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Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split topic)

Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split topic)

Postby the Doctor » Mon Dec 31, 2012 9:26 am

another point for research for you is the question of barrel V's oak alternatives...I have done some fairly extensive tests on each and can without fear say that the barrel is not necessary in the process, each of the alternatives has it advantages and disadvantages, if you want to faithfully recreate the true barrel ageing effect, I recommend that you look to Nadalie 4 foot Oak slats. These are to my mind the ultimate oak form, they are all long grain with a minimal end grain component. They extract beautifully and consistently.
To re charge the charring I use a Looftligfhter super heated air hot gun ...in this way I can have both charred and un-charred oak on the one stave . Barrels are an environmental waste as so little of the oak is in direct contact with your product, they were first invented as a means of transporting liquid, as amphoras were inadequate. But to be honest the barrel is not the best form-factor for the oak, we simply want to age and flavour our spirits or wine. Be open to the alternatives, was they open up a whole new world of flavours...I some whiskey which is ageing on French, Hungarian and American oak. With varying levels of toast from light to full char. The complexity and richness achieved through using all the potential that oak has to give, is worth the effort. With the barrel you are limited to the oak and char of the one vessel, and you are wasting a lot of the oak. I like to think that if we are to cut down a 350 year old oak tree that we get all the goodness it has to give. I will try to put up some photos of the charring process either today or tomorrow. Barrels are like corks in wine ...a quaint reminder of the processes we used in the past. The organoleptic, environmental and economic advantages of quality alternatives used properly are boldly evident. I urge an open mind to the possibilities that these alternatives provide. If you want details just PM me and I can fill in any gaps.
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Re: Hunter Valley Represent

Postby Kapea » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:16 pm

Can you expound upon Nadalie 4 foot Oak slats a bit please Doc? They are a no-show on google.

No oak grows here (very weird). The local lumber store only sells American red oak in planks. Shipping to here on everything else is brutally expensive.

Has anyone tried mesquite (called kiawe around here) for aging? We got buttloads of that here.

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Re: Hunter Valley Represent

Postby the Doctor » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:51 pm

Kapea wrote:Can you expound upon Nadalie 4 foot Oak slats a bit please Doc? They are a no-show on google.

No oak grows here (very weird). The local lumber store only sells American red oak in planks. Shipping to here on everything else is brutally expensive.

Has anyone tried mesquite (called kiawe around here) for aging? We got buttloads of that here.

AllmyUJSMiswhitedogKapea

Kapea Nadalie are my preferred coopers in Australia they can be found here
http://www.nadalieaustralia.com.au/oak-products.htm
they produce staves and planks of quality oak.
Check out the wine wood it is a very innovative product we use a lot of.
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Re: Hunter Valley Represent

Postby Zymurgy Bob » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:05 pm

the Doctor wrote:...I have done some fairly extensive tests on each and can without fear say that the barrel is not necessary in the process, each of the alternatives has it advantages and disadvantages...
Doc

Doc, it takes a fearless man to put that in print, but nothing I've seen in 40 years of aging says you're wrong. Sure, the very best whiskys I've tasted were barrel-aged, but the differences were not that great, and I'm not through trying yet.
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Re: Hunter Valley Represent

Postby Kapea » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:00 pm

Good stuff Doc. Thanks! You got me pointed in the right direction. Here is contact info for:

Nadalié Worldwide Affiliates
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Re: Hunter Valley Represent

Postby the Doctor » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:24 pm

Zymurgy Bob wrote:
the Doctor wrote:...I have done some fairly extensive tests on each and can without fear say that the barrel is not necessary in the process, each of the alternatives has it advantages and disadvantages...
Doc

Doc, it takes a fearless man to put that in print, but nothing I've seen in 40 years of aging says you're wrong. Sure, the very best whiskys I've tasted were barrel-aged, but the differences were not that great, and I'm not through trying yet.

