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General Category => Kegging and Bottling => Wood/Casks => Topic started by: pete b on February 22, 2016, 02:00:30 PM

Title: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: pete b on February 22, 2016, 02:00:30 PM
My girlfriend got me a new 5 liter cask for Valentine's Day. I have it soaking now and its ready to use. My plan is to age some whiskey in it for a few weeks (small barrels don't take long) then age mead, probably mixed berry, for a few months then age an RIS or BDSA.
I'm going to Yankee Spirits, a huge store with good deals and a large selection tonight. My thought is to get some 1.75 liter bottles of a decent but affordable bourbon. Makers Mark and Four Roses come to mind. Is this a solid plan? Any suggestions on a whiskey? Obviously that much whiskey I want to be good after aging in the barrel, its not simply a matter of getting bourbon flavor in the barrel.
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: mchrispen on February 22, 2016, 02:33:43 PM
Four Roses > Maker's Mark IMO. It's really a matter of preference and how much you are willing to spend. If you are wanting more spot on classic bourbons - then Buffalo Trace or Bulliet come to mind and shouldn't break the bank.
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: HoosierBrew on February 22, 2016, 02:40:55 PM
Four Roses > Maker's Mark IMO. It's really a matter of preference and how much you are willing to spend.


+1.  Four Roses is vastly > IMO.  With the price of Maker's having gone up (at least around here) the price difference isn't a lot ,but the quality is.
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: pete b on February 22, 2016, 03:52:57 PM
Good info. I like whiskey but have only been into it for a few years and sporadically. I'm fine paying more because I'll not need to buy it for quite awhile once its done so no need to be cheap, I want to like it. That being said we have cocktails about once a week so it doesn't need to be a great sipper, it can be my house cocktail whiskey.
I'm wondering if any take to oak more than others.
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: pete b on February 23, 2016, 02:47:19 AM
turned out there was a good deal on Knob Creek 100 proof which I like so went with that.
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: Phil_M on February 23, 2016, 03:00:49 AM
turned out there was a good deal on Knob Creek 100 proof which I like so went with that.

That's one of my favorites. Dunno how it'll work for your use, but it makes a great bourbon vanilla for baking. (split several vanilla beans and soak in bourbon for several months. Then run it all through a coffee filter to filter out the seeds and such.)
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: pete b on February 23, 2016, 12:37:52 PM
(http://images.tapatalk-cdn.com/16/02/23/4ff407a3e1c9103b7eddc0c238b24ad6.jpg)
And it was a better deal than this.
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: 69franx on February 23, 2016, 02:02:54 PM
Pete, that one looks like a "try it at the boss's Xmas party" from his secret stash
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: mchrispen on February 23, 2016, 02:05:38 PM
Ok, seriously. When a bottle costs more than a business class flight to the source (including room, board and a several samples on sight), then something is broken!
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: toby on February 23, 2016, 05:23:27 PM
turned out there was a good deal on Knob Creek 100 proof which I like so went with that.

That was exactly what I was going to suggest.  Very reasonably priced 100 proof bourbon that tasted nice for the price.  That's what I used to keep my 5 gallon barrel usable before the stout I put in it.
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: konrad72 on February 23, 2016, 09:21:24 PM
Guys if you need new 10 gallons whiskey barrel just let me know. cost - $150 + shipping (around $40-50) Burbon , American or single malt
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: tesgüino on February 23, 2016, 09:39:00 PM
turned out there was a good deal on Knob Creek 100 proof which I like so went with that.

That was exactly what I was going to suggest.  Very reasonably priced 100 proof bourbon that tasted nice for the price.  That's what I used to keep my 5 gallon barrel usable before the stout I put in it.
Noob (or should I say Knob) question. Do you dilute the whiskey, buy enough to fill the 5 gallon barrel or keep sloshing  a smaller amount around to keep the barrel moist?
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: toby on February 23, 2016, 10:00:29 PM
Noob (or should I say Knob) question. Do you dilute the whiskey, buy enough to fill the 5 gallon barrel or keep sloshing  a smaller amount around to keep the barrel moist?

