I have a client that is thinking about aging some grappa i made for them, but as i have never really put anything into wood, i must admit i am at a loss on how to counsel them. I was hoping there might be some folks on here willing to share some information/technique
I believe most spirits go into wood around 138 proof, is that about right? and if thats the case, would the same application apply to grappa? Im not yet sure which kind of barrel they are planning to use, if they will be used wine barrels, new barrels, etc, and i know that will affect the technique to a degree, but for the moment i am just looking for advice on the dilution side of things.
Anyone have any insight to share, or willing to point me in the right direction?
If the grappa was distilled on your charentais I'd say 120 proof and a new toasted barrel. If its delicate you wont want to lose the character so this should do it. We did a small aged grappa style a while back and it was delightful. I'd love to taste this one.
Also might consider using a used barrel.
We arent using a Charantais, but a Stupfler Alambic... We have the only one like it in North or South America. It was specially developed by a 3rd generation stillmaker for the production of exceptional fruit distillates and produces a medium bodied eau de vie that is a very accurate representation of the fruit from which it was distilled.
Kristian, was the grappa you aged 120 proof into the barrel? how did it turn out? What did you notice in the way of angels share evaporation, roughly that is. And for how long was it in the barrel before you decided it was "ready"
As for the barrels to be used.. im not sure i have an input on that. I am making this for an exceptional winery in central california, and i believe they will be deciding that information, I am just trying to figure out what the proof of their distillate i should suggest they put in the barrel.
spirits are often stored in the 110 to 120 proof range in barrel because at that proof over long period of time, the product will maintain about that proof, the transpiration of water and alcohol through the barrel being about equal. store initially at higher proof, and you will lose that alcohol. obviously exact rates are affected by storage conditions like humidity and temperature and elevation.
Sorry for the mistake on your still Dave. My apologies. It is a very beautiful piece of equipment!
We usually barrel at lower proof than would be normal so the decision at 120 was based on a little research and a little the batch fit the barrel at that proof. Like I said it was an experiment. It turned out nicely, not overoaked and the delicate character was preserved. We decided it was ready to bottle based on tasting notes every week for several month. It was 5 gallons and we aged less than 6 months in a toasted barrel from the barrel mill.
call hubert germain-robin, he is a consultant and will have plenty of great advice.