Like beer and wine fermentation kits, whiskey ageing kits offer the libations enthusiast with a hands-on experience of creating a tasty alcoholic beverage. Design your kit to barrel age your whiskey, where the un-aged whiskey inherits the flavourings of the wood barrel. Oppositely, use a "swish" alcohol like neutral vodka along with a whiskey essence flavouring syrup to create an artificially flavoured/aged whiskey -- a process that's completed in a matter of weeks instead of months.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- 750 mililiter un-aged whiskey or swish alcohol
- Whiskey essence flavouring (optional)
- Charred wood barrel
- Barrel cleaning kit
- Bung & spigot
Get at least one 750 millilitre bottle of un-aged whiskey. Depending on the size of your ageing barrel (commonly 2 litres) you may have room for more than one bottle. If you are unable to locate un-aged whiskey not already part of a prepackaged whiskey ageing kit, get whiskey essence flavouring -- a non-alcoholic flavouring to be mixed with a neutral, un-aged alcohol like vodka.
Add a charred ageing barrel of one to two litres to your kit, including a bung (plug) and spigot to seal the barrel and draw alcohol when the ageing process is complete. The small batch size will accelerate the ageing process from a year or more down to two to 24 weeks. Specifically, two to four weeks is adequate to age with whiskey essence flavouring liquid, while three to six months is required to age whiskey without flavouring. The flavouring for the latter comes from the wood of the barrel.
Include a pouring funnel to your kit to avoid spilling any alcohol/ flavouring as you introduce the mix to the barrel. The funnel may be plastic or paper.
Place a barrel cleaning kit into the whiskey ageing kit. Most barrels have a lifespan of two to five ageing cycles. You must clean the barrel between each cycle to ensure fresh flavouring within your next batch and avoid transferring any barrel infection or funk to the next batch. Kits include a barrel cleaning liquid that's poured into the barrel, left for a specific time frame and poured from the barrel. An alternative is to fill the barrel with 180 degree water for 30 minutes to kill any bacteria.
Locate and include an ageing kit instruction manual. Most prepackaged kits include a manual to guide you through the preparation, ageing and cleaning process. Have this handy to ensure your whiskey ages properly and you get maximum life out of your barrel.
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