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AJ123
03-15-2006, 16:51
What should we do with opened bottles? Someone told me that the taste starts to go after 6-12 months. That doesn't bother me with my regulars, but I'm now accumulating and tasting more and more and even have a bottle of Distiller's Masterpiece and a few WT Tributes that I just found and don't want to open them if I need to "run" through them in six months.

Would a good idea be to use those wine stoppers where you suck out the air and create a partial vacuum? They definitely enable bottled wine to last longer.

Would a good idea be to refrigerate, e.g. in wine cooler?

I'm not sure it's scientific, but I do think my whiskey changes a little with breathing.

jeff
03-15-2006, 16:59
I have at least 10 bottles that have been open for more than 4 years that I sample every-so-often and I have experienced no ill-effects from oxidation or aging. I recommend you store you bottles in a relatively cool area out of direct sunlight and you'll be good to go.

Welcome to Straightbourbon.com :toast:

Vange
03-15-2006, 18:39
I use a spray called wine preserver. Works for all my spirits and works wonders on wine as well.

brian12069
03-15-2006, 18:54
I use a spray called wine preserver. Works for all my spirits and works wonders on wine as well.
A spray??? Please elaborate.

TomH
03-15-2006, 19:02
It is a nitrogen based spray that replaces the oxygen. I never did chemistry but supposedly nitrogen is neutral in its effect, unlike oxygen. I use a nitrogen based "winekeeper" system for my wine and it definitely keeps the wine better than any of the vacuum plug systems.

Vange
03-15-2006, 19:52
The vacuum crap doesnt work. I tested it with wine and it's crap, so I can only imagine what it does to spirits.

The wine preserver spray works great. Here is a link.

http://www.privatepreserve.com/

Joe_Blowe
03-15-2006, 20:24
I've read some postings at alt.drinks.scotch-whisky that the nitrogen-based preservers may add a "carbonation effect" to the contents (wine, whiskey, etc.) of the bottle. Any reports on this?

Vange
03-15-2006, 20:43
I havent experienced that yet.

Barrel_Proof
03-15-2006, 20:48
I recommend you store you bottles in a relatively cool area out of direct sunlight and you'll be good to go.
Sounds like a bunker to me!

barturtle
03-15-2006, 21:32
I have never experienced this with wine(I keep my number of whiskey bottles open at any one time fairly low). It would seem that to have any sort of fizzyness happen there would have to be enough of a pressure difference between the interior of the bottle and the outside atmosphere. since the spray is intended to be sprayed in the open and then replace the cap it sounds unlikely to add enough pressure to do this. Unless someone has fitted some type of pressure cap and found a way to add a fitting to the spray can, I can think of no way to produce this.

Rich
03-15-2006, 22:50
Nitrogen is common in just about anything commercially packaged from potato chips to candy. Good find, I might order some for a few favorite bottles that I know I'm not going to finish anytime soon.

camduncan
03-15-2006, 23:53
I have at least 10 bottles that have been open for more than 4 years that I sample every-so-often and I have experienced no ill-effects from oxidation or aging. I recommend you store you bottles in a relatively cool area out of direct sunlight and you'll be good to go.


Similar experience here too Jeff - I think my longest opened bottle has been open for just on 3 years, maybe 4 (I can't remember which of 2 overseas trips I picked it up on)
I certainly can't pick any degraded taste.
One thing I have noticed though - and I found this in my bottle of Old Rip Van Winkle 10yo thats been open since Aug 2004 - the cork is starting to go quite dry and brittle and can drop tiny flaking pieces into the bottle if I'm not careful. Periodically tipping my bottles on their side for a few minutes seems to minimise this.

JeffRenner
03-16-2006, 07:53
The vacuum crap doesnt work. I tested it with wine and it's crap, so I can only imagine what it does to spirits.

I've had good luck with VacuVin (http://www.vacuvin.nl). With it, you can remove a large percentage of the air (and oxygen) in the headspace. Obviously, the larger the headspace, the more oxygen is still left in the bottle.

Here (http://www.stratsplace.com/rogov/art_vacuvin.html) is a little discussion of it.

If you refrigerate the partially full bottle of wine, it will further slow the oxidation. Of course, with red wine, you'll want to let it warm up before serving. I know it sounds blasphemous, but I find that a microwave works well.

As the above reviewer writes, this will hold a wine for a few days up to a week. I doesn't make sense to do it with a fine wine.

Jeff

JeffRenner
03-16-2006, 08:05
I've read some postings at alt.drinks.scotch-whisky that the nitrogen-based preservers may add a "carbonation effect" to the contents (wine, whiskey, etc.) of the bottle. Any reports on this?

