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  1. #11
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    Re: Effects of changing the barrel proof to the bottle proof

    Part of the difference you're tasting with an ultra-high proof like Stagg is that, if consumed undiluted, the alchohol deadens the taste buds. At full blast, you are actually tasting less than when you dilute it down to the 100 - 110 proof range.
    John B

    "Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons… that is all there is to distinguish us from other animals."

  2. #12
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    Re: Effects of changing the barrel proof to the bottle proof

    Yeah, especially this year's Stagg, same goes for the Larue.
    I'll dribble a little less than a teaspoon or about an 1/8 of an ounce of water in an ounce of Stagg, that brings it down to 125 proof and it's very good there.
    ovh

  3. #13
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    Re: Effects of changing the barrel proof to the bottle proof

    There is a lot of stuff going on when it comes to taste in alcoholic beverages ...

    1. Remember that alcohol is an astringint ... meaning at higher proofs it sort of puckers the taste buds ... and makes them less capable of discerning many tastes.

    2. Every taste element has a certain "detection threshold" ... for example, the principal chemical responsible for producing the taste for vanilla ... is Vanillan ... however, there are at least 5 other culprits normally found in bourbon that also produce a similar to identical taste sensation ... the problem is ... that the threshold for vanillan is up to about 10 times more easily detected than some of the others. All this means that as you dilute the drink, some of the items that are harder to detect will seemingly drop out.... not just vanilla, but other substances as well.

    3. Our own past history, memories, and preferences will effect how we feel about what we taste ... and can even effect what we taste ... there is an element of practice with your taste buds ... the more often you taste certain things, the easier they are to pick up.

    4. We can also damage (temporarily or permanently) our tasting capability ... permanently with physical damage (piercings, etc.) and with things like long term smoking... temporarily with things like carbonated beverage consumption ... (Carbon Dioxide has a temporary anaestetic effect on our taste buds)

    To get back on track ... the more you dilute your bourbon ... the more tasty goodies you loose the ability to pick out. So, for the largest possible taste profile, you should look for a bourbon that is distilled at a relatively low proof ... entered into the barrel at a relatively low proof, and bottled at very close to the proof at which the product comes out of the barrel... then drink it straight ... no water or ice ...
    Dave

    "Remember, the BEST bourbon is FREE bourbon ..."

  4. #14
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    Re: Effects of changing the barrel proof to the bottle proof

    Quote Originally Posted by ggilbertva View Post
    A barrel stored lower on the rack will not increase significantly in proof (vs. those stored higher up).
    Jim Rutledge (4R master distiller) did a tasting/signing at Julio's in MA last night and explained why this is so that I finally got it:

    As I understood it, alcohol is more volatile (vaporizes at a lower temperature) than water, but being a larger molecule, has a harder time getting out of the barrel. Water needs higher temps to evaporate, but as a smaller molecule is more likely to escape once it does.

    Net result is that over time, barrels on the lower racks will lose alcohol vs. water and decrease in proof. Barrels on the upper racks will get hotter and release more water, resulting in an increase in proof.

    The other lesson was that most of the angel's share is lost in the first year of aging as the juice soaks into the barrel and thus seals it tighter.
    Kevin

    "Clears up her head with bourbon/Cause beer is so suburban/And declasse for what it's worth"

  5. #15
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    Re: Effects of changing the barrel proof to the bottle proof

    "permanently with physical damage (piercings, etc.)"

    I'm going to have to argue slightly with this... with 'damage' being a scary term. Piercings aren't generally going to do anything, and more serious trauma (without an excess of scar tissue) may /change/ taste but I wouldn't use the term damage.

    Building an excess amount of scar tissue is one thing- things such as getting your tongue lopped off and reattached poorly or severe burns could contribute to this, but anything minor really shouldn't.

    When there's a lot of trauma, the tongue regrows taste buds in GENERALLY the correct place, however there's been some bizarre instances where say, the middle of your tongue is generally more sour oriented, but if I cut a big hole in the middle, the new tissue may be more focused on sweet things. But that's such a rare thing...

  6. #16
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    Re: Effects of changing the barrel proof to the bottle proof

    Quote Originally Posted by Bourbon Geek View Post
    To get back on track ... the more you dilute your bourbon ... the more tasty goodies you loose the ability to pick out. So, for the largest possible taste profile, you should look for a bourbon that is distilled at a relatively low proof ... entered into the barrel at a relatively low proof, and bottled at very close to the proof at which the product comes out of the barrel... then drink it straight ... no water or ice ...
    Maybe this is too simplistic, but I like to try and think about it like the concept of proof itself. In other words make a % number for "distillate goodies" and "barrel goodies." This is based on the idea that the liquid floating around in the barrel all has an equal amount (100%) of barrel influence, but the water that you add in afterwords, has 0% barrel influence.

