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rccoulter
02-06-2004, 06:36
I know that bourbon can't enter the barrel at greater than 120 proof. And I understand that evaporation accounts for some higher proof bottlings like Bookers. But an increase of 14% abv?

--Can anyone explain to me how this works? And why we don't see more bottlings above 130?

TNbourbon
02-06-2004, 09:00
Actually, the law states bourbon can be barreled up to 125 proof, not 120 -- a minor difference, but perhaps signicant on the other end. Additionally, Stagg is a 15yo, meaning that when the barrel is unsealed, already at least a third, probably somewhat more, of the contents have evaporated (Elmer T. Lee says 7-8 percent the first year, then 3 percent thereafter -- if so, after 15 years, less than half would be left). Presumably, most of what evaporates is water, thus leaving the higher alcohol content. All in all, 147 proof doesn't seem that out of line to me -- an 18 percent or so increase in abv [(147-125)/125=17.6] from a 33-40-percent (at least) decrease in total volume.

cowdery
02-06-2004, 13:41
It's entirely a function of evaporation and not that unusual. Some of the 1992 vintage of Evan Williams Single Barrel came out of the barrel at 145 proof, and that's just a 9-year-old.

The part I have trouble wrapping my head around is that distillation is based on the fact that alcohol vaporizes at a lower temperature than water, so why is it that it's water that is mostly lost in barrel evaporation and not alcohol?

SteveZZZ
02-06-2004, 14:34
Just an uneducated guess, but maybe the alcohol that evaporates can't get through the wood, while the water can. It's the only explaination I can think of at the moment, but that doesn't mean it's correct http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif

Steve

doubleblank
02-06-2004, 15:13
Alcohol does have a lower boiling point than water and the vapor space inside the barrel will have more alcohol that water vapor. But alcohol is a larger molecule than water and it may not "wick" through the wood as fast as water might. The oak barrel might actually be trapping the alcohol inside the barrel while letting the water migrate to the exterior surface and evaporate (relatively speaking).

Randy B.

voigtman
02-06-2004, 18:48
Well, it seems that one "Tim Dellinger" posted a very nice answer to this matter of how whiske(e)y can increase in proof on the M****-L newslist (sorry for the reference to those infidels), back on March 24th, 2003. (I found it and printed it out, to be sure I remembered it right.) He can speak for himself, VERY capably, and I will not put words in his mouth. But, in brief, final proof depends on lots of variables: barrel specifics, entry proof, integrated temperature history of the barrel over the years, and other variables as well, but the big difference between ethanol (aka "alcohol") and water is that air always has a relatively high humidity, whereas the ethanol partial pressure is fairly small (though I do not doubt for a minute that the warehouses smell just GREAT). It comes down to the ratio of ethanol to water, integrated over the years, the temperature, integrated over the years, and the humidity, integrated over the years. Bottom line: no human being has anywhere NEAR the data to predict which barrel will wind up with a proof above entry proof. That is the "magic" of the process and I hope it stays that way!

OK, I know Pappy Van Winkle had that famous sign about "No Chemists Allowed" in his distillery, and I think he was right, despite being a chemistry professor, but we have our uses: if we can help with these types of issues, great, but I hope the whisskey making process stays firmly in the hands of the master distillers and sc*** the "analyze it to death" approach! Just my opinion, of course.

Cheers, Ed

Ps. Whisky magazine, issue 37, arrived last Wednesday and Chuck Cowdery has an article on pages 46 and 47. Very nice work! And our own "Paradox" was shown, with a SMALL portion of his astounding bourbon collection, on p. 47. Nice info on Bobby Cox Jr., the Lipmans, and Omar, also. Excellent work!

doubleblank
02-06-2004, 19:28
My good friend Greg, a Physical Chemist who used to design WMD for us but now runs a chain of Hallmark stores (talk about a change of careers), confirmed that the molecular size difference makes the biggest differest in the change in alchol content. He used to run a lab for the DOD, and he believes, in laymans terms, its easier for water molecules to escape the "confines" of a wood barrel than water.

Randy B.

Gillman
02-06-2004, 19:53
But why then does proof generally decline in the barrel in Scotland?

Gary

TNbourbon
02-06-2004, 20:00
My immediate, off-the-cuff response (guess?) re Scotch is that it spends its barrel years in a more uniform, lower-temperature climate.

gr8erdane
02-06-2004, 21:39
And all along I just thought it was the Bourbon Fairies waving their magic wands.... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/skep.gif

voigtman
02-07-2004, 07:06
The humidity in Scotland is very significant (as in usually very high), from what I've read, so water loss is lessened relative to what it would be in a dry environment. But the ethanol loss is independent of humidity. In Scotland, the ethanol molecules are more readily lost than the smaller water molecules because the environment around the barrels/casks is humid and has only very low concentrations of ethanol (otherwise the folks in those facilities would be having a hard time staying on task!). In Kentucky, the generally dryer climate means that water molecules are preferentially lost. Both ethanol and water molecules are being lost though the wood to the air around the barrels, but the water loss can exceed the ethanol loss in a dry environment. On the other hand, the water loss can also be less than the ethanol loss: it is all complicated by differences in what might appear to be identical barrels, the detailed history of where the barrels are spending their time aging (way up near the roof, close to the floor, deep inside the facility, etc.), and the detailed temperature and humidity history of each barrel. I would look at it as each barrel being a little "universe" unto itself, so I would not be surprised if two apparently identical barrels, filled on the same day with the same new make spirit, should end up with significantly different proofs. Even if one ended up above entry proof and the other below it. Cheers, Ed

tdelling
02-08-2004, 12:59
>The part I have trouble wrapping my head around is that distillation is based on
>the fact that alcohol vaporizes at a lower temperature than water, so why is it
>that it's water that is mostly lost in barrel evaporation and not alcohol?

