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  1. #1
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    Bourbon through a Brita filter

    It was time to replace our Brita filter, so I thought I'd give it one last job before its big sendoff into the wastebasket. I have a bottle of Pure Kentucky XO that is nigh undrinkable because of some extreme heat, which tastes to me like rubbing alcohol but could be a number of things. I poured and dumped about 2 ounces to clear out the water left in the filter, then poured a couple more ounces. I noted immediately that it came out darker! It smelled and tasted a lot less harsh, but even blander than before. It also had some notes of pool water. Methinks I should have used a new filter... I wonder if it actually pulled stuff out of the charcoal mesh, as often is assumed with Dickel and JD. If so, then this was a really dumb idea on my part, because this guy has been filtering DC tap water for two months, and if I'm to make anything from the high lead level alerts over the years, our water is like a metal wire in liquid form. So, that didn't turn out like I thought. Anybody else try this with more positive results?

  2. #2
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    Re: Bourbon through a Brita filter

    I have to say this is pretty funny to read coming from "bad scientist"......apart from that I have no experience to offer, but I was quite interested in reading your results. On a semi related note, over at the Whisky Advocate blog one of the writers tried out a spirits aerator (similar to the kind commonly used with wine) and found the results to be not very noteworthy.

  3. #3
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    Re: Bourbon through a Brita filter

    Quote Originally Posted by flahute View Post
    I have to say this is pretty funny to read coming from "bad scientist".
    Seeing me in lab is like watching an old Jim Carrey or Buster Keaton film.
    Quote Originally Posted by flahute View Post
    On a semi related note, over at the Whisky Advocate blog one of the writers tried out a spirits aerator (similar to the kind commonly used with wine) and found the results to be not very noteworthy
    I ran this juice twice through a wine aerator and didn't see much of a difference, either.

  4. #4
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    Re: Bourbon through a Brita filter

    Quote Originally Posted by flahute View Post
    I have to say this is pretty funny to read coming from "bad scientist"......apart from that I have no experience to offer, but I was quite interested in reading your results. On a semi related note, over at the Whisky Advocate blog one of the writers tried out a spirits aerator (similar to the kind commonly used with wine) and found the results to be not very noteworthy.
    I've never tried filtering whisky, but I do have a spirits Vinturi and a wine Vinturi. When I want to improve a pour that is out of balance somehow, I stack the two together (spirits on top because of the release button) and run it through 1 to 3 cycles... more often than not there is a significant difference in aroma and taste. I wouldn't say they don't work, you just may not like the results.

  5. #5
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    Re: Bourbon through a Brita filter

    Quote Originally Posted by DBM View Post
    I've never tried filtering whisky, but I do have a spirits Vinturi and a wine Vinturi. When I want to improve a pour that is out of balance somehow, I stack the two together (spirits on top because of the release button) and run it through 1 to 3 cycles... more often than not there is a significant difference in aroma and taste. I wouldn't say they don't work, you just may not like the results.
    I've never tried this (or any similar product). Can you elaborate on what you've found it does to the aroma/taste? Any consistent trends over different whiskies (ie - does it seem to mellow them out, focus certain flavors, etc)? Or is it more random (each whiskey responds differently)? Hadn't heard of these before, but reasonably priced - just curious what to expect before telling my wife she got me an early birthday present
    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

  6. #6
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    Re: Bourbon through a Brita filter

    Quote Originally Posted by darylld911 View Post
    I've never tried this (or any similar product). Can you elaborate on what you've found it does to the aroma/taste? Any consistent trends over different whiskies (ie - does it seem to mellow them out, focus certain flavors, etc)? Or is it more random (each whiskey responds differently)? Hadn't heard of these before, but reasonably priced - just curious what to expect before telling my wife she got me an early birthday present
    Gary, check out the whiskey advocate blog too. Lew Bryson just posted his thoughts on the spirit Vinturi. My opinion kind of lines up with his. I get a lot of mileage out of my wine one but the spirits version seems a little silly to me.


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  7. #7
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    Re: Bourbon through a Brita filter

    Hi bad_scientist, I can explain a little more about what happened with your experiment, but yeh im a biologist not a chemist, so i might be off.

    Basically a brita filter is full of activated carbon (GAC) which is a manufactured carbon which has been activated (through chemicals or steam) to increase the pore distribution of various sizes.
    After activation these pores are abundant in an incredibaly high ratio to to the carbon size which is partially what makes the GAC so damn good at collecting impurities, simply because of the carbons massive surface area and increased pore distribution for these impurities to adhere to (there are also other forces at play here)

    Now basically when you run the water through the brita any impurities in the water become attached to the surface of the carbon (chemically) or trapped in the pores (physically). What affects the ability of an impurity to attach to the carbon include several factors such as the molefular size of the impurity, the density and distribution, and the boiling point of the impurity.
    Now an impurity with a higher boiling point will attach to the carbon easier, and when the carbon is full (spent) an impurity with a low boiling point can actually be pushed out of a pore by a higher boiling point impurity and take its place, this is what you have experienced.

    You introduced a completely new waste stream (bourbon) with a different set of impurity properties to an already spent carbon bed, so you have impurities from the carbon playing a game of musical chairs with the whiskeys impurities, and whats coming out the other end? Man I dont have any idea, but Im gonna guess here and say that most likely you lost some of the fusel oils (light end alcohols) from the whiskey which is probably why your bourbon tasted less harsh.

    Oh yeh and plus we all know ethanol acts as a good solvent, so that darker colour? Probably stripped off some additional nasties!
    Last edited by onemorepour; 03-01-2014 at 13:52.

  8. #8
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    Re: Bourbon through a Brita filter

    Hold on is your handle badscientist because you actually are a scientist? Didnt mean to offend if im talking shop to ya, and poorly too!

  9. #9
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    Re: Bourbon through a Brita filter

    Quote Originally Posted by onemorepour View Post
    Hold on is your handle badscientist because you actually are a scientist? Didnt mean to offend if im talking shop to ya, and poorly too!
    Yep, I'm a scientist, and no offense taken at all! When I called the filter "mesh" in my original post, I was referring to what you so eloquently and clearly explained as activated charcoal. Anyway, yeah, it was a bad idea, and who knows what ended up in that sample, but you're right about the fusel stuff. I explicitly put it through the filter to get rid of that crap, and it tasted like I did, but I also stripped away a lot of the yummy chemicals and possibly added some horrible, horrible metals. I wonder how in the world Dickel Rye can taste good, if they're charcoal filtering it *after* barrel aging. It seems to me that it would make it really bland. Maybe my facts are wrong and they filtered the LDI/MGP new make before barreling it, or, obviously, maybe their charcoal has really different properties.

  10. #10
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    Re: Bourbon through a Brita filter

    Yeh its just coicidence that I had been researching GAC for work recently for some downstream vapour treatment, fairly common in my industry, but I have been working on a proposal and justyfing a different approach I want to adopt.

    I can only imagine that if dickel is filtered post barreling it may not be activated carbon being used, just regular less porous stuff, and then again if you mess with the temperature you can reduce the effect too, the colder it is the less effective the GAC is, if its cold enough you can almost get zero effect.

    Isnt JD double filtered too?

 

 

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