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Aug 26

Bring Home a Barrel and Age Your Own Whiskey

A friend of ours beckoned us to The Party Source on Saturday with the lure of a special whiskey tasting in the aisle. He was right.

In the middle of the aisle was Rick Wasmund of Virginia's Copper Fox Distillery. Rick was offering samples of his Single Malt Whiskey, Rye Whiskey, barrel tastes of these, as well as the spirits (pre-barrel) samples. For a man with two whiskeys sold retail, he sure had a lot to offer. I've never been a fan of single malt, but I do love a nice rye.

The thing that caught my eye was the Distiller's Art Series (or as I call it, the Age Your Own Whiskey Kit). This kit comes with a small barrel and two bottles of the spirit. It retails for around $100, but was on sale for $89.99 on Saturday. Yeah, we bought one.

We got it home and dived in. The first step is to just fill the barrel with water and make sure it doesn't have any leaks. Once that is established (or you let the barrel slats expand with hot water to remove leaks), you can get started. It's easy, of course. You just pour the two bottles of spirits (rye, in our case) into the bung hole on top of the barrel. Firmly insert the bung and you're off. Within 4-7 months, you've got whiskey you aged your self.

It sounds silly, but I'm rather looking forward to the process. The barrel has a spigot. Every month of so, we can check in and try a sample. We'll be able to see just how much the barrel affects both the color and the flavor. The barrel is made from 100% American white oak without glue, nails, or paraffin wax. You can add ingredients to your whiskey if you want (at Wasmund's they're fond of apple wood chips), but we thought we'd play it straight the first time through. The bottle is reusable and the spirits are available at Party Source for when you start to get experimental.

Our plan right now is to check in every month and see how our whiskey is doing. We'll post regular updates on the blog, which you can check in the new Whiskey Watch category. In the meantime, I recommend getting over to Party Source and picking up your own kit. We can have our own whiskey aging club.

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Posted by Michelle at 10:32 am in Scotch & Whiskey, Whiskey Watch | Permalink | Comments (4)

4 Responses to “Bring Home a Barrel and Age Your Own Whiskey”

  1. Paulo says:

    How did the process go?

  2. StreamJunkie says:

    I can’t wait to age my own.

  3. Ken K says:

    I tried the Wasmund’s kit and had a pretty good experience… I aged the included Rye spirit – it turned out pretty woody & spicy. After bottling that, I refilled the barrel with a 1/2 & 1/2 mix of Heaven Hill TryBox Corn whiskey & Philadelphia Distilling’s Shine – resulting proof around 107. That was a gentler whiskey, each were aged about 5 months. I actually lost about half the barrel each to angels share and tasting.

    I also occasionally warm the barrel in the oven for about an hour (to infuse the whiskey into the wood) and then put it in the freezer for 2 hours (to expel it back out of the wood along with the tannins & sugars). Another trick I learned was to open the spigot after heating and cooling… When warm the pressure pushes whiskey out (pour it back in) and equalizes, then once cold opening the spigot sucks air in, but when it comes back to room temp, pressure builds and pushes the whiskey back into the wood a little deeper. I realize this also introduces some oxidation, but the whiskey didn’t suffer.

    I’ve gotten a new barrel from 1000oaksbarrel.com, I think they may be the Copper Fox barrel supplier… This one is filled with the TryBox corn (125 proof). I’m going to age it for 9 months which should be the equivalent of a 6 yr bourbon. I’m also not going to open (for any of tge pressure treatment) or taste it until finished. Wish me luck!

  4. Chris says:

    I’m a big fan of Angel’s Envy Rye where the bourbon is finished in old rum barrels for a slightly sweeter taste. Thoughts on me soaking the barrel with run first for a few months, and then barreling some whiskey a few months later?

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