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  1. #61
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    Re: What accounts for bourbons of same proof having such big differences in heat/burn

    I also subscribe to the 7-9 year bell curve but, yeah, some gracefully aging barrels mature beautifully.

  2. #62
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    Re: What accounts for bourbons of same proof having such big differences in heat/burn

    "This stuff is powerful and you needed only a sip to taste the "heat" .. especially in the heads. As David pointed out .. and was more noticeable when a bit of water was added .. "

    Interesting, I've found that adding some water tends to mellow or tame an "overly" hot bourbon. It seems logical that water would serve to dilute the volatile compounds (esters) and soften their influence on the palate. From your experience, with the tasting of the heads and tails, it would seem that waters interaction with these volatile compounds (esters) are more complex than just acting as a diluting agent.

  3. #63
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    Re: What accounts for bourbons of same proof having such big differences in heat/burn

    To answer the question directly, in general, the perception of heat comes from ethyl acetate, an ester that is produced in large quantities when you stress most yeast strains. In bourbon production, this stress generally comes from the very, very high fermentation temperature that the larger distillers use.

    The reason you perceive it in some whiskies and not others is a simple question of masking (other congeners interfering with the perception of ethyl acetate), or process differences (different yeast strains or mash bills, starting gravities, etc)
    Thanks for the post Leopold - clear, concise and cogent. Now I have a name for the characteristic heat taste - ethyl acetate - it's not just the % of alcohol.

    The only thing I might add to the masking point is that the individual barrel has some influence as well. As you move down a row of barrels tasting from each the "heat" is more and less apparent. Assuming the barrels were filled from the same run you would expect a marked similarity in the perception of ethyl acetate and that's not always the case. There are outliers and I would ascribe that to the masking effect of flavors and compound associated with a particular barrel.

  4. #64
    Advanced Taster
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    Re: What accounts for bourbons of same proof having such big differences in heat/burn

    Quote Originally Posted by sailor22 View Post
    Thanks for the post Leopold - clear, concise and cogent. Now I have a name for the characteristic heat taste - ethyl acetate - it's not just the % of alcohol.
    It's also other higher alcohols like n-proponol, amyl alcohol, etc. that leads to that burn. But in my opinion, it's ethyl acetate that's leading the charge.

    You'll get all these esters and alcohols throughout the distillation run. It's a question of how much of each that guides the distillers hand.

    And, of course, creating or minimizing these congeners in the mash tun and fermenters, and then covering them up or oxidizing them in the barrel. Or, leaving them well alone!

    This is all my opinion. You'll likely get a much better answer from the real Masters in KY and TN if you ask them.

  5. #65
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    Re: What accounts for bourbons of same proof having such big differences in heat/burn

    Yes, pot stills at our shop. We've got a few more being built for the new plant. We elected to stick with pot stills during expansion, as that's our path.

    Tom at Finger Lakes just fired up his continuous still, and I can't wait to taste that when the time is right!

  6. #66
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    Re: What accounts for bourbons of same proof having such big differences in heat/burn

    Quote Originally Posted by Leopold View Post
    Yes, pot stills at our shop. We've got a few more being built for the new plant. We elected to stick with pot stills during expansion, as that's our path.

    Tom at Finger Lakes just fired up his continuous still, and I can't wait to taste that when the time is right!
    Todd make good whiskey in his pots, so do I, but I swear the make off the new still is better. As for esters and such, I think you leave them in and let the barrel figure it out, that is why these dusty bottles of whiskey taste so good.

  7. #67
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    Re: What accounts for bourbons of same proof having such big differences in heat/burn

    Letting the barrel do it's work, now that's finishing whisky the old fashioned way.

  8. #68
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    Re: What accounts for bourbons of same proof having such big differences in heat/burn

    I've been thinking a lot about this in relation to the 4 Knob Creek Single Barrels that I've had so far. Obviously all the same age, proof, etc.; probably the same area of the warehouse. First one, I would say was moderately hot. It drank great with an ice cube or too, but it was a little tough neat (in comparison to a Booker's I bought at the same time that was not hot at all, and higher proof). Second bottle was super hot on opening, as in, even with ice, it was hot... water made it even worse. But it improved with air time. Within a month it was pretty good. Third bottle was just right, striking a nice balance. I had no problem drinking this neat. The fourth (currently open) is a Fred Noe special pick for a local store. Honestly I could mistake it for Baker's. It's not hot at all, very sweet though. The alcohol is just barely evident. If anything this one could use more burn.

    So there you have it, four barrels and four very different bourbons in terms of heat. General flavor profile was the same (at least for the first three, the Fred Noe bottle is more Baker-ish, like I said).

    We assume the barrel takes away the heat factor, but are there wood compounds that actually might make it worse?
    Life's too short, and there's too much good whiskey within reach.

  9. #69
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    Re: What accounts for bourbons of same proof having such big differences in heat/burn

    We don't expect single barrel's to be the same profile but that's quite a spread.

  10. #70
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    Re: What accounts for bourbons of same proof having such big differences in heat/burn

    That is curious since you'd assume they are making the same cuts off the still - so it has to be barrel and/or warehouse location?
    Mark

 

 

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