It is easy to be fearless with science on your side...I dare anyone to give me anything better than opinion and anecdotal evidence that barrels add anything which cannot be done by more sustainable means... a shipping container of barrels contains by my guestimate at best 100 barrels a similar container could contain tens of thousands of barrels worth of oak staves, why are we shipping french air around the world...the carbon miles are easily as good an argument as any. Manufacturers of spirits as well as winemakers are scared of perceptions and customer backlash. It did not happen when we moved from cork to stelvin on our wine bottles (which revolutionised the quality and consistency of wine world wide), and it will not happen with barrels. anyone who thinks spirits are defined by the barrels we use is dealing in unicorn poop. The spirits and wine do not know what form factor the oak takes.
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Re: Hunter Valley Represent

Postby jeb5 » Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:05 pm

the Doctor wrote:
Kapea wrote:Can you expound upon Nadalie 4 foot Oak slats a bit please Doc? They are a no-show on google.

No oak grows here (very weird). The local lumber store only sells American red oak in planks. Shipping to here on everything else is brutally expensive.

Has anyone tried mesquite (called kiawe around here) for aging? We got buttloads of that here.

AllmyUJSMiswhitedogKapea

Kapea Nadalie are my preferred coopers in Australia they can be found here
http://www.nadalieaustralia.com.au/oak-products.htm
they produce staves and planks of quality oak.
Check out the wine wood it is a very innovative product we use a lot of.


Checked this site looking for Oak Dominoes, Oak Chips etc and it asks what toast is required namely "What toast levels are you interested in?

Levels available are: LT, LTTH, MT, MTTH, MT+, MT+TH, HT, HTTH, SHT (Slow Heavy Toast from France), SHTTH and QHT (Quick Heavy Toast from Calistoga USA). Please indicate in the box below."
Can someone please let me know what theses levels of toasting are? as I'm almost totally baffled except that I know I like using Oak Chips and they are hellish dear from local HBS

Thanks

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Re: Hunter Valley Represent

Postby the Doctor » Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:13 pm

Hi Jeb have a look here.. for toasting levels
http://www.nadalie.com/oak-wood-toasting.php
I normally use medium toasting in my wine the re toast to deep heavy for my brandy and whiskey.
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Re: Hunter Valley Represent

Postby jeb5 » Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:21 pm

the Doctor wrote:Hi Jeb have a look here.. for toasting levels
http://www.nadalie.com/oak-wood-toasting.php
I normally use medium toasting in my wine the re toast to deep heavy for my brandy and whiskey.
Doc

Thanks for that Doc, very informative

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Re: Hunter Valley Represent

Postby Kapea » Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:21 pm

Thanks for the laugh Doc. The US TTB is indeed full of unicorn poop for many reasons, not the least of which is their official definition of "Whiskey."

I found some heavy toasted oak cubes to give a try. Da buggahs are more expensive than copper, but I can buy half a kilo at a time to play with in half liter mason jars. Was hoping to find some plain old kilned white oak "one bys" lumber somewhere for cheap to cut up and char myself. Pintoshine did a toasted/roasted experiment a while back that I'd like to try to repeat.

Been thinking I might try charring some kiawe planks and giving them a try just to see what happens. It's as hard as any oak I'ver ever cut (dulls my chainsaw blades faster than any oak ever did). I use it in my grill and smoker. Awesome flavors imparted to meat. When I used to live where oak grows, oak is what I used in my grill and smoker.
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Re: Hunter Valley Represent

Postby the Doctor » Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:40 pm

Kapea I am experimenting with toasting oak with a looftlighter, these are made by Looft Industries AB an innovative Swedish company. It is a handheld source of superheated air which chars quickly. It means that I can char bothy heavily and lightly to get a mix of flavours and ageing from the oak you can find them here http://www.looftlighter.com I like the speed and controllability, but it is early days in this particular experiment. I will be comparing the results to those of mid toast dominos and used mid toast wine slats (used in shiraz for 1 season). Early indications are that the Looft toasted oak is going to be good. I will make a video and get up some photos when I get a break. Watch this space ...if the looft is all I think it could be, it will be a great addition to the distilling armoury.
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Re: Hunter Valley Represent

Postby Kapea » Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:10 pm

The Looftligher looks pretty cool (very hot). Unfortunatley I cannot use 230V - 50Hz.

I do have a nice propane fired "weed burner" torch that should do pretty well.

