dkr02

Flavoring with oak spirals

24 posts in this topic

Anyone doing this to flavor their whiskey? Due to the barrel shortage, we're thinking about doing this to our product. How would it be classed by TTB?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is not that great but it works. It is to oaky / wood tasting to me but I am sure someone has figured it out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

https://www.defiantwhisky.com/ does this. Curious myself how they get around the "in charred new oak

containers" rule.

It isn't a bourbon so it doesn't need to be new oak. A whiskey or whisky just needs the oak containers:

(B) Class 2; whisky. “Whisky” is an alcoholic distillate from a fermented mash of grain produced at less than 190° proof in such manner that the distillate possesses the taste, aroma, and characteristics generally attributed to whisky, stored in oak containers (except that corn whisky need not be so stored), and bottled at not less than 80° proof, and also includes mixtures of such distillates for which no specific standards of identity are prescribed.

They could literally age it however they want with the spirals and then essentially pump it into barrels for an hour or less and then bottle it as whisky. Its the same way that many of the moonshines/white whiskeys are able to call themselves whiskey. Death's Door sells tons and tons of white whisky. I think they have one barrel they pump it all through.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It isn't a bourbon so it doesn't need to be new oak. A whiskey or whisky just needs the oak containers:

( B)Class 2; whisky. “Whisky” is an alcoholic distillate from a fermented mash of grain produced at less than 190° proof in such manner that the distillate possesses the taste, aroma, and characteristics generally attributed to whisky, stored in oak containers (except that corn whisky need not be so stored), and bottled at not less than 80° proof, and also includes mixtures of such distillates for which no specific standards of identity are prescribed.

They could literally age it however they want with the spirals and then essentially pump it into barrels for an hour or less and then bottle it as whisky. Its the same way that many of the moonshines/white whiskeys are able to call themselves whiskey. Death's Door sells tons and tons of white whisky. I think they have one barrel they pump it all through.

Not sure where you got that definition but it doesn't match what's on the TTB's website. There's no difference between malt whiskey and bourbon other than the 51% grain:

Malt Whiskey: Whisky produced at not

exceeding 80% alcohol by volume
(160 proof) from a fermented
mash of not less than 51 percent
malted barley and stored at not
more than 62.5% alcohol by
volume (125 proof) in charred
new oak containers
Bourbon Whiskey: Whisky produced in the U.S. at
not exceeding 80% alcohol by
volume (160 proof) from a
fermented mash of not less than
51 percent corn and stored at not
more than 62.5% alcohol by
volume (125 proof) in charred
new oak containers

Now "whiskey distilled from malt mash" does not require new oak, but that's not what Defiant sells. They also make a pretty big deal in their marketing about not using barrels at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, Death's Door definitely ages their White Whiskey in un-charred oak. The flavor is obvious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was quoting the CFR but I see what you are saying, they do market it as a malt whisky. I'll poke around and see if I can figure out how they do that. I'm not sure how long Death's Door ages their product. I know they "age" it in an uncharred barrel but I have no idea how long. They seem to do a lot of volume and I didn't see a lot of barrels when I was there. Maybe they will chime in and share.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Country Boy said:

The word BARREL is not in the TTB rules. Whiskey does not have to go into a barrel to be called whiskey.

While true, Chapter 4 uses "....in Oak container" as the definition for all whiskeys.

All whiskey needs to spend at least some time (even ridiculously short amounts) in a barrel (unless you have some other type of oak container)in order to be in compliance with the TTB.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Country Boy said:

The word BARREL is not in the TTB rules. Whiskey does not have to go into a barrel to be called whiskey.

But charred new oak container is. Pretty sure the TTB doesn't consider "oak spirals" to be containers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is your gas container made of gas?

Oak container can be interpreted as a container that holds oak. At least thats how it was explained to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Country Boy said:

Is your gas container made of gas?

Oak container can be interpreted as a container that holds oak. At least thats how it was explained to me.

