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Thread: Small Barrels

  1. #1
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    Small Barrels

    This is an interesting read: http://www.thespiritsbusiness.com/20...whiskey-batch/

    It seems there is no substitute for time. Buffalo Trace, in their never-ending experimentation, has concluded that small barrels do not make good whiskey. While it seems they "age" the product faster, the small barrel results are remarkably inferior to those of their larger counterparts. This does not bode well for the craft distillers that are using small barrels in an effort to get their whiskey on the market sooner.
    Last edited by LostBottle; 09-04-2012 at 02:15.

  2. #2
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    Re: Small Barrels

    Chuck had a recent post on this (mentioning his previous posts on the topic) as well. A few months back, Jason Pyle had a unique twist on this, finding that for young whiskey (which isn't something many bourbon enthusiasts crave) is better aged in smaller barrels. It seems like there may be some optimum time to dump smaller barrels for a NAS whiskey (with some larger/aged barrels in the mix to add more character). Not sure that would be economical (I'd think the smaller barrels would be expensive in terms of the volume you age), but as he states - if time is critical, there might be a place for it.

    http://sourmashmanifesto.com/2012/04...barrel-debate/
    Gary
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    "Too much of anything is bad, but too much of good whiskey is barely enough." - Mark Twain
    "Because Whiskey Matters!" - David Perkins

  3. #3
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    Re: Small Barrels

    I would like to see a number of micros that are planning to switch to all 53's. Some people think it is a pretty divided camp. Either you are for small barrels or not. I know of a couple putting up 53's. Be something for ADI to do a poll on, but I doubt they will.

  4. #4
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    Re: Small Barrels

    I'll just leave my $.02 out of this and let In With Bacchus do the talking with his blog post

    http://www.inwithbacchus.com/2012/08...trace.html?m=1

    Let us be reminded that BT is not the end-all authority on what makes good whiskey.

  5. #5
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    Re: Small Barrels

    What I wonder is: if 53 gallon barrels make better whiskey, is there a larger size barrel that would be even better than 53 gallon? I know some reposado tequilas are aged in giant wooden vats. Has anybody tried larger tanks for bourbon?

  6. #6
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    Re: Small Barrels

    Quote Originally Posted by StraightNoChaser View Post
    I'll just leave my $.02 out of this and let In With Bacchus do the talking with his blog post

    http://www.inwithbacchus.com/2012/08...trace.html?m=1

    Let us be reminded that BT is not the end-all authority on what makes good whiskey.
    So who is Scott Bacchus what does he knows better than BT and their years of experimenting. Has Scott produced one bottle of bourbon that was worth a darn or any for that matter? Just because a guy has a blog doesn't make him an expert on aging whiskey. BT may not be the end all be all on authority on bourbon but they are in the top 3. I'm not trying to argue with you I don't for one know who this guy is and 2 have never had a whiskey aged in a small barrel that was worth a damn. Just my 2 cents.
    Last edited by p_elliott; 09-04-2012 at 10:01.
    Normal is an illusion. What is normal to the spider, is chaos for the fly.

  7. #7
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    Re: Small Barrels

    Quote Originally Posted by luther.r View Post
    What I wonder is: if 53 gallon barrels make better whiskey, is there a larger size barrel that would be even better than 53 gallon? I know some reposado tequilas are aged in giant wooden vats. Has anybody tried larger tanks for bourbon?
    Some scotch's are aged in cask which are larger than barrels make up your own mind from there
    Normal is an illusion. What is normal to the spider, is chaos for the fly.

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Small Barrels

    It's useful to remember that BT started its experiment in 2006, a time when micro-distilleries were appearing with $40 bottles of young whiskey aged in small barrels and declaring that it was superior to the crap made by the majors. They have tempered those claims in the intervening years. Wood extraction, which can be accelerated, is one aspect of aging, but it is not the whole story. People who think the way forward for micro-distillers lies in making exaggerated claims and attacking the majors are fools, as most observers now acknowledge.

  9. #9
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    Re: Small Barrels

    Quote Originally Posted by p_elliott View Post
    So who is Scott Bacchus what does he knows better than BT and their years of experimenting. Has Scott produced one bottle of bourbon that was worth a darn or any for that matter? Just because a guy has a blog doesn't make him an expert on aging whiskey. BT may not be the end all be all on authority on bourbon but they are in the top 3. I'm not trying to argue with you I don't for one know who this guy is and 2 have never had a whiskey aged in a small barrel that was worth a damn. Just my 2 cents.
    "MSc student in Brewing and Distilling Science at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland."

    Good enough for me.

  10. #10

    Re: Small Barrels

    Quote Originally Posted by p_elliott View Post
    So who is Scott Bacchus what does he knows better than BT and their years of experimenting. Has Scott produced one bottle of bourbon that was worth a darn or any for that matter? Just because a guy has a blog doesn't make him an expert on aging whiskey. BT may not be the end all be all on authority on bourbon but they are in the top 3. I'm not trying to argue with you I don't for one know who this guy is and 2 have never had a whiskey aged in a small barrel that was worth a damn. Just my 2 cents.
    I happen to know that Scott knows quite a bit about barrels, but that aside . . . The BT experiment was pretty shabby and not worthy to be called "research" regardless on where you come out on the small barrel debate. I agree they are a top 3 authority of Bourbon, for sure, which is why I would expect more from them when it comes to research. But then again, small barrels are a very different animal than large barrels and BT may not have fully understood how to do that experiment in terms of giving it a better chance at success since they don't normally use them. Full disclosure, yes, this is Chip Tate from Balcones and, yes, we do use a number of small barrels, as well as 53 gallon. Actually, most of our whisky in 60 gallon barrels. I guess that means it will turn out better than BT whisky? Just kidding. It's true there may not be tons of truly top-notch whiskies made in small barrels out there, but there are some. I'd like to think ours are among them. There's really quite a bit to learn about small barrels and the wood that needs to go in to them to work with them successfully.

    --Chip Tate
    Head Distiller, Balcones

 

 

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