All of this has put me in the mindset to play around with some of the local hardwoods to see what flavors I can create. I mean, coopers where looking for good barrelwood when they found oak, yah? Half liter jars are not a big loss if the wood does not create good flavors.

I can use the toasted oak cubes as a control.
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Re: Hunter Valley Represent

Postby the Doctor » Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:14 pm

Great Idea Kapea let us know how it goes the weed wand should do the job just fine.
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Re: Hunter Valley Represent

Postby MR-E » Tue Jan 01, 2013 4:34 am

the Doctor wrote:
Zymurgy Bob wrote:
the Doctor wrote:...I have done some fairly extensive tests on each and can without fear say that the barrel is not necessary in the process, each of the alternatives has it advantages and disadvantages...
Doc

Doc, it takes a fearless man to put that in print, but nothing I've seen in 40 years of aging says you're wrong. Sure, the very best whiskys I've tasted were barrel-aged, but the differences were not that great, and I'm not through trying yet.

It is easy to be fearless with science on your side...I dare anyone to give me anything better than opinion and anecdotal evidence that barrels add anything which cannot be done by more sustainable means... a shipping container of barrels contains by my guestimate at best 100 barrels a similar container could contain tens of thousands of barrels worth of oak staves, why are we shipping french air around the world...the carbon miles are easily as good an argument as any. Manufacturers of spirits as well as winemakers are scared of perceptions and customer backlash. It did not happen when we moved from cork to stelvin on our wine bottles (which revolutionised the quality and consistency of wine world wide), and it will not happen with barrels. anyone who thinks spirits are defined by the barrels we use is dealing in unicorn poop. The spirits and wine do not know what form factor the oak takes.
Doc


Welcome Brendan, & while were off topic, I remember seeing A doco about wine making in Martinborough N.Z & they were using S/S tanks with
an oak scaffold inside for aging.
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Re: Hunter Valley Represent

Postby Kapea » Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:19 am

Deep toasted oak aged neutral... hmmm

First 3X, now this. Dang minime, the cool ideas just keep acomin'! :grin:

Sorry about hijacking your introduction thread Brendan. :oops:
Seems we do a bunch of free-association stream of consciousness grooving around here. Must be the spirits. :lol:
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Re: Hunter Valley Represent

Postby chill » Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:06 am

I've used Maple, Apple, and Cherry. I think MiniMe has used Cherry a lot. All produce drinkable and different results. Oak seems to have the most effect or the most effect that I desire. Maybe you will discover something even better!

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Re: Hunter Valley Represent

Postby Brendan » Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:48 pm

No worries for the hijack, I'm very interested anyway :)

Doc, thanks for all your advice and info. I am open minded to all the possibilities that science brings us, being an engineer myself ;) However, chemical is not my forte'.

Here is my only throwback to the vast possibilities available with aging with oak cuts...what effect or level of contribution is given by the 'breathing' of liquor in a traditional barrel?

By aging in a glass or SS sealed container with oak, the spirit is not open to air as in a barrel and although it is soaking in the oak, it would not have the same movement characteristics through the oak as it does when breathing with the seasons and change of temperatures.

Obviously this would eliminate the 'angels share', but do we know enough about this? Maybe what evaporates through the breathing of the barrel are compounds which are favourable to have removed from the spirit.

Just throwing it out there for conjecture/conversation...

