Personal Cask Conditioning - Updated and Poll for Next Project

90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
Well Gang I decided to setup my own thread for this as a few brothers have expressed interest in the experiment I am doing and wanted to be able to follow along, so here ya go :)

As most of y'all know I am a bit of a whiskey/bourbon fan. For this most recent birthday my wife got me this really awesome 1L new American White Oak cask for me to condirion and finish my own spirits in, and I decided that after conditioning and curing the cask that I would start with a 750ml of white whiskey to condition and rest and see how it comes along over the next several weeks and months. Every 7 days from when I first put the spirit in, I take a very small sample and take down some notes in my little distilling and casking journal, and then I rotate the cask clockwise 1/4 revolution. The notes below are from the first weeks tasting this past Saturday the 21st.

image


Personal Cask Conditioning Log

Setup: On 3/14/15 @ 1:30pm MST, a 750ml of Jim Beam Jacob's Ghost was put into oak. This is the first substance to be put into this 1L charred American White Oak cask (No. 4 char). Jacob's Ghost is a whiskey that was rested for 1 year before being bottled and seemed a perfect candidate for this first experimental cask finishing.

Initial Tasting at 1 Week 3/21/15 8:30pm MST:

Color: In a week alone this has taken on a significant coloration. It has gone from very nearly colorless to a light oak and toffee hue.

Nose: Not surprisingly this is a remarkably young nose, tannin/slightly sour woody notes, leather and slight grain spice.

Palate: This is actually surprisingly decent all things considered. It starts out with a moderately sugary sweetness laced heavily with a lot of smoke and young semi-sour tannin infused young oak. The finish is a bit short and is dominated primarily by grain spice (mild) and some char too (mild). Overall it is coming along well and picking up some character. I look forward to how this develops over the next few weeks and months.


image
"When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
«1

Comments

  • D_FreshD_Fresh Posts: 610 ✭✭✭
    That's awesome! I'm really interested in how this will all play out!
  • deejmemixxdeejmemixx Posts: 3,084 ✭✭
    nice work irish
  • Gray4linesGray4lines KentuckyPosts: 4,497 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Cool! Can't wait to see how it goes
    LLA - Lancero Lovers of America
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Thanks Gang, week 2's journal entry and sampling will be up Saturday night after work wraps up. :)
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • avengethisavengethis Sorry, I ate all your bacon!Posts: 5,373 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I didnt know this was a thing you could do at home until I saw your recent posts of the setup. I'm excited to follow along on your journey and I might have to try something similar in the future.
    Team O'Donnell FTW!