I usually do either 1 or 2 750mL bottles and just rotate periodically.  I don't dilute, because my purpose is to have something at least 100 proof in there to aid in keeping it sanitized.
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: mchrispen on February 24, 2016, 01:53:57 AM
Quote
I usually do either 1 or 2 750mL bottles and just rotate periodically.  I don't dilute, because my purpose is to have something at least 100 proof in there to aid in keeping it sanitized.


This. If you want to drink the bourbon, buy decent stuff that can take a few months of additional oak.
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: pete b on February 24, 2016, 02:15:40 AM
BTW, anyone have mead aged in bourbon barrels, or barrels in general?
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: mchrispen on February 24, 2016, 03:13:49 AM
Yes. Oak overtakes a mead really quickly... especially a fresh bourbon barrel. I tossed a batch of wildflower traditional that just turned into an oaky vanilla mess in a Pedernales Bourbon barrel. Char seems to overwhelm or remove some of the more delicate phenols. I probably should have left it in there longer, but at 1.5 months it was just too much. A whiskey like sweet abomination.


Currently aging an Orange Blossom Trad on Shiraz soaked oak beans. Getting just a slight hint of the wine and a good hit of tannin.
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: toby on February 24, 2016, 04:08:58 AM
BTW, anyone have mead aged in bourbon barrels, or barrels in general?
I have and am considering doing a mead in my stout barrel after it's done.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: pete b on February 25, 2016, 01:06:56 PM
Yes. Oak overtakes a mead really quickly... especially a fresh bourbon barrel. I tossed a batch of wildflower traditional that just turned into an oaky vanilla mess in a Pedernales Bourbon barrel. Char seems to overwhelm or remove some of the more delicate phenols. I probably should have left it in there longer, but at 1.5 months it was just too much. A whiskey like sweet abomination.


Currently aging an Orange Blossom Trad on Shiraz soaked oak beans. Getting just a slight hint of the wine and a good hit of tannin.
Matt, why did you choose a traditional mead to oak? I am only thinking of dark berry melomels and such . The oak, bourbon, and char flavors seem more appropriate and less likely to overwhelm a darker mead. I think of it as red wine vs white wine. My traditional meads and lighter melomels are more about letting the honey character shine.
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: mchrispen on February 25, 2016, 01:43:30 PM
This was a mead that went pretty strong, another nod to TOSNA schedule, so after discussing with my friends at Meridian Hive, we thought this would benefit from some american oak to pick up some of the soft vanillan and oak tannins. I split off half of the batch. It took the oak way more quickly than I expected - and this was a 4th use barrel.


Right now - it's a blending mead, which is fine. Hard to drink on it's own, but is a nice mix with cider or cysers.
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: pete b on February 25, 2016, 04:41:56 PM
This was a mead that went pretty strong, another nod to TOSNA schedule, so after discussing with my friends at Meridian Hive, we thought this would benefit from some american oak to pick up some of the soft vanillan and oak tannins. I split off half of the batch. It took the oak way more quickly than I expected - and this was a 4th use barrel.


Right now - it's a blending mead, which is fine. Hard to drink on it's own, but is a nice mix with cider or cysers.
I see. It sounds like with the small size of my barrel, its newness, and the 100 proof bourbon I filled it with, I should start tasting the mead I fill it with weekly really.
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: majorvices on February 25, 2016, 05:00:58 PM
I don't understand why anyone would use an expensive bottle of whiskey to prime a bbl. You will pick up some very raw wood flavors from a new bbl and it essentially ruins the whiskey (doesn't make it better). I really like Very Old Bartons. It's about $25 a handle and is actually a pretty damn nice whiskey for the price. Just don't let that secret get out there lest they raise the price.
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: Joe Sr. on February 25, 2016, 07:46:04 PM
I don't understand why anyone would use an expensive bottle of whiskey to prime a bbl. You will pick up some very raw wood flavors from a new bbl and it essentially ruins the whiskey (doesn't make it better). I really like Very Old Bartons. It's about $25 a handle and is actually a pretty damn nice whiskey for the price. Just don't let that secret get out there lest they raise the price.

I agree with Major on this 100%.  Even though he turned up his nose the first time I mentioned VOB.  (I'd put a smiley thing here, but I don't).

Major - have you had the 90 proof?  If so, how does it compare to the 100 proof?  I didn't even know it existed before today.  Or I did but never paid attention.  I've always bought the 100 proof, but now I'll need to check and see what's sitting at home.

