Mini Barrel Aging Experiment (Day 145)

Sometimes things don’t quite go according to plan.  This experiment is one of those things.

Clearly, after taking some samples during this series of blog posts, my barrel lost some of its volume.  Just as a watched pot never boils (or however that cliche is phrased), a watched barrel of whiskey doesn’t mature.  I stayed away from my barrel until today (July 24th), when I picked it up and noticed it was a little light.  Upon further inspection (opening the bung and holding the barrel upside down), my barrel was empty.

After initial shock and frustration, I realized this was a chance to learn a lesson.  A very expensive lesson – the new make I used, Corsair Wry Moon, goes for about $35 per bottle, and I bought two of them for this.

I learned that the angel’s share phenomenon happens even more rapidly when less whiskey is in the barrel.  I had read that you should periodically add new make to the barrel to keep it full during the maturation process, but I ignored this as I felt it was was, in essence, working backwards.

Although I will not be writing a blog series, I will be refilling my barrel with Buffalo Trace Wheated Recipe White Dog.  I will keep my barrel full and hopefully have a better story to share in a few months.



1 comment

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    • Alec Palsgraff on July 25, 2014 at 2:16 pm
    • Reply

    I had the same experience with a 2 liter barrel and some TryBox New Make Rye. It just seems to get very expensive to do these experiments. I also wonder if part of the evaporation phenomenon is the quality of wood or construction in the barrels? Thereafter I tried adding some age to a younger bourbon and I got a lot of young wood notes that were sharply tannic oak almost like a “green sap” taste. I don’t know if I stopped the aging too soon or too late, but that experiment did not feel like a success either.

    I’m no Jimmy Russell!

  1. […] Edit: final post on this experiment can be found here. […]

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