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Re: Hunter Valley Represent

Postby the Doctor » Tue Jan 01, 2013 4:48 pm

Great response Brendan and it raises some really pertinent points. Breathing is integral to the process as I see it...with my wines I use Flextank cubes see here http://www.flextank.com.au
whilst they are not suitable for spirits they are a good example of the way I think that the industry should be thinking, they are HDPE and are atomically permeable but not molecularly permeable, which in short means they allow the ingress of oxygen but do not permit the venting of alcohol or aroma molecules ... the selective nature of the membrane is a great advantage when combined with oak staves, as they emulate the oxygen porosity of a 2 year old oak barrel thus micro - oxygenate whilst allowing full oak take up equivalent to or even beyond a barrel. another development which is probably more pertinent to distillers is the stakvat...see here http://www.ausvat.com which is a stainless steel vat with interchangable oak sides or internal laking possibilities. These stainless modular design vats developments combined with precise dosage micro oxygenation are the future of spirit ageing ...we are not there yet but I see the day when all sorts of brown spirits such as whiskeys, brandies and rums will benefit from the science which is being developed currently. I was one of the first winemakers worldwide to use the flextank, they are still in use and I have seen absolutely no compromise in the quality of the wine.
AS for breathing itself, controlled micro-oxygenation dosage units have been around for a long time now and have withstood the scrutiny of scientific peer review, so it is and established practice in the wine industry. I believe there are benefits to be had in distilling ...but there is no established evidence of this, I am trying it anyway. Because, a lot of the ageing process in regards whiskeys, in particular my beloved single malts, is required to eliminate some of the harsher congener aromas which a held in the tails which make these whiskeys so amazing...I believe that micro-oxygenation in low dose will assist in lifting these aromas from the mix...This is off course simply an idea with no scientific proof. but I believe it will help so I will be trying it.
as18_vats1.jpg

Membrane technology has come a long way in the past 3 decades driven largely by the space program and the reverse osmosis industries. I think that it will be exciting to see how these selective membranes impact our industry as they become available and are proven spirit safe.
Doc
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Re: Hunter Valley Represent

Postby Kapea » Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:55 am

the Doctor wrote:Membrane technology has come a long way in the past 3 decades driven largely by the space program and the reverse osmosis industries. I think that it will be exciting to see how these selective membranes impact our industry as they become available and are proven spirit safe.
Doc

Well that explains a lot about one of my current (pre) occupations. However, I had not heard membranes are being used in the beverage industry. Not surprising though.

Hmmm... (in my best computer generated monotone voice) "More research needed!"

Thanks Doc. Like I really need another thing. :roll: :grin:
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Re: Hunter Valley Represent

Postby jeb5 » Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:00 pm

Thanks Punkin, will check SD site out for oak.

I'm a bit like Brendan insofar as I'm new to all this and still feeling my way. I'm also a bit of a perfectionist and look to distill a good, clear 94.5%-95.5% neutral to which I may add essences for a range of differing tipples for both myself and friends.
A little trial and error has given me very nice results by cutting to 60% alcohol and steeping 10gms/litre of plain oak chips for 7 days.This will only do for Whisky/Bourbon etc. and saves filtering as it takes the raw edge off the spirit and adds a little colour & flavour to the finished product. When I decant the spirit off the oak chips I filter through cotton wool to ensure any solid particles are excluded. For Brandy/Cognac I use ex ed wine barrel staves chipped to size. I like the chips and will try some toasted chips soon to see what variation it gives and how it may improve flavour.
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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby Linny » Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:01 pm

Ive just completed ageing a batch of DWWG with punkins staves .... i toasted them first and loved the colour and the vanilla aroma... but with out hot weather i slightly over oaked them , pretty lucky that i decided to check on them since i only had 100g to 1.5L @ 60% and was only on for 3 weeks. had to water down with some fresh DWWG that i put on ,,, since it was my first atttempt im pretty happy with my attempt.

These sticks definately go alooooong way
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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby the Doctor » Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:42 pm

Linny wrote:Ive just completed ageing a batch of DWWG with punkins staves .... i toasted them first and loved the colour and the vanilla aroma... but with out hot weather i slightly over oaked them , pretty lucky that i decided to check on them since i only had 100g to 1.5L @ 60% and was only on for 3 weeks. had to water down with some fresh DWWG that i put on ,,, since it was my first atttempt im pretty happy with my attempt.

These sticks definately go alooooong way

They are amazing value...I have used many forms of oak ...but punkins dominoes are simply the best....I have really been pushing the limits lately with toasting...it will be a few weeks to tell if I have gone too far, but so far so good.
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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby Linny » Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:29 pm

tried the dwwg tonight ....well it smelt nice , tasted .... disgusting. i dont know how to explain it . taste like over powering vanila cheap scotch. i know i shouldnt be expecting too much. but i cant even drink it. problem is i dont know if i have over oaked it or under oaked it. and it seems to have a bitey after taste which stays on the toungue. do i just cut my loses and run it through a reflux for a neutral or try to fix it ?
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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby the Doctor » Thu Jan 10, 2013 6:15 am

Cooperville wrote:Sorry if this is in the wrong thread but, i have recently charred some oak dominoes they have been in the jar for 5 weeks now and wont be able to check it for another week or 2 i used three shorter dominoes in 4 litres of 65 with a very heavy char just to see what i get hopefully i have not over oaked . from experience i think i should be right but you never know if you cant test em! has anyone else tried charring the oak dominoes with any results??


