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  1. #51
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: barrel programs...can I buy and age my own bar

    Roger, I've had similar experience with beer stored for a short time in small oak kegs. However, these kegs, including I assume yours for wine, were not charred. At most they were toasted, or possibly essentially plain wood. That meant a lot of raw oak flavor would leach into the liquors, quickly. However a charred cask means a layer of char is interposed between the liquor and the red layer that forms from the charring. This is not to say the smaller ratio of interior cask surface to liquid, as compared to what happens in a standard bourbon barrel, is not relevant. But again we have a barrier, the char layer, that dictates a certain relationship of barrel to spirit that does not operate with toasted or plain wood barrels. In such circumstances, it is important I think to ensure at least 100 proof, not just out of deference to tradition, but to ensure the proper amount of extractive from a charred barrel.

    Gary

  2. #52
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: barrel programs...can I buy and age my own bar

    "A pint is a pound the whole world round."

    Evaporation is about 5 percent per year.

  3. #53
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    Re: barrel programs...can I buy and age my own bar

    Kentucky warehouses get as hot as Kentucky gets. I'm sure that data is readily available from any number of weather sites. Warehouses typically are located on hilltops to maximize air circulation and exposure to the sun. How long? You should do what the distillers do, periodically open the barrel, withdraw some spirit, and check its progress. How often? That depends on how thirsty you are. Really, it probably depends on how much change you notice. If it seems to be aging quickly, you might want to check it more frequently. It's all part of the adventure.
    Thanks Chuck. I would have expected them to get warmer, being in the sun and all. Our temps go from 30 to 90. I would expect the attic temps to go 40 to 140. The porch to go 40 to 85. I would think a full barrel would age better in the attic but maybe a small barrel will age too fast in that temp range??? Opinions??

    Ken

  4. #54
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    Re: barrel programs...can I buy and age my own bar

    Greg,

    I think the "living process" idea is interesting..but might make it hard to recreate if you find an outstanding mix.
    If a real good mix were "found", that would be the best possible outcome, I'd bottle it up in a hurry, commence with consuming the harvest, and start again. My mind races with thoughts about "what if..." as I consider different approaches and "recipes".

    So at this point in time, I'm considering starting two 5 gallon barrels and doing something different in each one.

    The information currently being posted is of great value, Rogers post about new barrels and the effect on wine and the counter post by Gary Gillman regarding the effects of heavy char are very informative....certainly interested in additional information from Rogers friend that has re-barreled bourbon to get his view and experience on his past projects.

    Reading these posts creates more questions....this one to be aimed at Chuck or Gary (or who ever else have recommendation...Gary wrote:

    In such circumstances, it is important I think to ensure at least 100 proof, not just out of deference to tradition, but to ensure the proper amount of extractive from a charred barrel.

    If 100 proof is more desirable, how do I get my barrel proof up if I'm intending to use bulk stock of 80-86 proof bourbons?

    Would adding small amounts of GNS be a bad thing to consider here? The GNS could age in the barrel along with all the other ingredients?

    What say ye?

    Best regards, dog

  5. #55
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    Re: barrel programs...can I buy and age my own bar

    If 100 proof is more desirable, how do I get my barrel proof up if I'm intending to use bulk stock of 80-86 proof bourbons?
    I think their point was to not start with a lower proof Bourbon. Not to take a lower proof expression and find a way to increase it's proof. I think what you suggest would work but it would not have the flavor profile I would be looking for. I want the basic flavor components to be in the barrel.

    Ken

  6. #56
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: barrel programs...can I buy and age my own bar

    Doug, obviously there are some unanswered questions here, and only empirical practice will ascertain the optimum way to do it. If you do two 5 gallon batches, maybe go with one that is 86 or 80 proof whiskey, and Roger's caution that small barrels extract enough even from low-proof ethanol mixtures may prove correct (which, if so, means you will want to tap that one sooner). The other batch can use 100 proof. I would buy a case or two of BIB fifths for that one. Yes, you could add GNS, say Everclear, to get the proof up. But this is departing from an all-straight whiskey blend. Although, as you will see below, Fleiscman advised to age both mixtures of GNS and straight whiskey, and all-straight whiskey mixtures, so you would not be out of line doing this in that sense.