Was it explained to you by an employee of the TTB?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No. Thats irrelevant. You are expressing your interpretation of the TTB rules. I am expressing mine. I love this site and have been reading it for the last 6 months. This was the first thread that everyone jumps on another distiller based on what they perceive to be the law. If TTB meant barrels they should say barrels. I feel the industry is in a transitional phase. The big boys (Brown-Foreman, Diageo, Beam-Suntory, etc...) have preach tradition and barrels so long nobody is giving new techniques a shot. There should be no secret rooms or processes in whiskey making, its 4 ingredient. People should judge a whiskey on taste alone. Thats how beer and wine folks do it. They embrace technology and change. In doing so they forced sell outs of Budweiser and Miller (to Inbev). Craft beer drinkers just want a good beer. Whiskey drinkers should just want a good whiskey. Who cares how long one ages in a barrel. The TTB laws are not in place to protect the consumer they are in place because Whiskey Barons had legislation passed back in the day to protect them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/31/2014 at 0:44 PM, 3d0g said:

https://www.defiantwhisky.com/ does this. Curious myself how they get around the "in charred new oak

containers" rule.

I believe Defiant still uses Barrels, they just added Oak Spirals to increase the intensity of flavor.  My guess is they are using older neutral barrels.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is going to be a bit of a renaissance in the ageing of spirits with regards to temperature cycling, wood additives and humidity cycling. With regards to dramatically cutting the ageing times to create taste profiles of much older spirits.

" Although Scotch can legally be sold once it is three years old, few serious drinkers would touch such a youthful spirit. In Scotland, not mere years but decades add distinction. That is largely to do with the climate. As an experiment, Maker's Mark swapped barrels with a Scottish distiller to see how much the environments of the two places affected the whisky's maturation. The experiment's outcome was that one year in Kentucky, with its hot summers and cold winters, was roughly equivalent to four in Scotland, with its much more consistent and humid climate. But even minor environmental differences can produce marked results. As Buffalo Trace's president, Mark Brown, points out, one of the distillery's distinctive bourbons, Blanton's, comes exclusively from casks matured in the firm's only metal-sided warehouse. The other warehouses are brick buildings with very different thermal characteristics, yielding different-tasting bourbon. "

http://www.economist.com/node/457125

'

The temperature profile varies depending on the type of warehouse, with the options including brick, stone or metal clad warehouses.

“We only use metal clad warehouses, which transmit temperature more readily than any other type. We're looking for as much heat in summer, and as much cold in winter,” says Rick Robinson, plant manager, Wild Turkey.

Location also matters. Warehouses on hill tops are more exposed and experience greater temperature extremes than warehouses in valleys, which are more sheltered.

Changes in temperature prompt a vital process known as a ‘cycle.’ As the temperature rises in spring and summer the spirit expands within the cask and penetrates into the oak staves, which contain various flavour compounds. As the temperature cools, during the autumn and winter, the spirit contracts and exits the oak, carrying flavour compounds (which add vanilla notes, for example) back into the ‘bulk’ of the spirit.

A related factor is the height of a warehouse, which can comprise seven floors or more. Additionally, each floor holds three tiers of barrels, sitting on rails, which means a warehouse with seven floors can store barrels 21 high. This scale also means the temperature varies in different parts of a warehouse.

“During the winter it’s marginally warmer at the top than the ground floor, with the warehouse essentially reflecting the ambient temperature. However, in the summer when the ambient temperature is 90˚ F, it can be cooler at the bottom of the warehouse, perhaps 70˚ F, with the temperature rising progressively as you go up the warehouse, and at the top of a nine floor warehouse it may be 120˚ F. This creates a series of micro-climates between the ground floor and the top,” says Fred Noe, master distiller, Jim Beam.

These micro-climates exert their own particular influence.

“The higher the temperature the more intense the cycle, with the spirit achieving a greater depth of penetration into the oak staves. This means bourbon ages faster in barrels at the top of the warehouse, developing deeper flavours and greater complexity than in barrels lower down the warehouse,” says Harlen Wheatley, master distiller, Buffalo Trace."

http://www.thedrinksreport.com/news/2015/16232-special-report-bourbon-ageing-warehouses.html

The financial cost of ageing distilled product for new producers is huge. The possibility exists to use science and the "art" of blending, ageing and other post production techniques to cut years if not decades off the aging in barrels process to develop those same flavor profiles. There has been some product development in this area which has fooled "experts" into thinking that 1-3 year barrel aged spirits are in fact 5-10 years old.

Soon technique will obsolete the concept of decades of spirit ageing. IMO.  Educating the consumer to these ideas may however prove harder.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Country Boy said:

No. Thats irrelevant.

LOL. Said like someone who doesn't own a distillery. Invest a few hundred grand of your own $$ and tell us again the TTB's opinion is irrelevant. 