This is what I call "The Apparent Contradiction", and you've done a good job
putting into words. (Perhaps you should be a writer http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif ).

I've dug through the whisk(e)y literature a fair bit looking for a
possible explaination, and I haven't found one. Yet. But if you sit
and think for a while, though, you eventually conclude that the answer
must be that wood somehow interacts with water different than it interacts
with ethanol. The way I see it, there are two possible causes that
might contribute:

1) Ethanol is less soluble in wood than water is. If the ethanol has a
harder time getting into the wood, then less of it will make it out the
other side.

2) Wood is more "permeable" to water than to ethanol. Perhaps there are
barrier-layers of some sort (cell walls? growth rings?) that are difficult
for ethanol to cross, thus reducing permeability.

I haven't seen any published data concerning either situation.

As an aside, I will mention that a tree trunk is designed with water
transport in mind. It has to pull water out of the ground and
(through capillary action) bring it up to the leaves and branches.

It has been pointed out to me that most of the trunk does not in fact
participate in this endeavor, but rather a thin green layer right below
the bark is where all the water flows.

Most of the wood chemistry that I've looked at concerns wood degradation
in the presence of ethanol and water. I might find some answers if I
start looking in some of the more traditional wood chemistry overview
books.

Tim Dellinger

tdelling
02-08-2004, 13:32
>Well, it seems that one "Tim Dellinger" posted a very nice answer to this matter
>of how whiske(e)y can increase in proof on the M****-L newslist (sorry for the
>reference to those infidels), back on March 24th, 2003.

I'm guilty, as charged.

What I was really addressing in that post was the quandry that for some
reason in Scotland, whisk(e)y decreases in proof over time, whereas in
America, the opposite happens: proof goes up. The answer, of course,
is humidity.


>...He can speak for himself, VERY capably...

That's rather flattering, but in actuality, I'm just a Fool with a passion
for science of all sorts, a love of whiskies, and an argumentative streak
that was honed by living with pre-law students who are now trial lawyers.
I'm rather happy to see that there are now others here on Straightbourbon
who also share my interest in technical matters concerning bourbon. I
really enjoy the other contributors here.

>OK, I know Pappy Van Winkle had that famous sign about "No Chemists Allowed"
>in his distillery, and I think he was right...
>...
>...I hope the whisskey making process stays firmly in the hands of the master
>distillers...

Two points:

(1) Chemists might try to analyse things things to death, but in the end,
every last one of them has a whole handfull of tricks that are just plain
"black magic". Things that "just plain work, we're not quite sure why,
but anything you do, don't change the recipe!" We have a healthy respect
for effectiveness. It is true that we like to tinker, and we often
can't stop ourselves from attempting to optimize everything we come
across...

(2) I think that in the end, it turned out that the real enemy was not
the chemists, but rather the accountants.


>...despite being a chemistry professor...

Be careful saying things like that! The first time I said "gas chromatography"
around here, I almost got shot at!


Tim Dellinger

TNbourbon
02-08-2004, 15:26
Gas chromatography? -- I think that's what the doctors used to look at my colon during a decade-long bout with ulcerative colitis http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif They finally just removed the thing, making me a real-life 'gutless wonder'.

cowdery
02-11-2004, 10:25
To muddy the water a little big, consider Wild Turkey Rare Breed, which is bottled at barrel proof. Wild Turkey, we know, goes into the barrel at about 110 proof. So what is Rare Breed's barrel proof? 108.

Dave_in_Canada
02-11-2004, 11:25
Chuck, this past summer in a discussion with Eddie Russell, he stated that the proof lowers in the barrel (at least the specific barrels he was pointing to). We were in a particular warehouse, and I may have taken his words "out of context". I have often thought he was mistaken - I did not want to press the issue - but I'm now surprised to learn that if one does the research, proof can either increase or decrease with barrel storage/aging.

gr8erdane
02-11-2004, 19:13
Could there be a phenomenon that the proof goes down to a certain point in aging and then goes up again? Might it be a seasonal thing as we are told that in the warmer months there is more bourbon soaked into the wood and either absorbing or leaving the alcohol? And could there be a point where ethanol is produced by the oak barrel adding to the proof? Curiouser and curiouser.

Marvin
02-12-2004, 07:13
Chuck,

That question has been raised ever since I have been reading books, asking master distillers and any one else that would listen to me and no one has ever answered my questions satisfactorily. So, a few months ago, I did an experiment. I made two little wooden boxes out of white oak. I drilled a little hole in the middle of each, so they would leak. I filled one with water and the other with alcohol and then sealed them. After a few days, the one with water in it stopped leaking but the other one did not. So here is the way I look at it, water soaks into the wood and expands it stopping all leakage, but alcohol will not stop a leak. You need the water to contain the alcohol. It is all the water that goes into a barrel; for example- if you had a 50/50 mixture and 10% of the water went into the barrel then you would have a 60% alcohol content, which is a 10% increase. I have tried this experiment several times and each time the results were the same. I think this might be the answer to your question, at least until somebody can prove me wrong!!

Cheers,
Marvin

bourbonv
02-12-2004, 13:54
Chuck,
Warehouse location. The higher the hotter it gets and the more proof is gained. The lower and more towards the center conditions get more like Scotland and proof is not raised and may be lowered.
Mike Veach

tommy
02-12-2004, 17:24
This EPA document discusses evaporation a bit. Click on the "Emissions" bookmark.

EPA on whiskey (http://www.epa.gov/ttn/chief/ap42/ch09/final/c9s12-3.pdf)

I hope this works--never tried to do a link before! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif

jimbo
02-12-2004, 19:55
It's entirely a function of evaporation and not that unusual. Some of the 1992 vintage of Evan Williams Single Barrel came out of the barrel at 145 proof, and that's just a 9-year-old.

The part I have trouble wrapping my head around is that distillation is based on the fact that alcohol vaporizes at a lower temperature than water, so why is it that it's water that is mostly lost in barrel evaporation and not alcohol?



