-2013, 19:03
To answer the question directly, in general, the perception of heat comes from ethyl acetate, an ester that is produced in large quantities when you stress most yeast strains. In bourbon production, this stress generally comes from the very, very high fermentation temperature that the larger distillers use.

The reason you perceive it in some whiskies and not others is a simple question of masking (other congeners interfering with the perception of ethyl acetate), or process differences (different yeast strains or mash bills, starting gravities, etc)

Someone asked why it (the burn) hasn't been eliminated.... Mr. Cowdery once pointed out that when people describe a Bourbon as smooth or lacking bite, they don't know what they're talking about---- that Bourbon is supposed to have this heat. He is certainly correct in that when you're in the still, and you've used modern large scale Bourbon distillation methods, the ethyl acetate comes out in the heads along with many other positive esters. So if you're reaching for these positive esters, you'll likely pull in some ethyl acetate with that net, so to speak.

The question becomes, how much of the ethyl acetate and other esters do you remove? The issue is, obviously, is that many other positive congeners, such as esters and acids, come off the still together to an extent (in other words, at the same temperature it the still, and therefore out as distillate).... leading the distiller to choose between a little heat, or less character in the final Bourbon. If you take too large of a head cut (in the case of a continuous still, running the still at a different temperature, or using a different still design), you can strip all the character and life out of a Bourbon, yielding a boring Bourbon.


Obviously, I'm speaking in broad generalities, as all distilleries handle all the various processes differently, and there are thousands of moving parts involved in total.

More than some of you would like to know, I'm sure. Happy Father's Day to all your Bourbon fans!

tmckenzie
06-15-2013, 06:21
Seems to me though, that back when distilleries had fermentation temp control like they do now, whiskey would have been harsher. That is not the case, even at our place, we ferment hot and we do not seem to have that burn, nor does most of the old stuff I have from the big boys. They used to leave more oils in the product, so that may be covering up the burn.

WhiskyRI
06-15-2013, 07:22
Leopold - thank you for that level of detail and for the clear explanation. So to summarize one reason that many lower quality bourbons might have more burn - would be that the producers are choosing to maximize production volume over quality in order to save money and therefore they are pulling in less desirable esters in too large a quantity. Is that a fair one sentence summary?

squire
06-15-2013, 09:11
Todd, I get what you're saying, you fellas use a couple of pot stills I believe?

HighHorse
06-15-2013, 09:30
Last year High West's David Perkins spent a weekend with our Tallahassee group at the barn. He brought along with him some samples of heads and tails and it was an eye-opening experience. This stuff is powerful and you needed only a sip to taste the "heat" .. especially in the heads. As David pointed out .. and was more noticable when a bit of water was added .. you could also pick out some very desirable qualities .. qualities that would be lost if all of the heads and tails were eliminated. This was discussed in an earlier thread on the same subject. Thanks, Todd for your explanation. It seems to confirm what we tasted and believed at the time.

It drives home the importance of the Master Distiller and their team. I think it also emphasizes the importance of great ingredients needed to deliver the flavor profiles that not only can cope with some of the hotter distillants .. but enhance them. While I enjoy a "soft" easy-drinking bourbon or rye, I relish the big boy, complex pours that have it all in a bottle. Just short of explosive ... that's the sweet spot!!

benpearson
06-15-2013, 09:46
I think there is more to it than what has been discussed so far. I do agree that the distillation has a huge impact, as well as the fermentation, quality of the grain, etc. I think the aging process itself has a LOT to do with this. If you have been fortunate enough to be involved in the purchase of a barrel of bourbon, I'm sure many here have, you will know that from a given selection of barrels that have aged together in a warehouse the "quality" of product will vary. I don't believe this only to be true in minute flavor profile differences, but also overall "smoothness"
My personal belief is that "smoothness" has much to do with the balance of sugar content to various astringent compounds and tannin in the wood itself.
I've been told that the sugar absorbed from a barrel follows a bell curve. If the whiskey is bottled too soon before the peak of this curve or too long after it is not going to be nearly as sweet tasting. I also think that it is not going to be as "smooth".
I think this goes into why canadian whiskey, and flavored vodka are so popular. Simply put even if the quality of distillate is lower than that used in bourbon production they have the appearance of "smoothness" brought about by added sugar/sweetener content.
Smoothness within the category bourbon may indicate that it has properly matured...something that I'm not sure I like saying because I don't really like NAS products. This also may in part be why products from small barrels tend to be less "smooth" because the size of the barrel having an impact on the ratio of sugar/tannin absorption over time.
From what I hear from customers in my store, the consensus could be SWEET=SMOOTH.

HighHorse
06-15-2013, 10:16
Completely understand that the majority of customers are looking for a lot less from a bourbon than those of us who probably spend way too much time appreciating the finer complexities for the delicious brew. When we pick barrels for our local store, we keep that consumer in mind.

Certainly there are differences in barrels .. and that's why we pick barrels. While most Master Distillers think 5-9 years is the peak (MM,FR, WT to name a few), some of those barrels keep on getting better. Seeking those out is the Holy Grail. That's why Jim Rutledge's favorite is not one of his peak performing 5-9 year olds .. but a 17 year old he had last year.

But to your "properly matured" benchmark ... my "properly matured" probably ain't what most of the customers are looking for. For the most part they are seeking consistency .. same as they look for in their Coke! :rolleyes:

squire
06-15-2013, 10:23
I also subscribe to the 7-9 year bell curve but, yeah, some gracefully aging barrels mature beautifully.

