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marshall9779

Mini Barrel Aging Project

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marshall9779

My brother got me this 5 L mini barrel for my birthday. Was just curious if anyone has any recommendations on what to put in that turned out ok for you. Kinda debating whether to use un-aged whiskey or a low aged bourbon. I could go really cheap but I want something higher than 80 proof so I’m leaning towards EWBIB. Whatever I pick I’m going to have a bunch of it.

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clearmoon247

This is my time to shine!

I have a similar 5L barrel that I was gifted for my birthday. I filled it with BT White Dog. There was plenty of time to prepare for it and sourcing all the bottles. That got a bit expensive, but may be worth it.

 

If you want a less expensive option, I would suggest using 2-4 bottles of BT White Dog & fill the remaining space with Ole Smokey Blue Flame. It's 128 proof, blends nicely, and is $20 for a 750ml bottle. I actually have a couple of batches of OSBF aging and it will have a bourbon flavor profile. Additionally, you could also proof the mixture down to 107 (pre-prohibition) or even 110 (pre-1962 regulation) and see how the modern new make handles at lower proofs.

 

You can also go the route you were talking about with aged products to start. If you go down this rabbit-hole, consider a blend of higher proof options that you enjoy. Remember, you are going to have 5-7 bottles of the stuff. You could, if you are a fan, do a blend of WT Rare Breed and WT101 (2x WT Rare Breed & 2x 1.75L WT101) which would end up at 106 proof and won't break the bank to fill it.

 

If you want to get really fancy, you can take the barrel and fill it with a nice fortified wine (port, sherry, madeira) to season it and then add your favorite whiskey to it to do your own in-house finishing.

 

I keep mine in our non-climate controlled garage in the Florida Heat. It is 10 months old at this point and is coming along nicely. I plan to let it age for a minimum of 2 years (maybe 3) to really accentuate what can come of it.

 

Let me know if you have any other thoughts or concerns. Just remember to do a water fill to swell the wood right before you plan to fill it.

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marshall9779
33 minutes ago, clearmoon247 said:

This is my time to shine!

I have a similar 5L barrel that I was gifted for my birthday. I filled it with BT White Dog. There was plenty of time to prepare for it and sourcing all the bottles. That got a bit expensive, but may be worth it.

 

If you want a less expensive option, I would suggest using 2-4 bottles of BT White Dog & fill the remaining space with Ole Smokey Blue Flame. It's 128 proof, blends nicely, and is $20 for a 750ml bottle. I actually have a couple of batches of OSBF aging and it will have a bourbon flavor profile. Additionally, you could also proof the mixture down to 107 (pre-prohibition) or even 110 (pre-1962 regulation) and see how the modern new make handles at lower proofs.

 

You can also go the route you were talking about with aged products to start. If you go down this rabbit-hole, consider a blend of higher proof options that you enjoy. Remember, you are going to have 5-7 bottles of the stuff. You could, if you are a fan, do a blend of WT Rare Breed and WT101 (2x WT Rare Breed & 2x 1.75L WT101) which would end up at 106 proof and won't break the bank to fill it.

 

If you want to get really fancy, you can take the barrel and fill it with a nice fortified wine (port, sherry, madeira) to season it and then add your favorite whiskey to it to do your own in-house finishing.

 

I keep mine in our non-climate controlled garage in the Florida Heat. It is 10 months old at this point and is coming along nicely. I plan to let it age for a minimum of 2 years (maybe 3) to really accentuate what can come of it.

 

Let me know if you have any other thoughts or concerns. Just remember to do a water fill to swell the wood right before you plan to fill it.

Thanks for the input. I’m trying to do a budget fill the first go around. I don’t want to spend $150 or more on something that I have no  idea how it will turn out. Trying to stay with something close to 4 years that doesn’t have that much oak influence already. I’m now contemplating using J.W. Dant as well. After I see how this first batch turns out I may do something more along what you’re suggesting since the stronger oak influence will have been taken up by the first batch. I may also get some white dog from my local distillery.

 

I do have it filled and down to just a couple small drips after just a few hours. Gonna keep topping it off and probably change after two days then refill and let it soak for 3 more. It says to drain after 2-5 days then refill with hot water for one more day.

