View Full Version : What will I end up with?

04-08-2005, 08:24
Hi all first post here. I am a truck driver here in St. Louis the company I drive for hauls mostly booze and barrels. I bought a small barrel from Independent Stave Lebanon MO. it is made the same as the regular barrels chared inside. I filled it with inexpensive Old Crow. I plan to just let this sit around for a long time mostly a good conversation peice. Will this age this way or will I just have old Old Crow (ha ha) in say 10 years or so would I need to store it in an outdoor shed for the temp dif or can it just sit around inside? I put two 1.75 liter bottles in the barrel and then topped off with a little water. Anyone ever try this even if nothing happens its still kinda neat.

04-08-2005, 10:26
Well, I'm not really sure that additional aging will do much to improve the flavor of Old Crow. However, it'll definitely make a good conversation piece!

04-08-2005, 11:12
It may result in a smoother bourbon. If I remember correctly, Jack Daniels charcoal filters the Gentlemen Jack once, put it back in a barrel, then age it some more, charcoal again, then bottle it.

It may also pick up additional flavors from the new barrel. However, you will need to store it outside year 'round, as it is the temperature change that draws the bourbon into the wood and forces it back out. In used barrels, you can take the individual slats apart and see how deep the bourbon got.

It's an interesting little project you've got going. I think some distillers have exact specifications for their barrels (not exactly sure what makes 'em all different) so your barrel may "taste" different than the original barrels used for aging. Let us know how this turns out in a few years!!!

04-08-2005, 13:55

I have no idea what you will end up with, but I envy you the opportunity to find out.

If I were doing the experiment, I might be more inclined to start with a bourbon that I like, from a line that has longer-aged bottlings I like even better.

Wild Turkey 101 would probably be my first choice. If I could transform it into something even a little more like WT Russell's Reserve, or, better yet, WT 12 y/o, I'd make it a point to live long enough to see the end of the experiment.

BTW, there have been threads here about the effect of motion on the aging process, whether on a flatboat headed for New Orleans or on a sailing ship. If you could manage to take your test barrel with you on your commercial travels, you might intensify the aging process.

BTW #2, if a local fellow named Dane shows up claiming to be the St. Louis municipal bourbon inspector, don't fall for it. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

04-08-2005, 15:06
Being the St Louis Municipal Bourbon Inspector...(Thanks Dave for taking away my in...)

I'm wondering a couple of things that might influence the outcome of your experiment:

1. the char level they put on the barrel.
2. whether the smaller and probably thinner staves are made from the inner or outer parts of the oak logs which could control the amount of carmelization.
3. where you plan to store it and how much temperature fluctuation can be expected in that location.

I agree that this is a worthy experiment and will patiently await the findings when you decide to open it. After all it will need to be inspected....

04-08-2005, 15:52
Indeed, and being too far away to participate, I nominate Dane as an available and experienced taster. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

My take on this: I think what you're doing is great. Based on data from the 1920's, it appears that placing such a keg in a car trunk for a couple of months can hasten the aging. So put it in, drive on bumpy roads, fuggitaboutit until Labor Day, and then check it out - I think it will be great.


04-08-2005, 16:47
...it appears that placing such a keg in a car trunk for a couple of months can hasten the aging. So put it in, drive on bumpy roads, fuggitaboutit until Labor Day, and then check it out...

Of course, should your driving happen across the Tennessee state line, I'm the border customs bourbon inspector... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

04-09-2005, 02:03
Hi Dave,
I see your point, but I think the Old Crow experiment is more interesting. I haven't had any of it and if I do I am not sure it would be the same Old Crow that you guys get in the States. Still, the idea of 'fixing' a cheap, bad bourbon is cool. It might matter why Old Crow is bad. Is it underaged? Aged in the wrong part of the warehouse and thus underaged? Aged in bad barrels? Was the white dog bad in the first place? If one of the first two, then the extra aging might be just the ticket. If one of the later two then more barrel time might not be able to save it.

04-09-2005, 02:05
Hi RaceFanRay,
I was wondering, is your barrel a new charred barrel or has it had bourbon in it before?

04-09-2005, 04:38
I am sure the white dog, is "all the same", i.e., while each producer's varies due to differing proportions of rye to corn (or wheat to corn) and distillation proof, each product is basically similar. Entry proof will differ too, but I don't think that is material since the law sets a standard by stating that 125 proof is the maximum. I think the main factors are length of initial aging, barrel type and warehouse conditions. So everything in other words is calculated in this experiment to improve the quality of the bourbon.

The other way to improve an indifferent bourbon is through blending. I had a bottle of Jim White White Label I wanted to improve. I also had a Corner Creek which is a high end whiskey but one I found (in this current bottling) somewhat woody and bland. I added 6 ounces of Beam White to 20 of Corner Creek and it is remarkable how good is the result. The rough character of the Beam was completely absorbed in the Corner Creek and the latter was made fuller and richer yet without seeming to taste of the Beam at all. To do this I intentionally kept the proportions to about 4:1.

Another experiment as mentioned earlier was blending 40% George Dickel with 60% of Jack Daniel. Again it is remarkable how the blending produced somehing quite new and better (in my view) than either alone. Somehow the strong Jack taste (that "liquorice" accent) was almost neutralised while lending youth and body to the older Dickel. Contrarily the Dickel's mineral or "vitamins" note was considerably reduced, to its benefit in my view. The resultant flavor was like a rich fudgy bourbon, almost like an Elmer T. Lee, say. I used high end whiskies - 10 year old Dickel Single Barrel and a personal mingling of two Single Barrel Jack Daniels and some regular Jack - but I see no reason it wouldn't work with regular Dickel and all-regular Jack because the premium version of each tastes like the regular one (just slightly more intense).