Well, maybe not. Alcohol is more volatile than water under all conditions. More alcohol than water will always evaporate. For example, if the humidity was 100%, NO water would evaporate but alcohol would evaporate unhindered. So the percent alcohol in the barrel would decrease over time. If the humidity was 0%, both water and alcohol would evaporate but since alcohol is more volatile than water, more alcohol would evaporate. So the percent alcohol in the barrel would decrease over time. There is just no combination of time, temperature or humidity that would cause more water than alcohol to evaporate.

But, migration of liquid in the barrel through microscopic pores in the wood could lead to an increase in the percent alcohol in the barrel over time. These pores are not big enough to be a "leak", but big enough to allow molecules of liquid to travel from inside the barrel to the outside, somewhat like liquid travels through a wick. Since water is a much smaller molecule than alcohol, water would migrate out of the barrel at a higher rate than alcohol and the percent alcohol in the barrel would increase over time.

So, if whisky in Scotland decreases in percent alcohol over time in the barrel and whiskey in Kentucky increases in percent alcohol over time in the barrel there must be some factors present in the respective environments that causes the loss of liquid from the barrel to shift between evaporation and migration. I suppose conditions from place to place in a warehouse could also result in shifts between evaporation and migration which could lead to some barrels increasing in percent alcohol and some barrels decreasing in percent alcohol.

Anyway, it would be interesting to see some actual measurements of percent alcohol in the barrel over time from several locations in a warehouse.

Regards, jimbo

jimbo
02-13-2004, 07:27
Just one additional thought. If there was a place in a warehouse where the atmosphere was saturated with alcohol vapor (100% alcohol humidity) then NO alcohol would evaporate, but water would continue to evaporate. So the percent alcohol in the barrel would increase over time. It seems unlikely that such a situation could exist, but who knows? I guess distillers could even build special rooms where there was no air circulation and alcohol vapor could accumulate. The problem with such a scenario is that if the room or location allowed alcohol vapor to accumulate to saturation, then water vapor would also accumulate to saturation and all evaporation would stop.

Regards, jimbo

tdelling
02-13-2004, 08:18
> Since water is a much smaller molecule than alcohol, water would migrate out
> of the barrel at a higher rate than alcohol and the percent alcohol in the
> barrel would increase over time.

You've grossly oversimplified things here. "Size" isn't really the answer here.
Yoahizawa et. at (J Agric Chem Soc Jpn 55: 1063-8, 1981) studied "Subastances
Evaporated Through Barrel of Whisky", and found the following losses over time:

acetaldehyde 32%
ethanol 12.7 %
acetic acid 1.0%

These molecules are very close in size, but very different in barrel
permeability!


Tim Dellinger

tdelling
02-13-2004, 08:28
> Anyway, it would be interesting to see some actual measurements of percent
> alcohol in the barrel over time from several locations in a warehouse.

The only published numbers I'm aware of for American whiskey are in
GH Reazin, Am J of Enology and Viticulture 32: 283-9 (1981)

There's probably more data out there, I just haven't found it yet.


Tim Dellinger

jimbo
02-13-2004, 12:10
You've grossly oversimplified things here. "Size" isn't really the answer here.



Maybe, but the point I was trying to make is that loss of liquid from a barrel is more complicated than just evaporation. And that a "migration" mechanism through the wood could explain how the percent alcohol in a barrel increases over time.

Regards, jimbo

Gillman
02-13-2004, 13:20
Not to mention the fire hazard, Jimbo!

Your earlier analysis by the way seems right on.

Gary

Gillman
02-13-2004, 13:24
But Tim isn't the only (for our purposes) relevant comparison the one between the size of ethanol and water molecules?

Gary

pepcycle
02-13-2004, 14:13
I can see how the wood, with the varying composition of the cells could act as a selectively permeable membrane. The dryness, sap content and temperature on the outside of the barrel would drive the transport of solvents (alcohol, water etc) into and through the wood from the inside. Kind of like a chromatography. A sophisticated separation method. Depending on conditions, water, ethanol or other materials might permeate. I didn't go to the chemistry references cited previously. It'd be above my head anyway. Most transport processes in biological systems are driven by differences from equilibrium. Just my view. Size Yes, Polarity, Yes, Temperature, Yes......All variables.

jimbo
02-13-2004, 15:44
permeable membrane, Kind of like a chromatography, transport processes, differences from equilibrium



I would say that you had a good understanding of the possibilities.

Regards, jimbo

jimbo
02-13-2004, 15:47
Not to mention the fire hazard, Jimbo!



Back in my oil refinery days, we used to say, "If you have an explosive mixture, it will."

Regards, jimbo

tdelling
02-16-2004, 16:52
> But Tim isn't the only (for our purposes) relevant comparison the one between
> the size of ethanol and water molecules?

I would argue that chemical interactions are more important than 'size'.
As a comparable example, say... okay, take two automobile tires
and fill one with water and fill the other with gasoline. The water will
stay in there for a long time, but the gasoline will be drippin' out
pretty soon. Gasoline is a mixture of molecules that are all bigger
in 'size' than water, but they soak into the tire and out the other
side easily.

Ethanol and water going through wood are the same way. 'Size' doesn't
matter. It's all in the chemical interactions.

Tim Dellinger

Barrel_Proof
02-16-2004, 17:37
This thread has survived far too long under the mistaken impression that Stagg 2003 is 147 proof. It is not. HazMat was bottled at 142.7 proof.

jimbo
02-16-2004, 17:59
I would argue that chemical interactions are more important than 'size'.
As a comparable example, say... okay, take two automobile tires
and fill one with water and fill the other with gasoline. The water will
stay in there for a long time, but the gasoline will be drippin' out
pretty soon. Gasoline is a mixture of molecules that are all bigger
in 'size' than water, but they soak into the tire and out the other
side easily.