Sounds like bad science to me. Air is 80% nitrogen, so even if you could manage to complete exlude all gases other than the nitrogen from the spray, it would only increase the portion of nitrogen above the liquid by 25%.

Dalton's law of partial pressures (http://members.aol.com/profchm/dalton.html) says that this will increase the amount of nitrogen going into solution by 25%.

Nitrogen is very insoluble in water (and presumably alcohol as well), so 25% more dissolved is still going to be insignificant. And as Timothy wrote, to get any "fizziness," you would have to have reduced the pressure to get any dissolved gas to come out - like removing the cork from champagne.

Jeff

bluesbassdad
03-16-2006, 09:38
Here (http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/showthread.php?p=1266&highlight=ritual+cork+wetting#post1266) is another account of the practice of periodic tipping, or tippling, as the case may be

Back when John made his post, I recall thinking that it might be a good idea to designate a certain day is "Bourbon Tipping Day", to serve as a reminder for those of us who keep open bottles around a long time.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

MikeK
03-17-2006, 04:59
I'm a big believer in Wine Preserver spray. I feel that a half full bottle goes stale within a month or 2. I've been using the spray in Bourbon and Scotch for years now and it keeps them perfect. Even with the spray though, as a bottle gets close to empty you better have friends over to kill it or it will get a bit weird.

Last night I had a bizarre experience. I had almost finished off a bottle of WTRR-101 and there was one pour left in the bottle. I didn't bother spraying the bottle since I knew I would finish it off the next day. Big mistake. That last pour was absolutely undrinkable. It was extremely bitter.

Get some Nitrogen/Argon in a can, it is your friend.

Mike

jeff
03-17-2006, 06:36
I'm a big believer in Wine Preserver spray. I feel that a half full bottle goes stale within a month or 2. I've been using the spray in Bourbon and Scotch for years now and it keeps them perfect. Even with the spray though, as a bottle gets close to empty you better have friends over to kill it or it will get a bit weird.

Last night I had a bizarre experience. I had almost finished off a bottle of WTRR-101 and there was one pour left in the bottle. I didn't bother spraying the bottle since I knew I would finish it off the next day. Big mistake. That last pour was absolutely undrinkable. It was extremely bitter.

Get some Nitrogen/Argon in a can, it is your friend.

Mike

Mike,

Are you suggesting that that last pour went bad overnight? I have never had anything like that happen to me, even with a bottle open 3+ years. Are you sure you weren't feeling a little under the weather or just ate some bad indian food or something:lol: I'm not trying to discredit what you're saying, I'm just trying to understand it. Can you describe what it tasted like?

AJ123
03-17-2006, 08:29
O.k. seems like th eno-brainer part is tipping the bottles once a week or so to keep the cork moist - makes sense for scotch and bourbon. Nobody keeps wine that long so it doesn't matter with wine.

Two of you report that 2-4 year periods don't degrade bourbon. Others say it does with one person thinking there's a change even after a month or two.

We know from science that it's the oxygen. So removing some of air, nitrogen, storage in cool place or refrigeration would each seem to help.

If you do the vaccumm extraction, unfortunately, you have these rubber tops on all your nice bottles. Also, I'm not sure how long those vacuums hold - after all they are only designed to give you a few extra days on a wine bottle. And some brands work poorly to begin with.

I agree with the quotes about fizz and nitrogen. Can't hurt the bourbon unless applied under pressure. Of course, a tiny bit of oxygen will be left in the bottle.

Refrigeration seems sacreligious, but intellectually it makes sense. Living in Texas, I like to drink my whiskey cool anyway. And it would take no time at all after a pour into a room temperature glass to have it warm halfway to room temperature. Whatever is going on with the oxygen in an opened bottle would happen much more slowly if the bottle is kept at a refrigerated temperature.

Of course, you could spritz the bottle with nitrogen, suck out all the nitrogen out, and refrigerate. However, there is nothing in my life that I'm that anal about, so I can't imagine ever keeping that up. :rolleyes:


So my conclusion is that I'm going to ignore all this for the bottles I know I will be through in six months. For the others, I'm going to try the nitrogen and tip once a week. I may think about refrigeration -- a specialty wine cooler with a glass front in the liquor closet would be very nice. I can't see piling up all my precious bottles on the bottom rack of the garage refrigerator, but who knows.



