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 for moonshine to rapid age?
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 I age whiskey myself?
1. The Wooden Stave Method – If you purchase a whiskey aging pack, you will almost certainly receive a bottle and wooden staves, You won’t have to char your oak, and the process of aging Whiskey is hands-off. Putting the necessary stuff in the bottle and filling it with Whiskey is needed for this process.
The burnt wood imparts color to the bourbon, but it prevents any explosive compounds from escaping, as they do when the Whiskey is aged in barrels. Load the bottle of corn-based Whiskey to provide a bourbon-style finished result. Aging Whiskey at Home can be made simple. Just keep the bottle out of the heat for a week, then taste it every day before you find a flavor you enjoy.
More than two weeks will result in a taste that is too woody.
How can I make my liquor age faster?
1. Barrel Size – Multiple factors influence how quickly a liquor will age, but it all boils down to the size of the barrel. The smaller the barrel, the quicker the aging process will be. One of the biggest reasons why smaller used oak barrels age liquor faster is the fact that they have a larger surface area to volume ratio, which means that the liquor will be able to absorb more wood sugars much more quickly.
Is there a way to age alcohol faster?
Ever since distillers discovered the benefits of aging whiskey in oak, it was inevitable that someone would try to speed up the process. This experimentation took many forms over the years and has met with mixed results. I thought it would be a good idea to look at some of these processes from the past.
- The first method to speed aging (or at least to mimic aged whiskey) to be developed was rectification using other substances to mimic aged whiskey.
- Color was added to un-aged whiskey by using burnt sugars that would also add caramel flavor.
- The essential oils of mint added that flavor.
- Fruit juices such as prune or cherry juice would add color and fruit notes.
Cochineal, a red dye from beetle shells was used to give the whiskey the amber red color of aged whiskey. This whiskey was later designated as blended whiskey if they actually used some aged whiskey in the process and imitation whiskey if they used neutral spirits alone as their base spirit.
Next, in the 1870s, Frederick Stitzel developed and patented a system of barrel racks in warehouses to “improve aging”. This system allowed better air flow around the aging barrels which was thought to speed up maturation of the whiskey in the barrels. Before this system, barrels were simply stored in stacks in the warehouse.
This system quickly became the norm for aging warehouses and is still used today. About the same time, steam heated warehouses were developed because the distillers at the time knew that the whiskey gained the most benefit from aging during the summer. Warehouses would be heated during the winter months to speed up the maturation process.
This process was expensive and worked best in brick or stone warehouses, so only a few of the larger distilleries adopted it, but it is still being done at aging facilities today such as Brown-Forman, Michter’s and Buffalo Trace. As technology improved at the end of the 19 th century, some people tried other, more outlandish methods for rapid aging.
My favorite is described in the papers of an insurance company archived at the Filson Historical Society. This person had developed a system where the bung would be pulled from the barrel and an electric heating probe inserted into the barrel. Needless to say, the insurance company declined to insure his business for fire damage.
- After Prohibition, the Publicker Company wanted aged whiskey to bottle in 1934, but did not have any in their warehouses.
- They decided to purchase empty barrels from distilleries that had bottled aged whiskey.
- They then steamed the barrels to get the whiskey out of the barrels,
- The government tried to collect the taxes on this whiskey, but Publicker argued the tax was already paid by the company that emptied the barrel.
Publicker actually won the case. Rapid aging became less of a concern during the remainder of the 20 th century. The companies had plenty of whiskey aging in warehouses and over-aging was more of a concern than speeding up the process. This changed in the 21 st century with the explosion of new distilleries.
- These distilleries wanted aged products to sell and the sooner the better.
- Most of the aging effort from the artisan distilleries focused on the whiskey’s contact with the barrel,
- Some of the distilleries used smaller barrels, which gave the whiskey more contact with the barrel.
- They used 5, 10, or 20 gallon barrels to age their whiskey, but this process gives the whiskey more wood tannins, but the evaporation rate also increased in small barrels, so most of the distilleries did not age their whiskey long enough to extract the sugars from the wood or for oxidation to break down unpleasant flavors into desirable flavors.