Ethanol and water going through wood are the same way. 'Size' doesn't
matter. It's all in the chemical interactions.

Tim Dellinger



Tim, that just isn't true. Many separation processes depend on molecule size, not chemical reaction. In fact distillation is a separation process that has nothing to do with chemical reactions. Permeable membranes and chromatography are other examples of separation processes that do not depend on chemical reactions.

I contend that if there is a process going on in a whiskey barrel that leads to an increase in percent alcohol over time, it some sort of separation process, not a chemical reaction. And that separation process is very likely to be dependent on molecule size.

Your gasoline/water in a tire analogy doesn't make any sense. Whiskey is a totally miscible mixture of water and alcohol, not two totally different substances as are water and gasoline.

Regards, jimbo

tdelling
02-17-2004, 08:52
Okay, just to make one thing absolutely clear:
I fully support the view that the wood is acting as a semi-permeable
membrane, and that the rate of water loss depends on the humidity around
the cask.

Now to address your points:

>Many separation processes depend on molecule size, not chemical reaction.

I'm not sure where you've getting the term "chemical reaction". Chemical
reactions break and re-form the bonds that exist between individual
atoms in a molecule. I have not, at any place in this thread, claimed
that this is happening.

>In fact distillation is a separation process that has nothing to do with
>chemical reactions.

Exactly. It has everything to do with chemical interactions. The attraction
between a water molecule and the other molecules in solution is
stronger than the attraction between an ethanol molecule and the other
molecules in solution. Thus the ethanol molecule enters the gas phase
more easily.


>Permeable membranes and chromatography are other examples
>of separation processes that do not depend on chemical reactions.

From the Wikipedia
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromatography ):
"In chemistry, chromatography is a process for the separation of mixtures.
This is achieved by passing a sample mixture (the "analyte") in a stream of
solvent (the "mobile phase") through some form of material (the "stationary
phase") that will provide resistance by virtue of chemical interactions (not
reactions) between the components of the sample and the material."

The key phrase here is "resistance by virtue of chemical interactions".
My claim is that chemical interactions are what govern the behavior of
molecules in a chromatographic separation, and that chemical interactions
are what govern the behavior of ethanol in wood and the behaviour of
water in wood. These interactions are different, and thus the behavior
of water in wood is different than the behaviour of ethanol in wood.

I will concede that for very large molecules such as polymers, proteins,
DNA fragments, etc., there are some types of chromatography that
separate mixtures based on size, e.g. gel permation chromatograpy,
and electrophoresis-based methods which use electric fields to pull
on charged molecules. There is absolutely no way that these methods
could ever separate ethanol from water. Their sizes are just too close
to each other.

I will also concede that molecular sieves can be used to extract
water from ethanol, based on the pore size of the sieves. In
this case, it is impossible for the ethanol to enter the pores.
This is in high contrast to wood, where ethanol can obviously
enter the pores. Ethanol is in no way being excluded as it
is in the case of molecular sieves.


>I contend that if there is a process going on in a whiskey barrel that leads
>to an increase in percent alcohol over time, it some sort of separation
>process, not a chemical reaction.

I can fully agree with that.

>And that separation process is very likely to be dependent on molecule size.

I find that to be absurd. I have provided examples of molecules that have
similar size, but behave completely differently when allowed to permeate
through wood. I have also pointed out that there exists no known separation
process that can separate water from ethanol based on size without completely
excluding the ethanol.

Tim Dellinger

pepcycle
02-17-2004, 10:51
Quick Point.
There are separation methods where small molcecules are trapped and large molecules pass through. (Solid phase separation). The pores in the solid phase slow the progress of the small molecules and the larger ones pass around the solid phase. If wood acts like this sometimes, (depending on conditions such as hydration) water would get trapped and ethanol pass and under other conditions, the opposite could be true.
Just another point of view.
Ed

tdelling
02-17-2004, 12:06
>There are separation methods where small molcecules are trapped and large
>molecules pass through. (Solid phase separation). The pores in the solid phase
>slow the progress of the small molecules and the larger ones pass around the
>solid phase.

This is the "gel permeation chromatography" that I mentioned in my post,
also known as "size exclusion chromatography". There's a dense and hard to
follow description at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gel_permeation_chromatography
which doesn't come right out and say that GPC doesn't work
for small molecules, but I'll tell you now that it doesn't
work for small molecules.

>If wood acts like this sometimes, (depending on conditions such as hydration)
>water would get trapped and ethanol pass and under other conditions, the
>opposite could be true.

I hadn't thought of it that way. That's an interesting theory. Perhaps
humidity swells something in the outer layers of the wood which closes
certain pores to hinder the ethanol molecules. This theory makes certain
predictions about the rate of ethanol loss slowing down. It would have to
happen only on the outer part of the wood, since the interior part is
subjected to the same EtOH/water ratio regardless of exterior humidity.
I'll have to think about it, but my gut still says that size doesn't
have much to do with it.

Tim Dellinger

dgonano
02-18-2004, 18:38
A most interesting and enlightening thread.I compliment
all the posters for there time and knowledge.

Is Stagg the highest proof bottling to ever appear?

What is the highest proof whiskey ever discovered in one cask?

At what proof would whiskey become undrinkable?

Any thoughts?

dhooch
02-18-2004, 19:21
I worked in a pharmacy when I was a teenager and we had 195 proof methol alcohol. Believe me, it was drinkable. No taste, but, drinkable! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/falling.gif

OneCubeOnly
02-18-2004, 19:27
I worked in a pharmacy when I was a teenager and we had 195 proof methol alcohol. Believe me, it was drinkable. No taste, but, drinkable! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/falling.gif



I sincerely hope you mean ethyl alcohol and not methyl, or you really will fall off that chair!! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

dgonano
02-18-2004, 19:38
Well forget drinkable, how about marketable.There
must be a proof reached where the alcohol overwhelms
the the flavors.

bobbyc
02-18-2004, 19:48
Buffalo Trace found a barrel that was laying in an odd place in the rickhouse that was over 160 proof.

dhooch
02-18-2004, 19:51
You are absolutely right!