What should we do with opened bottles? Someone told me that the taste starts to go after 6-12 months. That doesn't bother me with my regulars, but I'm now accumulating and tasting more and more and even have a bottle of Distiller's Masterpiece and a few WT Tributes that I just found and don't want to open them if I need to "run" through them in six months.

Would a good idea be to use those wine stoppers where you suck out the air and create a partial vacuum? They definitely enable bottled wine to last longer.

Would a good idea be to refrigerate, e.g. in wine cooler?

I'm not sure it's scientific, but I do think my whiskey changes a little with breathing.

pepcycle
03-17-2006, 14:38
The flavor components of whiskey are volatile. If they weren't, they couldn't be distilled. Some are more volatile than others. Everytime the airspace above the liquid in a bottle disperses, some of those components are released. Some are in very small concentrations. Over time, this could impact the flavor profile. I doubt that I would call that spoiled or oxidized, but definitely modified. Freshly opened whiskey almost always has qualities on the nose that disappear quickly. I've read about people allowing bourbon to breath or open. This allows some volatiles to dissipate. The only way to test would be to have two identical bottles purchased simultaneously that are several years old. One opened the whole time, one sealed.
In the name of science, I will test this with my Open 2002 Stagg that is just about empty against a brand new one. I think all y'all are wasting your time with Nitrogen, Argon, Vacuums etc.

AJ123
03-17-2006, 14:48
It makes sense that the changes might not be bad! It makes even more sense to try an experiment like you suggest! I'm going to it on one or two bourbons and just see. Hmmm - I guess that means I need to run to the store and pick up two at a time:grin:



The flavor components of whiskey are volatile. If they weren't, they couldn't be distilled. Some are more volatile than others. Everytime the airspace above the liquid in a bottle disperses, some of those components are released. Some are in very small concentrations. Over time, this could impact the flavor profile. I doubt that I would call that spoiled or oxidized, but definitely modified. Freshly opened whiskey almost always has qualities on the nose that disappear quickly. I've read about people allowing bourbon to breath or open. This allows some volatiles to dissipate. The only way to test would be to have two identical bottles purchased simultaneously that are several years old. One opened the whole time, one sealed.
In the name of science, I will test this with my Open 2002 Stagg that is just about empty against a brand new one. I think all y'all are wasting your time with Nitrogen, Argon, Vacuums etc.

MikeK
03-18-2006, 08:51
Mike,

Are you suggesting that that last pour went bad overnight? I have never had anything like that happen to me, even with a bottle open 3+ years. Are you sure you weren't feeling a little under the weather or just ate some bad indian food or something:lol: I'm not trying to discredit what you're saying, I'm just trying to understand it. Can you describe what it tasted like?

Yes, I admit this was rather bizarre and a really extreme example. It tasted very bitter and acidic. I actually had to pour out the glass.

My general position is that a bottle of bourbon will change one it is opened and as the level goes down. I often find that the first pour is outstanding, then it is not quite as good, and then as you get 1/3 to 1/2 into the bottle it gets more complex and flavorful again. It would appear that some breathing or oxidation can be good, but too much is bad. I find as the bottle gets low, even using nitrogen, the quality fades again. Once I get to around 1/4 bottle I try to finish it off within a week. I have heard even people that do not believe in presevative admit that once the level gets low they kill the bottle quickly or pour it into a vatting bottle to keep the fluid level high.

I too have been VERY perplexed by the radical difference of opinions. Some people keep bottles open for years and report no degradation. Others claim a bottle will change in a negative way in a month or 2. I would like to pick up 2 bottles of AAA or similar and do a side by side experiment. One bottle will get Nitrogen and one won't. I'll have a blind pour out of each once per month and see if I can tell the difference or not.

Cheers,
Mike

Gillman
03-18-2006, 09:27
This is a very interesting question.

I find sometimes when I sample a whiskey that has been in a bottle opened for some time, it tastes a little off, metallic-like, especially when the level is low; other times though when I go back to it it seems fine.

I think there are two things going on: first, whiskey really does taste different on different occasions due to the fact of having eaten something different, or being tired, or some other external factor. One's body chemistry sometimes is just off (women often report this but it can affect men) and this seemingly affects things we eat and drink.

On the other hand, unquestionably, prolonged exposure to oxygen, especially small quantities in the bottle, can make whiskey degraded. I think it is possible too the contents can become "polluted" in the sense that if the ambient air isn't very good (often the case in cities or close environments like basements and so forth - some bunkers have inherent defects that way) it just gets in the whiskey and gives it an off taste, whereas if say fresh Nelson County, KY air is flowing in or around it it will be fine. :)

Probably only scientific analysis (gas chromatography, notably) could tell us if, say, the whiskey in a one-third filled bottle of WT rye kept two years is the same as the whiskey in a full bottle bought at the same time (or better yet whiskey from the other bottle poured into an empty pint bottle full-up when the experiment started). But even then science couldn't account for peoples' reaction to such whiskeys when sampled two years later...

