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Step 2 | Aging

Step 2 | Aging

At this point, your barrel should have undergone the curing process and there are no visible leaks.  Now you are faced with a difficult decision; what do I age for my first batch?  We suggest barrel aging one of your favorite spirits at first.  A Bourbon or Tennessee Whiskey is a great first choice as it is familiar and can easily highlight the transformation over time.  An added plus, the wood absorbs so much of the Bourbon/Tennessee Whiskey that it can infuse the flavor into the next 2 to 3 batches!  Tequila is an amazing choice, just leave it to age for 4 to 6 weeks and taste how oak aged tequila transforms over such a short period of time.  Whatever your favorite may be, just choose simple as you begin this journey.  When you become more familiar with how the flavors develop, consider moving into blending spirits and recipes. 

The barrel is prepped and ready to go, so the only thing left to do is fill it.  Make sure the spigot is secured firmly inside the spigot hole with the knob turned 90 degrees in the "OFF" position.  Carefully pour in your selection, put in the bung and set in a cool, dark area to rest.  The barrel will do the rest of the heavy lifting; the only thing required of you is patience and the occasional taste test. 


TASTE TEST SUGGESTIONS

BARREL AGE

FIRST TEST

ADDITIONAL TEST

New Barrel (less than 4 aging cycles)

14 days

every 7 days

Seasoned Barrel (more than 4 aging cycles)

21 days

every 14 days

 

We have three suggestions when it comes to taste testing:

 

    Keep notes, you'll use them again.  No don't need to write a novel, just a few notes about the progress.  It may seem like a little thing now, but in any subsequent batches they will be very useful.

    Set a reminder!  We always set a reminder on our phone, alerting us to test our batches in a few days or weeks. 

    Taste the barrel aged batch side-by-side with the original.  See exactly how much the barrel changes it over time. 

 

New Barrel (less than 4 aging cycles) - Newly charred barrels impart the oak flavor much faster than older barrels.  Testing earlier will decrease the likelihood of too much oak flavor, what we call "over-oak".  So pour a very small amount into a glass after 14 days and give it a quick taste.  If you have an opportunity to compare it to the original, you'll start to notice it has mellowed out and picked up a little more of the oak than you are accustomed to.  Being tempted to remove it from the barrel already, hold back the urge for at least another week and you'll thank us later.  Taste again every 7 days, and remove it when it meets your needs. 

  

Seasoned Barrel (more than 4 aging cycles) - After 3 or 4 batches, the charred staves mellow out slightly and it takes a little longer to achieve the same results.  The taste tests are less frequent but still very important.  Taste for the first time after 21 days, then every 14 days thereafter.  Use the same procedures you would for a new barrel, the only thing that changed was the time between tastings.

Our aging chart should be used as a guideline, but the actual time you will need to barrel age is a personal preference.  In the chart below, you can see the recommended amount of time to achieve 1 year of aging flavor.  Again, age to what you want to drink and take it out when you prefer.  Larger barrels will take longer to achieve the same results. 


AGING CHART


BARREL SIZE

SURFACE AREA

AGING DAYS (equivalent to 1 YR)

1-liter

206 sq. inches

58 days = 1 yr

2-liter

297 sq. inches

80 days = 1 yr

3-liter

398 sq. inches

90 days = 1 yr

5-liter

569 sq. inches

105 days = 1 yr

10-liter

892 sq. inches

134 days = 1 yr

20-liter

1382 sq. inches

173 days = 1 yr

 

After the first batch, your comfort level will rise dramatically.  Take what you've learned and apply it to your next batch.  Keep in mind that whatever you aged in the barrel previously is ingrained into the wood and the flavor will infuse into your next batch unless you clean it. 

 


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