I told you I was a teenager. What do teenages know!

Besides, that was about 35 years ago. My mind is going quickly....

jeff
02-19-2004, 03:50
Personally, I think the current release of Stagg is a wee be too strong for casual enjoyment. I like to add a little water to it to fit my taste. That said, I prefer Stagg '02 neat most of the time. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

boone
02-19-2004, 06:02
We bottle "pure grain", Gem Clear. The proof is 190. The label has a "caution flamable" symbol on the front.

Pure grain has no smell. I've had a few of my, sugar baby, "fellow mechanic's", pour this into my Pespsi can. I unkowingly, picked the Pepsi up and took a big ole chug...It'll set you on fire http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/hot.gif...Instead of swallowing it I "sprayed" spit everywhere http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif...

We http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif laughed http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif really hard http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif It was funny as hell http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

Occasionally, I use Gem Clear, to clean the transfer roller's on the label machine. Excellent cleaning product http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

The funniest part http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif, thier faces when I told em there would be some really good surprises in order for them http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif



http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Dancin' in the moonlight http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Bettye Jo http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

pepcycle
02-19-2004, 06:21
I'm reachin' back to my chemistry training. Strong alcohol will denature protein. That is too say, change its conformation by interfering with the intermolecular bonding. An example of this is cooking an egg white. Taste buds and epithelium are protein. Somewhere around 140 proof or 70% alchohol that denaturing process will destroy human tissue, in effect, neutralizing taste buds and killing the first layer of cells. Try dropping some raw egg white into solutions of alchohol and you can get a pretty good idea of denaturing protein. In addition, alchohol is a dehydrating solvent, effectively penetrating cell membranes and poisoning the cell's metabolism. (read as disinfectant property) The stuff they rub on your skin to kill germs is 70% isopropyl alchohol. (or less) None of these things are things you want to expose your normal functioning body cells to. My experience is that anything over 125 proof is numbing and quickly anesthetizes the inside of your mouth and taste buds.
BTW: I was once told by a fairly knowledgable alcoholic not to eat raw seafood with high proof cocktails, like martinis. The solution will denature the surface of the chunk of food (oyster, clam etc) and make it indigestible, resulting in what he called the "sneakers in the dryer effect" in your stomach.
Save your cells, add the branch.

ikewillett1
02-20-2004, 12:28
Mike, I am from Indianapolis but am headed down to Louisville this evening. Do you know of any retailers in the Louisville area that still have some Stagg on hand?

Ike

AVB
05-17-2005, 14:13
Nothing like reading old posts to gain a little insight.

Something I think needs to be mentioned in this thread that wasn't, or if it was I missed it, is that bourbon uses charred barrels and scotch usually doesn't. I would think that this fact would have allot to do with the absorbtion and permeability of water into and through the barrel.

dgonano
05-17-2005, 15:55
Well most of the barrels used in the aging of Scotch Whisky
come from the U.S.A. They were previously used to age Bourbon. So they must be charred.

To further this discussion, I have a bottle of Old Overholt from the 1930's labeled "exactly as it came from the original barrel at 113 proof". This was aged in Pennsylvania. Maryland Rye also came out of the barrel at a lower proof.

Gillman
05-17-2005, 17:05
Dave that's interesting for another reason, it shows barrel proof whiskey in the bottle did not begin with Booker's bourbon.

There is, truly, nothing new under the sun - which hardly diminishes the importance of your find.

Before your post I could not think of a single whiskey before Booker's that was advertised as bottled at barrel proof.

Gary

AVB
05-17-2005, 18:34
No Dave, that isn't true. Most scotch does not use 1st or 2nd fill bourbon barrels. Sherry is by far the most widely used with oak (new, 2nd or 3rd fill) after that. When bourbon is used it is stated on the label the vast majority of the time because it is still fairly unusual.

While I don't have any scotch that is over 125 proof I do have 4 over 120 proof with the oldest being 23 years old, a Glen Ord (Rare Malts Expression). Cask Strength Scotch is fairly popular and it isn't uncommon to find bottles over 100 proof, I've got 15 or 16 myself.http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif



Well most of the barrels used in the aging of Scotch Whisky come from the U.S.A. They were previously used to age Bourbon. So they must be charred.

To further this discussion, I have a bottle of Old Overholt from the 1930's labeled "exactly as it came from the original barrel at 113 proof". This was aged in Pennsylvania. Maryland Rye also came out of the barrel at a lower proof.

wrbriggs
05-17-2005, 19:39
Hmm, it's interesting to hear... I was under the impression that almost all used bourbon barrels were sold to Scotch distillers to age their whisky, and that these made up a large part of the barrel stock. I know that some single malts may advertise that they are exclusively aged in bourbon or sherry casks, but my understanding is that with any single malt you buy, a good portion of the whiskey may have been aged in a bourbon barrel.

Keep in mind that the definition of "single malt" does not mean that all the whiskey has to be aged in the same type of barrel. I am sure your whisky knowledge is far greater than mine, but I will see if I can dig up some of the references I've seen regarding the aging of Scotch...

TNbourbon
05-17-2005, 19:56
I believe that most of the 'sherried' single malts are 'sherry finished' -- that is, they are rebarrelled in sherry butts or casks (which also are almost exclusively oak, by the way) for only the last 2-4 years of aging. The earlier aging, by and large, is in used oak, mostly from bourbon distillers.

dgonano
05-17-2005, 22:26
According to Charles MacLean in his book "Malt Whiskey"
whisky(Scotch) is matured almost entirely in American White Oak. New oak imparts a dominant woody flavour-undesirable in Scotch whisky. As for imported casks, which is the norm, ex-bourbon barrels account for 93% of such imported casks. Sherry casks account for 7%. However the number of sherry casks in use exceed such percent since they can be used more times than those which previously held bourbon. Sherry casks also cost 10 times that of bourbon.