I'd also say a handle of Ancient Age is of comparable quality and price.  You could use that, too.
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: pete b on February 25, 2016, 07:50:11 PM
I don't understand why anyone would use an expensive bottle of whiskey to prime a bbl. You will pick up some very raw wood flavors from a new bbl and it essentially ruins the whiskey (doesn't make it better). I really like Very Old Bartons. It's about $25 a handle and is actually a pretty damn nice whiskey for the price. Just don't let that secret get out there lest they raise the price.
Well I hope that's not true! Don't distilleries use new barrels?
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: Joe Sr. on February 25, 2016, 07:53:26 PM
I don't understand why anyone would use an expensive bottle of whiskey to prime a bbl. You will pick up some very raw wood flavors from a new bbl and it essentially ruins the whiskey (doesn't make it better). I really like Very Old Bartons. It's about $25 a handle and is actually a pretty damn nice whiskey for the price. Just don't let that secret get out there lest they raise the price.
Well I hope that's not true! Don't distilleries use new barrels?

Yes, but they also fill them with white whiskey and age them for years.
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: pete b on February 25, 2016, 08:19:14 PM
I don't understand why anyone would use an expensive bottle of whiskey to prime a bbl. You will pick up some very raw wood flavors from a new bbl and it essentially ruins the whiskey (doesn't make it better). I really like Very Old Bartons. It's about $25 a handle and is actually a pretty damn nice whiskey for the price. Just don't let that secret get out there lest they raise the price.
Well I hope that's not true! Don't distilleries use new barrels?

Yes, but they also fill them with white whiskey and age them for years.
Ah. Well if my whiskey is ruined I'll have to sue the cask makers who clearly instruct to put good bourbon or other spirits that you will want to drink as the first thing in it  ;). I'm supposed to check it after 2 weeks. They say it will be awesome.
I also wonder what Keith means by "prime" it with whiskey. IIRC the directions say "prime" by filling with water for a couple days and checking for leaks, then I filled and emptied with water 3 times.
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: Joe Sr. on February 25, 2016, 08:26:57 PM
I believe that by priming it he means that you fill it with a liquid so that the dry wood absorbs the liquid, expands, and the cask becomes water tight.  When you get it, it isn't water tight or at least you shouldn't assume it is.

I've not dealt with barrels, so I don't have personal experience to share.  But I've dealt with wood chips a lot and they can lend some very strong woody flavors to bourbon.  A little goes a long way.  I haven't improved any whiskey (even white whiskey) by aging it on chips.

For my money, Knob Creek is good to drink as-is.  I'd add something cheap and see if it improves and I wouldn't shed a tear if it didn't.

Another thing to consider is the surface area.  With chips I've got a ton of surface area.  Distilleries use large barrels but don't have that much surface area to volume.  As your barrel size decreases, your surface area per volume increases so you probably want to reduce your contact time.
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: pete b on February 25, 2016, 09:20:41 PM
I believe that by priming it he means that you fill it with a liquid so that the dry wood absorbs the liquid, expands, and the cask becomes water tight.  When you get it, it isn't water tight or at least you shouldn't assume it is.

I've not dealt with barrels, so I don't have personal experience to share.  But I've dealt with wood chips a lot and they can lend some very strong woody flavors to bourbon.  A little goes a long way.  I haven't improved any whiskey (even white whiskey) by aging it on chips.

For my money, Knob Creek is good to drink as-is.  I'd add something cheap and see if it improves and I wouldn't shed a tear if it didn't.

Another thing to consider is the surface area.  With chips I've got a ton of surface area.  Distilleries use large barrels but don't have that much surface area to volume.  As your barrel size decreases, your surface area per volume increases so you probably want to reduce your contact time.
Yes, that's my understanding of priming and its what I did. I think when Keith referred to priming with bourbon he must of meant using it as the first thing in the barrel, to flavor subsequent batches of whatever.
The barrel is already primed, triple rinsed and full of Knob Creek. Its been in there 3 days, I'll probably just taste it every night and take it out with the first hint of wood flavor then fill it with mead, maybe only for a short time.
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: Joe Sr. on February 25, 2016, 09:25:08 PM
Let us know how it all turns out.  I'd be interested to know what the whiskey tastes like after it's oaked.
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: toby on February 26, 2016, 05:52:07 AM
Well I hope that's not true! Don't distilleries use new barrels?

