Aging Your Whiskey With An Oak Barrel: – You can buy in a variety of sizes. If you’re curious as to what size you’ll need, take note on how much your still outputs every run and use your best judgement for your size. If you have an 8 gallon boiler that’s capable of producing about 3 quarts of distillate, perhaps, you might want to stick with a smaller 1 gallon barrel.
Oak barrels from Mile Hi Distilling also come in a 3 Gallon, a 5 Gallon, and a 10 Gallon. The first step into aging is the preparation of the oak barrel. You’ll need to fill your barrel with warm water, soaking the oak until it swells the oak staves to prevent your spirit from seeping out. Keep the barrel in a shaded place away from the sun and wait as the wood becomes darker from the water soaking.
Check the ridges in the barrel occasionally to make sure no water is leaking through. I usually condition my oak barrel or oak cask in the evening and let it sit overnight then drain in the morning and fill with spirits. I always collect the charred oak pieces that come out with the water and put back in before I fill with spirits.
These charred pieces are good for aging and mellowing out the spirit so suggest to leave them in. Once the hydration process has finished, take your distilled alcohol and dump it in the barrel. Several weeks or so is all it takes, but remember that the time you age is completely up to you. The longer you age, the more oak flavor and colors you get.
I suggest to sample after the third week and each week after until you get the flavor profile you like.
- 1 Can you age moonshine in an oak barrel?
- 2 How long to soak an oak barrel?
- 3 How long does it take to age in barrel?
How long do you leave oak chips in moonshine?
Grill the prepared chips in the oven or microwave. Notes of smell and flavor depend on the degree of burning. A light burning (when the first smoke appears) gives the beverage a hint of vanilla, fruits, and flowers. A medium burning (when there’s smoke and smell) gives the aroma of coconut, caramel, almond, and spices. A strong burning (when wood changes color) enriches the moonshine with a smoky taste with chocolate hints.
During the burning it is important not to burn the chips out. For the first time I recommend training on a small amount, in order not to spoil all wood.
- Add the oak chips to the moonshine (45-50%) in proportion of 20-30 grams per liter and tightly seal it with a lid. Infuse it in a dark cold place for 3-6 months. With time its color will change. Take a sample each month, controlling organoleptic properties of the beverage. The duration of maturing process depends on the properties of the chosen wood and your taste and aroma preferences.
- Pour the infused moonshine into another container, Filter it through a funnel with a strainer and/or with gauze/ cheesecloth, Mature it for 3-5 days in a dark cold place before drinking.
Moonshine of 9 months of maturity
Can you age moonshine in an oak barrel?
There are many resources available to help distillers throughout the process of making aged moonshine, and these resources will help you to choose the right kind of barrel for the spirit of your choice. For bourbon, charred oak barrels are best, although a plain oak barrel is also sufficient.
How long to soak an oak barrel?
Preparing the barrel for use: – A barrel that is new, or that has been stored dry, will need to be swelled with water to seal itself before you can put wine in it. There are two basic approaches: the cold water soak, and the hot water soak. The cold water soak involves filling the barrel 1/3 full with cold water and letting it stand for 3-4 hours.
Then you fill it to 2/3’s full and let it stand for another 3-4 hours. Finally, you top it up and keep it topped-up until the barrel stops seeping and seals itself. You then drain the barrel and fill it with wine. This process usually takes about 2 days, but with older barrels may last a little longer.
However, if your barrel is still seeping after the fifth day, then you should probably have it replaced. Brand new barrels which seep for more than two days are likely to continue to have issues – if this is the case then you should contact either the retailer of the barrel or the cooperage directly.
The hot water soak involves filling the barrel with 1/10th its volume of hot water (i.e.: 6 gallons for a 60 gallon barrel). You insert the bung and slosh the water around so that it comes into contact with all of the interior surfaces of the barrel. You then stand the barrel on its end and fill the head area (on the outside of the barrel) with hot water and let it stand for at least 30 minutes.
This is repeated for the other side. You then turn the barrel bung-side down, drain it out and let it cool. You should fill it with cool water to test that it has properly sealed before using it. If it seeps a little, just let the water sit in it until the barrel seals itself.
Do smaller barrels age faster?
How long does it take to age spirits? – This is entirely up to your own preferences. You might enjoy a sharper spirit aged for only a week, or you might prefer a mellower spirit aged for a year. American white oak imparts a mellow finish and imbues vanilla and caramel flavours.
The charcoal in the charred surface filters out the impurities of alcohol for a smooth drink. The longer a spirit is aged the more it will take on these qualities. Small barrels will age spirits up to 10 times faster than large distillery barrels. This is because our small tabletop ageing barrels have a higher surface area to content ratio.
This lets the spirit interact with the wood faster. Sample your spirit every week until it suits your taste. Because the ageing process is relatively quick you might over-age your spirit so regular checks are essential. The ageing process will also take longer the more the barrel is used.
Can you put vodka in an oak barrel?
