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Thread: White Oak and Bourbon

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Modesto, CA, USA
    I do not believe it has to do with height as such. It is just that instead of being aged in a cave they are aged in a barn. the top of the barn undergoes wider temperature swings. hotter in summer, cooler in winter. Some California wineries are still having caves dug into hillsides. Operating costs are less then a temp controlled warehouse.
    I belive Gallo has one thirty acre storage/bottling room at their Modesto winery. Wine flows by gravity from the fermenting tanks outside in the back of the property to the bottling lines underground. The thought is the less pumping of the finished wine the better. I think they age the wine in giant insulated stainless steel tanks outside with spray foam insulation. Looks like an oil refinery. The wine only ages in the bottle for a few days, as long as it takes to ship to the store.
    Bil lD.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Los Angeles
    The sugars in the wood are what gives whiskey most of its flavor and all of its color. It goes into the barrels as a clear liquid at about 60% A.B.V. and is diluted down to around 40% during bottling.

    Much of what defines the various spirits is set by national and international law. Scotch can only be called scotch if it was distilled in Scotland, Canadian whiskey must use a certain percentage of rye, etc. Part of the legal definition of "bourbon" is the whiskey has to be aged for a minimum of three years in a new oak barrel. This obviously creates a lot of used barrels, especially with the bourbon "renaissance" that's been happening over the last decade.

    As others have said, the used bourbon barrels are sold to other (non-bourbon) distillers, wine makers, etc. all over the world. Most of the scotch produced today is aged on American oak, as is most of the Irish whiskey. It's cheaper for them to import used barrels from Kentucky than it is to source their own.

    A lot of the wine produced here in California is aged in used bourbon barrels also. They scrape and re-char the insides to get more fresh oak flavor.

    I won't get into the craft beer brewers or the boutique distillers. But I did recently see a whiskey advertised as being aged in used craft beer barrels!?!?!
    Last edited by Steve Kaminska; 05-24-2018 at 3:39 AM.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    New Hill, NC
    Lumber used for cooperage is typically some of the highest grades of quartersawn available. Wood will be rejected for stain, any type of insect damage, sapwood, pithwood, knots, etc. The more particular buyers tend to be wineries, whiskeys are mid level and the beer folks are the most forgiving.

    Quartersawing is much more labor intensive than flat sawing and the amount of waste generated is around 30% of the total yield. Also, larger diameter logs are required (a 20" log will only produce a maximum of 7" - 8" wide boards w/o any pith or sapwood in them).

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