 

i did notice it does have smell from whatever finish they put in the outside. Hope that dissipates and the water pulls it out.

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clearmoon247

That smell could be a varnish on the outside. Also, save yourself some time and purchase a brick of Gulf Wax from your local grocery store (found with canning supplies or baking section). You can use it to seal any small leaks.

 

I haven't had much luck getting a local craft distillery to fill a barrel for me. If you are able to, that's amazing.

 

JW Dant is a great option. To tamp down the oak and up the proof while keeping price at ~$100, supplement 2 handles of dant with blue flame. If all else fails, a blend of 3 handles of your favorite options and possibly even bourbon & Rye to make a Bou-rye.

 

As far as when the barrel is ready, once you are at 8-12 hours with zero leaks, your barrel is ready for filling right then and there. 

 

Also, after you do your first batch, you can go with an older bourbon, or even a tequila, rum, or scotch. Once you get the ball rolling, the world is limited by your imagination 

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smokinjoe

This is a very tricky business.  Very...VERY, few work out worth a damn.  I’ve F’d up several, myself.  If I ever try again, I’ll abide by two rules:

 

The first fill is for nothing but seasoning the barrel.  Expect it to be trash.

 

For time in the barrel,  LESS IS MORE.  Days, and maybe few weeks, only. 
 

(2.1). After all that, I’ll look to barrel age some cocktails.

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marshall9779
37 minutes ago, clearmoon247 said:

That smell could be a varnish on the outside. Also, save yourself some time and purchase a brick of Gulf Wax from your local grocery store (found with canning supplies or baking section). You can use it to seal any small leaks.

 

I haven't had much luck getting a local craft distillery to fill a barrel for me. If you are able to, that's amazing.

 

JW Dant is a great option. To tamp down the oak and up the proof while keeping price at ~$100, supplement 2 handles of dant with blue flame. If all else fails, a blend of 3 handles of your favorite options and possibly even bourbon & Rye to make a Bou-rye.

 

As far as when the barrel is ready, once you are at 8-12 hours with zero leaks, your barrel is ready for filling right then and there. 

 

Also, after you do your first batch, you can go with an older bourbon, or even a tequila, rum, or scotch. Once you get the ball rolling, the world is limited by your imagination 

Don’t have OSBF where I am. No other higher proof un-aged whiskeys. My local bottles and sells their un-aged whiskey. I doubly they would fill directly. Couldn’t hurt to ask I guess. 
 

I was gong to keep water in the barrel that long in the hopes of taking out some of the extreme oakiness and hopefully anything from the varnish.

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marshall9779
40 minutes ago, smokinjoe said:

This is a very tricky business.  Very...VERY, few work out worth a damn.  I’ve F’d up several, myself.  If I ever try again, I’ll abide by two rules:

 

The first fill is for nothing but seasoning the barrel.  Expect it to be trash.

 

For time in the barrel,  LESS IS MORE.  Days, and maybe few weeks, only. 
 

(2.1). After all that, I’ll look to barrel age some cocktails.

Yeah I’m not expecting much on this first run. That’s why I’m going the budget route first to see how it goes. Just hope I don’t end up with 4 bottles of undrinkable garbage. Will definitely check on it at least weekly to make sure it doesn’t get over oaked.

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marshall9779

Turns out my local distillery would be willing to fill directly with new make proofed to what I want for $150. Not too bad but have heard from a few people now that new make on the first run didn’t turn out good at all. Still going to go with some JWD for this first batch then maybe do some new make for the next batch and should be able to age it longer as well. Hope to go pick up 3 handles of JWD today as there aren’t many in my county stores. 
 

I’m down to one little drip from the spigot when I take the bung out and put it back in. I guess just from the change in pressure. I’ve been checking the water level and topping off the last 2 mornings. Hasn’t needed much.  I’m good with that. Still need to empty and do a hot water fill today and let it sit for another day.

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Richnimrod
On 6/23/2020 at 9:16 PM, marshall9779 said:

Yeah I’m not expecting much on this first run. That’s why I’m going the budget route first to see how it goes. Just hope I don’t end up with 4 bottles of undrinkable garbage. Will definitely check on it at least weekly to make sure it doesn’t get over oaked.

Do you know what the 'char level is on this mini-barrel?   ...Just curious, not that it makes a great deal of difference to me.

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marshall9779
16 minutes ago, Richnimrod said:

Do you know what the 'char level is on this mini-barrel?   ...Just curious, not that it makes a great deal of difference to me.

It says medium char but I think the heads are not charred.

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marshall9779

Filled her up last night. Will top of off the initial angel share loss with what is left minus a sample to compare to the final product.
 

FBC97541-5D57-474C-A66B-2B9221F26E6D.jpeg

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marshall9779

Checked the level today and decided to top it back off. It took 150ml to top it back off. Also realized that I had 450ml left in the bottle and should have only had about 250ml left if it took the whole 5L so it’s about 4.8L. Took a little sample of what was in there before topping off. Not much change but seemed a little brighter.

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marshall9779

Been having a problem with a leaky spigot. Got a replacement and emptied and swapped it out last night. Decided to top it off again as I have lost 3-4 ounces for the leak. I tasted again last Friday at the 2 week mark and definitely noticed some change. A little more oak, caramel and baked apple.

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clearmoon247

So, whats the plan for the next fill of the barrel?

 

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marshall9779
2 hours ago, clearmoon247 said:

So, whats the plan for the next fill of the barrel?

 

I’m debating between white dog from my local distillery, maybe their rye,  or going with Larceny or maybe Rebel Yell 100.

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clearmoon247
36 minutes ago, marshall9779 said:

I’m debating between white dog from my local distillery, maybe their rye,  or going with Larceny or maybe Rebel Yell 100.

I would highly recommend the local rye if you can

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marshall9779
1 hour ago, clearmoon247 said:

I would highly recommend the local rye if you can

Yeah, it would cost me $150 for white dog proofed to whatever I want. I really like their rye at %65. I think doing that after aging a bourbon first I can probably let it go longer and will pick up a little bourbon characteristics as well.

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clearmoon247
44 minutes ago, marshall9779 said:

Yeah, it would cost me $150 for white dog proofed to whatever I want. I really like their rye at %65. I think doing that after aging a bourbon first I can probably let it go longer and will pick up a little bourbon characteristics as well.

That is pretty spot on. Frankly, you can't beat it for the price. It would run ~$200-$300 for BT White Dog bottles (thats what I did).

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marshall9779
8 minutes ago, clearmoon247 said:

Also, I recommend replacing the top Bung with one of these: https://www.widgetco.com/1-white-silicone-rubber-stoppers

 

Funny you mention the bung. I’ve noticed that when completely full, the leather on the supplied bung acts like a wick and it weeps out around it at least in a warmer location.

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clearmoon247

Mine has a couple of vertical stripes from the whiskey weeping out of the bung and down the sides of the barrel.

 

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marshall9779
1 hour ago, clearmoon247 said:

Mine has a couple of vertical stripes from the whiskey weeping out of the bung and down the sides of the barrel.

 

Yup.

image.jpg

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marshall9779
18 hours ago, clearmoon247 said:

Also, I recommend replacing the top Bung with one of these: https://www.widgetco.com/1-white-silicone-rubber-stoppers

 

Ordered two. Thanks for the recommendation. Should probably order a spare spigot at some point as that’s the weak point of the thing.

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marshall9779

Hope this doesn’t get worse and develop a leak. Can feel it bulging around the crack.

C984D0BC-07AB-4477-AAA3-5493CB3A44DF.jpeg

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clearmoon247
53 minutes ago, marshall9779 said:

Hope this doesn’t get worse and develop a leak. Can feel it bulging around the crack.

C984D0BC-07AB-4477-AAA3-5493CB3A44DF.jpeg

Do yourself a favor: go to the grocery store and grab a box of "Gulf Wax" from the canning or baking isle. If you have a heat gun,  rub the wax into the crack and melt it in place. Otherwise,  melt a small amount in a bowl and brush it into the crack liberally. Its paraffin wax, which is what Barrel Wax is.

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