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  1. #1
    Connoisseur
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    What happens to bad barrels?

    If a barrel is aged and then opened and the whiskey inside is not up to standards when it is ready to be dumped, what happens to the substandard whiskey? I know Jack Daniels often markets some of the less-good barrels as the green label stuff, but what do other distilleries do? And what happens if they open a barrel and the contents somehow really went bad that it's not even drinkable? I would imaging dumping ~53gal of whiskey would cut into profits a bit.
    If you have anything Michter's or Pennco and would like to sell it or share it with me, please let me know.

  2. #2
    Advanced Taster
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    Re: What happens to bad barrels?

    It's $$$. It goes in a bottle. A lot of the labels we like are blends of barrels and they often hope to blend to get a consistent flavor from year to year. That blend includes barrels some may not like as well as others. Keep in mind, different people have different tastes. A barrel I love, you may not like at all.

  3. #3
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    Re: What happens to bad barrels?

    Quote Originally Posted by loose proton View Post
    It's $$$. It goes in a bottle. A lot of the labels we like are blends of barrels and they often hope to blend to get a consistent flavor from year to year. That blend includes barrels some may not like as well as others. Keep in mind, different people have different tastes. A barrel I love, you may not like at all.
    I think he means about whiskey that didn't "mature" or "age," but whiskey that rotted in the barrel. I don't think that's really possible, but like what was said, the 'less quality' stuff is saved and blended with a different label or saved for blending with the original label in mind.

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
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    Re: What happens to bad barrels?

    In general it all gets rationed away in various bottlings. JD Green is actually whiskey from the lowest floors, an area of the rickhouse that they don't use for JD Black, SB or Gentleman. In a worst case scenario, it would be sent to be redistilled for industrial alcohol (or maybe vodka, not much difference) and the empty barrel sold off just like any other. The losses would be minimal. Remember the biggest cost of selling whiskey (after taxes) is packaging (or maybe marketing or shipping, but it's not the raw materials, that's for certain)
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

    As long as you have good whiskey you're not "unemployed", you're "Funemployed!!!"

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  5. #5
    Connoisseur
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    Re: What happens to bad barrels?

    Interesting. I know that most places blend several barrels to hide the abnormalities, but I was unsure what happend to the real bad stuff (went bad in the barrel, didn't mature, some type of contamination, etc.). How often do barrels spring a leak before they are mature and what happens to that whiskey? I know that some seepage, Angel's share, is normal, but what happens when they begin to drip?
    If you have anything Michter's or Pennco and would like to sell it or share it with me, please let me know.

  6. #6
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
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    Re: What happens to bad barrels?

    Barrels are extremely well made these days. Only Buffalo Trace still claims to have people chase after leaks, and IIRC they only do that annually.
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

    As long as you have good whiskey you're not "unemployed", you're "Funemployed!!!"

    I'm no Pappyophile

  7. #7
    Disciple
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    Re: What happens to bad barrels?

    Quote Originally Posted by barturtle View Post
    JD Green is actually whiskey from the lowest floors, an area of the rickhouse that they don't use for JD Black, SB or Gentleman.
    Doesn't the ORVW 23/114 come from the lower floors?

  8. #8
    Enthusiast
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    Louisville, KY
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    Re: What happens to bad barrels?

    I may just be talking out my head, here but I would think anything 23 years old would almost have to come from the lower floors if they expect to have anything left to bottle.
    "F**k it, I'm gettin' into the whiskey."
    -Joe Alvey

  9. #9
    Connoisseur
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    Mar 2009
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    Re: What happens to bad barrels?

    When I visited HH's dump room they were using suction to empty the barrels. I am not sure of how long it took to empty a barrel but I was impressed by how fast that a barrel was emptied and how fast they moved on to another barrel. They had 3 barrels in a line and while one was being emptied the other was having its bung removed and the last was being moved out. A very stream lined process. All that said it would have taken an army of people drinking around the clock and getting very drunk to sample every barrel that was passing through before being dumped. I believe it all gets dumped and the bad barrel gets mixed in.
    Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.
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  10. #10
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: What happens to bad barrels?

    I would like to think though that a truly off barrel is exempted from the batching and mingling process, one that is musty, say, or very spirity. These barrels are probably re-distilled.

    Gary

 

 

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