16 July 2016

Maturing my own whisky

For my birthday, I got a small barrel and two bottles of Wasmund's Single malt whiskey. I want to experiment with comparing new make single malt and different times of aging. So I plan to put this kit together, fill it with 62% spirit and let it mature for 3 month, draw a sample, repeat drawing a sample every month and seeing how it matures. I have written multiple blogs about the influence of fresh American White Oak, but till now I just had to sample ready made spirits and some new make samples. See this blog link to a comparison between new and ages Journeyman Spirit.

So when you get your own barrel kit, it look like the picture below. A compact well made cardboard box filled with 2 700 ml bottles of new make spirit. A single malt spirit is the version I got. I wanted this over their rye version, because I wanted to compare the new make and the ages spirit make from 100% barley. I choose to start with American White Oak, but I plan to get the same spirit and mature it in frensh oak too! Goal is to see if the result differs between Oak's , but keeping the spirit a constant.

After, sorta, reading the instructions I cleared out the debris that was left over from drilling the bung hole. This was more then I expected but there it is. 

Then I gave the inside a good rinse with clean tap water. Clearing it and refilling and draining a couple of times.  This is a lesson I learned from watching a Twitter friend do this also and getting an almost black result. 

So after filling it with water it is supposed to expand and become water proof. 

Now that I have filled the barrel with water I noticed that I have the opertunaty to smell the nose of wet American White oak, without any other influences of the spirit. This will help me identify the "oak" which is so often referred to in tasting notes/blogs and vlogs. I also have a piece of French oak laying around which I will make wet too! Sometimes you coincidently run into opertunaties that you were oblivious to before you actually ran into them. This was one for me. 

After putting the water in I found out the position of the thingy to close the drain is rather critical. I ended up spilling water on my table, but that's ok. 

After a day of soaking up water there are no more leaks (I think).

The only thing I'm now lacking is a funnel! 

17th of July 2016

So, after getting a funnel I drained the water from the barrel. I kept 100 ml of this water for future reference. The oak smell of it was remarkable even after just one day. 

I put 1300 ml of spirit in the barrel. I am keeping 100 ml for future reference. I added 200 ml of the "one day matured" water that I drained from the barrel back in in an attempt to not loose some of the flavours that already went into the water. 

Now the barrel is sitting pretty in my cupboard. I will let it be for at least a month and then draw a sample.

12th of August 2016

Today I cleaned two sample bottles by cleaning them with hot water. Now they can air dry so they can be used this Sunday. Sunday will be the 4 week marker of maturation. 

14th August 2016

After four weeks of maturation I am taking a sample from the cask. It is a 100 ml sample. 

For lack of a better filter I used an unbleached coffee filter. I am sure there are better alternatives but I had non available to me. 

The result is surprisingly coloured! 

I took a moment to make some quick notes:

Nose has vanilla, oak, banana, strawberry, milkshake, flowery honey, Tobacco, something smokey, salty? 

On the palette the arrival is slow, spicey, heat, smokey, oaky. Smooth at same time as heat. 

I actually quite like this and am debating if this needs more maturation at all? The color is absolutely beautiful. 

The thing is I don't know if it will get better in another four weeks or not, so I think I will just let it mature longer! That was the whole idea behind the experiment in the first place ;)

09 October 2016

I got two more samples from my barrel. One at 6 weeks in and one at 12 weeks in. I shot three photos using the same camera settings, lighting and post processing in lightroom. Then I combined the three images in the photo below.

There is a noticeable increase in color saturation between the 4 and 12 weeks sample. he increase in saturation and hue doesn't seem to be linear over time, but the increase seems to slow down. I will probably wait until the 24 week mark and then make a final bottling. At that point in time I will also try and do comparison onnose and taste. I cant wait actually.

With almost 400 ml taken from the original 1400 ml in the barrel the amount of air in the barrel is increasing. This will also increase oxidization of the content left still. Ones I take the final samples I can also find out how much is gone due to evaporation. Should still be about 0.9 liter in there.

More to come later!

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