Also, from the TTB label regs:

8. TREATMENT WITH WOOD

· DISCLOSURE “COLORED AND FLAVORED WITH WOOD _________” (insert chips, slabs, extracts, etc., as appropriate) is required on labels to indicate treatment with wood

· APPLICATION Applies only to whisky and brandy treated – other than through contact with oak containers – with wood: in any manner or form, either directly or indirectly, e.g., chips, slabs, extracts, etc. at any point during the production or storage process, up to and including the time of bottling

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're right. I have not invested any money into craft distilling. But nothing changes. You are not a TTB employee. You thinking your interpretation of TTB law is superior to mine is arrogant. I still believe oak container can be interpreted different ways. I would love to see a start up distillery with big backers take on the law. I applaud and support craft guys who try new things and do not do what everyone else has been doing for over a 100 years. Just because something has been done for a long time does not make it the best way. Was not trying to start a argument. Just pointing out a different train of thought.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, 3d0g said:

LOL. Said like someone who doesn't own a distillery. Invest a few hundred grand of your own $$ and tell us again the TTB's opinion is irrelevant. 

Also, from the TTB label regs:

8. TREATMENT WITH WOOD

· DISCLOSURE “COLORED AND FLAVORED WITH WOOD _________” (insert chips, slabs, extracts, etc., as appropriate) is required on labels to indicate treatment with wood

· APPLICATION Applies only to whisky and brandy treated – other than through contact with oak containers – with wood: in any manner or form, either directly or indirectly, e.g., chips, slabs, extracts, etc. at any point during the production or storage process, up to and including the time of bottling

TTB will define the labeling of the product for the US market. Years of ageing as listed on the bottle are an important reference factor for a new consumer considering the purchase of a otherwise unknown product. 

At the same time a disclosure to comply with the regulations in an appropriately designed label. Shouldn't affect a consumers purchasing decisions. Just disclose it along with other marketing language-verbage to sell the product.

" The first regulation requiring label disclosure for distilled spirits treated with wood was issued in 1938 and applied only to whisky. In 1941, the regulations were amended to extend the disclosure requirement to brandy treated with wood. According to the rulemaking record, wood (oak) chips impart character (i.e. flavor, aroma, etc.) to the product and, therefore, label disclosure was considered necessary and warranted, to inform the consumer, that not all of the brandy's (whisky's) character was derived from aging in the oak barrel. "

Above from US TTB regs. https://www.ttb.gov/rulings/87-3.htm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, Country Boy said:

You are not a TTB employee. You thinking your interpretation of TTB law is superior to mine is arrogant.

Correct, which is why I called one. My "interpretation" is neither superior, nor arrogant. It is however, the law.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, TuftedTurtle said:

I believe Defiant still uses Barrels, they just added Oak Spirals to increase the intensity of flavor.  My guess is they are using older neutral barrels.

I think using older barrels is correct. I think they get around the "new charred oak" requirement because they are not actually declaring themselves as "malt whiskey". I note that their bottle, like quite a few other recent entries from craft distillers making "malt whiskey" aged in used barrels, label them as "American Single Malt" in one type, "Whiskey" in another type, and separate them with a thin line. This makes the designation "whiskey" and not "malt whiskey", and thus not requiring new charred oak barrels.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Country Boy said:

No. Thats irrelevant. You are expressing your interpretation of the TTB rules. I am expressing mine. 

I don't argue that they are both interpretations, or that whiskey should be judged based on flavor. I'm with you 100%

I'm not going to try and interpret the TTB in a way that could have a whole world of hate coming down on me.  The TTB is the judge, jury and executioner and I'm not going to try and get creative with interpretations unless they say, in writing, that my or anyone else's interpretation is OK.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Country Boy said:

I still believe oak container can be interpreted different ways.

You can believe 'oak container' can be interpreted different ways, but the way the statute is written there is no wiggle room. It can be either a container made of oak or a container containing oak as you believe, but it cannot be both. Considering that consumers, industry, and regulators all believe oak container to be synonymous with oak barrel, I think you will have a hard time convincing anyone at the TTB, in the industry, or consumers that your interpretation is an acceptable interpretation.

There is a lot of options and room for creativity inside the American whiskey category, far more than many other spirit categories in many countries. However, standards of identity are important, these laws are one of the reasons Bourbon and American Rye whiskey are experiencing such rapid growth in the whiskey renaissance, while Canadian whiskey is lagging behind.

If you don't want to play by the rules in the CFR for whiskey, play in distilled spirit specialty. You can do whatever you want (within reason), you just have to file a formula and define the spirit type for yourself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now