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  1. #1
    Connoisseur
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    Dougdogs\' Whiskey Rebarreling...

    This post is to facilitate an exchange of knowledge and theory. It is an experiment from which to learn. I'm starting off simple at first for gathering a "baseline" of information to launch other variations in future projects.

    My beginning goal, stated simply, is to "condition" the barrel(s) to allow for an introduction of selected, premium, younger whiskies to mature for lengthy periods of time...hopefully, making them better and/or more interesting. After the barrels are "done" aging Bourbon, possibly 10-20 years from now, I intend to further age SMSW. (Single Malt Scotch whisky) Using what I have learned here to hopefully make that successful too.

    Thanks to all who have posted information in various places here on this site that has led up to this current place in time.

    The barrels, 3 gallon and 5 gallons, were brought over to the "Study Group" last evening by Roger. (11-19-05)(Thanks Roger!) Both barrels are heavy char #3. (One can hear the bits of charcoal that are loose inside when the barrels are rolled or shaken.)

    I intend to fill the first barrel today. I'm going to start with the small one. I'm using Ancient Age for two main reasons. First, it is relatively inexpensive. (14.99 per 1.75 liters) Second, I believe that this particular whiskey will do rather well with additional ageing.

    After evaluating the time frames and tasting results when this AA is finally removed, the barrel will be filled again for round two. More will be known about what kind of whiskies will be chosen for the second fill after evaluating the results of taste and time from the first fill. There could be a third and final fill for the long haul, but that won't be considered to heavily at this point in time until more is known.

    The "conditioning" mentioned above, is to now use inexpensive bourbon to prepare the barrel for more select bourbon, long term aging. After the "final" bourbon is matured, 10-20 years from now, additional conditioning could be done to prepare the cask for SMSW. The types of consideration for influencing the barrel might come from rums, wines, ports, Sherries or other similar products...time will tell.

    Please post your comments or suggestions...I'd like to know what you think!

    Best regards, dougdog
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  2. #2
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    Barrel is full...

    The barrel is full,it consumed the better part of (6) 1.75 liter plastic bottles. When replacing the bung, I could see the charcoal floating in the whiskey....

    I'll keep in touch...best regards, dougdog
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  3. #3
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    Re: Barrel is full...

    Doug, that is awsomely cool. You're a good month ahead of me I like the idea of using a conditioning run first. I'm betting even the 2nd and third fillings will be quicker than you think based on the size of the barrel. Maybe 10 months and 2 years?? Are you doing regular sampling to track it's progress?? How frequently??

    Doug! Doug! Doug! Doug! Doug! Doug! Doug! Doug! Doug! Doug!

    Ken

  4. #4
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    Ken...

    Ken,

    You wrote:

    Are you doing regular sampling to track its progress?? How frequently??

    My thought right now is to draw 50mls at one week intervals for the first 8 weeks and evaluate them at the one month intervals...oddly enough this will happen at the third Saturday "Study Groups"...what a coincidence!

    I intend to measure and record the amount lost to evaporation and barrel absorption and replace with new AA after the weekly/monthly sample has been drawn...oh yea... and replace what we, the "study groupers", sample as well!

    If you would like, I'd be glad to post the findings here.

    Best regards, dougdog!

  5. #5
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    Re: Ken...

    I intend to measure and record the amount lost to evaporation and barrel absorption and replace with new AA after the weekly/monthly sample has been drawn...oh yea... and replace what we, the "study groupers", sample as well!
    This sounds like a great project!

    Some further thoughts on this. One of my ongoing homebrew projects has been an Old Ale "Solera." This is a five gallon stainless steel Pepsi keg in which I have kept a strong, "Old Ale" (that's a style of strong ale) since 1994. Every couple of years, I top it up. After about three years, it serendiptously turned nicely tart (see my full explanation in my post on Flanders ales earlier).

    Some homebrewers in Franklin, TN, were inspired by this to step it up in scale by brewing 11 five-gallon batches of barleywine and storing it in a used bourbon barrel. Their intent is to draw it down as needed and top it up occasionally. However, they hadn't counted on the staves on the top of the barrel drying out, and it leaked when they refilled it (see their report to Homebrw Digest).