I think it should be fine at that rate Coops, it sounds about right...I have been playing with charring the dominoes a lot lately...combining the charred with un-charred has given some very good results..even with only about 4 weeks in the jar...
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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby Linny » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:45 pm

Cheers , i thought i made harsh cuts at the time , lol ... obviously not enough. i ended up mixing it with a fresh batch of dwwg, and saved it ... at least its drinkable now ... so far ive been lucky enough to nail everything the first go... this has been my first real setback. I think i may have to go see and talk to seasoned hobbiests in Newcastle NSW. PM me if your from around here
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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby Linny » Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:25 pm

Well I ended up recycling it to a neutral... I made a attempt at a oak whiskey.... Much better profile but I still think I over oaked just by a little. I think next time I'll char it less . use less as well
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Re: Hunter Valley Represent

Postby FrancoisJou » Thu Jan 23, 2014 8:21 pm

the Doctor wrote:Great response Brendan and it raises some really pertinent points. Breathing is integral to the process as I see it...with my wines I use Flextank cubes see here http://www.flextank.com.au
whilst they are not suitable for spirits they are a good example of the way I think that the industry should be thinking, they are HDPE and are atomically permeable but not molecularly permeable, which in short means they allow the ingress of oxygen but do not permit the venting of alcohol or aroma molecules ... the selective nature of the membrane is a great advantage when combined with oak staves, as they emulate the oxygen porosity of a 2 year old oak barrel thus micro - oxygenate whilst allowing full oak take up equivalent to or even beyond a barrel. another development which is probably more pertinent to distillers is the stakvat...see here http://www.ausvat.com which is a stainless steel vat with interchangable oak sides or internal laking possibilities. These stainless modular design vats developments combined with precise dosage micro oxygenation are the future of spirit ageing ...we are not there yet but I see the day when all sorts of brown spirits such as whiskeys, brandies and rums will benefit from the science which is being developed currently. I was one of the first winemakers worldwide to use the flextank, they are still in use and I have seen absolutely no compromise in the quality of the wine.
AS for breathing itself, controlled micro-oxygenation dosage units have been around for a long time now and have withstood the scrutiny of scientific peer review, so it is and established practice in the wine industry. I believe there are benefits to be had in distilling ...but there is no established evidence of this, I am trying it anyway. Because, a lot of the ageing process in regards whiskeys, in particular my beloved single malts, is required to eliminate some of the harsher congener aromas which a held in the tails which make these whiskeys so amazing...I believe that micro-oxygenation in low dose will assist in lifting these aromas from the mix...This is off course simply an idea with no scientific proof. but I believe it will help so I will be trying it.
as18_vats1.jpg

Membrane technology has come a long way in the past 3 decades driven largely by the space program and the reverse osmosis industries. I think that it will be exciting to see how these selective membranes impact our industry as they become available and are proven spirit safe.
Doc



Hi Doctor,

Another question with regards to this:

Ageing whisky in a barrel vs in steel container with staves - Other than oxygen permeability you also have some level of evaporation (the angels share). This evaporation is the alcohol itself that evaporates. Leaving behind the esters and other flavour components. Over years and years this would concentrate the components original components that would give flavour to the whisky would it not? Which is why spirits are aged beyond the time it takes for the barrels characteristics to imbibe on the spirit?
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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby flagon691 » Tue May 06, 2014 11:59 am

There are some great threads on this forum - and this one I have found particularly interesting. I've got a few batches of rum aging in S/S stock pots at the moment - about 8l in each, with the addition of french oak dominos. One batch has been in the pot for a bit over a month and I have to say is very smooth already from the couple of drams I have robbed from the pot. I also have read that air contact (bubbling O2 etc.) may be beneficial in the ageing process - so I have been every week or so tipping the contents of the pot back and forth into a larger pot. I'm not sure if that helped or hurt - but either way, I am surprised how great the rum tastes after just a month when I have heard you need years to smooth out brown spirits. I love the idea of reducing the environmental impact of ageing (wine or spirits) by looking at sensible alternatives to barrels. I wonder if the average consumer (excluding whisky connoisseurs etc.) would notice any difference
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Re: Hunter Valley Represent

