View Full Version : storage of Bourbon

01-27-2002, 16:52
We just recently bought a bottle of Maker's Mark and we have been storing the almost full bottle in the freezer. Is this bad or does it matter?

01-27-2002, 17:35
It is generally best to store whisky upright in a cool place out of direct sunlight. I would take it out of the freezer ASAP.

01-27-2002, 18:18
Jimmy Russell at Wild Turkey says he keeps his Rare Breed in the freezer.

I used to be a pretty good chemical engineering student. I can't think of a thing storing bourbon in a freezer would hurt.

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1>Edited by ratcheer on Sun Jan 27 17:19:12 2002 (server time).</FONT></P>

01-27-2002, 19:47
I was under impression the only whiskeys that would NOT freeze would be those containing a minimum 50 percent alcohol (100 proof) or more, such as Rare Breed. Now I'm curious -- how do lower proof whiskeys like Makers fare?


01-28-2002, 10:03
Storing bourbon in the freezer is unnecessary but harmless.

I'm not sure at what proof/temperature combination spirits will start to freeze, but I know that an 80 proof spirit (the lowest level available for whiskey, vodka, etc.) will not freeze in a typical home refrigerator freezer compartment. Lots of people keep vodka, dutch gin and Jagermeister in the freezer (I'm one of them) because they like to drink them chilled, but not diluted with ice. I tried that with bourbon once and didn't care for the result, but in theory at least it should work.

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>

01-28-2002, 18:00
I have stored many bottles of 80 proof vodka and gin in the freezer and never had one freeze, yet.

01-28-2002, 23:47
All bourbon is "chilled" before it is bottled. If ya don't chill it and it goes to a cold climate it will flock. Flock in bourbon looks cloudy and a little bit stringy. Get the picture, sounds pretty nasty looks nasty too. We chill to about 17 degrees. So go ahead and chill your bourbon it won't hurt a thing.


01-29-2002, 09:50
>All bourbon is "chilled" before it is bottled.

Luckily, not all bourbon is chill filtered! Booker's is probably the most popular
non-chill-filtered bourbon, but I seem to recall that there are others.

Personally, I'm very much in the "purist" camp that is absolutely against
chill filtering, especially for high end spirits. Chill filtering removes some
of the flavor!

Does anyone know when bottlers started the unholy practice of chill filtering?

(Dr. Crow would be ashamed... it's a reduction in quality in order to appease
the ignorant masses who are afraid of a little cloudiness. We need Bourbon
Education, not chill filtering!)

01-29-2002, 12:04
When I post a message it ususally pertains to Heaven Hill. Not Beams or any other distillery. For those of you that do not know what chill filtering is; Chill the bourbon until it turns cloudy then it is filtered to remove the cloudy residue so that when you chill it again it will not turn and leave a sediment in your glass. I would not drink cloudy bourbon and the vast majority bourbon will not either cause it looks nasty. If you pour your Bookers into a glass (cold or on the rocks) and it turns cloudy and leaves a residue in the bottom after setting for awhile nothing has been done to it and for your purist attitude this is your drink. But, if it does not turn cloudy your good old "add the carbon" to it is in there. Other distilleries add carbon to their bourbon to prevent flocking. I have been told that Brown Foreman uses carbon. So take your pick carbon or chill filtered. One major factor in quality control is the appearance. Put two bottles of bourbon in front of the consumer. One flocked and one filtered and just see which one the consumer will buy!


01-29-2002, 16:56
Is that what happens to Pernod and Ouzo? I think you can just pour water in them and they turn milky. I KNOW it happens if you put ice in them.

But, that seems to be the way the Europeans want it. I agree with you, it is quite unappealing.


01-30-2002, 12:54
The "flock" is actually some amino acids. They are neither harmful nor helpful, just unattractive. Chill filtering is a 20th century thing, probably post-prohibition. Retailers prompted it. When whiskey got cool and cloudy, the retailers decided it had "gone bad" and tried to get their distributors to take it back. To eliminate the hassle, distillers started chill-filtering to prevent the flocking.

The filtering medium is typically activated charcoal sandwiched between two pieces of silk. I believe every distiller does it and only Booker's is spared. I know of no other unfiltered bourbon.

As for the loss of taste, this is primarily a problem when an 80 or 86 proof bourbon is chill filtered. There is less loss as the proof rises. A 100 proof whiskey can be chill filtered with negligible loss of flavor, according to the people who know about these things.

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>

01-31-2002, 08:58
My question on this subject is almost the opposite. What happens when the bourbon is in a hot area? Liking my bourbon neat and at room temperature the idea of freezing the bourbon does not appeal to me. I have been told that the ideal storage of bottles of bourbon in a cabinet sitting up, but to turn them over once in a while to keep the cork moist. Is this correct? Also, being that my son was born in 1990 I purchased a bottle of Evan Williams Single Barrel 1990 that I plan to give to him when he is an adult. Since this is nine years away, I was going to store it in a footlocker in the attic. Like most attics it is hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Will the hot or cold damage the bourbon. Also, since I am probably going to forget about it for a few years should it be stored on its side to keep the cork moist or is this a bad idea? I am worried the bourbon will absorb a flavor from the cork.

01-31-2002, 15:20
The nice thing about bourbon, or any other straight spirit for that matter, is that there is very little that can hurt it. Its only really enemy is oxygen. If the bottle is full and soundly sealed, oxygen won't be much of a problem either. If it gets very hot, it is possible that expansion of the liquid could cause the seal to fail, but this seems like a long shot too. I probably would store it upright. Putting it in something like a ziplock bag might give you a slight additional measure of security and prevent it from getting dirty.

Just for the record, though, whiskey does not improve in the bottle. Aging stops when it is removed from the barrel. The bottle you buy today shouldn't be any worse in 20 years (or 100), but it won't be any better either.

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>

02-02-2002, 09:29
I wouldn't put that bottle in thew attic. If it gets too hot like Chuch said, the cork will pop out. I've had that happen in my car, and I know it can easily get that hot in an attic in the summer.
Keeping it on it's side should not hurt it. That would only be a problem if the cork is "corked" as in a bottle of wine. If the bottle is "corked", the whiskey is already bad.

02-02-2002, 10:15
I have had expensive bottles of VSOP cognac with the corks just crumbling to pieces. Stupid French quality control. You would think they would try to hold up their reputation.

When it happens, I just seal the bottle with a piece of Saran wrap held in place with a rubber band.

I have never noticed a bad effect on the brandy, though.


02-11-2002, 04:02
Guess it depends on how long you actually store it there. If you're lucky enough to have a freezer exclusively for beverages I don't see a problem at all.
But if you store an opened bottle in a 'typical freezer environment' for a longer period, I fear the whiskey will eventually 'mate' with the other flavors (hmm, hints of cheese and garlic...).

02-12-2002, 19:18
>As for the loss of taste, this is primarily a problem when an 80 or 86 proof
>bourbon is chill filtered. There is less loss as the proof rises. A 100 proof
>whiskey can be chill filtered with negligible loss of flavor, according to the
>people who know about these things.

I seem to recall that anything over 100 proof doesn't need chill filtering (it
won't cloud up in the bottle, but will if you use cold water in your glass). Other
bourbons (besides Booker's) that are rumored to be non-chill filtered:

Wild Turkey 101
Van Winkle 10 YO 107 proof and 15 YO (also 107 proof)
Maker's Mark (isn't this bottled at 90 proof?)

Just one more reason that these higher proof bourbons taste great.

02-13-2002, 19:02
Indeed, anything we bottle above 100 proof, we do not chill filter.