Yes, but typically they fill them with some sort of 'white dog' whiskey (basically the clear whiskey that starts things off).  Fresh charred unused barrels will have flavors that take some time to mellow out.
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: majorvices on February 26, 2016, 07:16:26 PM
I don't understand why anyone would use an expensive bottle of whiskey to prime a bbl. You will pick up some very raw wood flavors from a new bbl and it essentially ruins the whiskey (doesn't make it better). I really like Very Old Bartons. It's about $25 a handle and is actually a pretty damn nice whiskey for the price. Just don't let that secret get out there lest they raise the price.

I agree with Major on this 100%.  Even though he turned up his nose the first time I mentioned VOB.

I made a terrible assumption based on a biased opinion. But back then I was using VOB to recharge some whiskey barrel kegs. I thought it was rot Gut crap base don the price. Thankfully most folks still do!

pete b: I won't go into detail but I know a thing or two about whiskey making and whiskey that comes out of barrels after only a few months has a very bad wood flavor. OTOH everyones taste is different so you may be fine but I think you will find a "green" wood flavor is imparted that you will not enjoy.
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: Joe Sr. on February 26, 2016, 08:17:47 PM
Just busting your chops.
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: majorvices on February 26, 2016, 09:05:22 PM
As I deserve!
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: pete b on February 27, 2016, 02:05:48 PM
I don't understand why anyone would use an expensive bottle of whiskey to prime a bbl. You will pick up some very raw wood flavors from a new bbl and it essentially ruins the whiskey (doesn't make it better). I really like Very Old Bartons. It's about $25 a handle and is actually a pretty damn nice whiskey for the price. Just don't let that secret get out there lest they raise the price.

I agree with Major on this 100%.  Even though he turned up his nose the first time I mentioned VOB.

I made a terrible assumption based on a biased opinion. But back then I was using VOB to recharge some whiskey barrel kegs. I thought it was rot Gut crap base don the price. Thankfully most folks still do!

pete b: I won't go into detail but I know a thing or two about whiskey making and whiskey that comes out of barrels after only a few months has a very bad wood flavor. OTOH everyones taste is different so you may be fine but I think you will find a "green" wood flavor is imparted that you will not enjoy.
I appreciate the honest advice, Keith. So basically with new barrels they impart a bad flavor early on but after several years that flavor goes away/changes?
So far my whiskey doesn't have that flavor. Should I just take it out now and put the next thing in (mead)? Will the next thing get that bad flavor?
Is a new wooden cask pretty much useless to anyone but a distiller?
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: Joe Sr. on February 27, 2016, 04:40:23 PM
There are so many white whiskeys being sold with little casks as an "age your own whiskey" kit that it wouldn't surprise me if those casks have been soaked with water and drained several times to try and mellow the flavors that they will impart.

The companies selling those kits don't want you to wind up with a tannic woody mess that is undrinkable.
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: majorvices on February 27, 2016, 08:31:56 PM
pete: I think your beer will be fine for a couple weeks in the cask after charging. I think you have lessened the quality of your whiskey. But you will need to be the ultimate decider of that. I think a cheap whiskey is better for charging your cask since you won't feel the pain in your check book and your pallet won't be able to tell the difference what whiskey was in the cask.

But when I have used new casks for beer I have hot soaked and rinsed them a few times has Joe has suggested before adding beer.

Taste the whiskey and see what you think.
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: pete b on February 27, 2016, 09:06:24 PM
Thanks for the posts Keith. So far after 5 days we can't taste a difference side by side with same uncasked whiskey. Btw I cured it for 48 hours with very hot water and rinsed with water 3 times after that. I suspect that helped.
I'm willing to put in the time to do a tasting everyday and remove when a change happens.
Title: Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
Post by: majorvices on February 28, 2016, 11:57:19 AM
Thanks for the posts Keith. So far after 5 days we can't taste a difference side by side with same uncasked whiskey. Btw I cured it for 48 hours with very hot water and rinsed with water 3 times after that. I suspect that helped.
I'm willing to put in the time to do a tasting everyday and remove when a change happens.

I did not know you cured and rinsed 3 times. I am sure that helps.