Other than Macallan I know of no other producer predominately using sherry casks.

Gillman
05-18-2005, 05:07
On the part of this thread dealing with barrel proof whiskeys (I mean American ones), it occurs to me now that Rare Breed might predate Booker's. I am not sure when Rare Breed was issued. And possibly, a small distillery here or there might have issued a barrel proof version of its bourbon in the 1950's or 1960's. But certainly it is noteworthy that a barrel strength rye was issued in the 1930's and advertised as such on the bottle. So again the practice is not new.

Gary

dougdog
05-18-2005, 07:45
The distillery "Glendronach" uses sherry casks for most of its' malt...

Best regards, dog

Edward_call_me_Ed
05-18-2005, 08:03
I have read that aging whiskey in charred barrels somehow removes impurities like fusol oil. It said that the char absorbs it, and other toxins/hangover agents. Anyone know if there is any truth to this? If so, how does it take place? Are they absorbed, seperated out as the older posts here talk about in relationship to alcohol and water?
Ed

AVB
05-18-2005, 08:55
Very good point, and I will stand corrected. Thanks for pointing out the flaw in my knowledge.



I believe that most of the 'sherried' single malts are 'sherry finished' -- that is, they are rebarrelled in sherry butts or casks (which also are almost exclusively oak, by the way) for only the last 2-4 years of aging. The earlier aging, by and large, is in used oak, mostly from bourbon distillers.

Gillman
05-18-2005, 09:42
Through exposure to oxygen and trace amounts of copper in the spirit the fusel oils are changed into compounds such as esters and other aromatic substances.

Gary

sharkman
05-18-2005, 19:56
Doug, if you see any 15 year Glendronach (or any age for that matter) in your travels, buy them. The distillery was closed in the late 90's I believe. I have a few bottles of the 15 year 100% Sherry Cask Single Malt which is very hard to find. They are a good find and very drinkable. I've seen bottle of it go for $170 and up since the distillery stopped operation.

TNbourbon
05-18-2005, 20:51
...I am not sure when Rare Breed was issued...



According to the history portion of the Wild Turkey website, Rare Breed was introduced in 1991, or almost simultaneously with Booker's.

Edward_call_me_Ed
05-18-2005, 22:18
According to Chuck's book Old Granddad 114 wass created long before Booker's or WT Rare Breed. He didn't give an exact date, but he said it was introduced in the 70's or 80's
Ed

Edward_call_me_Ed
05-18-2005, 22:25
Thanks Gary.

I know that copper has a big effect on the spirit during distillation. It hadn't occurred to me that it might play a continuing role during aging. Is it a catalytic process, do you know? Would a bit of cooper foil in the barrel have a positive effect? Has any whiskey producer, bourbon or other types, tried this?

Ed

AVB
05-19-2005, 04:14
Glendronach reopened in 2004 after being mothballed in 1995. The 15 yo Sherried is considered one of their best malts and is much better then the 12 yo replacement. A small amount of the 15 was just bottled and is available in the UK at about 29.



Doug, if you see any 15 year Glendronach (or any age for that matter) in your travels, buy them. The distillery was closed in the late 90's I believe. I have a few bottles of the 15 year 100% Sherry Cask Single Malt which is very hard to find. They are a good find and very drinkable. I've seen bottle of it go for $170 and up since the distillery stopped operation.

Gillman
05-19-2005, 04:22
Good questions... I think adding any copper to the barrel would not be allowed under bourbon regulations (although maybe they could get around that by putting some copper hoops on the inside:)). A U.K. scientist called Dr. Jim Swan has done some major research on whisky maturation and the roles of oxidation of fusel oils, and trace copper amounts, in the process. This gets complicated because it is has always been known that copper improves spirit even in its unaged form: moonshiners knew this but Jim Swan has focused on reactions from copper in long-matured spirit. (The information about Dr. Swan's research is from an early edition of Michael Jackson's Malt Whisky Companion). The oxidation of congeners has been known for a century at least but I believe it is true to say that despite the sophisticated methods of modern science much about whisky maturation is an unknown quantity.

This leads to a thought I have been entertaining for some time: Since aging is (primarily, at least) for the purposes indicated, the fact of whisky attaining an oaky taste is a side-effect. Yes, it is appreciated by many but is not the main reason to age whisky: the main reason is (or was originally) to break down the fusel oil content of low-proof spirit and otherwise mature the whisky (e.g. said effects of trace copper). So why 100 years after Canadians discovered they could rectify spirit to perfection by advanced distillation (column distilation), do they insist on aging their whisky? Why not simply add caramel and (maybe) wood extract and avoid the cost of years of storage? Remember, there are no fusel oils to transform in Canadian whisky - they are gone from the beginning. American whiskey (blended whiskey) to my mind makes much more sense - just flavor clean spirit with some young and aged real whisky and maybe some flavoring and sell it right away (some American blended is probably aged but it doesn't have to be).

I think in Canada it was felt not so much that whisky becomes better with long barrel aging (some would argue it just becomes more woody), but that an aged product would appeal to a public who held an unshakeable belief that to be palatable whisky had to be long aged. The public got this idea originally from a time when there was no rectified spirit but (as for many popular beliefs and despite scientific evolution) the idea has endured that aged whisky is better, and the Canadian distillers (I am speculating) appealed to that. True, today people accept (quite readily) vodka but I think vodka is something different in their minds than whisky. Or putting it a different way, distillers around the world did finally find a way to sell rectified whisky to people in large quantities: they called it vodka and gave it a romantic image (the Slavic connection, James Bond, etc.). But for those who still wanted "whisky" it had to be aged and whether high proof or low, aged is what people got. Canadian whisky has always as far as I know had to meet a minimum aging period (currently 3 years). And surely, the distillers wrote the law.