    "I've got a great cigar collection - it's actually not a collection, because that would imply I wasn't going to smoke ever last one of 'em." - Ron White
  • Bob_LukenBob_Luken already sucked before joining forum,.....just sayin'.Posts: 7,201 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Cool. That seems like fun. The barrels at a distillery are kept in un- air-conditioned buildings and are exposed to many temperature variations. They say the oak expands and contracts and this helps the process. You have any plans to keep it in the barn or in the attic or anything like that?
  • CrouseferCrousefer Posts: 445 ✭✭
    If been excited for this since you told me about it!
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    avengethis:
    I didnt know this was a thing you could do at home until I saw your recent posts of the setup. I'm excited to follow along on your journey and I might have to try something similar in the future.
    Yeah I highly encourage it, so far been a lot of fun and learning quite a bit too. Plus it's really addicting lol
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Bob Luken:
    Cool. That seems like fun. The barrels at a distillery are kept in un- air-conditioned buildings and are exposed to many temperature variations. They say the oak expands and contracts and this helps the process. You have any plans to keep it in the barn or in the attic or anything like that?
    So far I havent, but that's because I don't have any attic or cellar or garage or crawl space etc otherwise I would. Still thinking of possible alternatives but you are spot on Bob.
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Crousefer:
    If been excited for this since you told me about it!
    Thanks bro glad you're enjoying, will be doing weekly updates on it :)
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • The3StogiesThe3Stogies MainePosts: 2,653 ✭✭✭✭
    Wow Brett that's amazing! I had no idea you could do this stuff at home either. Can't wait to see how this turns out, looking forward to the next tasting post. Taking drinking to a whole new level my man, you make me proud to be Irish.
  • Bob_LukenBob_Luken already sucked before joining forum,.....just sayin'.Posts: 7,201 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'm enthusiastic about this. I may have to get one myself in order to keep from obsessing over yours. LOL Can hardly wait for your next tasting to see how this progresses. And, will you post your tasting notes on the Jacob's Ghost before it went into the cask?
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Bob Luken:
    I'm enthusiastic about this. I may have to get one myself in order to keep from obsessing over yours. LOL Can hardly wait for your next tasting to see how this progresses. And, will you post your tasting notes on the Jacob's Ghost before it went into the cask?
    Lol it's been really really fun so far and I am definitely enjoying this! As for tasting notes prior to being put into oak, sadly I was a bit of an idiot and did not actually sample or take notes. That being said though, Jacob's Ghost is actually just regular Jim Beam White Label that has only been rested for 1 year instead of their normal process to get White Label. So it should give a pretty decent idea of what it was and should be like. I was thinking. About storing the cask at Pop's place because he has a locked outdoor sealed shed that would really allow for the temp and condition changes that would be more similar to a rick house environment. We shall see ;)
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The3Stogies:
    Wow Brett that's amazing! I had no idea you could do this stuff at home either. Can't wait to see how this turns out, looking forward to the next tasting post. Taking drinking to a whole new level my man, you make me proud to be Irish.
    Hahahah thanks George I do what I can :) But yeah very very lucky to have such an amazing and thoughtful partner as I do in my wife! Glad yall are digging this casking project and I will keep updating as much as I possibly can :)
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • The3StogiesThe3Stogies MainePosts: 2,653 ✭✭✭✭
    90+ Irishman:
    Thanks Gang, week 2's journal entry and sampling will be up Saturday night after work wraps up. :)

    Must have been a good test, or a hard worknite. You're Irish so I know you can't be hungover, hope all is well.
  • Gray4linesGray4lines KentuckyPosts: 4,497 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Can't wait to hear... hey Brett, how long do you this experiment will go? Just wondered if you were planning months, year? I guess a smaller amount of whiskey will age relatively faster than say a full size bourbon barrel.

    Also, I assume you're gonna reuse this cask over and over. I imagine the first run will get the most flavor out of the wood? Do you think later batches will take longer or have less flavor from the barrel? I guess you could always switch spirits and do like a port or rum in between whiskies to get another finish?
    LLA - Lancero Lovers of America
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The3Stogies:
    90+ Irishman:
    Thanks Gang, week 2's journal entry and sampling will be up Saturday night after work wraps up. :)

    Must have been a good test, or a hard worknite. You're Irish so I know you can't be hungover, hope all is well.
    Sorry Geoege had been a busy and difficult past week with some unique circumstances and challenges. I ended up moving the cask to my parents place. They have an outdoor shed that is locked and dry but otherwise exposed to the elements. I put it in there that way it can stay dry and safe but will go through dramatic temp and climate changes on a daily and weekly basis. As an example got up to over 70 yesterday and today it is snowing and blowing wind hard lol. I will be doing sampling a every 2-4 weeks now also because with such a small cask and the fact that there is evaporate and not a ton to begin with I wanted to cut back a bit on the sampling a to make sure that there is at least 500ml if possible left when it's all said and done. But this coming weekend I am planning on cracking it open and seeing what it's like.
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Gray4lines:
    Can't wait to hear... hey Brett, how long do you this experiment will go? Just wondered if you were planning months, year? I guess a smaller amount of whiskey will age relatively faster than say a full size bourbon barrel.

    Also, I assume you're gonna reuse this cask over and over. I imagine the first run will get the most flavor out of the wood? Do you think later batches will take longer or have less flavor from the barrel? I guess you could always switch spirits and do like a port or rum in between whiskies to get another finish?
    Hey Gray! I am planning on a couple of months, the smaller the cask the more immediate the results so I don't want to leave it in for so long that it tastes over-Oaked and it also has a lot of evaporate (Angels Share) due to the higher surface area contact with the overall volume of spirit in the cask. As for the first spirit and stronger oak flavor yeah I suspect so but I will be reusing this over and over again and experimenting with different cask finishing basically next. I will probably put in a rum or a rye next and see how that goes and then go from there but that's the idea :)
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • Gray4linesGray4lines KentuckyPosts: 4,497 ✭✭✭✭✭
    90+ Irishman:
    Gray4lines:
    Can't wait to hear... hey Brett, how long do you this experiment will go? Just wondered if you were planning months, year? I guess a smaller amount of whiskey will age relatively faster than say a full size bourbon barrel.

