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    Maturing Spirits

    Apart from the base ingredients and distilling method, it is the aging in wooden casks which adds flavour to spirits, mellows the taste and makes it more complex to the pallate. Flavours may also be added through fruits, herbs, roots etc., adding wood chips is an alternative to investing in barrels.

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    Some of you might remember my efforts to render the straight-fill-into-a-plastic-bag Lao Kao from neighbouring backyard distilleries more pallatable.
    Yah Dong, the addition of wood chips, roots and herbs for a couple of weeks and longer, stored in a large water bottle, is the traditional Thai means.

    I also did this, as well as adding dried/sliced fruit and/or spices, got quite an interesting gin out of it. That overlayered rather than changed the original somtimes nasty (depending on the distiller) base flavour.
    What really hit my tastebuds in a pleasant way resulted from storage in Bamboo flasks for a month onwards.

  4. #4
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    Nonetheless, regardless of how one experiments with distilled/non-distilled liquor, it is quite the art and less science.

    Been done for ages in a variety of techniques/styles with a wider variety of based products and accompanying additions.

    Good on those who practice and flourish the art!!


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    Quote Originally Posted by stroller View Post
    Some of you might remember my efforts to render the straight-fill-into-a-plastic-bag Lao Kao from neighbouring backyard distilleries more pallatable.
    Yah Dong, the addition of wood chips, roots and herbs for a couple of weeks and longer, stored in a large water bottle, is the traditional Thai means.

    I also did this, as well as adding dried/sliced fruit and/or spices, got quite an interesting gin out of it. That overlayered rather than changed the original somtimes nasty (depending on the distiller) base flavour.
    What really hit my tastebuds in a pleasant way resulted from storage in Bamboo flasks for a month onwards.
    Indeed...
    There's been a growing trend of the last few years - more locals creating an extended home/community elixir with a wide variety of results.

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    Most of the praised medicinal properties of Yah Dong belong in the realm of myth, as far as I am concerned.

    Anyway, I have continued my hobby in the Fatherland, using cheap supermarket Schnaps/Wodka as a base.

    A liter bottle with juniper berries, Cardamon seeds and dried Hibiscus flowers (hence the colour). 2 months soaking so far:




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    Nice, Stroller. I must say I really like the juniper berry taste to some gin. And hibiscus is one of my favourite soft drinks, either hot or cold.

    Cardamon pods, without the seeds, might make an interesting addition to the flavours for a future mix.

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    The pods aren't empty, I didnt crush them because I don't want the flavour to be too dominant.

    The classic Yah Dong is, of course, not missing in the household, it works just fine with Vodka.


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    Quote Originally Posted by stroller View Post
    The pods aren't empty, I didnt crush them because I don't want the flavour to be too dominant.

    The classic Yah Dong is, of course, not missing in the household, it works just fine with Vodka.

    Nice, Strolls...


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    To take it one level further, I bought a German Oak barrel and an Italian Chestnut barrel earlier this year, both 10l.
    The Italian had a slight leak, apparently it was too difficult for them to drill a round hole for the cock.




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    For the first batch, I filled the oak barrel with Vodka and added 3 raisins/liter for a very slight sweetness, but it came through a bit too prominent for my taste, for the second batch it was one raisin/liter.

    The chestnut barrel was filled with Sherry for the wood to soak up some of the flavour.

    With 10 liter barrels, there is a high ratio of wood surface to the volume, so it doesn't take years like in the 500 liter whisky hogs.

    2 months later the Vodka was transferred into the emptied chestnut barrel and let to stand for another 2 months.

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    I was quite pleased with the first attempt.
    A strong oak flavour, bordering onto the point when it turns bitter, with the raisin sweetness and a slight fruityness from the second barrel to balance it out.

    Not a Malt, of course, but it had lost some of the sharpness associated with supermarket liquor.


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    Interesting.

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    Just a small point, i seem to recall that whisky distilleries char the inside of the barrel. The carbon in the char removes sulpher if memory serves. Think it would be tricky to get right, but may be worth doing a search on.

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    Yes, one can buy charred or semi-charred barrels, they're quite pricey though.

    Once I'll get confident, I might upgrade.

    Unfortunately, my GP disapproves of my involvement with spirits, so I may well give it a rest soonish.

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    good thread

    not many of these picture threads about anymore

    i'll improve that when they modulate me

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiangMai noon View Post
    good thread

    not many of these picture threads about anymore

    i'll improve that when they modulate me
    Lots of history as to why.

    Loss of ownership on personal photos deterred many.

    Stalkers deterred the rest.

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    thanks

    can you point me in general direction?

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    Bit off topic, but
    1) the forum software makes it more work than necessary
    2) if you take the pics down later, you'll get banned
    3) stalkers use the pics to trace your identity

    last, not least: would you contribute pics to a forum on which you're openly threatened with violence? Just as well I've got thick skin.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by stroller
    Just as well I've got thick skin.
    It won't be so thick after Nigel has dragged you for 7km on the end of a rope tied to the back of his bicycle!

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    Or maybe I'll fatten my dog up with the geriatric's flab.

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    Anyway, back on topic:

    I am tempted to bottle the 3rd batch, I need to replace lost liquid at a rate of one bottle/2 months, but think I'll leave for half a year in the chestnut barrel as planned. Already matured 6 weeks in oak and 2 months in chestnut at this stage.

    Content as follows:
    3 bottles of young, low-price single malt
    2 liters of foodgrade Ethanol
    6 liters Wodka

    That gives appro. 55% cask strength - so far it tastes aweful, will definitely have to be watered down later. I suspect the Ethanol was a mistake.

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    There are some birthdays coming up, so after a tasting/diluting session out in the cold, it's bottled now.




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    What was the verdict on the taste?

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    I diluted it down with water and a drop of sherry, nice rich but short initial taste, then a finish with a sharpish Wodka burn.

    Not too pleased with it.

    I suspect there are no shortcuts to looong cask maturing.

    Next batch will be without ethanol and leaving it much longer in the chestnut.
    Gotta watch the time in the oak cask, it could easily turn bitter if not taken out in time, but it's already much 'weaker' than during the first batch.

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