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Jun 08, 2022 View:

Aging with little barrels

Gents,

Wondering about two things when using little (5, 15, 30 gal.) barrels for aging whiskey. Now I know that this is a loaded question and there are many, many variables involved (proof off still, how much you water it down, or don't, the weather, time of year, geographic location, alignment of planets, etc.). First thing is, about how much angel's share are you likely to lose in a given period (ie, per 6 months) and about how long is a good aging time for a 5 gal?


Reply:

I'd get in touch with the guys at Tuthilltown. They probably know more about this than anyone.

I've played around but only have used a few dozen barrels. From my experience angel share is around 5-15 times the norm in small barrels compared to large. large it's typically around 2% a year, but I've seen 8-10% in six months in five gallons barrels. This was in a very dry storage area. As for aging time for a five gallon barrel. first use anywhere from 3-4 months depending upon the product and amount of wood presence wanted. The longer in the barrel the faster the aging seems to go. i have had prototypes that were fantastic after 3 -4 months and two weeks later were way over wooded. Second use the time goes up to 4-8 months.

Gents,

Wondering about two things when using little (5, 15, 30 gal.) barrels for aging whiskey. Now I know that this is a loaded question and there are many, many variables involved (proof off still, how much you water it down, or don't, the weather, time of year, geographic location, alignment of planets, etc.). First thing is, about how much angel's share are you likely to lose in a given period (ie, per 6 months) and about how long is a good aging time for a 5 gal?


Reply:

Thanks Jonathan, talked to one of the guys at Tuthilltown. A few points for the forum:

1. If you can help it, go with at least 5-gal. barrels, as you will lose far less "angels' share."

2. A good guestimation for aging is (very) roughly, about 40 days/gal.

That all makes sense along with our limited experience with aging in smaller barrels here. And, of course, the proof, spirit, weather all play a part. Hope this info helps out a few others as well.

Paul


Reply:

Stave thickness also helps/hinders loss.

2-3% per year for full-sized barrels is about right. Just remember that not only does the surface area increase for aging in small barrels it also increases the surface area for evaporation. All said, it's pretty even (if all else is equal).