Postby res » Thu May 08, 2014 1:30 am

the Doctor wrote:Kapea I am experimenting with toasting oak with a looftlighter, these are made by Looft Industries AB an innovative Swedish company. It is a handheld source of superheated air which chars quickly. It means that I can char bothy heavily and lightly to get a mix of flavours and ageing from the oak you can find them here http://www.looftlighter.com I like the speed and controllability, but it is early days in this particular experiment. I will be comparing the results to those of mid toast dominos and used mid toast wine slats (used in shiraz for 1 season). Early indications are that the Looft toasted oak is going to be good. I will make a video and get up some photos when I get a break. Watch this space ...if the looft is all I think it could be, it will be a great addition to the distilling armoury.
Doc



How did you go with that vid doc? I agree the looftlighter is a gem :handgestures-thumbupright: Although so far I've only used mine to char as my dominoes are toasted already. Next step is to build an aerator of some sort. :think:
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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby Zombie » Thu May 08, 2014 9:32 am

I just posted on another thread... The easiest way to aerate is a pump from the drain to the fill port. Just let it run. There are those little venturi type deals with needle valves that can be added in line if you like to adjust things.
Big pump/tiny pump whatever you need. easy

I may need to be "put down" soon.
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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby flagon691 » Thu May 08, 2014 12:07 pm

Damn - Ze Looftlighter - I want one. Off to o the hardware shop I go. No need to light the BBQ with a big splash of foreshots if I get one of these
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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby Dfitz » Thu May 08, 2014 12:22 pm

Barrels may not be necessary for aging. I've used chips and they've worked out well but then I started using barrels and turn out a much better product than I did with chips.

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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby flagon691 » Thu May 08, 2014 12:53 pm

By the way - I do not condone or recommend the practice of tipping copious amounts of foreshots on your BBQ fuel, lighting it, and watching it go woof :naughty:
During the "woof" - there is a risk of severe burns, losing all your hair, having the authorities investigate, find that you used a ditilled product to light the BBQ, and risk bringing the reputation of this hobby in to disrepute. You need to conduct your own assessment of the risk prior to doing anything so stoopid
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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby flagon691 » Thu May 08, 2014 3:14 pm

I also have to say I love the old world look of the Barrel - that little stash looks very cool. Like the Doc said originally tho - there is a lot of timber there not in contact with the spirit - so it does seem pretty inefficient.
I wonder if most that have given the dominoes a go would agree that the time frame for some pretty good results seems to be much shorter? I can't comment as a newbie to distilling as I've never had the privilege of sampling straight from a barrel after a month. Only from my humble 10l stock pot with dominoes :smile:
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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby rickyd » Thu May 08, 2014 3:20 pm

I read an interesting article recently on Jack Daniels and the effect on the whiskey relative to where it is in their old rickety wooden storehouse.
All their tests indicate a barrel on the top floor has different flavour components to those on the bottom or middle floors. That is one of the reasons they don't rebuild the storehouse.
I cant help but wonder if they could simply store it in large vats and throw a few trees in why the huge commercial concerns don't do exactly that. I mean the savings to them wld be astronomical. I believe they don't because it would fool with the flavour of the hooch
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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby Zombie » Thu May 08, 2014 3:55 pm

It's old hat for alot of these long time stillin' guys but the reason for the differences in top/mid/bottom floor storage is the Temperature swings. Top floor storage has more of a Temp. swing due to heat rising during the day, and cooler at night. The lower floors don't get that.
Good for whiskey but not so good for wine.