BB Slim
06-17-2013, 10:08
"This stuff is powerful and you needed only a sip to taste the "heat" .. especially in the heads. As David pointed out .. and was more noticeable when a bit of water was added .. "

Interesting, I've found that adding some water tends to mellow or tame an "overly" hot bourbon. It seems logical that water would serve to dilute the volatile compounds (esters) and soften their influence on the palate. From your experience, with the tasting of the heads and tails, it would seem that waters interaction with these volatile compounds (esters) are more complex than just acting as a diluting agent.

sailor22
06-17-2013, 11:28
To answer the question directly, in general, the perception of heat comes from ethyl acetate, an ester that is produced in large quantities when you stress most yeast strains. In bourbon production, this stress generally comes from the very, very high fermentation temperature that the larger distillers use.

The reason you perceive it in some whiskies and not others is a simple question of masking (other congeners interfering with the perception of ethyl acetate), or process differences (different yeast strains or mash bills, starting gravities, etc)

Thanks for the post Leopold - clear, concise and cogent. Now I have a name for the characteristic heat taste - ethyl acetate - it's not just the % of alcohol.

The only thing I might add to the masking point is that the individual barrel has some influence as well. As you move down a row of barrels tasting from each the "heat" is more and less apparent. Assuming the barrels were filled from the same run you would expect a marked similarity in the perception of ethyl acetate and that's not always the case. There are outliers and I would ascribe that to the masking effect of flavors and compound associated with a particular barrel.

Leopold
06-17-2013, 21:30
Thanks for the post Leopold - clear, concise and cogent. Now I have a name for the characteristic heat taste - ethyl acetate - it's not just the % of alcohol.

It's also other higher alcohols like n-proponol, amyl alcohol, etc. that leads to that burn. But in my opinion, it's ethyl acetate that's leading the charge.

You'll get all these esters and alcohols throughout the distillation run. It's a question of how much of each that guides the distillers hand.

And, of course, creating or minimizing these congeners in the mash tun and fermenters, and then covering them up or oxidizing them in the barrel. Or, leaving them well alone!

This is all my opinion. You'll likely get a much better answer from the real Masters in KY and TN if you ask them.

Leopold
06-17-2013, 21:31
Yes, pot stills at our shop. We've got a few more being built for the new plant. We elected to stick with pot stills during expansion, as that's our path.

Tom at Finger Lakes just fired up his continuous still, and I can't wait to taste that when the time is right!

tmckenzie
06-18-2013, 05:01
Yes, pot stills at our shop. We've got a few more being built for the new plant. We elected to stick with pot stills during expansion, as that's our path.

Tom at Finger Lakes just fired up his continuous still, and I can't wait to taste that when the time is right! Todd make good whiskey in his pots, so do I, but I swear the make off the new still is better. As for esters and such, I think you leave them in and let the barrel figure it out, that is why these dusty bottles of whiskey taste so good.

squire
06-18-2013, 19:34
Letting the barrel do it's work, now that's finishing whisky the old fashioned way.

Brisko
06-26-2013, 08:36
I've been thinking a lot about this in relation to the 4 Knob Creek Single Barrels that I've had so far. Obviously all the same age, proof, etc.; probably the same area of the warehouse. First one, I would say was moderately hot. It drank great with an ice cube or too, but it was a little tough neat (in comparison to a Booker's I bought at the same time that was not hot at all, and higher proof). Second bottle was super hot on opening, as in, even with ice, it was hot... water made it even worse. But it improved with air time. Within a month it was pretty good. Third bottle was just right, striking a nice balance. I had no problem drinking this neat. The fourth (currently open) is a Fred Noe special pick for a local store. Honestly I could mistake it for Baker's. It's not hot at all, very sweet though. The alcohol is just barely evident. If anything this one could use more burn.

So there you have it, four barrels and four very different bourbons in terms of heat. General flavor profile was the same (at least for the first three, the Fred Noe bottle is more Baker-ish, like I said).

We assume the barrel takes away the heat factor, but are there wood compounds that actually might make it worse?

squire
06-26-2013, 08:45
We don't expect single barrel's to be the same profile but that's quite a spread.

sutton
06-26-2013, 17:37
That is curious since you'd assume they are making the same cuts off the still - so it has to be barrel and/or warehouse location?

WAINWRIGHT
06-26-2013, 18:08
I have always wondered how the yeast reacts with certain tannins and trigger this adverse effect?I understand the use of different yeast strains as used in the different FR's products across the boards and how they interact with the two different mashbills which always seems to work,but in the Beams what is the inconsistency derived from?I will have to fully agree that KCSB is one of the most inconsistent and potentially hottest bourbons on the market,whats the trigger?I always associate hot/dry and prickly heat and KCSB has it to the hilt with any given off barrel and I know I'm not the only one,Brisko has already covered it as well.I will once again have to agree in that I have never had another bourbon that water has only heightened the burn/heat like the KC,so really what gives?

B.B. Babington
07-03-2013, 20:01
Most of the low end bourbons are all burn. That and Woodford Double Oaked. It's like a flash of flavor and then prepare for pain...
I bet if you stop drinking for a month and started back, you'd feel the burn again.

or take a big gulp of stagg and anything after that would be smooth??

IMO, burn comes from proof, but then ya get burn and bite (something different) from other things as well. the woodford double oak gives more bite from tannins. as noted, heads & tails also give burn. we're talking about alcohols other than ethanol, esters, aldehydes, ethers, carboxylic acids (bite again). note that these heads & tails congeners are also what might give more hangover, but then also give more interest to the drink.