    You might take a selection of the many older bottles you have (this is more the living cask idea) and use those, maybe for the first batch mentioned above because your average proof won't likely exceed 90.

    I have often referred to Fleischman but now want to quote from this 1885 blending book:

    "Grade no. 11

    McBrayer Whiskey, 20 gallons
    Mattingly ditto 20 ditto
    Monticello (Rye) 5 ditto
    Prune Juice 1/2 ditto

    This is considered the finest of all grades, as it contains no spirits, but an excellent blend of genuine whiskeys. It will cost $1.90 per gallon. [!!]. The first five of the foregoing grades [the cheapest grades in his book] are simply spirits, and will remain so; it is therefore unnecessary to attempt to improve them by age; but all the other grades should, after mixing, be tiered away in barrels on the highest floor, and allowed to remain three months before using".

    This 3 months was obviously a minimum, a commercial imperative in his view but no more.

    I'd be guided by this approach but you can dispense with the "prune juice" (which is not our modern prune juice but a complex fruit mixture macerated in GNS and sugar - the recipe for prune juice is in his book and I can reproduce it here if wished). I.e., use the percentage of bourbons he stipulates adjusted for your smaller quantity, and ditto of the rye. You can use 3 whiskeys like he did or 10 or 20 (or 1 of course); it is the system that counts. He himself says his approach can be varied and "endless" combinations are possible.

    Gary


  7. #57
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
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    Re: barrel programs...can I buy and age my own bar

    While I had thought of using GNS to up the proof, my other thought is to start with a "base layer" of 100+ proof whiskies. Several are available in 1.75L bottles: VOB, Fighting Cock, Weller 107, Tom Moore, Wild Turkey, JTS Brown.

    I'm not opposed to the idea of using GNS, but it will "dilute" the flavor profile that you start with.

    Also, just a thought, but I'd try to get together a bunch of pint bottles and take a sample right after blending(possibly in a seperate, sterile container) then one after day one, week one, week two, etc. Thought you might only want to do 1/2 pints depending on the volume of the batch and the speed of maturation. Taking out whiskey will also change the surface/volume ratio. You might actually want to make a larger batch than it will hold and store the extra in bottles and see how the same batch goes through the second time in a slightly used barrel. Also hold onto plenty of the original blend to show off your prowess in aging spirits.

    I really can't wait to hear of the results. Pretty soon there's going to be a run on 100proof 1.75L's and we're all going to be comparing our own aged blends at the Gazebo.

  8. #58
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    Re: barrel programs...can I buy and age my own bar

    wow 5% is considerable.

    isn't a pint a measure of volume, not weight?

    a pint of alcohol would have a different weight than a pint of water?



    "A pint is a pound the whole world round."

    Evaporation is about 5 percent per year.

  9. #59
    Bourbonian of the Year 2006
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    Re: barrel programs...can I buy and age my own barrel?

    Question:
    Would it be most expedient to buy empty whiskey barrels from four year product and add your whiskey to them. If you're going to put up Five gallon batches, does it matter whether your using a 53 gallon barrel or a five gallon barrel. I contend that 18 year old whiskey only has 8-15 gallons left and its aging along without any negative effect of low volume. (Assumes you have the space for a couple of full barrels)
    I measured the hatch into my attic and a barrel will fit. Break out the block and Tackle!!!

  10. #60
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: barrel programs...can I buy and age my own barrel?

    That's a good point, Ed.

    For that matter, half of a barrel (I saw half-sawn barrels outside Keene's when in B'town) may work if you can fashion a tight cover.

    Gary

 

 

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