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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby flagon691 » Thu May 08, 2014 7:14 pm

Yeah I had read that - which is why I thought my shed would be ideal for hooch storage. It's bloody sweat box by day, and colder than whores heart by night. I've also heard about the sloshing effect - some places are even sending their barrels around the world on container ships for months to help with the sloshing and temperature swings...Which is why I thought I would try the pouring from stock pot to stock pot thing every now and then....
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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby brudda » Thu May 08, 2014 10:49 pm

There are some great threads on this forum - and this one I have found particularly interesting. I've got a few batches of rum aging in S/S stock pots at the moment - about 8l in each, with the addition of french oak dominos. One batch has been in the pot for a bit over a month and I have to say is very smooth already from the couple of drams I have robbed from the pot. I also have read that air contact (bubbling O2 etc.) may be beneficial in the ageing process - so I have been every week or so tipping the contents of the pot back and forth into a larger pot. I'm not sure if that helped or hurt - but either way, I am surprised how great the rum tastes after just a month when I have heard you need years to smooth out brown spirits. I love the idea of reducing the environmental impact of ageing (wine or spirits) by looking at sensible alternatives to barrels. I wonder if the average consumer (excluding whisky connoisseurs etc.) would notice any difference


I have recently completed a similar experiment with rum, a stick of charred american oak and a stick of charred french oak for 4 months. Colour difference is significant in the darkness or american oak, the depth of oak flavour and the heavy character of the rum, compared with the lighter colour of the french, the vanilla, light tones and the smoothness. Very different and very nice both of them, excellent to be able to compare.

Interestingly, and this is a question to the commercial distillers, Doc?, if you're using dominos and staves etc, does that mean that you don't qualify the legal definition of rum/whisky/bourbon, that being 2 years in the barrel, or would you just have to label differently, even though you're getting an equal or even superior amount of oak and contact?
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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby Zombie » Fri May 09, 2014 3:50 am

Very interesting question.

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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby res » Fri May 09, 2014 4:14 am

Zombie wrote:Very interesting question.



Pretty sure doc does use barrels at least some of the time or for some things :think: Maybe for that very reason. Whether or not there needed it's hard to argue with the aesthetic beauty of a barrel of whisky, I'll have one some day :violin:
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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby Zombie » Fri May 09, 2014 5:14 am

I just find it interesting because spirit production methods/rules/laws seem to locked in the dark ages. Romance, and nostalgia are one thing but imagine if we still believed baths caused the flu? Talk about Birth Control!!! Wish I didn't just say that.

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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby Dfitz » Fri May 09, 2014 2:38 pm

flagon691 wrote:I also have to say I love the old world look of the Barrel - that little stash looks very cool. Like the Doc said originally tho - there is a lot of timber there not in contact with the spirit - so it does seem pretty inefficient.


I think what's not in contact with the liquor is just there to aid in the breathin. ;-)
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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby the Doctor » Fri May 09, 2014 3:25 pm

brudda wrote:
There are some great threads on this forum - and this one I have found particularly interesting. I've got a few batches of rum aging in S/S stock pots at the moment - about 8l in each, with the addition of french oak dominos. One batch has been in the pot for a bit over a month and I have to say is very smooth already from the couple of drams I have robbed from the pot. I also have read that air contact (bubbling O2 etc.) may be beneficial in the ageing process - so I have been every week or so tipping the contents of the pot back and forth into a larger pot. I'm not sure if that helped or hurt - but either way, I am surprised how great the rum tastes after just a month when I have heard you need years to smooth out brown spirits. I love the idea of reducing the environmental impact of ageing (wine or spirits) by looking at sensible alternatives to barrels. I wonder if the average consumer (excluding whisky connoisseurs etc.) would notice any difference


I have recently completed a similar experiment with rum, a stick of charred american oak and a stick of charred french oak for 4 months. Colour difference is significant in the darkness or american oak, the depth of oak flavour and the heavy character of the rum, compared with the lighter colour of the french, the vanilla, light tones and the smoothness. Very different and very nice both of them, excellent to be able to compare.

Interestingly, and this is a question to the commercial distillers, Doc?, if you're using dominos and staves etc, does that mean that you don't qualify the legal definition of rum/whisky/bourbon, that being 2 years in the barrel, or would you just have to label differently, even though you're getting an equal or even superior amount of oak and contact?