    For example:
    If your barrel proof is 140, but you cut it down to 80 before bottling, you get the following: 80/140 = 57% "barrel goodies"

    Whereas if you have a barrel proof of 110, and bottle at 100, you get: 100/110= 91% "barrel goodies"

    Likewise you could make similar calculations for the effect of watering down the white dog "distillate goodies" before it enters the barrel.

    You couldn't make the same calculations for distilling to a low proof, but that maybe is just more of a straight number. In other words, distilling to 100 proof leaves 50% available space for stuff other than alcohol. And while most of that is water, it still means you are getting more "distillate goodies" than something distilled at 125 proof, which only leaves 37.5% available space for stuff other than alcohol.

    Thus this would lead me to think that most of us don't actually like higher proof. We just like the extra flavors that higher proof whiskeys tend to have, because there was less watering down of the "barrel goodies" and "distillate goodies." This goes inline with what Dave mentioned above about distilling low, barreling equal, and bottling equal.

    How great would it be to see this information on the bottles of whiskey we buy?!?! Another reason I love the BTAC fact sheets.
    Steve
    "Rye whiskey, rye whiskey, rye whiskey I cry. If a tree don't fall on me, I'll live till I die" - Tex Ritter

  7. #17
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    Re: Effects of changing the barrel proof to the bottle proof

    Quote Originally Posted by fussychicken View Post
    Maybe this is too simplistic, but I like to try and think about it like the concept of proof itself. In other words make a % number for "distillate goodies" and "barrel goodies." This is based on the idea that the liquid floating around in the barrel all has an equal amount (100%) of barrel influence, but the water that you add in afterwords, has 0% barrel influence.

    For example:
    If your barrel proof is 140, but you cut it down to 80 before bottling, you get the following: 80/140 = 57% "barrel goodies"

    Whereas if you have a barrel proof of 110, and bottle at 100, you get: 100/110= 91% "barrel goodies"

    Likewise you could make similar calculations for the effect of watering down the white dog "distillate goodies" before it enters the barrel.

    You couldn't make the same calculations for distilling to a low proof, but that maybe is just more of a straight number. In other words, distilling to 100 proof leaves 50% available space for stuff other than alcohol. And while most of that is water, it still means you are getting more "distillate goodies" than something distilled at 125 proof, which only leaves 37.5% available space for stuff other than alcohol.

    Thus this would lead me to think that most of us don't actually like higher proof. We just like the extra flavors that higher proof whiskeys tend to have, because there was less watering down of the "barrel goodies" and "distillate goodies." This goes inline with what Dave mentioned above about distilling low, barreling equal, and bottling equal.

    How great would it be to see this information on the bottles of whiskey we buy?!?! Another reason I love the BTAC fact sheets.
    Another reason I love WT 101
    Normal is an illusion. What is normal to the spider, is chaos for the fly.

  8. #18
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    Re: Effects of changing the barrel proof to the bottle proof

    Thus this would lead me to think that most of us don't actually like higher proof. We just like the extra flavors that higher proof whiskeys tend to have, because there was less watering down of the "barrel goodies" and "distillate goodies." This goes inline with what Dave mentioned above about distilling low, barreling equal, and bottling equal.
    Fussy, that whole post was great but this quote nailed it.

    If I'm not mistaken wasn't older juice (60's and 70's) barreled at lower proof? So couldn't more "goodies" in the older juice help explain the "broader" taste of WT101 and OT bib from then - even the lower proof dusties too.

  9. #19
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    Re: Effects of changing the barrel proof to the bottle proof

    I view it simply as a value proposition. Why pay for the distillery's water when you can add your own? When you buy high proof, you can sip them that way if you like it, if not, reduce it to a more normal drinking proof and save some money. Even diluting to a higher point than the commercial norm (say, 90 proof instead of 80) will often disclose special features of a whiskey - sometimes but not always. Sometimes adding water, even to 80 proof, brings about the right balance. It is very much an individual thing and depends too on each product. I would say though that apart from taking small experimental sips of high proof whiskeys, I never drink them over 100 proof and more usually at nearer to 80. I find you can't taste them at such a high strength, not past the first sip. I don't find them particularly palatable that way. Nor is there much example I can find in historical literature of people drinking whiskey like that outside perhaps (as Bobby Cox once reminded me - how are you, Bobby?) distillery and warehouse walls. Whiskey at its prized best was sold at 100 proof, almost never higher with some rare exceptions. And even then the old bonded was and is still of course often mixed with ice, water, mixes.

    The real significance IMO of selling high proof whiskeys (anything from 100-140 proof) is as a price saver.

    Gary

  10. #20
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    Re: Effects of changing the barrel proof to the bottle proof

    Quote Originally Posted by ILLfarmboy View Post
    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.
    I find it exactly that way. I wish the ER17 were much higher proof, it seems rather flat at 90. I have 2 bunkered but don't crave it the way I do my other special bottlings.
    Whisk(e)y - a bargain at any price !!!

 

 

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