Next, they looked at the barrel staves to increase contact. They purchased barrels made from staves that were grooved on the inside to increase the surface area of the interior and give the whiskey more contact with the wood. Others started adding wood chips to the inside of the barrel to add additional contact with the wood.
- Other distilleries were looking at the aging conditions of the warehouses.
- It is believed that the rotation of barrels increased the whiskey’s contact with the wood, so they decided that the movement of the whiskey in the barrel would aid maturation.
- This belief goes back to the 19 th century when it was said that sea captains would strap a keg of whiskey to their rocking chair to aid the aging process.
This would mimic the rolling of a ship carrying barrels of whiskey. It was said the best whiskey came from barrels transported by a ship or steamboat because the rocking motion of the ship kept the whiskey in constant movement in the barrel. Jefferson’s Reserve sends some of their barrels out to sea to recreate this process.
- Others tried to increase the movement of the whiskey by using sound induced vibration of the whiskey.
- They play loud music with lots of bass sounds in their warehouses to cause the liquid to vibrate.
- There has always been an interest in speeding the maturation of whiskey.
- Time is money to the distiller and the quicker the whiskey matures, the quicker the distillers can sell their products.
It is up to the consumer to decide if the methods being used are working and if these distillers have really found a way to cheat time. Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller
How do you speed age whiskey?
Companies age their whiskey for years to get small batches of the highest quality product. Because of this, aged whiskey can be expensive to get from the store. At home, you can create aged whiskey in a fraction of the time. Get a bottle or two of an unaged, high proof whiskey.
- 1 Buy the kit. DIY kits come with all the tools you need to age your own whiskey at home, such as charred wood. They work quicker than other options and function as a more hands-off approach to aging whiskey. You won’t need to char wood or store a barrel.
- DIY kits can be bought online and may also be found in some brewing supply stores. You will need to buy your own whiskey.
- 2 Add the wood to unaged whiskey. Find the oak staves in the package. Typically, the directions will indicate that you need 1 stave for every 350 mL (12 oz) of whiskey. For a standard bottle, you’ll need both pieces of oak in the kit. Drop the oak into the bottle.
- Corn-based whiskey will produce bourbon-style whiskey, while barley-based whiskey will produce something similar to Irish Canadian or unpeated Scotch whiskey.
- 3 Store the whiskey away from direct sunlight. Sunlight will affect the taste of the whiskey. Store the bottle in a cupboard, closet, or similar area at room temperature. Slight changes in temperature will cause the wood to expand and contract, infusing the whiskey with its flavor.
- 4 Test the whiskey as it ages. The oak will rapidly change the taste of the whiskey. You’ll notice the whiskey change color within a day or 2. The kit may come with an aging guide, which will recommend a very brief aging period of about a week or 2. After this point, the whiskey may taste too woody.
- 5 Strain the whiskey before drinking. If the kit comes with cheesecloth, you can use it to strain out any charred flecks of wood. Place the cheesecloth over your glass so the whiskey doesn’t spill. Pour the whiskey over it. Remove the cheesecloth along with the collected debris.
- 1 Split a piece of oak into strips. Bring along the whiskey bottle or mason jar you’ll use to age the whiskey. You need to shorten the wood so that it’ll fit inside the jar. Split the wood into a thin stick. The wood will expand during the aging process, so don’t be afraid to cut the wood very thin or even break the stick into a few strips.
- White oak is used by professionals to age whiskey. If you can’t get oak, you can try another non-poisonous, chemical-free wood such as maple, cherry, or birch.
- Get fresh oak from brewing supply stores and home improvement stores. Old oak can also be scavenged sources such as old furniture.
- 2 Char the wood with a blowtorch or grill. Take protective precautions by wearing gloves and goggles. Hold the wood in place over the open flame. The temperature you use will change the flavor the wood gives the whiskey.250-360℉ (121-182℃) creates a sweet, oaky combination.380-480℉ (193-249℃) leads to a vanilla, toasted flavor. Char the wood until it appears black and shiny on all sides.
- You can also bake the wood before you char. This can help you get the right flavor profile without depending on charring at the right temperature. Simply let the wood bake in an oven at the desired temperature for 3 hours before charring.