Still, the oak keg experiment is fascinating. I might try that this summer myself. Oak kegs are easy to buy at wine supply stores and they come charred I understand. If I were to do this I likely would use Wild Turkey or Beam White Label, or a bottom shelf brand such as Old Taylor.

04-09-2005, 07:56
I bought a barrel a couple of years ago with the purpose of doing this. However, the barrel I bought does not have any charr. What method do the use to charr the barrels anyway? I was thinking of using AA 10 year when I did it. I have a storage shed behind my house that I built a stand in to store the barrel. The only problem is that I have never gotten around to charring the barrel.

04-09-2005, 09:04
I am also interested in what you will end up with. I am sorry to say I don't have to high of hopes. My research has found that `low proof entry into a barrel does not have enough ethanol to extract at a high rate the really good flavors from a barrel. 80 proof is usually 1/2 to 1/3 of the flavor of a simillarly aged 125 proof. The smaller barrel and more temperature variation that you will get in your shed might do the trick. Keep us appraised of the results! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/Clever.gif


04-09-2005, 11:56
Interesting analysis especially since water (in the experiment reported) was added to what I assume is 80 proof whiskey. Of course proof will likely go up as the product ages, but your point is salutary (maybe the experimenter should have added Everclear - but then the result would not be Bourbon as such..).

Why in your view does the law limit barrel entry proof to 125? If extraction of good elements increases with the ethanol concentration, would this factor not hasten aging? So why the limit?


04-09-2005, 18:03
Excelent question. One in which I am not privy to the answer. I would assume that good old E H Taylor might have had something to do with it, when he was getting a government blessing on the idetnity of Bourbon. Interesting enough, the higher the proof, the faster the loss of Angels Share. Lower proof keeps it's volume better. My supposition is that it was a cost savings/flavor balance figured out by the old timers.


04-09-2005, 19:19
I am sure the white dog, is "all the same",

Hi Gary,
That is what I was assuming, but I included it in the interest of being complete. My guess it that it is aging that is the problem with Old Crow. I repeat that I have not had any of that whiskey, I am just going on what others have said. Jim Beam White Label would be interesting as I like their small batch bourbons very much, the ones I have had anyway. Of course, part of what makes the small batch bourbons so good is that the best barrels are selected from among many. When there is only one barrel in the shed then there isn't much room to oick and choose. The barrel is either good or not. Wild Turkey 101 proof would give you a better entry proof. It would be prohibitively expensive here.

04-10-2005, 03:30
Why in your view does the law limit barrel entry proof to 125? If extraction of good elements increases with the ethanol concentration, would this factor not hasten aging? So why the limit?


Hi Gary,
As a newbie I hesitate to appear to be trying to teach you about whiskey. But I sure do enjoy thinking and writing about it!
I understand that the lower entry proof allows more of the barrel character to be present in the finished whiskey. Not because more flavors have been extracted necessarily, but because after the barrel has been dumped it is cut to bottle proof. That was around 100 proof in the past and the old timers were aiming at a dump proof as close as possible to that. The less water they had to add to get down to 100 proof meant that the barrel character was less diluted. I am sure that alcohol extracts a lot of the flavor from the barrel, but water is pretty good at that, too. I am only guessing here, but I think that the alcohol and the water each play their own parts in the aging process. An interesting experiment would be to put pure water in a new charred barrel for a while and see how it, "ages." I think water would absorb many of the sugars present in the wood and the red layer. The problem would be to see that it didn't spoil. I do know that was a problem in the days when freshwater was carried to sea in barrels. I have never heard if its taste changed. I am sure it did pick up flavor from the wood. Anyone know for sure?

04-10-2005, 04:58
This could be but if it was known that good flavors come from higher proof that might outweigh the advantage of lower dilution for bottling strength. To know the answer a series of methodical tests would have to be done and I am sure distilleries have done this over the years.

I wonder why high proof whiskey would evaporate faster than lower proof since it is the water that goes out sooner than the alcohol. It must be that the overall evapration rate is higher, i.e., for both water and alcohol.

Water certainly can acquire a taste from oak vessels. E.g. I recall once tasting 5% abv beer aged in a new oak keg and it was almost undrinkable, strong wood compounds were entering and overwhelming the beer. The wood had not been seasoned properly I am quite sure and I doubt the cask was charred. But as to the difference in wood compounds extracted by water vs. alcohol I cannot say except possibly in this sense, that Wild Turkey (said to have the lowest entry proof of any whiskey, around 110) seems more "woody" to me than other bourbons, i.e., less vanillin-tasting, less aromatic if that is the right word. So may that be an example of a greater amount of water pulling in different compounds than a higher proof whiskey would have, but I don't know for sure.


04-13-2005, 18:20
Wow juys thanks for all the opinions. The barrel is from Independent Stave Lebanon MO. they say they are made exactly the same as the big ones charred and all. I may have to start another one with higher proof better bourbon. I like the idea of haveing one bounce around on the truck it would sure get the temp dif like crazy I go to CA every other week just not sure of the laws and such not supposed to have any unmanifested booze onboard. The main reason I used old crow was price Ihad the thing sitting around since b4 christmas and need to do something.