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View Full Version : Will bourbon "go bad" in my car in the heat?



MikeDS
07-09-2007, 10:59
I have some bottles in my car that'll be properly stored this evening but in the meantime they're just baking in my car. Direct sunlight isn't hitting them but it's still real hot in there. Is it going to be wrecked? Thanks!

Gillman
07-09-2007, 11:07
I think they will be fine. I transported recently bottles that had been opened that endured (in a car trunk) temperatures of over 100 F. They tasted when cooled just as they did when I had opened them before departure.

Whiskey of course undergoes extremes of heat and cold in a barrel environment during aging.

One thing I noticed (which self-corrected) was the hot whiskey expanded quite a bit in the bottle, when the bottles were about 100 F the fill levels were an inch or two higher than at a normal temperature.

If you kept bottles for a long time at an elevated temperature, say for weeks or months, maybe some deterioration would occur but I don't think so, whiskey is almost half ethanol in most cases (and can reach or exceed that as we know). It seems hard to think you can hurt it in any way unless foreign odors are allowed to get in or it gets contaminated in some other way.

Gary

MikeDS
07-09-2007, 11:13
The bottles are in their factory sealed, never opened state.

Thank you very much. That's reassuring!

kbuzbee
07-09-2007, 13:20
There have been posts by some who said the corks loosened and the bottles leaked when subjected to the heat (following Gary's comment) but aside from loosing a dram you should be fine.

Ken

cowdery
07-09-2007, 16:14
At the recent unveiling of the new Woodford Reserve Master's Collection, they had three bottles set up for photographs, in the hot sun on a hot day for several hours. The cork started to come out of the bottle of wine. The two whiskey bottles were fine.

kbuzbee
07-09-2007, 16:48
At the recent unveiling of the new Woodford Reserve Master's Collection, they had three bottles set up for photographs, in the hot sun on a hot day for several hours. The cork started to come out of the bottle of wine. The two whiskey bottles were fine.

Hot wine! Yummy:bigeyes:

Ken

T47
07-09-2007, 16:56
I bought a bottle of WT 101 and forgot it in the van when I got home today. It was about 80...The van was left in direct sun for 4 hours and I am sure it was well over 100 in the van by the time I got back to it...when I moved the van and smelled the Bourbon I remembered leaving the WT on the back floor. It had been on its side when I left it. Cork was popped through the seal and I had maybe 1/8 of the bottle remaining not shot out the top? I guess I will leave the van home tonight when we go out to dinner.
I am from the Pacific NW...I had no clue what that big fire ball in the sky was...
I just stuck my Thermapen in the remaining WT...95
:bigeyes:

Edward_call_me_Ed
07-09-2007, 19:02
I bought a bottle of WT 101 and forgot it in the van when I got home today. It was about 80...The van was left in direct sun for 4 hours and I am sure it was well over 100 in the van by the time I got back to it...when I moved the van and smelled the Bourbon I remembered leaving the WT on the back floor. It had been on its side when I left it. Cork was popped through the seal and I had maybe 1/8 of the bottle remaining not shot out the top? I guess I will leave the van home tonight when we go out to dinner.
I am from the Pacific NW...I had no clue what that big fire ball in the sky was...
I just stuck my Thermapen in the remaining WT...95
:bigeyes:

I remember that happening to another member, forget who, only it was a bottle of Pappy 20, or was it Pappy 23? Poor guy. Not that I want to belittle your own loss, Todd.

Ed

ILLfarmboy
07-09-2007, 20:14
Corks on WT bottles seem to be among the easiest to pull from the neck of the bottle. I hate having to wrestle with a cork. But In situations like these (stored in a hot vehicle) I would think that would be a liability.

T47
07-10-2007, 01:32
I remember that happening to another member, forget who, only it was a bottle of Pappy 20, or was it Pappy 23? Poor guy. Not that I want to belittle your own loss, Todd.
Ed

Guess I missed that entry in a thread! Live and learn, won't happen again...to this sucker...but as always, information to be useful must be shared...so if anyone else missed it then, here it is again!



Corks on WT bottles seem to be among the easiest to pull from the neck of the bottle. I hate having to wrestle with a cork. But In situations like these (stored in a hot vehicle) I would think that would be a liability.

I don't know what temp. the Bourbon was when it gave way? The van was parked on a hill, with the cork end of the bottle up hill. It came out with enough pressure that it emptied most of the bottle. I don't know if any cork would have stopped it? Eh, well, live and learn-if that's my worst Bourbon story in the end, I am a lucky man.

:toast:

MGades
07-13-2007, 01:42
... Whiskey of course undergoes extremes of heat and cold in a barrel environment during aging.

Anybody know about what maximum temp an aging barrel might typically reach?

Of course warehouse location, design, ventilation, barrel rotation etc. will have an influence, but under the circumstances most favorable to reaching a high temperature, what might be expected?

bluesbassdad
07-13-2007, 19:13
I don't know, but that doesn't keep me from speculating.

As you mentioned, ventilation is probably a major factor. It would be easy to check the high temp record at some Kentucky location, or even, more appropriately, average high temp in the normallly hottest month.

Then the question becomes: Does the temp on the upper levels, like my attic, climb 30 or more degrees higher than the outside air temp?

With lots of ventilation I'd guess the maximum temperature would be no more that 110 deg. F. With none at all I'd guess 140 deg. F.

However, the temperature of the bourbon inside the barrel won't have time to heat to the temperature of the surrounding air. Before it even comes close the air temperature will be dropping as evening approaches.

On second look the charming town of Loretto has an average high of 87 degrees in July, its hottest month. It's the same in Bardstown, Clermont and Louisville. In Lawrenceburg it's 86.

For you Tennessee whiskey fans it's 89 degrees F. in Tullahoma and Lynchburg.

Source for the above is AccuWeather.

In Bardstown the record highs range from 100 deg. F. to 105 over the months from June through September -- per weather.com.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield