Whisky Barrel!!

2-litter barrel

I’m very exited about this project.  Yesterday, I wrote about our recent trip to Copper Fox Distillery. While we were there, we picked up a 2-liter barrel kit. The kit comes neatly packaged in a box that holds the barrel, a barrel stand, and 2 bottles of un-aged spirit. You can choose between single malt and rye spirit.  We choose single malt.  We tasted the spirit — it was almost completely tasteless.

The barrel is American White Oak, just like the barrels used in the distillery (and most other whisky distilleries).  It’s charred inside, and has a bung, bung-hole and tap.  It’s really well made.

The instructions are straightforward:  first you fill the barrel with water and check for leaks, then you pour that out and fill it with spirit and wait for 4-7 months. While you are waiting, they recommend that you expose the barrel to heat, cold, and agitation.  This mimics what they do at the distillery when they move the barrels around.

You can also add wood chips to the barrel to (hopefully) improve the flavor of the whisky.  At Copper Fox, they add fruit woods to the full-size barrels while they are aging — the guide of our tour suggested experimenting with other woods — he said he’s used grapefruit, cherry and used wine barrel staves.  I’m very intrigued by the idea of adding wine staves.

We brought our barrel home and filled it with water briefly.  We had a bit a of squabble about whether to soak the barrel in water before adding the spirit.  Since you can lose up to 50% of your spirit in a new barrel due to absorption, I wanted to soak it a bit.  My husband didn’t want to fill the wood full of water — he wanted the spirit to soak the barrel.  I acquiesced.

The labels on the two bottles of crystal-clear spirit are interesting.  They show the grain content, the type of smoke that was used, and the date the spirit was distilled.  They are finished on the bottom with the signatures of the distillery’s founder and spirit master.  I’m very excited to see how our whisky turns out!

My creation

Posted on November 30th, 2010 by Katxena

3 Comments a “Whisky Barrel!!”

  1. Medley says:

    Me too - I will help you taste test it when it’s ready!!!

  2. Glen Engel-Cox says:

    I’m extremely envious! This is something that I would love to do. I’m trying to figure out how to get this on my Christmas list, but I don’t think it’s possible unless we are back in the U.S.

  3. Katxena says:

    I’ve since learned that a lot of people “rebarrel” lower-quality whiskey at home to age it and improve it. Rebarreling of a finished whiskey can be really fast — even just a week — depending on the whiskey you start with and the characteristics of the barrel you start with. I really, really want to get more barrels and experiment.