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Aging Wray & Nephew Overproof in oak


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#1 Hassouni

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 10:48 AM

Righto, so I think devotees of W&N would agree with me that an aged version would just be staggering - along the lines of a Smith & Cross or something but even more so.

How might something like this work for a trial run? http://tuthilltown.g...cktail-kit.html

#2 lesliec

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 06:23 PM

Looks like a pretty low-risk investment.

We found a small cask at a junk shop. From the amount of woodiness it's imparted to our aged Negroni experiments I strongly suspect it had never had anything in it before (I gave it a good dose or two of boiling water to hopefully annoy any bugs).

The cask is possibly aesthetically superior to the Tuthilltown bottle, but cost considerably more. Give it a try.

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#3 Hassouni

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 07:43 PM

I can also buy a single wooden stave from a former Bourbon barrel for $45 - those things are pretty big, could probably do several bottles at once...

#4 Adam George

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:15 PM

I'm going to be buying a 3 Litre cask from a chap in Mexico on eBay. I think it's about $75. Not cheap, but it will look fun.

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#5 Hassouni

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:59 PM

3L is getting big, it'll take a while to recreate serious aging, methinks..

#6 mkayahara

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 06:14 AM

Rather than paying Tuthilltown for a piece of their wood, why not just use toasted oak chips as in winemaking? You don't need the fancy bottle, and I'm guessing it would work out cheaper, especially if you wanted to do more than 375ml of rum at some point.
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#7 Hassouni

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 09:09 AM

OK, so I'm revisiting this idea with oak chips. I realize there is no standard for rum aging, and my options are raw oak chips, charred oak chips, or chips from used bourbon barrels (which started as charred). I know WN currently uses Jack Daniel's barrels for Appleton Estate, and a few other rum producers use old bourbon barrels, while others use who knows what. 

 

Never having done something like this, what will the flavor differences be between raw oak, charred but unused oak, and old bourbon-soaked charred oak?



#8 Rafa

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 09:23 AM

First-filled charred oak will give you a lot of intense bourbon-y flavor: caramels from the charring, spices (cinnamon, etc), vanilins, wood flavor. Subsequent fills will be less intense. A lot of the effects of aging (especially 17 years' worth of aging) can't be accelerated or faked, so what you'll get is a woodier, hopefully more complex W&N with some of the characteristics that the 17 year Dagger probably had. It could still be good on its own terms; I know Hale Pele in Portland house ages WN in a small barrel. 

 

Someone with actual first hand cooper experience (my wood chipping doesn't count) could answer about the effects of wood with more detail and authority :) .


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#9 Hassouni

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 11:03 AM

Apart from Appleton, it'd be interesting to know which of the other mega-aged rums (ED12 or 15, Seale's 10, etc) use already-used bourbon casks.

 

Also, something I hadn't considered until just now - when rum, whisky, or whatever, is aged in a charred barrel, it is ONLY exposed to the charred side (duh!). But the used whisky barrel chips I've seen for sale have one charred side and one raw (if that's the right word) side, so using those wouldn't be quite the same as exposure to only the charred side of a barrel. 



#10 Hassouni

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 11:05 AM

A lot of the effects of aging (especially 17 years' worth of aging) can't be accelerated or faked

 

Like what? Angel's share loss and reduced strength, etc?



#11 bostonapothecary

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 12:02 PM

There are some pretty accessible research papers that cover the effect of wood on spirits.  I can dig some up if people are really interested.  Besides tannin and all that, one of the most significant aspects of aging that I'd say is taken for granted is pH and total acidity.  I think the big thing that defines sipping spirits that you can enjoy at room temp is their acidity.  Many whiskeys considered mature have a pH of 4 while things like gin that we don't sip, typically have a pH much closer to 7.

 

Don't forget my fake aging technique.  Dehydrate a few ounces of bourbon, then reconstitute it with wray and nephews to give you a good educated guess of what the true barrel aged version would be like when it sucks up all that non-volatile stuff.  The change in pH will eventually shift all sorts of strange equilibriums so it might even make sense to allow the W&N to sit around for a month or so.


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#12 Hassouni

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 04:35 PM

How does one dehydrate bourbon?



#13 bostonapothecary

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 09:41 PM

How does one dehydrate bourbon?

 

I use my excalibur food dehydrator or you can use an oven on its lowest heat.  You just want to save the non-volatile fraction which is arguably the most significant product of barrel aging.  The non-volatile fraction is the perfect soup of acids and tannins that will lead to the change in equilibrium, deep end of chemistry, blah blah blah, that is a significant portion of the magic of aging. Granted there is a lot more to it, but dehydrating a masterfully barreled spirit is better than messing with wood chips and you can experiment two ounces at a time.


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#14 Kerry Beal

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 05:16 PM

Some would argue flavoured more than aged (which is I guess true) - but my experiments into 'Nuclear' aging techniques have been fun.

 

I set up up 150 cc of Wray and Nephew over proof into 3 bottles each with 15 grams of Jack Daniels chips, 1/3 vanilla bean and 1 gram of nutmeg.  

 

The first got 3 cycles of heating to about 60º C in the microwave, followed by sealing with with the mason jar lid while hot to draw a bit of a vacuum.  

 

The second was put in the ultrasonic cleaner (still in the jar) at 40 Hz in a water bath and the temperature set to 50º C for about 25 minutes - 3 cycles.

 

The third was put in the chamber vac - brought to a 'cold boil' then turned off - drew a vacuum.  Of course it boiled over two out of the three times!

 

Results - the microwave provided the nicest oak/vanilla flavours with the least burn.  The ultrasonic also has good oak and vanilla flavour but more burn - wonder what would happen if I'd removed the lid while processing.  The chamber vac - least flavour, but minimal burn.  

 

I suspect repeated vacuum treatments might do more - it was certainly the clearest of the 3.

 

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