My latest experiment to accelerate the aging process of whiskey finally finished what I thought was a reasonable run. During the test, I learned I need to make some modifications to the mechanism as I ended up with a 40% loss to the angels. However, when tasting the batch after only one month of aging, it is literally as smooth as water.
That’s where I get nervous. One month should still have some burn or alcohol taste unless this experiment is much more of a success than I could have imagined. The chemical reactions can’t really have worked out according to plan this fast, right? Time to get out the hydrometer and test…
Except I’m moving right now. Buying my first house. And my hydrometer already went into storage in an unmarked box. With disassembling and bottling the experiment as one of the final steps in packing, I didn’t think about testing proof when the hydrometer went away.
So now I wait. Two weeks until we close on a beautiful Fort Lauderdale house, and in the meantime I impatiently wait. Once we’re in the house, first order of business will be evaluating if I’ve had a breakthrough in mellowing alcohol and need to only adjust timing or if I’ve somehow managed to separate the alcohol from water and evaporate only the alcohol without heat.
This next two weeks could, quite possibly, kill me with anticipation.
This post is a continuation of a previous post: What does it take to open a distillery?
So I’m not ready to open a distillery. I’m guessing you aren’t either if you’re reading this, but hopefully you’re just as interested in the topic as I am.
I decided to focus on experimenting with taking the worst, cheapest liquors that I could find and improving them through creative aging processes. My fascination became a matter of how quickly could I accelerate the aging process and make gut-rot moonshine into something that would not only be enjoyed, but also appreciated.
In later posts I’ll dive into barrel aging, alternative aging methods, accelerating oxygenation, and some of the science.
It’s hard to call something “my whiskey” when I’ve had no part in the selection of the raw materials or process by which those ingredients were turned into liquor. I can only take take over after and leverage science to modify that product into something people will enjoy. Starting with a high quality product such as those from Washington’s Woodinville Whiskey Company or Oregon’s House Spirits makes the process easy. I usually start with something more like a split of Georgia Moon and Everclear.
I hope people who come to this site will challenge me on my methods as, like cooking, sometimes it’s part art. I also hope people will share their methods. I’m going to aim for an open dialogue here.