Although vodka purists may scoff––whiskey purists, too––distillers are experimenting with vodka rested on oak, be it barrels or chips. These formerly white spirits absorb color and flavor from the wood to become a different beast entirely. Is it still vodka if it’s no longer “without distinctive character, aroma, taste or color,” as the TTB defines the spirit ? That’s a gray area (or should we say light brown?) as most oak-finished vodkas have a honey-like hue.
How do oak barrels not leak?
Bourbon Barrel Products – Frequently Asked Questions Frequently Asked Questions About Your White Oak Bourbon Barrel Now that you know about the potential of a Bourbon Review Barrel, you probably have a lot of questions. We at the Bourbon Review want to make sure that all of your questions are answered and you are 100% comfortable with your purchase.
- See below for some Frequently Asked Questions and the barrel part diagram, but if you have something else in particular that is not covered on this page, do not hesitate to contact us with questions.
- I have the barrels, now what do I do? First, you must “cure” your barrel.
- Because the barrels are not made with any glue or nails, the wood relies on the moisture from the spirit to expand the wood and keep the wooden staves sealed tight to ensure there are no leaks.
To cure your barrel, follow these steps:
Place the spigot in the face of the barrel. Fill the barrel with hot water (not scalding) and let it sit for at least 48 hours with the bung placed in the top of the barrel (because the staves are not sealed tightly until the curing process is complete, the barrel will leak. Due to this, you want to make sure you store your barrel in a sink, bath tub, etc). Monitor the water level of the barrel and refill the water until the barrel is filled. Continue to do this until the barrel is no longer leaking water. This should take approximately 2-3 days. Once your barrel is no longer leaking, you must clean your barrel. To clean the barrel, take the bunghole off the barrel and drain the barrel. Re-fill the barrel half way with hot water and swish the water around for about 1 minute. After a minute, drain the water. Continue this process approximately three times, or until the water coming from the barrel is clear (not cloudy). Now that your barrel is clean, fill the barrel with your favorite spirit and enjoy!!
Using the Barrel To pour your favorite spirit out of the barrel,
Take out the bung from the top bunghole Turn the spigot nozzle to allow the spirit to pour into your glass. When the spirit is to the level you desire, turn the nozzle back to a closed position Place the bung back in the hole.
Barrel Care and Maintenance Since these barrels are made from oak and are natural products, the wood expands and contracts with temperature variations. So the health of your barrel depends on your maintenance and storage methods. The barrels are best stored in a shaded area where the temperature remains constant.
- Once you begin using your barrel, the top portion of the barrel will begin to dry-out, which might cause the barrel to slightly leak.
- If you notice this, the solution is simple.
- All you need to do is pick up your barrel and twist the barrel around (make sure your bung is firmly in place) and make sure all of the liquid in the barrel touches the surface of the top portion of the barrel.
Since water and liquid is nature’s best “Cooper”, this should expand your wood to seal the barrel tight to eliminate any leakage. If this does not stop the leaking then make sure hoops are on tight. How long can you age your spirit? This is all up to you! The spirit can age anywhere from one week to three years, but what we recommend is performing a taste test every couple of weeks to taste the spirit.
- Once the spirit reaches your perfect taste, empty the spirit into a decanter and restart the process! What are the barrels made of? The barrels are made out of Canadian and Kentucky white oak.
- The metal bands are steel and brass and the lacquer is from minwax.
- How many times can you re-use your barrel? This depends on the type of spirit that you use.
Generally speaking, after curing and filling the barrel three times, the impact of the oak will diminish over time. As a general rule, the barrels can be reused the following number of times for each specified spirit:
Wine- 1 Time Whiskey / Bourbon – 4 Times Rum- 7 Times Tequila- 10 Times
When the barrel is used more than the number of times allotted above, the spirit can still be stored in the barrel, however, the impact from the wood will diminish How do I clean my barrel? Because The Bourbon Review does not recommend switching types of spirits while using the same barrel, we recommend cleaning the barrel by simply filling the empty barrel with hot water about half-full, swish the water around (while holding the bunghole to make sure water is not released), then drain the water.
- Repeat this process approximately three times or until the water has no color.
- Once this occurs, re-cure the barrel, then re-fill the barrel with your favorite spirit! If my barrel will be sitting for an extended period of time, what do I need to do with it to keep it healthy? To ensure that the barrel does not dry out over time, half fill the barrel (do NOT fill the barrel to the top if storing for an extended period of time) with water and a small amount of the spirit with which you have been filling the barrel (bourbon, whiskey, rum, tequila, etc) and seal the bunghole tight.
The moisture inside the barrel will not allow the barrel to shrink and dry. What can I get engraved on the barrel? The three liter barrels can hold approximately 30 (assuming the characters are on different lines) characters, but the 1 liter can hold only approximately 10 characters (assuming the characters are on different lines).
If you flavor a liquor in a barrel, can you clean the barrel and use the same barrel to age a different kind of liquor? If you flavor a spirit in a specific barrel, then we do not recommend switching flavors. For example, if you wish to flavor your whiskey with honey, then the honey flavor will remain in the barrel for the next barrel fill.
: Bourbon Barrel Products – Frequently Asked Questions
How many times can an oak barrel be used?