We age in French oak Barriques. Before going to barrel the spirit is given 4 months in stainless with .05 micron micro oxygenation. it receives 4 months before bottling to freshen up. We currently age to between 2 years (Riesling brandy) up to a whiskey I just barrelled for my sons to have after I shuffle of this mortal coil, so it is marked to be opened 25 years hence in 2040. Every thing we do is in accordance with the law as I am sure everything you do is.

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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby Zombie » Fri May 09, 2014 4:00 pm

That's alot of Legos'

How long have you been doing this Doc?

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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby the Doctor » Fri May 09, 2014 4:55 pm

Zombie wrote:That's alot of Legos'

How long have you been doing this Doc?

since my misspent youth... A long, long time.
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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby flagon691 » Fri May 09, 2014 5:58 pm

Thank you Doc - it is so great to have you take the time, to impart and share some of your wisdom as a commercial distiller, who is no doubt time poor (like many of us).

That looks a little like an up-scaled version of the 3 X 10L pasta pots I have my distillate stored in :smile: . I can't see myself keeping my mits off it for 4 months though...
Thanks again. What a dream it would be to quit the day job and distil booze for a living. I'm sure we all have plenty of crazy business ideas (I have a few!) but few have the entrepreneurial guts to bring them to fruition - kudos!
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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby brudda » Wed May 14, 2014 7:46 pm

Thanks for that Doc and thanks for the pics. I really like the innovation that you are using and the flavours that they impart and infuse must be amazing! That 20 year old barrel will be outstanding, your son's a lucky boy. Apologies for the inference about legality, that was worded badly, was just wondering about definitions that are in the law and I wonder whether those definitions will ever change and I was thinking about a product like Rum, being put on Oak staves for 6 months and probably imparting far more flavor than 2 years in a barrel, but then what would it be officially called?

I'm awaiting my next spirit run of Rum as I have a 15L Hungarian oak barrel to fill, looking forward to what this oak will bring to the Rum flavours especially if there is spice which is rumoured from this wood.
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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby rickyd » Wed May 14, 2014 10:53 pm

hi
Thanks to all who took time out to add to this hugely interesting thread.
Unfortunately it has highlighted for me just how much I do not know.
I have been doing this near enough to 20 years as to make no difference yet I am still a beginner. I guess this is one of those hobbies that you learn but never master but I am ok with that.
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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby Zombie » Thu May 15, 2014 9:29 am

Don't fret RickyD. Everyone I knew as a kid ran pot stills, and I have always thought it was just "kinda" illeagel. I never even HEARD of column stills being used for home type distilling until I looked up Vodka recipes. That turned into 8 months of learning, and I still don't have a rig built... BUT it will be the rig of all time. Keep your eye on the prize you want, and you of course will get it.

Godspeed!

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Re: Oak Ageing Discussion, Including Oaked Neutral(split top

Postby Pete V » Sat Sep 27, 2014 11:25 pm

"It is easy to be fearless with science on your side."

Ah welll clearly you don't involve yourself in American politics...

I think I've read this thread carefully and I have some questions about it. The first thing I have taken note of is whether an oak barrel is necessary. That immediately leads me to the size of the barrel. I read in a book on the subject that the surface area of the charred oak relative to the quantity of the Whisky is the critical factor in oak aging and that a very small barrel can age very rapidly while a barrel containing 40-50 gallons will take a minimum of 3 years just because of that ratio.

So, I got some very small barrels that look smashing on my St Bernards for a first go at this based on this argument as well as my immediate interest in whether I might be producing hazardous materials and should find out sooner than later. So, I would like opinions based in that "science stuff" on the subject.

At the same time, I have gobs of Oak. We mill our own lumber ( not staves) and firewood here on the tree farm and can cut pieces in any sawn configuration and then can charr it in the convenient reheating furnace for the glass. The charred biscuits I can make in every sawn method imaginable as well as length. I can most likely make some glass bottles and dump oak into them for aging and am wondering whether they do indeed need to be a dark color, which is quite manageable or can they be clear which lets you see how the coloration process is going. Finally, about how much Oak per liter, or gallon or quart- whatever. I assume the importance in the oak is surface area, not weight. Getting it through the neck of the bottle is something else again.

So, a number of questions there that I would love to pursue here. If the answer is elsewhere, I apologize in advance yet again.
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