    If you keep your barrel full, this shouldn't be a problem, but we do hear of whiskey being rebarrelled. I wonder if this is a problem with them. And I wonder why it doesn't seem to be a problem when bourbon barrels are refilled with beer at microbreweries (as is increasingly being done with stouts and barleywine). Obviously, the top staves in a well aged barrel of bourbon will be dry. (The Tennessee homebrewers kept their barrel wrapped in wet blankets until they filled it).

    Jeff

  6. #6
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    Jeff

    Jeff, you have posted some valuable information, Thanks!

    In other threads, I had mentioned the idea of a "solera" or "living barrel" idea. (Loch-Fyne Whiskies in Scotland has a in-house cask program, pseudo-solera thing going on)

    I think this method would have its advantages when using small barrels in a project like this. First the "re-topping" would keep the barrel from leaking and also allow for influencing the contents for corrective measures or directive measures. One aspect being a defensive tool, the latter being more offensive in nature. Directive additions would be done to influence the contents to specific preferences of taste. IE, more rye flavor, wheat flavor, sweeter, dryer, higher proof, lower proof etc...What ever the mood.

    Most of this is just thought process for the future; at this point in time the only work is to break-in this little barrel and build the "baseline" of information for future expansion of ideas.

  7. #7
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    Re: Jeff

    I want to get a barrel now!

  8. #8
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    Re: Barrel is full...

    Cool! can't wait to see how this works out!

    Looks like you saved a sample to try it against, good.

    Have you considered how you're going to filter it when you dump it? or if you will?

    Have you considered how often you'll weigh the barrel to see how long it takes before you get losses other than what the barrel absorbs?

    Looks good, where is it going to be stored again? Can we get some pics of its new home?

    Though this might seem to be a odd thought, it might be interesting to get one of the digital weather stations that will give a daily average temp and keep track of it. It might be going overboard, but then again some would say that rebarreling your own whiskey is as well

  9. #9
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    Timothy

    Hi Timothy

    You wrote:

    Have you considered how you're going to filter it when you dump it? or if you will?

    Have you considered how often you'll weigh the barrel to see how long it takes before you get losses other than what the barrel absorbs?

    Looks good, where is it going to be stored again? Can we get some pics of its new home?
    I'm considering two ideas at this point in time, first is to just run it through a coffee filter to remove all the big chunks.
    Second is to take some of the Mesquite charcoal that I use in my BBQ, crush it, and run some of the bourbon through it as in "Charcoal Filtered"

    I'll save the "used" charcoal for the next time I grill a BBQ pork tenderloin roast... (Jeff, thanks again for that good recipe)

    The barrel will be checked weekly for the first 8 weeks, evaluated and probably be checked monthly after stabilization has been established. Samples being consumed...I mean "TESTED" at each "Study Group"!

    It will be stored in my attic where more drastic temperature swing are prevalent...I'll take pictures and post them when the barrel is placed. Right now I'm trying to get some time to stop at the store and get a thermometer with tell-tales to mount next to the barrel. Right now the barrel is sitting in the bonsai studio at the same place where the photo was taken. It gets some late afternoon sun there at this time of year. I'm planning to place it in the attic on Saturday the 26th.

    Your thought about my thoughts?

    Best, dougdog

  10. #10
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Timothy

    Doug I know the samples you will remove are small but I advise if possible to hold back some from each successive tasting so later you see whether there is any change between the samples. Only a side-by-side will really tell you I think..

    Also, just a suggestion, but you may want to consider not doing the top-up. To me that crosses over into another area, the "solera" idea which is a good one but will change the idea of the continued aging of the AA you first put in there. Solera whiskey can be good (e.g. you probably know the Glenfidich version) but this is a different animal from making AA into AAA.

    The only difference between your project and continued aging in the BT warehouses is your entry proof was lower and you used a new barrel. I don't think either factor really matters if you check as we are discussing the quality and choose to dump at the time you feel it is right - this will probably (but who knows) be a question of months not years.

    After you dump you will have seasoned barrels and if you continue the project you will (except again for proof) come even closer to the continued aging model of the warehouse.

    Gary

 

 

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