Why Are Wines Aged in Barrels? – Now that you’ve learned the types of barrels that wine is aged in, what is the point of aging wine in barrels, anyways? Barrel aging is the step between fermentation and bottling, which matures the wine and gives it distinct flavors.
Barrel toasting After an oak barrel is made, it is exposed to fire to toast it. A minimal toast will lead to vanilla flavors and caramel notes, while a more toasted barrel will give smoky aromas. Barrel size The larger the barrel, the less flavor your wine will receive. Smaller barrels allow more contact with the wine, thus a more intense flavor. Barrel time The amount of time you have the wine in the barrel also significantly impacts the flavor. The longer the wine is in the barrel, the more intense the barrel-imparted flavors. Barrel age Reusing a barrel leads to diminished flavors, which means winemakers must replace barrels after every three vintages to make sure the wine flavor stays consistent. After approximately three uses, the oak no longer imparts flavor and becomes neutral oak.
Do they reuse oak barrels?
DO WHISKEY BARRELS GET REUSED? In the world of whiskey, barrels are so much more than a container. They’re also one of the spirit’s most important ingredients, imparting color, flavor, and aroma over many years of maturation. Without them, whiskey would be crystal clear, and taste and smell nothing like the delicious, aromatic spirit we all love.
American rules about bourbon are famous for requiring producers to use bourbon casks just one time. But that doesn’t mean these are single-use products. Whiskey barrels, including (and, in fact, especially) bourbon barrels absolutely get reused. It’s just that they don’t get reused for making bourbon. Outside of the United States, previously used casks are widespread in the spirits industry.
Scotch whisky, Irish whiskey, Canadian whisky, rum, reposado and anejo tequila, and even barrel-aged gins and genevers are commonly aged in used barrels. At Barrell Craft Spirits, we’ve used ex-Islay whisky casks to age rum and finished Kentucky whiskey in rye casks,
Our releases draw from a plethora of barrel types, from the Cabernet wine, Late Bottled Vintage Port, and blackstrap molasses rum casks used for our award-winning Dovetail release, to the pear brandy, rum, and Sicilian amaro casks used to produce Armida, From a global perspective, ex-bourbon casks are hugely desirable, since the rules that restrict bourbon producers to using barrels just once means there’s plenty of flavor left for those who come after.
Borrowing an analogy from another corner of the beverage world, think of a barrel as a pot of strongly flavored tea leaves. The first steep produces the most potent brew, but the leaves still have plenty of oomph left for another steeping or two. The same goes for used bourbon barrels, although it fails to capture some of the more complex facets of maturation like evaporation and oxidation.
In other words, aged spirit makers around the world are clamoring for bourbon producers once-used charred American white oak barrels. And it’s a good thing. If they weren’t, American distillers would have a problem on their hands: a never-ending supply of barrels they can’t re-use. And it’s not just distillers who covet casks.
Brewers have long valued the sweet vanilla notes that American oak barrels give to stouts, porters, and barleywines, and cidermakers are following their lead. Even winemakers are experimenting with using ex-bourbon barrels to mature full-bodied red wines.
- Outside the beverage industry, the rise of bourbon aged maple syrups, honeys, hot sauces, and pretty much anything else you can think of has led to even more possibilities.
- Fun fact: Tabasco is aged exclusively in ex-Jack Daniels casks.) But even after every last drop of flavor’s been wrung out of the oak, a barrel still has options.
In Scotland, ex-whisky casks are often broken down into chips and used to smoke salmon or other seafood. Crafty carpenters in Kentucky and elsewhere are hard at work exploring the many kinds of porch chairs, candleholders, and wall hangings that can be made from used barrel staves.
Can you recharge an oak barrel?
This re-charring is a simple process that can be done with a butane lighter, which has a flexible end. Simply remove the spigot and stopper, and then place the end of the lighter into the opening. While the lighter is lit, slowly roll the oak barrel to put a fresh char on the inside.
How long does moonshine need to age?
Aging Moonshine Can Enhance Its Taste – Aging your spirits can make a huge difference in the taste of your spirits. This is exactly why so many brewers store their products in barrels for years before offering it for sale on the market. Although it is a fact that the flavored spirit can be consumed right on the very same day it is distilled, many distillers suggest that you will benefit a lot if you let your spirit sit in the bottle for one month or more in a dark place which enhances its taste.
How long does it take to age in barrel?
So, How Long Is Bourbon Aged? – Bourbon whiskey has typically aged a minimum of two years, though most brands are aged at least four years and often longer than that. The drastic change in flavor profile comes from how temperature affects the barrels.
- Typically, there is no temperature regulation in aging warehouses.
- During the winter months the barrels contract and then expand once the summer heat approaches.
- As a result, the barrels “breathe” Bourbon in and out, creating evaporation that distilleries call “Angel’s Share.” The name is given to the portion of Bourbon that is lost to evaporation as the spirit matures.
Bourbon aged on the cooler, lower floors of the warehouse can taste quite different from the same Bourbon aged on the warmer, upper floors. Bourbons must be aged in a barrel and do not continue to age in the bottle. A Bourbon bottled with an age statement of four years is always a four-year-old Bourbon, even if you keep it in your cabinet for years after that.