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FasterHorses

Adding water

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FasterHorses
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At what point or points and how many times is water added to proof down a bourbon (by the distiller) to the exact desired proof. Was watching the Blantons bottling and wondered about specifics

Edited by FasterHorses

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EarthQuake

It tends to come off the still at a higher proof than it goes into the barrel, especially if column stills are used, so it would need to be watered down to barreling proof, which can be no higher than 125 for bourbon. Then water would be added again before it's bottled to get it to the desired bottling proof.

 

So generally speaking 2 times, unless it's barrel proof, then just the once before it goes into the barrel

 

I imagine that at most distilleries, batches are created, and then watered down. So assuming it's not a single barrel product, the various barrels would be mixed in a vat, and then the water would be added to bring it to the desired proof. I'm not sure how common it is for bourbon, but water is sometimes added very slowly with a drip feed system, which does some chemistry stuff that is desirable and which I don't understand well enough to explain. 

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kevinbrink

I'm pretty sure Nancy @WhiskeyBlender has posted a number of great posts about this.

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FasterHorses

Is it an approximate proof, a proof measured at a certain time before bottling or an exact proof at the time of bottling? 

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Richnimrod
1 hour ago, FasterHorses said:

Is it an approximate proof, a proof measured at a certain time before bottling or an exact proof at the time of bottling? 

The bottling proof is exact.    It has to be.    Ya' can't say; 'Ah, well; we tried to git 'er close' and expect the Feds to accept that.

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FasterHorses
24 minutes ago, Richnimrod said:

The bottling proof is exact.    It has to be.    Ya' can't say; 'Ah, well; we tried to git 'er close' and expect the Feds to accept that.

I suppose i knew that to be the case. Ill go look for nancys  description of the details .

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Bours
On 7/28/2019 at 2:58 PM, EarthQuake said:

It tends to come off the still at a higher proof than it goes into the barrel, especially if column stills are used, so it would need to be watered down to barreling proof, which can be no higher than 125 for bourbon. Then water would be added again before it's bottled to get it to the desired bottling proof.

Spot on, proof can come out the still no higher than 160 but it has to be watered down to 125 before hitting the barrel.

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Flyfish
On 7/28/2019 at 5:58 PM, EarthQuake said:

... but water is sometimes added very slowly with a drip feed system, which does some chemistry stuff that is desirable and which I don't understand well enough to explain. 

You might want to Google E-pistle 2009/03  The Chemistry of Water and Whisky. It pertains to adding water to your drink rather than to what they do at the distillery. Even so, there are fascinating explanations for the way molecules attract, repel, and reconfigure. Also deals with the "opens it up" vs. "just waters down the proof" contentions.

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