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dougdog
06-19-2007, 06:40
Roger and I had some time to kill after dropping Howie off at the airport on Sunday morning. You can see more of that experience in the "socials" section of this forum.

This is a picture of the empty Rye barrel rom the second bottling of the West Coast Study Group's Willet Estate label.

My goal is to "squeeze" this barrel and show you what the experience has been so far, also, to solicit additional information on different techniques for extracting that last precious drop of likker from a recently emptied barrel. (There is a lot of whiskey held in the cell structures of the oak wood barrel walls/staves, I want to "trade places"...the whiskey for the water)

I'm getting my help from someone in the industry, but I immagine there is more than one way to do this...

NickAtMartinis
06-19-2007, 06:47
This is a picture of the empty Rye barrel that was the second bottling of the West Coast Study Group's Willet Estate label.

My goal is to "squeeze" this barrel and show you what the experience has been so far, also, to solicit additional information on different techniques for extracting that last precious drop of likker, if you have done this in the past.

I'm getting my help from someone in the industry, but I immagine there is more than one way to do this...

I'm not too sure what you mean by "squeeze." Can you please explain?

dougdog
06-19-2007, 06:54
I picked up the barrel at KBD about 8 weeks ago, Drew gave me a few instructions but I don't know if I recall them totally accurately...anyway, this is what I did.

I got about 5 gallons of the limestone water that flows from the spring on the side of the road at the entrance to the Willet Distillery, I put two of the gallons in the barrel and re-bunged. The last 8 weeks the barrel has been in my garage. When time permits, I place it in direct sun for a day at a time, usually rotating it and standing in on alternate ends when I pass buy. Some days it gets a lot of activity, some days it doesn't get moved at all except when put back in the garage at the end of the day. I usually do this two to three times a week, so the barrel has a chance to cool off between sunnings.

The picture shows me extracting the bung...Drew taught me how to do this with a piece of pipe...I found one here on my place, similar to his, that seemed to do the trick.

Roger took the pictures and helped me move the barrel around.

dougdog
06-19-2007, 07:05
Next, we poured out enough to fill a 1.75 liter bottle. I wanted to check to see what has been going on inside this barrel for the past two months.

The funnel was equipped with a strainer to hold back the big pieces of char and other debris.

dougdog
06-19-2007, 07:09
Inside the funnel, you can see the char that was captured when drawing off part of the contents...I suppose there is still a bunch more char in there.

(remember, this barrel has already been emptied once, and lots of char was removed from the barrel at that time)

dougdog
06-19-2007, 07:21
Here is a picture of the "water".

It has taken on a lot of color!

We got snifters, then nosed and tasted it. It smelled delecious...It was very good flavor but still very dilute.

Roger and I suppose that the current proof is somewhere around 40 (20%abv)

So that's how things are to date. (Thanks for your help on that Roger!)

I'm heading towards letting the barrel sit in the top of my workshop mezzanine for and extended period, it is very warm up there even on the coolest of days. My thinking is to concentrate the contents of the barrel by evaporation over time. (Remember, in Kentucky, proof increase and volume decreases over time) All this in hopes of getting the proof up to something that would be more desirable than 40 proof.

Gillman
06-19-2007, 07:23
All makes sense, Doug, but also in light of the experience, next time you could start with half the water.

Gary

pepcycle
06-19-2007, 08:24
An "almost family" acquaintance worked for a company that moved around empty barrels for distilleries and he explained the process they used.

On the hottest day, Put 1 gallon of water in the barrel, roll it around (ala Obie barrel dancing). Stand it up on end and put it in a really hot place. This was a parked trailer for an 18 wheeler that was black. (The temp inside got to like 140 degrees F)

At the end of the day, Chill the barrel by moving it into an airconditioned or refrigerated space, like a walk -in fridge or freezer.

Next morning, extract the contents.

Its kind of like a single distillation step.

Never had any of the product, but word is, its pretty good.

NickAtMartinis
06-19-2007, 08:46
Thanks, Doug, for the explanation. It looks like it worked out pretty well for you.

cowdery
06-19-2007, 09:37
Here's what kids in Kentucky have done for generations followed by what Jack Daniel's started to do about two years ago.

The popular method is to put a couple of gallons of water in the barrel and roll it down a hill. The kids are usually in a hurry to get something out of it and aren't likely to let it sit for days or weeks. A hour of rolling it around is about it.

Starting in July of 2005, Jack Daniel's takes every empty barrel and pumps 20 gallons of water into, which fills a barrel on its end not quite up to the bung hole. They stack the barrels, on end, on pallets, and let them sit for three to four weeks. Then they dump them.

They used to simply rinse the barrels. The new method increased the yield by about 5 times.

jwrussell
06-19-2007, 17:13
Anyone know where I can find a used GTS barrel?:yum:

cowdery
06-19-2007, 17:43
I should have mentioned that while no one else is squeezing the barrels like JD is, all of the distilleries at least rinse the barrels to capture a little more of the product. Still, as Doug is documenting, there's still a lot left.

I also should have mentioned that what they do with the low proof whiskey they recover from the barrels is use it for the water they dilute with to take the whiskey down to bottling proof.

dougdog
06-28-2007, 16:34
All makes sense, Doug, but also in light of the experience, next time you could start with half the water.

Gary

Gary,

My recollection of the instructions was fuzzy as I had mentioned in a previous post, Drew might have said 4 quarts of water, not 4 gallons...

Anyway, next time, should there be one...I will use less water...

BTW, the barrel has now been placed in the upper mezzanine in the workshop/steel building/barn. I will rotate it periodically, not near as much as when it was on the ground and more accessible...I'll report back next time it gets opened and sampled...'till then, Cheers!

dog

Edward_call_me_Ed
04-15-2008, 19:07
Gary,

My recollection of the instructions was fuzzy as I had mentioned in a previous post, Drew might have said 4 quarts of water, not 4 gallons...

Anyway, next time, should there be one...I will use less water...

BTW, the barrel has now been placed in the upper mezzanine in the workshop/steel building/barn. I will rotate it periodically, not near as much as when it was on the ground and more accessible...I'll report back next time it gets opened and sampled...'till then, Cheers!

dog

So, is it still up in the Mezzanine?

Ed

Rob K
10-28-2008, 13:27
I've heard this process called ponying. Since I told him about it several years ago, my father-in-law has probably done 10 barrels. He found that about 3 gallons of water worked best when left in for several weeks in the sun, rolled daily in the back yard. He used Buffalo Trace barrels since they sold their used barrels for the cheapest. The result was a bit watery but pleasant drinking.