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Old 12-07-2013, 12:39 AM
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Default Homemade Bourbon / Aging

OK, first I'm not talking about distilling or bootlegging, this is about home aging of "bourbon" and whisk(e)y. I've been experimenting with 1 to 5 liter charred oak barrels and had some interesting results. My latest is mixing pure grain alcohol with wheated vodka. Aging has been from 3 to 6 months and the final product is surpizingly good, picture a higher proof JPS18 crossed with Eagle Rare flavor. Aging in small barrels takes place much faster due to the surface area that contacts the alcohol. I've done proofs from 110 to 140 going in, not quite sure what final proof is after the angels share which has averaged about 25% after 4 months. I also vary the environment the barrel is in from humid summer back porch to cool dry basement, a mix of the 2 has shown the best results so far. It's actually a fun hobby especially during the times of between the new release hunt, been doing it for a few years now.

Another thing I have done is dump handles of Old Weller Antique into my used barrels and plan to try other young bourbons for a before and after test. Also going to do a 60/40 OWA and Weller 12 mix in my next barrel, as this is one of my favorite personal blends. After that, since I'm a scotch guy too I'm going to try to finish some old lack luster single malts in the old barrels to see what flavor it will impart.

Anyone else here ever try their own barrel aging or homemade "bourbon"? If so, please share your results.
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Old 12-07-2013, 04:56 AM
middlemarch middlemarch is offline
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Just tagging this post. I plan on doing some homemade aging as well, but I won't start until late-December. Curious to hear your ongoing thoughts on your results.

Instead of using a charred barrel, I plan on aging in glass carboys with oak chips. Hopefully the added surface area will speed up the aging process. My main concern with the glass carboy is that I won't get the same "angel's share" that porous wooden barrels allow. Since carboys are smaller, I'll also be able to make batches more frequently and experiment. And of course they're cheaper than barrels.

For the precursor, I plan on using Buffalo Trace's White Dog, which in fact is advertised to be the same distillate/mash bills they put into barrels to make their whiskeys. They sell the regular mash bill, wheated, and rye mash bills.

I'd be curious to hear about aging times, and how much oak chips people use, if anyone is doing something similar!
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Old 12-07-2013, 04:40 PM
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If you want a quickie blend, here is a good/great one.
I dont use small barrels but vat in bottles.
Here is the mix for a close pappy 10 blend
60% Old Weller Antique 107 mixed with 40% Weller 12yr This is a proven mixture that has been done for a few years.
Now, to kick it up to a different animal, I put Stagg jr into the mix
Not quite 60/40 but this is the mix that I have been getting great results with
400 milliliters OWA 107 300 milliliters Weller 12yr and 200 milliliters Stagg Jr.
I also throw in 4/5 drops Bittercube brand cherry bark vanilla bitters. Key with this bottle vatting is to let it sit for 2 weeks in bottle, needs that time to blend.
I have slipped this blend into 4 blind tasting and it has won 3 out of 4 times. It is somewhere between a Van Winkle lot b and a Pappy 15. I use the Weller 12yr l.75 liter bottles for mixing so there is a little air to smooth it out.
Try either mixture for a quickie vatting
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Old 12-07-2013, 09:43 PM
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I've been doing the 60/40 OWA + Weller 12 vatting for awhile, I agree it's excellent. Adding the Stagg Jr. sounds interesting, I'll definetly give it a go on a small scale first. When I vat mine in bottles I also give it a minimum of 2 weeks to mingle flavors and leave some air space in the bottle and I too use the same bottle, but it's OWA 1.75l as I never find the Weller 12 in 1.75. (plus they don't sell the 12 here so I get what I can when I find it out of town.)
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Old 12-07-2013, 10:57 PM
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Give the Stagg jr a go, it really changes it. Funny, we dont have 1.75 OWA here but no problem with the W12. (chicago)
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Old 12-08-2013, 06:59 AM
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I tried your vatting (minus the bitters) tonight on a micro basis with 4 shot glasses of OWA, 3 of W12 and 2 of Stagg Jr. Going to let it rest a few weeks and I'll post what I think. Thanks for the tip!
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Old 12-09-2013, 08:23 PM
middlemarch middlemarch is offline
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Just to clarify, are you "vatting" in bottles without any oak chips? Or if you do use wood chips, how much/how charred are they?

I'm looking forward to trying the OWA and W12 blend, but getting either in quantity is going to be difficult--I've never seen a 1.75L of either. And after a few reviews comparing W12 to Pappy, Weller has been flying off the shelves in my area (NYC), and is on backorder!

Last edited by middlemarch; 12-09-2013 at 08:31 PM. Reason: adding city
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Old 12-09-2013, 11:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by middlemarch View Post
Just to clarify, are you "vatting" in bottles without any oak chips? Or if you do use wood chips, how much/how charred are they?

I'm looking forward to trying the OWA and W12 blend, but getting either in quantity is going to be difficult--I've never seen a 1.75L of either. And after a few reviews comparing W12 to Pappy, Weller has been flying off the shelves in my area (NYC), and is on backorder!
When I vat my OWA/12 blend I don't use any wood chips, just the bourbon. It really is a great blend. The Wellers are similar to the Van Winkles but don't expect them to taste the same or have an equal nose appeal because they don't. The above blend is very close to the taste profile of Old Rip 10 year though. The Lot B I have has a sweeter nose than the W12, richer color and the flavor has much more oak and almost no burn on the finish. The W12 is more of a flat Lot B if anything. Don't get me wrong, Weller 12 is one of my go to bourbons but I'd take the Lot B over it anytime if available.
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Old 12-09-2013, 11:50 PM
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This is definitely something I have wanted to try. I saw down at the liquor store where they sell miniature oak barrels and the white liquor to go with them for aging. Has anyone tried these canned kits? If so, any particular one I should do first?

- Danial
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Old 12-10-2013, 12:21 AM
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Never tried the "ready to age" kits, just my own mixtures. I order my barrels from Oak Barrels Ltd. and always had good luck with them.
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Old 12-19-2013, 05:16 PM
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I recently tried aging with dowels inserted right into the bottle and was pleasantly surprised with the results. The dowels were baked at about 360 degrees for three hours and then charred on my grill for about 15 minutes. I tried oak, oak soaked in Malbec wine, birch, and cherry. Each wood type affected the whisky differently. Very educational!

I've posted specifics on a whisky club website.
http://www.whiskyhead.com/whisky-aging-results.htm
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Old 12-19-2013, 05:35 PM
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barrels are charred in the factory open flame for 55 seconds, Buffalo trace had a experimental bottle were they charred the barrel for 4 minutes, I think 15 might be overdoing it unless its not in direct flame. But dowel rods in the bottle.... That's interesting but it takes out the hot cold and breathing influences that the barrel has. sidenote Wouldn't it be great to have a 75 gallon barrel full of 10 year aged whiskey! Buy the time you drain it you would have at least a very nice 20 year product! That's what dreams are made of! Wish I worked in a distillery!
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