    Also, I assume you're gonna reuse this cask over and over. I imagine the first run will get the most flavor out of the wood? Do you think later batches will take longer or have less flavor from the barrel? I guess you could always switch spirits and do like a port or rum in between whiskies to get another finish?
    Hey Gray! I am planning on a couple of months, the smaller the cask the more immediate the results so I don't want to leave it in for so long that it tastes over-Oaked and it also has a lot of evaporate (Angels Share) due to the higher surface area contact with the overall volume of spirit in the cask. As for the first spirit and stronger oak flavor yeah I suspect so but I will be reusing this over and over again and experimenting with different cask finishing basically next. I will probably put in a rum or a rye next and see how that goes and then go from there but that's the idea :)
    Awesome, Brett. That's neat and I want one!
    LLA - Lancero Lovers of America
  • The3StogiesThe3Stogies MainePosts: 2,653 ✭✭✭✭
    This thread is so interesting, where did you learn this Brett? Had no idea how much the cask, and how you condition it, has to do with flavor profile really. I sip a little Chivas or Crown select now and again, have to pay more attention now. I'm such a rube, lol.
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The3Stogies:
    This thread is so interesting, where did you learn this Brett? Had no idea how much the cask, and how you condition it, has to do with flavor profile really. I sip a little Chivas or Crown select now and again, have to pay more attention now. I'm such a rube, lol.
    Thanks George, and honestly I just read a ton, talk to people smarter than me and listen as much as I can. I have the tendency to tenaciously pursue anything and everything related to whatever interest I am currently playing in the most honestly.

    My next big project once we have a new space where I can construct and play with my hobbies myself will be for me to design, build and operate my own still. I'd like to try my hand at making my own whiskey and bourbon with my own mash bill and from a still of my own design.
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Ok gang, I know its been a bit but here is the most recent update! Below is the updates on the recent changes and environmental changes and then below that is the latest taste test.

    Location Change
    - Sunday March 29th, moved cask from wet bar inside home in Longmont, CO to parent's home in Johnstown, CO. Specifically, the outdoor work shed that is locked and in the northwest corner of the property, there is no insulation and building goes through dramatic climate and temperature changes. Did this to act as a makeshift rick house so that cask will experience dramatic climate change. Also, rotated cask to 3 o'clock position side facing down. Did not sample this week as I am concerned about volume of whiskey in cask.

    - Sunday April 5th.
    - Checked on cask 1 week after putting in makeshift rick house.
    - Dramatic climate change in the last week. Went from mid-high 70's to high wind, sleet, rain and snow with temps dropping to mid-30's.
    - Due to temp and weather fluctuations cask started to leak out of the head, butt and bung.
    - Only about 50% volume remains in cask after leak as well as Angel's Share loss.
    - Moved cask into the Garage now instead, still some climate changes but not as severe and hope to minimize leakage in this environment now.


    Week 3 Sampling

    - Sample was drawn from cask and put into sample vial on Sunday April 5th.
    - Review of sample is being done on Thursday April 9th, 2015.

    Color: The whiskey has darkened up dramatically by comparison to the rested whiskey that was first put into the cask over 3 weeks ago. At this point I would call it light blonde and amber with a light-moderate oak hue.

    Nose: I'm pleasantly surprised to notice that the nose has improved markedly compared to the last sample I took. The strong and ever present overpowering young wet wood/oak smell has calmed down a lot and savory charred meat tone is mild but distinctly present now. I also can pickup hints of a sweetness lingering just out of reach in the back and I look forward to what the coming weeks and months may bring to this.

    Palate: Wow.... what a change and development, I can scarcely believe this is the same whiskey I put into oak less than a month ago!!! Once again you can still pick up the young wet oak but it is really toned down and dialed back. I get some confectionary sweetness right off the bat and then it leads into notes of leather and char to a short finish. Overall a very nice development and much better than I ever expected!