- Brewing supply shops also sell pre-charred oak chips.
- 3 Wash off the wood. Wait for the wood to feel cool to the touch. Keep on the protective gloves or pick up the wood with tongs to protect yourself. Rinse the wood under lukewarm water. Wipe down the wood with a cloth to remove ash and other debris that could get into the whiskey.
- 4 Combine the wood and whiskey. Place the ingredients into the mason jar or simply add the wood to the whiskey bottle. An average, unaged whiskey works best here. Opt for whiskey of proof 115 or higher, if possible. Higher proof whiskey tends to age better and is used by whiskey companies in their products.
- 5 Store the jar in a dark place. Now you must wait for the whiskey to age. Ideally, store the jar in a place where the temperature changes, such as outdoors. Warm days and cool nights cause the wood to change size. Keep the jar out of direct sunlight. At home, you can leave it in a closet, a garage, or a similar area.
- 6 Test the whiskey weekly. Though the small container size means the whiskey will age faster, it’ll still take several weeks to a year to get the flavor you desire. Set up a testing schedule to make sure the whiskey doesn’t over-age. Early on, your batch will likely taste terrible and woody, but stick with it. The pleasant flavors will eventually come out.
- 1 Get an oak barrel. Barrels can be found online or in brewing supply stores. They come in all sizes, from small, liter-sized barrels to big tanks used by commercial manufacturers. Smaller barrels are easier to use and smaller batches of whiskey age faster.
- Look for charred white oak barrels. This is the kind of wood used by the professionals. You may also char the inside of the barrel yourself with a blowtorch.
- 2 Assemble the barrel. Find the spigot, which looks like a faucet. Set it in the hole you’ll see on one of the flat ends of the barrel. Next, get the bung, which looks like a cork. Place it nearby.
- 3 Fill the barrel with water. If you have a funnel, you can set it in the bunghole, which will be on the rounded midsection of the barrel. Pour in enough water to fill the barrel. Plug the bunghole with the bung. Turn on the spigot for a moment to see if water flows. Afterward, check the rest of the barrel for leaks. Leave the barrel alone until it stops leaking.
- It can take a day or more for the barrel to stop leaking.
- You’ll have to do this process before every use. When the barrel is not in use, keep water in it to save time.
- 4 Drain the water and replace it with whiskey. Get enough whiskey to fill the barrel. For a small barrel, you’ll need a bottle or 2. Opt for an unaged or younger whiskey. Higher proof whiskey ages better, so aim for a proof of 90 or higher.
- 5 Store the barrel in a dark environment. Keep the barrel in a closet, cellar, shed, or another area away from direct sunlight. Temperature changes can help the whiskey mature faster, as they cause the wood to shrink and expand. Spray the barrel with water or pass a damp cloth over it when it looks dry. This will protect the barrel and limit evaporation as the whiskey ages.
- 6 Test the whiskey over time. Smaller barrels of whiskey will age faster. Typically, a 1- or 2-liter batch will be done in a month or 2. The biggest barrels can take several years. Barrels can be used several times, but will take longer to age the whiskey each time.
- The longer you age the whiskey, the more you’ll lose to evaporation.
- 7 Strain and bottle the whiskey. Once the whiskey’s taste is to your liking, remove it from the barrel. You can pour it out 1 glass at a time as you strain it. Straining is good for removing char and wood pieces. Place a cheesecloth over a mason jar or other storage container. Pour the whiskey over the cheesecloth. Remove the cheesecloth and the debris it has collected.
Add New Question
- Question How long can you age whiskey like this? You can age your whiskey for some weeks or months. However, it all depends on the taste you are looking for.
- Question Do I cover the jar with the top on or a cloth? Cover the jar with the top on the jar.
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- Keep the whiskey out of direct sunlight. In barrels, the heat will cause evaporation. In clear jars, it will ruin the whiskey.
- Higher proof whiskeys contain more alcohol and less water, so they tend to age better.
- Oak piece
- Saw or knife
- Blowtorch or grill
- Small mason jar
- High proof whiskey
- Oak barrel
- Several bottles of high proof whiskey
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