Gary

MikeK
03-18-2006, 11:48
This is a very interesting question.
I think there are two things going on: first, whiskey really does taste different on different occasions due to the fact of having eaten something different, or being tired, or some other external factor. One's body chemistry sometimes is just off (women often report this but it can affect men) and this seemingly affects things we eat and drink.
Gary

I agree completely. I usually do not drink whiskey with food or for a while afterwards. If neccessary, a bit of 100% chocolate will clean the palate quite nicely.

Because of daily moods/weather/chemistry/whatever, I try not to form an opinion on a bottle until I've tasted it on several different days. And I never post tasting notes until I've finished the bottle. It's simple, one day I might love a bottle, another day I might find it lackluster. I like to average this out over a few months and give an overall opinion.

Mike

camduncan
03-18-2006, 16:58
So, if I'm to believe that oxygen affects bourbon (and I'm by no means an expert trying to refute this)... Wouldn't this mean that the small amount of air in an unopened bottle could potentially impact the whiskey? Admittedly it would only be minimal, but unless the bottle is vacuum sealed at the time of the cork going in, there's going to be oxygen in there :skep:

Gillman
03-18-2006, 17:07
Yes Cam but it will take a lot longer for adverse effects to be noticed because of the much smaller amount of air in a normal neck space than in, say, a bottle 1/4 full. In practice, the ill effects that can potentailly occur are never noticed because who keeps full bottles for years and years before opening them? Even those who encounter old bottles usually aren't dealing with bottles older than 20 years. That is not long enough for the small amount of air in normal neck space to do damage.

Gary

bluesbassdad
03-18-2006, 18:19
Plus, it's the same air until the bottle is opened. To whatever extent the escape of volatile agents is a factor, an equilibrium condition would be reached in a short time.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

brian12069
03-18-2006, 19:57
You know what...drink the damn thing...don't store it...

bluesbassdad
03-19-2006, 03:21
We used to have a member here whose slogan was "Drink it, man; drink it!"

He used it often, especially when some drop-in inquired as to the value of some old bottling he'd found. (Here I use the masculine pronoun without guilt. I have yet to see a post from a woman hoping to make a killing on an old bottle of whiskey.)

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

CrispyCritter
03-19-2006, 08:39
I've noticed that some air can have positive effects, too - my first few pours of Isle of Jura 10yo SMSW were rather disappointing, but after the half-full bottle sat on the shelf for a month or so, it was a lot better when I revisited it.

Sazerac Jr. seemed to have a bit of a rough, spirity edge on first pour, and then mellowed out a bit on the second pour a week later. Standard WT 101 also has shown this effect.

On the other hand, air wasn't kind to my Bernheim Wheat - the last pours, though they weren't bad, weren't as good as the first.

gr8erdane
03-21-2006, 01:10
I've been reading this thread with interest as almost every bottle on the shelf in my bunker is open. Personally, tastewise I would have to side with those that say there are few effects in the taste from one pour to the next. But then I find a totally different problem that nobody seems to have touched on. And that's volume. Once I open the bottle, the volume tends to deteriorate steadily. Now normally I would think that this is a figment of my imagination but the amazing thing is that the better the whiskey, the faster the deterioration! I'm not talking angel's share here either but a major drop in fluid levels. One day I look at a particular bottle and the level is even with the top of the label when it was above it the day before. So, being the chronic worrier I am I open the bottle and pour a bit in a glass to taste to see if it has oxidized and then put the bottle back on the shelf. The very next day the level is BELOW the top of the label! Now comes the really eerie part. THE LEVEL ONLY DROPS ON THE BOTTLE I'M CONCERNED ABOUT AT THAT TIME! All the rest look like they are the same as they were the day before. I'm beginning to think that my house is either haunted or that damned tree rat has learned how to get in and out of my fireplace again unnoticed!

barturtle
03-21-2006, 13:43
My local liquor store has the same problem: I go in and discover a wonderful bottle after paying much attention to it and making sure it has a loving home to retire to, I go back the next day and there is no more!

pepcycle
04-07-2006, 11:08
I finished my two week long, one person, double blind sampling of freshly opened Stagg 2002 vs 4 year opened Stagg 2002.
I presented samples to a bourbon taster, who shall remain nameless and presented them with neat samples randomly from each of the above bottles.
At least 30 trials of Two: 1/2 Oz samples. My son poured them based on a random sequence generated from Excel with 1's and 2's. My wife served them and I collated the data.
Sometimes the taster got only New, sometimes only Old and sometimes one of each.
His only requirement was to say Same or Different. He tasted the neat, diluted and with ice. He did not know what whiskey or what the experiment was.
The conclusion.
Completely random answers. Got it right and wrong exactly equally.
Identified the same whiskey as different the same number of times he identified the different whiskeys as same and the alternatives.

