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Perception of "hot"

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On occasion we receive feedback that our whiskey is "hot". When we produced this four years ago the grist bill was 68/22w/10b.  BEP was 113 into #4 char from ISG and Kelvin; bottle proof 45%.   Other than ABV,  what properties could lead to this assessment?    

 

Edit: Added char & barrel vendor info

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Not enough sugars and "sweet" congeners extracted from barrel aging? Many people relate sweetness to smoothness. I've done this with a blind vodka tasting: the more sugar you add (up to the legal limit for vodka) the "smoother" they said it was. Nobody actually said it tasted sweeter but it was smoother.

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If by "hot" they are referring to what I call "fire", as found in new make spirits of all kinds, generally this is due to the presence of ketones that will ebb with aging, either due to removal by char or conversion by esterfication. So, longer aged spirits usually have less fire. But the ketones are primarily in the front end of the separation if you are pot distilling, so if you are making head cuts that are not conservative enough, or if you have poor fractionation (smearing), you might be getting more ketones to begin with. Char #4 sounds like a very reasonable choice for 4 year aging, we do well with char #3 from ISC removing "fire" or "heat", so I suspect it is not how long you are aging, but the nature of the new make. In addition to the cut, the grain choice matters, corn being the cleanest. I see you have about 22% wheat, and that is has IMO the "hot, chalky" flavor that requires significant care to cut or age out. But 4 years in char #4 seems reasonable, maybe you need better cuts. We have only done one try at a wheated bourbon, and we do see longer aging is required. Others want to weigh in?

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I also associate "hot" with heads. Or more specifically, "tastes like heads."

What was the proof gallonage of the still charge,  and for heads, hearts, and tails?

Pot or column?

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