Author Topic: Whiskey For New Barrel  (Read 4240 times)

Offline mchrispen

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Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2016, 08:13:49 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.

Offline toby

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Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2016, 09:08:58 PM »
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.

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Offline pete b

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Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2016, 06:06:56 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.
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.
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Offline mchrispen

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Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2016, 06:43:30 AM »
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.

Offline pete b

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Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2016, 09:41:56 AM »
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.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2016, 10:00:58 AM »
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.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2016, 12:46:04 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.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
« Reply #22 on: February 25, 2016, 12:50:11 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?
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
« Reply #23 on: February 25, 2016, 12:53:26 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.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline pete b

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Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
« Reply #24 on: February 25, 2016, 01:19:14 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.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
« Reply #25 on: February 25, 2016, 01:26:57 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.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
« Reply #26 on: February 25, 2016, 02:20:41 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.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
« Reply #27 on: February 25, 2016, 02:25:08 PM »
Let us know how it all turns out.  I'd be interested to know what the whiskey tastes like after it's oaked.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline toby

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Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
« Reply #28 on: February 25, 2016, 10:52:07 PM »
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.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Whiskey For New Barrel
« Reply #29 on: February 26, 2016, 12:16:26 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.