See what I mean? An apparent paradox: Canadian whisky is (when new) almost entirely circa 96 alcohol by volume pure, tasteless spirit. Yet it is aged for years before sale and that fact is trumpeted on whisky labels. I just saw a Canadian Club released again that advertises 20 years of age. (I may get that for next Gazebo).

Gary

jbutler
05-19-2005, 06:39
Guys, we're heading way too far afield here. If you want to discuss your favorite scotch, we've got a forum for that.

Gillman
05-19-2005, 06:55
Ed, Grandad 114 is not barrel proof.

Gary

Edward_call_me_Ed
05-19-2005, 08:39
Maybe, maybe not.
It says barrel proof on the label and in Chuck's book. I myself don't know.
Ed

Gillman
05-19-2005, 08:52
Happy to be proved wrong. Will check my bottle when I get home.

Gary

bluesbassdad
05-19-2005, 11:22
Gary,

[Stop me if I've told this before. It seems familiar, but I didn't find anything similar when I searched.]

Perhaps the fact that the effect of copper is/was common knowledge is reflected in the song "Copper Kettle", as follows:

"Get you a copper kettle, get you a copper coil
Fill it with new made corn mash and never more you'll toil
You'll just lay there by the juniper while the moon is bright
Watch them jugs a-filling in the pale moonlight."

Although the song is credited to one Albert Beddoe, it's not clear whether he wrote it from scratch or built upon fragments from the folk tradition. IMO the song fails to reflect the difficulty of the work involved, but that could be deliberate irony.

Historically in the USA I would guess that initially copper was used to build stills because of its malleability as compared to other metals and its widespread use for utensils. (Do you suppose famed coppersmith, Paul Revere, ever made parts for whiskey stills?) I can't help but wonder at what point the postive effects of copper's interaction with the whiskey was discovered.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

Gillman
05-19-2005, 11:50
Thanks, Dave, no, I have never heard of that song, most interesting.

I would think the beneficial effects of copper were discovered early on, through experience, so that by the late 1800's it was understood by large operations and practical distillers that contact with copper improved spirit.

In Chuck's current newsletter he tells some of the fit-out history of Bernheim and quotes Dave Pickerell as stating that equipment used by distilleries that had operated earlier on the site [was one Belmont??] was adapted and reinstalled at Bernheim by UDV (Bernheim opened in 1992). Those stills (there were in fact two) were all-stainless steel and when UDV adapted them for Bernheim new top sections were added made of copper. In a recent issue of Whisky Magazine, in an article about Woodford Reserve there was extensive discussion about copper. Distillery personnel stated that loose copper parts are placed on the stainless steel trays and when reduced almost to nothing are replaced with new ones - the copper literally dissolves into the spirit. Again in Chuck's newsletter, it is noted that the still at Maker's Mark is all-copper, as was (or is, it is still there) the one at Stitzel-Weller. This is interesting as I don't find Maker's Mark has a huge, "whiskey" character, so maybe copper only has a limited effect on spirit, or maybe the wheat recipe or other factors explain why Maker's Mark is a relatively restrained bourbon (in taste, I mean).

Anyway, copper is an acknowledged contributor to the character of any fine spirit, certainly of whisk(e)y and cognac.

Gary

TNbourbon
05-19-2005, 14:46
...It says barrel proof on the label and in Chuck's book...



Re OGD114: I bought my first bottle of this (still unopened) earlier this week, but can find no reference to "barrel-proof" on either the bottle/label or packaging. Now, that doesn't mean it isn't -- in fact, at 114 proof, gotta figure it's close. But, why wouldn't they state it?

Gillman
05-19-2005, 14:50
I just checked my bottle: like Tim's, no reference to barrel proof.

Nor is it likely in my view that this an unproclaimed barrel proof whiskey since how could a sufficient supply of barrels be assured or managed that would over the years hit 114 proof exactly? Doesn't make sense.

The 114 proof number in my opinion comes from the former British proof system in which 100 meant 57% abv, or 114 proof in the American system. It is a harking back to that pre-American proof standard. Noah's Mill also was released as I recall in 114 proof, so it seems to be a traditional proof (albeit rarely used) at which to release whiskey, not a happenstance of a particular barrel's abv content.

This is not to say export or some other bottlings are not specifically identified as barrel proof but the regular issue, shall we say, are not and in my view are the mingling of different barrels where the batch is adjusted finally to the required 114 proof.

Gary

musher
05-19-2005, 19:13
Re OGD114: I bought my first bottle of this (still unopened) earlier this week, but can find no reference to "barrel-proof" on either the bottle/label or packaging. Now, that doesn't mean it isn't -- in fact, at 114 proof, gotta figure it's close. But, why wouldn't they state it?


I tend to doubt that it is anywhere near barrel proof. It may have been the case in the past that 114 was barrel proof, but I can't see Beam Brands barrelling their whiskey below the maximum allowed 125 proof. Since barrel proof tends to increase in KY warehouses (as opposed to decreasing in Scotland warehouses), I doubt that 114 is anywhere close to barrel proof.

TNbourbon
05-19-2005, 19:40
Probably right, regarding Beam. However, Rare Breed (at least until the suits get ahold of it) is consistently 108 at barrel proof -- though Wild Turkey blends barrels of 6, 8 and 12 years to get that. But, "barrel-proof".

