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  1. #71
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    Re: barrel programs...can I buy and age my own bar

    > Does it make sense to increase the proof with high proof GNS? Maybe.
    > The higher proof spirit will be more effective as a solvent for dissolving
    > barrel "goodies,"

    Well, that much is true, but it's not the whole story!
    The hydrolysis of hemicellulose and other things in wood is accelerated by
    increasing water content, so if your proof is really high, then you have
    the ability to solubilize the goodies, you're just not producing them!

    Piggott's book mentions a bourbon study showing that production
    of color, volatile acids, and tannins all decrease as you increase
    the proof at which you age.

    So it's a trade-off. I think roughly 60% (120 proof) comes out to
    be fairly optimal all things considered... but it really depends
    on what you're after! If you're starting with pre-aged bourbon and
    you just want mellowing, not extra sweetness and tannins, then higher
    proof might be your friend.

    Oh, and while I'm at it: smaller casks will give you more loss per year
    than large casks. So the 5% figure might not hold. I have some numbers
    somewhere comparing cask volume to percentage loss in Scotland... you
    can triple your annual losses by using smaller casks. And by "smaller",
    they mean the ~250 L (60 - 80 gallon) hogsheads (vs. the butts that
    hold twice as much).

    Prepare to pay the angels a fair bit if you're using ~10 gallon casks!

    Tim Dellinger

  2. #72
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    Re: barrel programs...can I buy and age my own bar

    > Worried about it aging "too fast"? How fast is "too fast" and why is "fast"
    > "too fast," as in something negative? Wouldn't you want to get some
    > identifiable changes as quickly as possible? I can't see any benefit in
    > retarding the aging.

    What if it gets really woody really fast, but still has the "hot" flavor
    of younger whiskey? Aging is many many things all going on at once...
    ethanolysis, hydrolysis, dissolution, oxidation... lots of things are
    interacting in complex ways.

    > Remember, though, that it's the cycle of heating and cooling that
    > changes the spirit. Getting it hot and keeping it hot doesn't get
    > you anywhere.

    Perhaps you've never had rum?

    Getting it hot and keeping it hot will definitely give you lots of
    aging! The annual cycle of heating and cooling gives subtle effects that
    are only marginally different than, say, 4 straight years of steady
    summer temperature followed by 4 straight years of winter temperature.

    Not to be rude, but "Getting it hot and keeping it hot doesn't get you
    anywhere" is just plain 100% false. Dunno how else to put it!

    Tim Dellinger

  3. #73
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    Re: barrel programs...can I buy and age my own bar

    Just a little nit picking concerning your numbers:

    Yes, but since a US gallon of water weighs 8.33 lbs...
    I seem to recall 8.63 pounds per gallon, putting you closer to 9 pounds
    per gallon.
    [/QUOTE]

    I was right about this part - 8.33 lbs./gallon of water - see this page.

    As I said earlier, the metric (S.I.) system would eliminate these problems.

    Ethanol is about 89% as dense as water, so a gallon of whiskey would weigh pretty close to 8 lbs
    I'm thinking ethanol is more like 79% of the density of water.
    You are right on this - it was a typo on my part - the actual value is actually 78.920%

    All of this is, as you said, close enough for the argument.

    Jeff

  4. #74
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
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    Re: barrel programs...can I buy and age my own bar

    I hate to ask but which one is it; in this post you say that the proof goes up, and in the previous you say it goes down.

    Also does Yoahizawa's study say whether these are the new oak barrels that are used in bourbon or the used barrels used for scotch. In my experience, porous substances tend to "clog" as more fluids flow through them. While I'm not sure what this would do to the permeability, it seems that since it makes no difference as to the size of the molecule, the used barrel might allow the different molecules to pass at rates other than what a new barrel would.

    Also wouldn't those fluids flow differently based on the diffence between the sides of the "membrane". In a humid environment, water would flow slower, while alcohol would flow at the same rate (this is assuming a normal Earth environment containing very little alcohol vapors in the air-at least proportionate to that in the barrel).

    One last thing I wonder about: the rate of evaporation of water compared to alcohol based on temp. It seems that alcohol, based on its lower freezing point, would continue to evaporate at an accelerated rate compared to water at the lower temps in Scotland.

    I don't know the answers to any of these, just asking. I basing my thoughts on my own experiences. If you know the answers, please let me know.

  5. #75
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    Re: barrel programs...can I buy and age my own bar

    > I hate to ask but which one is it; in this post you say that the proof
    > goes up, and in the previous you say it goes down.

    Oops! Sorry about that. I went ahead and edited my post... proof goes
    down over time in Scotland, i.e. the ethanol leaves the barrel faster
    than the water.

    > In my experience, porous substances tend to "clog" as more fluids flow
    > through them. While I'm not sure what this would do to the permeability,
    > it seems that since it makes no difference as to the size of the molecule,
    > the used barrel might allow the different molecules to pass at rates other
    > than what a new barrel would.

