Effects of changing the barrel proof to the bottle proof

Reid (CigarNV) and I have been talking lately about the effects of watering down the bourbon. We believe we see the dissolving of some of the tastes and enhancing (or uncovering) others.

It is known that the materials that are drawn out of the oak and into the juice are based on the proof of the whiskey, the time in the barrel and temperature (cycling as well as peak temps).

It is our belief that as you water down the bourbon from proof X to Proof Y the deeper vanillas and caramels break down first and the aldahydes and oaks break down last. This is even more evident with older (18 yr plus) bourbons.

Keeping the entry proof lower and allowing the bourbon to go into the bottle as close to the barrel proof as possible, you do not dissolve or dilute the rich flavors. If you have a higher entry proof, higher barrel proof and you reduce the proof into the bottle you dissolve more of the harsher flavors in the barrel and mask the better ones.

Anyhow, this is enough info to start a discussion thread

Re: Effects of changing the barrel proof to the bottle proof

Quote:

Originally Posted by

**spun_cookie**

Anyhow, this is enough info to start a discussion thread

Yep, I originally did not know about distilation proofs and barrel entry proofs when I jumped into this bourbon thing.

I decided that I liked WT and 4R's more than anything else and then I learned that they both distill and/or put their white dog in the barrel at lower proofs than all the other guys.

So, I guess what I am saying is that it works for me.

Re: Effects of changing the barrel proof to the bottle proof

Quote:

Originally Posted by

**spun_cookie**
...It is our belief that as you water down the bourbon from proof X to Proof Y the deeper vanillas and caramels break down first and the aldahydes and oaks break down last. This is even more evident with older (18 yr plus) bourbons.

I wonder if this is why I often find ER 17 to be overly dry without having as much carmel and vanila as I would expect.

Re: Effects of changing the barrel proof to the bottle proof

What is the lowest proof that can be put in the barrel?

Does the proof get higher as it ages?

I like Wild Turkey Rare Breed... a lot :grin: . I find that it has the caramel and vanilla flavors that I like. If it is pit in the barrel at a low proof, hoe does it end up at 108 proof?

Sorry for the dumb questions, but I'm a complete noob when it comes this stuff.

Re: Effects of changing the barrel proof to the bottle proof

Emerald,

Good post. As you and I both know, some out of production bourbons were low proof entry/exit and as such, the flavors are more robust than some of the stuff found today. Two factors I think play a significant role in the depth of flavor a bourbon has. The entry proof to barrel (e.g. lower entry proof means more flavor is left in the distillate) and the exit proof from the barrel. A barrel stored lower on the rack will not increase significantly in proof (vs. those stored higher up) and as such, going from say 118pf to 90pf retains more flavor than say 135pf to 90pf. Drinking some of these older bourbons you can just tell the factors that made them a rich and rewarding drink is lost in many bourbons today.

As an example....the 1980 Old Grand Dad 114 you and I shared.....superior to what is found today.

Re: Effects of changing the barrel proof to the bottle proof

Quote:

Originally Posted by

**ebo**
Does the proof get higher as it ages?

In Kentucky? Yes. In Scotland? No.

Re: Effects of changing the barrel proof to the bottle proof

Quote:

Originally Posted by

**ebo**
What is the lowest proof that can be put in the barrel?

Actually there is no lowest proof, but it must come out of the barrel at 80 proof or above for bottling.

Quote:

Originally Posted by

**ebo**
Does the proof get higher as it ages?

In general, in Kentucky, Yes. Though some do drop in proof.

Quote:

Originally Posted by

**ebo**
I like Wild Turkey Rare Breed... a lot :grin: . I find that it has the caramel and vanilla flavors that I like. If it is pit in the barrel at a low proof, hoe does it end up at 108 proof?

Well, in this case it depends on how low a proof it is put in. The max is 125 proof, which has become pretty standard for most producers, most anything else could be considered "low proof"

Quote:

Originally Posted by

**ebo**
Sorry for the dumb questions, but I'm a complete noob when it comes this stuff.

Don't worry about it, we were all once learners, and some have gone on to become the "teachers"

Re: Effects of changing the barrel proof to the bottle proof

[quote=barturtle;184127]Actually there is no lowest proof, but it must come out of the barrel at 80 proof or above for bottling.[quote]

Are you sure. It could be blened with 100 proof and 60 proof to make 80 proof right?

Re: Effects of changing the barrel proof to the bottle proof

Quote:

Originally Posted by

**barturtle**
Actually there is no lowest proof, but it must come out of the barrel at 80 proof or above for bottling.

Quote:

Originally Posted by

**spun_cookie**
Are you sure. It could be blened with 100 proof and 60 proof to make 80 proof right?

Okay, I'll give you that, but if all the barrels were put in at a proof that none of them reached above 80 proof you wouldn't have no whiskey. :frown:

So, yes the whiskey must come out of the barrels at *an average of* 80 proof or above for bottling.

Re: Effects of changing the barrel proof to the bottle proof

The adding water question is interesting. Reid and I have been talking about the same thing thanks for posting Em.

When we were tasting at BT they had barrel proof and then had the same juice with enough water added to bring it to about 60 proof. They said that was a rough approximation of he proof people who drank "on the rocks" actually drank Bourbon at. I spent some time comparing the two tastes at different proofs and was surprised at how very different most were and how some held their taste profile much better while others just seemed to fall apart.

The "Angel Share" barrel from 4R is a perfect example. Tasted at barrel strength I remember it having loads more flavor in front than it did when bottled at 100 proof. The flavors became much more muted and some of the spice notes seemed to vanish completely if my memory of our original tasting is accurate.

Stagg on the other hand opens up a lot of vanilla and other sweet flavors when I add water to bring the proof to something close to 100 - flavors I can't differentiate at barrel proof.