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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re-aging straight whiskey - charred cask

    Some time ago I attended a Remy Martin Cognac tasting and at the end of the night, we were given mini-kegs to age anything we liked in it, Cognac or another drink. The kegs were new oak and charred black inside.

    The keg sat unused for quite some time, but finally I dumped a bottle of near-white dog in it. It was a rye mash whiskey from a craft distiller which had been given 3 months aging in a small cask before sale.

    When I put it in, the whiskey was light yellow. I put the little keg in a straw basket (oblong, planter-type, it happened to fit snugly) and left it on the balcony from later June until now.

    In the first two days, an appetizing smell arose from the keg as the liquor soaked in - very similar to a bourbon warehouse.

    The temperatures probably swung between 60 F and 95 F at various times, with of course nights generally on the cool end of this.

    I tasted it after a month, and now again. It has improved each time. The colour now is quite dark, like any good 8-12 year bourbon. The taste is half way to a good bourbon or rye: it still has some taste from the white dog and perhaps from the first cask it was put in. Like many craft whiskeys given some age, it had a piney, spruce-like smell, and I've never been sure if that is from insufficiently seasoned small casks or from short aging in any new charred wood no matter the size. Anyway the piney taste is diminishing, but it's still there partly. I will leave it out a couple more months but finally will have to take it in because it will get too cold in Toronto to leave it out there. It was 80 proof, so could freeze. However, a couple more months may "finish" the aging, or close enough for me. I am quite happy with this experiment, and can see that in a keg of any size, charred and new wood, you will definitely get improvement even if it won't replicate completely the slow oxidative changes of normal barrel aging.

    It's pretty fair now actually.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 09-10-2013 at 18:52.

  2. #2
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    Re: Re-aging straight whiskey - charred cask

    80 proof isnt going to freeze, unless it gets REALLY cold. i keep several bottles of homemade limoncello in the freezer all year, and they are 70 proof. they get slightly syrupy, but no ice in them at all. id leave it in there until the temptation got to be more than i could stand.

    id like to test your theory as well. get a case of HH BIB and reage it a few more years. aged at 8 or 9 years total, it may come out 105-110 proof, and be just right.

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Re-aging straight whiskey - charred cask

    Well, maybe it won't freeze, good point, but there would be little development I think over this period. I think I will take it as is with two more months. Definitely re-aging in wood makes sense though, your plan is a good one. Both for practical and possibly maturation reasons, it makes sense to re-age at least a case - so you need a keg of commensurate size. I would ensure though that it is seasoned well to get out any piney or sappy notes.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 09-10-2013 at 20:06.

  4. #4
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    Re: Re-aging straight whiskey - charred cask

    12 750s are bout 2.5 gallons. i dont know how big your mini barrel is, or its quality (leakiness), but a case of HH BIB around here would set you back about $100, and i think itd be a worthwhile experiment. if youre worried about the cold outside balcony, keep it inside. the smell would be awesome anyway!

  5. #5
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    Re: Re-aging straight whiskey - charred cask

    Ralfy just did a video on a poor man's version of something similar. I haven't tried it (yet), but aim to find some birch and give that a go.

    http://youtu.be/0zRkoT6nFu0

    I noticed in trying to take some charred oak chips and let white dog age with them that color came more quickly than I expected, but it retained that corn sweetness of a young make. I wonder if a second fill of new make might do even better?
    Gary
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  6. #6
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    Re: Re-aging straight whiskey - charred cask

    Umm guys, you know you can already buy 8-10 year old Bourbon, don't 'cha?
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  7. #7
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    Re: Re-aging straight whiskey - charred cask

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    Umm guys, you know you can already buy 8-10 year old Bourbon, don't 'cha?
    Yes, but then they would be average-joe bourbon buyers - not geeks - and wouldn't know SB dot com even existed

  8. #8
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    Re: Re-aging straight whiskey - charred cask

    Gotta admit, from that perspective the idea has merit.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  9. #9
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    Re: Re-aging straight whiskey - charred cask

    Actually, I did this a few years back with a 5 L barrel. I would leave it out for a month (95+ DEGREES) and then put in freezer for a month to simulate the expansion and contraction. I also read to dump after putting it in the freezer for a few day to maximize pull from wood. After 4 months it was almost too strong to drink and had a very green piney taste. Not bad but not worth the cost of white dog and barrel. I still have about 2 handles that I sip occasionally. Just my two cents worth.

    FYI: The freezing point of 80-proof alcohol is -26 Celsius or -16 Fahrenheit
    Last edited by Enoch; 09-11-2013 at 05:56.

  10. #10
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    Re: Re-aging straight whiskey - charred cask

    In a home unit 80 proof whisky doesn't freeze, rather it develops a very thick texture.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

 

 

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