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Salvaging an off spirit


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Long time lurker, first time poster, fairly new craft distiller here!  We're not sure what's happened to one of our batches of Bourbon.  It's got an off taste/smell that is unlike our earlier bourbon batches.  We used the same recipe, same suppliers and same process as our good batches.  I'm thinking that this batch, since it was made with the last of our corn supply for the year, was tainted by the grain getting a little ripe on us.  We didn't think the corn was moldy, no obvious visible (black light) signs of mold, no mold smell when tested in the microwave, but a stronger "corn" smell than we were used to.  We decided to mash and distill thinking everything would be ok with the final product.

Fast forward a couple months of aging in 5 gallon casks and the spirit just has a funky taste and smell.  Running it through our GAC filter didn't help and I don't think that continuing to age it will help.  We can't, and don't want to, sell this as is and I was wondering if there is any way to salvage a quality product out of it.  I was thinking that re-distilling this into a neutral spirit and then either making a gin or liqueur out of it would be possible.  I'd hate to have to dump this spirit and if there is any way to salvage an off spirit I'd love to hear suggestions!

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You could certainly re-distill to neutral but if you have the time to experiment you could add water and re-distill to your usual bourbon proof. It will retain some of the aged wood notes but will hopefully remove the funk.

If that doesn't work then push to a neutral and carbon filter if necessary.


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I find distilling aged products usually comes out amazing; but of course, it is not cost effective.  I bet it would make the coolest base possible for a genever.  I took some 2.5 year old rye and distilled it as a base for a genever that got made only for me...I had and have no plans to make that an actual product because of the price involved, but I dare say it was the best damn genever I ever had.

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