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Aging Brandy Barrel Preference


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Looking to start aging some peach wine i am looking to distill soon and I want to pick up a bunch of barrels to age a peach brandy in for 1-4 years. Looking for input as to what type's of barrels and char's work best. My plan was mostly to pick up different fresh 1 dump bourbon and rye used barrels from a few larger distilleries (jack daniel, heaven hill, woodford and buffalo trace). I also want to play around with new oak with alligator 3 and 4 char. I didn't see a thread in here specifically talking about aging brandy so here it goes!

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Peach brandy is pretty delicate in flavor, even more so than grape brandy and I wouldn't be surprised if after 2-3 years in a new heavy char barrel no one could tell it was made from peaches. I interviewed half a dozen peach brandy producers last year, I would need to look at my notes but I think just about all of them were aging in used whiskey barrels (https://issuu.com/artisanspiritmag/docs/artisanspirit_issue027_web/50) . If I was doing it, I would probably use medium toast french oak. You must have a lot of peaches if you are looking at making multiple barrels of it, I figure its around 8000 lb to the barrel.  

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You could try used white wine barrels which might bring out more of the fruit flavors but I'd prefer twice or more used whiskey barrels.

I'd personally stay away from anything freshly charred.

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Used wine barrels are often problematic, poor storage & spoilage are a big issue as is the SO2 typically used to treat them. Even fresh dumped barrels in great shape can contribute off-flavors or very distracting notes. We've had winery clients that wanted to use them for various grape brandy projects, and I regret listening to them, they can really ruin the purity of a fruit distillate.  

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Would a new barrel with medium toast and a light char be an option? Should have considered how delicate the peach spirit can be.

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id stay away from new barrels. New barrels regardless of different toast or char, will overwhelm the delicate flavors of brandy. older used used bourbon barrels will result in a much better well rounded brandy. 

Third use barrels are even better, but third use barrels in good shape are hard to come by. 

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18 hours ago, JustAndy said:

Used wine barrels are often problematic, poor storage & spoilage are a big issue as is the SO2 typically used to treat them. Even fresh dumped barrels in great shape can contribute off-flavors or very distracting notes. We've had winery clients that wanted to use them for various grape brandy projects, and I regret listening to them, they can really ruin the purity of a fruit distillate.  

I agree, storage conditions can be a big concern for used wine casks, also neutrality, used red wine barrels can impart some cool color but from my experience I didn't like what it did to the taste. Even more neutral, white wine barrels we have gotten a distinct "vinous" character from that we have to be careful with in our blends. 

If you don't have access to used toasted cooperage, that is more neutral, I would recommend a very lightly toasted, no charred barrel. I would look at getting some barrels from Seguin Moreau, the Alc 2 toast specifically. That being said, you are likely looking at a pretty pricey brandy.

For the most part we purchase brandy cooperage new, and then reuse multiple times and build blends of new and used. Our apple brandy is more used than new, we don't make a peach brandy though.

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We have a client that filled into their own used pinot noir casks, all french oak, some used for a single season, some used for 3 seasons. Every after an extensive steaming regime, the barrels still imparted a winey taste and a red to pink color. They also filled into some seguin moreau alc 2 barrels (french wide grain), some standard wine size and some puncheons. The difference is night and day, one tastes like brandy and one tastes like a cocktail. The amount of oak imparted by even the puncheon is pretty dramatic and they will need probably need to transfer out after a year or 18 months. Peroxy carb treated wine barrels seem to be working better than fresh wine barrels, although each barrel becomes a mystery as to how active it is.   

I wish I could advise more specifically to peach brandy, but we don't make it and I've only tasted two that did much for me, one from Peach Street Distillers and another peach eau di vie made from a white donut peach by Capovilla in Italy. The others I've had were lacking in peach character. From working with and distilling peaches for a flavored whiskey I think the selection of peaches will matter as much or more than the selection of barrel. 

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  • 1 month later...

I like my Brandy a little less traditional.  Less thick less syrupy.  I made my cuts really stingy and a little heavier on the tails which retained a lingering peach flavor with the balls of a whiskey.  I aged it 3 months with new medium char oak cubes for 3 months.  it was smooth and tasty and kept a lot of the peach.  If I were to do it again I would try aging it in a white wine barrel or very light or no char oak. 

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  • 1 month later...

I found a bunch of heaven hill twice dumped bourbons i am going to try in a few weeks. Pretty excited. Quick question. What proof does everyone put their brand in the barrel at. I assume 110-120? Any pro's or cons to doing it higher or lower? Would love to do a few different tests, but any feedback would rock!

Side note: One thing we noticed when we ran our peach wine was that the warmer we ran our deflag on our 4 plate tour the sweeter the peach flavours were. The cooler we ran it the more peach flower/floural the flavours were. Pretty happy with how it all turned out!

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