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15G barrels have resulted in over extraction.  It just crept up on us.  Now we have several barrels of over-oaked bourbon and rye.  Moving it to totes to stop the extraction and aging and considering that we will keep it for blends.  Any other ideas?  Bourbon and rye are both good, just with a bit too much oak. 

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Since you've got them in the tote, give them lots of oxygen and slowly proof them down over the course of a couple months and you might be able to better integrate some of the wood. I would probably put them back into used fullsize bourbon barrels at a relatively low proof for a year or two and see what happens.  

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On 7/27/2020 at 2:36 AM, Silk City Distillers said:

How long?  What ambient temps?

We have gone 18-24m in 15g Char 3 & 4 without over oaking.

7 months.    Good 5 months and we thought needed another couple, but then the summer hit where the barrel room would get to the mid-high 80s during the day, and high 60s at night.  #3 char.  It quickly went to a bit of a tannin bomb.  25 gallon barrels from same cooperage at 10 months now is almost there... thinking it will make a year before the same problem.

Going in at 120 proof.   I wonder if maybe for the small barrels a lower proof new make would cut back on the tannin extraction. 

Like the idea from JustAndy. 

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Your mileage may vary, but I say let it ride.  I posted this a few years back on another forum - there is no science behind this, just tasting a bunch of 10g and 15g barrels as they went through maturation.  If you really need to be careful with this, go with @JustAndy 's approach, it will work.


Don't forget about the small barrel maturation curve, it goes like this:

1. Young harsh distillate.

2. Tastes like whiskey.

3. OH MY GOD ITS OVER-OAKED.

4. Wow, that's really good, I now realize that # 2 tastes like crap.

5. Ah christ, now it's really over-oaked.

6. Garbage.

Many pull at # 2, on the upswing of the extraction curve. I feel this is incorrect, misleading. You generally see these as products aged 6-8 months in 10 gallon. What you get it extraction products and color without maturation products. Bitter/Dry Tannin is on the upswing, peaking in # 3. But, it's not until these have some time to oxidize/react, settle down, allow the vanillin/syringealdehyde to come through.

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Don't forget about the small barrel maturation curve, it goes like this:

1. Young harsh distillate.

2. Tastes like whiskey.

3. OH MY GOD ITS OVER-OAKED.

4. Wow, that's really good, I now realize that # 2 tastes like crap.

5. Ah christ, now it's really over-oaked.

6. Garbage.

I say you pull one now, and let one rest for a good taste comparison

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  • 3 weeks later...

Great discription. I will pull mine at between #3, Just when you think its just got too much I pull it and then let it settle down. Oxygenate and put in a bottle and in 3 months its good stuff.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think one of our changes needs to be lower barrel proof.  We have been doing 60% ABV.  Took a recommendation from a pro producer using 30 gallons.  Lowered the proof, left some head space and back into the barrels.  Already noting the improvement after a month.  Smaller barrel lower barrel proof?  Don’t fill to the top?  Seems oxygen is in shorter supply in the smaller barrels both lack of head space and lower ratio of liquid... thus more H20 and lower fill will help make up some difference.

Interesting if this is the answer, as it means using more smaller barrels... which really starts to help the financial calculation for full sized barrels.  Which may just be what everyone has to go through to get to that final epiphany that the small barrel program does not pencil out.

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