Jesse Alexander

aging whiskey in barrels in unheated facility in the north

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Does anyone have experience aging whiskey in an unheated facility in the north.  I am in the very early planning stages of a small operation.  I understand that temperature swing is a good thing but temperatures below 50 are not.  What are thoughts comparing possibly slower aging in an unheated pole building versus the expense of a heated aging facility in the north? 

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Our unheated storage in Michigan has been aging barrels nicely, but our oldest is 3 years and I haven't seen what aging in the South is like for comparison. I'd never heard the 50 degrees thing before.

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Trying to figure out the cost / benefit analysis to quicker aging in a heated facility vs. less expensive storage in an unheated rick house. 

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Jesse, 

We've had good luck aging bourbon at 43N. We typically see temperatures down to -5F in the warehouse (~-20 outside), and temperatures up to 135F (~100F outside) in the tops of our warehouses during the summer. I wouldn't necessarily call it better or worse than aging in KY or other southern states, but it is certainly different. My biggest suggestion is to track your flavor profile throughout the temperature regime it will see in the barrels, because in our experience it can change quite noticeably. That being said, I think aging in a non climate controlled warehouse will really speak to the terroir of your region. Just so you know I'm not making things up, we have nearly 7000 barrels in storage, ranging from fresh fills to 8ish years old. Shoot me a PM if you have any more questions.

-Sam

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