    Here is the hue of the sample after 3 weeks in the cask...
    image

    image
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • The3StogiesThe3Stogies MainePosts: 2,653 ✭✭✭✭
    Only a few weeks makes quite a difference, wonder if my palate would notice it though. Too bad about the leak and the loss, why were you looking for temp changes? Is it more for the cask conditioning or the aging of the whiskey?
  • D_FreshD_Fresh Posts: 610 ✭✭✭
    The3Stogies:
    Only a few weeks makes quite a difference, wonder if my palate would notice it though. Too bad about the leak and the loss, why were you looking for temp changes? Is it more for the cask conditioning or the aging of the whiskey?
    Temperature change is what allows the whiskey to essentially soak into and get squeezed out of the barrel staves which develops the flavors. Definitely unfortunate that the barrel started to leak. I wish I had the patience to do something like this!
  • ExpendableYouthExpendableYouth Bay Area, CaliforniaPosts: 2,087 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Wow, I would have thought the process would take a lot longer in terms of aging and profile changes. Very cool.
  • Ken_LightKen_Light Posts: 3,539 ✭✭✭
    ExpendableYouth:
    Wow, I would have thought the process would take a lot longer in terms of aging and profile changes. Very cool.
    It's the small barrel. Would take much, much longer with a regulation size one.
    ^Troll: DO NOT FEED.
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Ken Light:
    ExpendableYouth:
    Wow, I would have thought the process would take a lot longer in terms of aging and profile changes. Very cool.
    It's the small barrel. Would take much, much longer with a regulation size one.
    Exactly it's all about the proportion of the total volume of liquid compared to the surface area of the liquid that interacts directly with the oak. Smaller the barrel the higher the surface area to volume gets. Hence why the smaller the barrel the quicker the "aging" effects take hold.
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
  • Gray4linesGray4lines KentuckyPosts: 4,497 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I hate butt and bung leakage...
    LLA - Lancero Lovers of America
  • The3StogiesThe3Stogies MainePosts: 2,653 ✭✭✭✭
    D Fresh:
    The3Stogies:
    Only a few weeks makes quite a difference, wonder if my palate would notice it though. Too bad about the leak and the loss, why were you looking for temp changes? Is it more for the cask conditioning or the aging of the whiskey?
    Temperature change is what allows the whiskey to essentially soak into and get squeezed out of the barrel staves which develops the flavors. Definitely unfortunate that the barrel started to leak. I wish I had the patience to do something like this!

    This thread is so interesting, I really had no idea what was involved in aging whiskey. I just thought you set it in a barrel for a few years and that was it.
  • 90+_Irishman90+_Irishman Loveland, COPosts: 12,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Well did a small sampling of this a few days ago and it's taken on some remarkable qualities. It hasn't darkened up much more, it's still only been around 2 months in the oak so I'm not that surprised but it has taken on a light oak and toffee tone that looks good. That being said there is still a pretty heavy wet/young wood tone showing up that I also got in the Kings County Distillery bourbon and shows up in a few more like the Peach Street Straight Bourbon (very mild) and 303 Whiskey (similar to kings and my cask) etc. It is calming down te longer it is in the oak though, and it has picked up this amazing new scent and flavor of melted sweet cream butter that is stupendous to say the least! It doesn't overpower the other tones but really helps to balance the oak and white dog-Esque bite that is slowly dissipating as well. I will do a formal right up shortly as I still have a small sample to work with.

    Now, I think I'm going to pull this out pretty soon because there is only about 1/3 of the cask full anymore and I don't feel like too much more will change unless I leave it in for another several months. So I am deciding what to put into oak next and I thought I would put it to a vote....

    1. Barrel Aged Manhattan - Make my own 1 liter mix of a quality Manhattan and rest it in oak for 2-6 months.
    2. Barrel Aged Old Fashioned - Same as above just with an Old Fashioned
    3. Barrel Aged Rum such as Zaya as an example etc.
    4. Extra age a decent rye or whiskey such as Rebel Yell, Rittenhouse Rye or Kings County Distllery Bourbon
    "When walking in open territory bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask them to stop. If they do not stop, destroy them."
Sign In or Register to comment.