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Books and Articles Regarding Oak Selection, Usage, Aging, and techniques.


mendodistilling

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Hello Guys/Gals,

I'm looking to start a thread to try and collect information for Spirits oak barrel aging, the effects of all types of barrels from different forests all over the world. I've read a few things that seem relevant to wine but I'm starting to read a lot about wine but I'm looking for maybe wine and specifically what higher alcohol content absorbtion effect is on the final product. Please feel free to share you opinions, I'd love to hear them. I'd really like to find some articles and book links to have handy reference.

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I agree with Phil. The Independent Stave Company put out 3 (that I am aware of) separate editions of the International Barrel Symposium. They touch on both wine and spirits. The results are just that, results and findings. There is minimal explanation provided. I have a collection of research that I have found, as well. PM me if interested.

Todd

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This file is 13mb I think, too large to attatch. Ive started reading it but havent gotten too far yet to comment, although it seems pretty thorough. Is this the file you guys were suggesting? If so, thank you! For anyone looking for something, this looks pretty helpful.

http://www.worldcooperage.com/library/documents/ISC_Barrel_Symposium.pdf

Has anyone asked a cooperage for information like this? I was going to call world and seguin - moreau tomorrow.

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Hello Guys/Gals,

I'm looking to start a thread to try and collect information for Spirits oak barrel aging... specifically what higher alcohol content absorbtion effect is on the final product. Please feel free to share you opinions, I'd love to hear them.

The way that I see it, a distiller worrying about his oak selection is like a brewer worrying about his hop selection: it should only be a concern when pretty much every other aspect of his process has been thoroughly sorted out, yet since it is so much more glamorous than clenliness, yeast, fermentation, grain, process consistency, etc, it is often (and mistakenly, in my opinion) the first issue that is addressed.

Regardless of what the literature say about what "higher alcohol content absorbtion effect is on the final product", remember that the initial product is an extremely important variable. Applying what a Scotch whiskey producer has to say about oak to a rum will not necessarily translate. Additionally, if the initial product is inconsistent, the effect of the oak will be inconsistent as well.

Assuming that you've got your primary concerns dealt with, and you have a well-made, consistent distillate to work with, determining what oak works best with your spirit (as far as extractives go, at any rate) is as simple as aquiring samples of wood and soaking them in small samples of your spirit.

And don't forget to look to the "big guys" and others who have had success doing what you propose to do; e.g. If you're making a Scotch-style whiskey, chances are you want to utilize used cooperage, etc.

Good luck with your research, and let me know if you need some help tasting your samples!

Nick

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This file is 13mb I think, too large to attatch. Ive started reading it but havent gotten too far yet to comment, although it seems pretty thorough. Is this the file you guys were suggesting? If so, thank you! For anyone looking for something, this looks pretty helpful.

http://www.worldcoop...l_Symposium.pdf

Has anyone asked a cooperage for information like this? I was going to call world and seguin - moreau tomorrow.

Great link! That with the cheap hardcopy of the 4th symposium I picked up through e-bay is a great set of references. There are a few other copies of the 4th for sale cheap out there.

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The way that I see it, a distiller worrying about his oak selection is like a brewer worrying about his hop selection: it should only be a concern when pretty much every other aspect of his process has been thoroughly sorted out,

I think I hear your point but I have to disagree with the analogy. Hop choice is important from the initial vision of the beer. Hop to malt relationship is the backbone of any beer. Far too many beers on the market are examples of great mashing/fermentation but the brewer selected the wrong hop to contrast the grain bill, thus destroying what could have been a fantastic beer.

I suppose I'm slightly off topic of the conversation but the brewer in me couldn't keep quiet.

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Hop choice is important from the initial vision of the beer. Hop to malt relationship is the backbone of any beer.

Absolutely right, just as oak is important from the initial vision of a whiskey, with the spirit to oak relationship being the backbone of a well made whiskey.

The finesse that you describe in hop selection is as important to a beer as oak selection is to a whiskey. But while dumping obscene amounts of hops into a diacetyl ridden, DMS contaminated, bacterially infected beer actually does an admirable job of hiding these flaws, over-oaking spirit, alas, does little to conceal poor distilling practices.

In both cases, a brewer or distiller will be better served to look at yeast selection, fermentation, grain processing, etc, as his undergraduate degree, and consider hops or oak to be that graduate degree that sets him apart from everyone else, but only after he's learned the basics. IMHO, of course.

Nick

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