Edward_call_me_Ed
05-19-2005, 23:22
Hello All,
You all raise good points. I was surprised that your labels don't say barrel proof. Mine does. I will attach a picture of it. 114 certainly resembles barrel proof. It is higher than Rare Breed. Rare Breed is vatted. Tim, you said that it is consistently 108. But my Jim Murray's Whiskey Bible says that batch W-T-02-91 was 110 proof and the W-T-01-95 was 108.4 proof. Does any one know what the latest batch's proof is? One thing we do know, I think, is that no water is added to Rare Breed or Booker's or George T Stagg. It seems likely that water is added to the OGD 114. That would mean that it isn't really barrel proof and that may be why your labels don't use the term. Anyone have an old bottle? I have seen some pictures on the site, I think I will try to find one and check.
Ed

Ps. The bottle has a fake tax stamp that isn't shown.

musher
05-20-2005, 03:39
I don't know for a fact, but I assume, based on the proof of Rare Breed, that WT barrels at around 105 proof (resulting in more flavor in their bourbon, since there is less water to be added).

As far as Ed's bottle of OGD 114, I haven't been deep into bourbon long enough to know if that is just an older bottling (pre Beam, even?), or if it is just an export-only thing. What I do know is that it looks nothing like my first bottle of OGD 114 that I bought last month.

Gillman
05-20-2005, 03:55
Well, the possibilities are:

i) this bottle contains whiskey that hit 114 exactly in the barrel. The domestic bottles are the same but don't proclaim themselves as barrel proof for some reason.

I would think this unlikely because of what Musher said, though.

ii) this bottle contains whisky that is from a barrel which hit higher than 114 proof but the whisky was diluted with water to 114 proof. This would in a broad sense be barrel proof but not in a literal sense and possibly domestic bottles have the same contents but sensitivity to local (American) regulations means they took off the descriptor "barrel proof" on domestic bottles

iii) the contents are from commingled casks of barrel proof whiskey, like Rare Breed is, and by averaging the company is able to hit 114 and so terms the whiskey barrel proof. This would be fair since each barrel from which the whisky came was barrel proof, so describing the vatting as barrel proof is true (or true enough). This may be the answer since no age statement is given on any of the bottles. But why would the domestic bottles give up the advantage of stating barrel proof...? Maybe the marketers feel they don't need to stress this point. How could barrels be obtained which have a low enough proof to average consistently to 114? Some barrels drop in proof even in Kentucky.

iv) the export and domestic bottles may be different, with each meeting one of the possible formulations given above. It is possible too the domestic bottle today may simply be a regular but high proof bottling (commingled, diltuted as for any bottling). You know, memory now tells me that years ago, minis of Grandad 114 were offered in a bottle that was made to look like a little barrel, which suggests all of it at that time anyway was barrel proof. But I don't recall what the barrel bottle actually stated.

My take is, probably all of it is vatted like Rare Breed is, and for some reason the words barrel proof are left off in the U.S. Maybe B-F's lawyers felt it is going a little far in the domestic market anyway (there may be no similiar regulation in some export markets) to term such a bottle barrel proof. Although personally I'd have no issue with that, if you take 3 barrels, each of which is dumped at its original proof, and combine them, I'd call that barrel proof and isn't that what Rare Breed does? Although, I haven't seen a bottle of that lately, does the Rare Breed label state, "barrel proof" in so many words?

Gary

Gillman
05-20-2005, 04:17
Following up on what Musher has just said, maybe this is an older Beam or even a National Distillers bottling, it does look completely different than the current OG 114 in North America. Even the color looks somewhat lighter than the color of the current bottling although that may be the effect of the photography and scanning.

Ed, does the rear label state the name of the manufacturer?

Gary

kitzg
05-20-2005, 05:08
bravo to JB

In my humble opinion it would help a lot if at least the subject line was changed when a thread took a new direction

Edward_call_me_Ed
05-20-2005, 07:16
Right Greg, I was thinking the same thing. I amy not have done anything if you hadn't prompted me though.

Gary, The back label is mostly in Japanese which means it was intended for the Japanese market. Many bourbons that find there way here have a stick on label over the American label.

In English it says;

Distilled and bottled under U.S. govt. supervision by the Old Grand Dad distillery company Frankfort. KY Clermont, KY. That makes it Jim Beam, right? I notice that the bourbon database says that OGD114 is BP, for barrel proof?

I have seen a very similar bottle on the site along with a number of bottles I have not seen here.

Oh, the morning light was behind the bottle when I took the picture. Not direct sun light, but still, that is probably why it looks lighter than your bottle.
Ed

Gillman
05-20-2005, 07:22
Yes, clearly Jim Beam manufacture.

My best inference is, it is a vatting of barrel proof bourbons, a la Rare Breed, but for some reason this isn't stated on the label here. That, or they have changed it and future bottles (starting with the batch Tim and I have) are not even minglings of different barrel proofs but regular batches diluted down to 114. I note by the way my bottle states "Batch 1" which is interesting..

Gary

Edward_call_me_Ed
05-20-2005, 07:37
Mine is, Lot No. 18.
Ed

jbutler
05-20-2005, 08:14
I notice that the bourbon database says that OGD114 is BP, for barrel proof?




That's a typo Ed, but thanks for pointing it out. I'll fix it shortly.

gr8erdane
05-20-2005, 22:06
Another possible explanation might be that the original bottling of 114 proof might have been the barrel proof for that first batch which prompted the name and then all batches since were adjusted to that proof to keep from having to go through all the hassles of getting new labels approved. Could you imagine having to add bottles of Old Grand Dad 115, Old Grand Dad 116 etc to your bunkers?

ddubb
05-23-2005, 00:31
Maybe the whole chemistry discussion is moot after all. I'm wondering why God would want the proof of whisky in Scotland to decrease or stay the same while whisky in America gets stronger. Or maybe its the devil wants it that way.

Note to self: don't bother these nice people with posts like this after I drank so much. Its a wonder there aren't more obtuse ramblings on this kind of board.

kitzg
05-25-2005, 08:53
Oh I think these decisions are by men http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

And I think we are very thankful BT (and maybe a few others in the world) are willing to experiment so much!