Conclusion: I don't think anyone can tell two different whiskies apart reliably, no less two of the same whiskies that differ only by time opened.

I challenge anyone else to try this experiment with more people and a different whiskey.


This is anything but scientific but has some validity.

jburlowski
04-07-2006, 11:12
At least 30 trials of Two: 1/2 Oz samples.

Good thing you did this over a two week period.

You have my thanks and admiration for your sacrifice and dedication to the further edification of SB members!

DrinkyBanjo
04-07-2006, 13:34
If you need another volunteer for that same test on 2002 Stagg let me know.

In the name of science of course!

JeffRenner
04-09-2006, 18:07
I finished my ... sampling of freshly opened Stagg 2002 vs 4 year opened Stagg 2002. ... At least 30 trials of Two: 1/2 Oz samples. My son poured them ... My wife served them and I collated the data.

I have no background in statistics, but I understand that a more powerful test is the triangle test. Two samples are the same and the third is different. The subject evaluates all three, then chooses which one is different from the other three. The choices are chosen at random, so that two may be sample A and one sample B, or the other way around, and they are presented in random order.

In industry, this is done with a test panel, and the members push the different one away from the other two on a signal so they cannot be influenced by the others.

Multiple results are then subjected to statistical analysis.

I have participated in panels of this sort for beers - in one case to evaluate a technique called first wort hopping, in which hops are added in a non-traditional manner - steeped in the first runoff from the mash.

This might be another way to test a similar question to the one you investigated.

Jeff

jeff
04-09-2006, 18:17
I have no background in statistics, but I understand that a more powerful test is the triangle test. Two samples are the same and the third is different. The subject evaluates all three, then chooses which one is different from the other three.

In industry, this is done with a test panel, and the members push the different one away from the other two on a signal so they cannot be influenced by the others.

Multiple results are then subjected to statistical analysis.

I have participated in panels of this sort for beers - in one case to evaluate a technique called first wort hopping, in which hops are added in a non-traditional manner - steeped in the first runoff from the mash.

This might be another way to test a similar question to the one you investigated.

Jeff

On Topic: Way to go Ed, take one for the team!

Off Topic: Jeff, where do you come down on FWH? I haven't tried it and it seems everyone has a different opinion on the subject. Promash by default has the utilization rate about 20% lower than a 60 minute boil IIRC. What is the suposed benefit of FWH versus say adding more hops for the duration of the boil? Personally I prefer more aroma, so I dry-hop the bejesus out of my IPAs. :yum:

jsgorman
04-10-2006, 16:01
I use the spray nitrogen for wines, but figure it buys me a day or two at best. I found vac-u-vin to be a complete waste of money and effort. But, the best solution that I've had for bourbon is glass marbles.

I have a bowl of marbles that I slip into bottles as I drink the bourbon. It pushes the liquor towards the neck and reduces air contact. Towards the end of the bottle, I need to be careful or even use a bottle pourer so the marbles don't dip into my drink (no biggie if it does happen).

A simple solution.

JeffRenner
04-11-2006, 20:06
Off Topic: Jeff, where do you come down on FWH? I haven't tried it and it seems everyone has a different opinion on the subject.

I love it. It's SOP for me for pilsners and English-style bitters (half of my brews). I think it adds flavor, though not aroma (I add late hops for that and dry hop bitters), and a smoother bitterness than full boil hops. There's something about that steep before the boil.

Dave Draper has an excellent summary (http://www.unm.edu/~draper/beer/1stwort.html) on his beer page.

Jeff

TimmyBoston
06-05-2006, 04:17
That Marble Idea is really clever. I would never have thought to do that. What does everybody else think? Would the marble alter the taste in any way?

Nebraska
06-05-2006, 06:41
I prefer to keep all my marbles where there at. Once you've lost them...

cowdery
06-05-2006, 17:22
That Marble Idea is really clever. I would never have thought to do that. What does everybody else think? Would the marble alter the taste in any way?

As long as they are clean, they should be competely inert. They're just glass, after all, just like the bottle.