    It's entirely possible that the apparent porousity of the barrel changes over
    time... luthiers can tell you that wood, even just sitting there in open air,
    will lose weight over time. I can imagine that exposure to whiskey changes
    the structure of the wood in interesting ways. I vaguely seem to recall that
    the rate of loss and the rate of aging isn't enitrely constant, but does
    change in small ways over the time that the whiskey is in the barrel. It's
    more of a subtle thing, though, and I can't remember off hand whether it
    speeds up or slows down over time. I would guess that the wood would tend
    to open up and become more porous, since parts of the barrel are literally
    decomposing and dissolving.

    Also, recall whiskey that is in it's third year of aging is sitting in a
    "used" barrel (it's been used for two years by the whiskey that's sitting in
    it)... so even a new barrel is a used barrel.

    > Also wouldn't those fluids flow differently based on the diffence between the
    > sides of the "membrane". In a humid environment, water would flow slower,
    > while alcohol would flow at the same rate (this is assuming a normal Earth
    > environment containing very little alcohol vapors in the air-at least
    > proportionate to that in the barrel).

    Exactly! You've summarized nicely what they like to call Fick's First Law
    of Diffusion: J = -D dc/dx. It's the best way to explain the Scotland vs.
    America effect.

    > One last thing I wonder about: the rate of evaporation of water compared to
    > alcohol based on temp. It seems that alcohol, based on its lower freezing
    > point, would continue to evaporate at an accelerated rate compared to water
    > at the lower temps in Scotland.

    You're right. (The term you're looking for is "vapor pressure".) It makes
    for a very complex scenario indeed! I think you've hit most of the major
    points with respect to aging. The only other thing worth mentioning is that
    oxygen is continually diffusing into the barrel, so that the contents are
    slowly oxidizing over time.


    A lot of the questions about the microstructure of wood and how it relates
    to permeability and how it changes over time really are a mystery... most of
    the distilleries, wineries, etc. just know what seems to work for them.
    They're still very interesting questions, though!

    There are a lot of variables with temperature, humidity, temperature changes
    over time, species of oak, tightness of grain in the oak, proof of the whiskey
    inside... I have a feeling that no one has explored all of these, they just
    find what works for them and stick with it. Even sticking to what would seem
    like the same formula, there's still variation in taste between two
    seemingly identical barrels that sit right next to each other in the warehouse!

    For those of you who are a little shy when it comes to buying and filling
    and storing a barrel, there is a smaller way to participate... although
    it's not quite the same, and some would call it "cheating". Wineries often
    put oak chips or sticks into the barrels to add more wood to the aging process.
    I've seen quite a few reports of home distillers aging their whiskey in
    glass bottles with such oak chips. It's not barrel aging, but it definitely
    is wood aging!

    Tim Dellinger

  6. #76
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: barrel programs...can I buy and age my own bar

    "The annual cycle of heating and cooling gives subtle effects that are only marginally different than, say, 4 straight years of steady summer temperature followed by 4 straight years of winter temperature."


    Tim, if this was true, why do distillers (some of them) make such a big thing about artificial cycling? Doesn't the practice result in red layer sugars entering the spirit faster than if natural seasonal variations (much less a constant multi-year temperature) occur? You refer to rum, but rum isn't really sweet and when it is, I suspect the sweet comes from added caramel or sugar, not lignin and other wood sugars.

    Gary

  7. #77
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    Re: barrel programs...can I buy and age my own bar

    For those of you who are a little shy when it comes to buying and filling
    and storing a barrel, there is a smaller way to participate... although
    it's not quite the same, and some would call it "cheating". Wineries often
    put oak chips or sticks into the barrels to add more wood to the aging process.
    I've seen quite a few reports of home distillers aging their whiskey in
    glass bottles with such oak chips. It's not barrel aging, but it definitely
    is wood aging!
    I'd often wondered about doing that, even within a barrel. Something similar in concept to the Lincoln County Process but with an added time component. Great info, thanks Tim (and fun discussion too, takes me back to college p-Chem lectures!)

    Ken

  8. #78
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    Re: barrel programs...can I buy and age my own bar

    You can find some of the 4 liter bottles in duty free sometimes. I bought a 4 liter JB White 7-8 years ago in a duty free. Same with Johnnie Walker Black, they had a 4 liter at the Niagara Falls duty free just last month.

    I was on a tour of Beam once and was watching them bottle some huge bottles for overseas somewhere, they were 3 or 4 liter bottles. Putting on the labels was like wallpapering I've never wanted a bottle of Beam white label so bad in my life.

    Come to think of it, in 2001, at the Gala, they were pouring Four Roses out of the same size bottle

  9. #79
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    Some notable young whiskys

    To hijack a couple different threads from this and the other forum, perhaps this would be a great experiment for:

    Old Potrero - I've thought this one needs more time in the barrel.

    Woodford Reserve 4 grain - That is also something folk seem to be thinking here. Unfortunately this would be a VERY expensive experiment.

    Maker's Mark - I wonder how MM would taste at say 12 years (equivalent aging)

    As I said, I plan to do Wild Turkey 101 and I'm hoping for Tribute (yeah, right!)

    Cheers,

    Ken

  10. #80
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    Re: Some notable young whiskys

    For a long term , 4-8 years or so, wouldn't putting Vodka in a charred barrel be the truer test of what your area can do to the flavor?

 

 

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