Infusing flavours INTO oak...

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Infusing flavours INTO oak...

Postby Dancing4dan » Mon Mar 15, 2021 2:30 pm

This is an attempt to simulate how a used barrel imparts flavour and colour into distillate. Nothing new I’m sure but it seems to be working well. It’s a variation of nuke aging without nuking the distillate. Here is the process I.use.

What you need.
Spiral cut oak staves with your choice of toast and char.
A narrow mouth Mason quart or litre.
A pint or 250 ml jar.

What to do.
Break the spirals in half so they will fit in the narrow mouth Mason canning jar. Two staves broke in half to make four small staves.

Now choose what flavours you want to infuse INTO the oak. This will be later imparted to your distillate. I personally like Scotch that has been aged/ finished in Sherry casks. Like some Glenmorangie so I chose Sperone Marsala and A small measure of Glenmorangie original. You can chose others, this is just what we had so it was used.

Put about 200 ml Marsala and about 50 ml of Glenmorangie original into the mason jar with the oak staves. No actual measuring took place... Place in microwave without the lid! My microwave isn’t tall enough to stand a mason jar in it. So, I lay the jar on its side and decant as much of the liquid as needed into the small jar to allow the Mason jar to lay on its side without spilling and leaving a little room between the top of the liquid and the lip of the jar.

At this point there is a mason jar with a small amount of liquid and the oak staves. There is also a pint jar with the remaining liquid. Place them both in the microwave without lids. Metal bad! The large jar with the staves is on its side providing a large amount of contact between the oak and liquid. The small jar contains the rest of the liquid and goes in the microwave upright. No lids.

Run the microwave just long enough to get fine foaming or bubbling along the oak staves. Time will depend on your microwave So I don’t have a set and forget time. Once the liquid is bubbling remove both jars from the microwave being careful not to spill on yourself or any wood work! :scared-eek: It will burn you and stain the woodwork. :shock:

Pour the contents of the small jar into the large jar and put the lid on the large jar containing the staves. Tighten the lid. You have just canned the oak staves in the flavour of your Choice. Initially the jar will make a small amount of pressure then as it cools it will make a vacuum. This moves the liquid into the wood. Shake it up. Lay it on the side and allow it to cool to the touch. Repeat heating and coolin several times. Not an exact science. After about four cycles when the jar of staves comes out of the microwave and are still hot pull the staves out with a set of tongs and drop the staves into your chosen distillate. Watch the magic! :-B

Repeat heating the wood staves in the liquid and then placing the staves into the distillate. Both colour and flavour change pretty rapidly. 9.5 L takes on a light straw colour after two sessions with the flavoured oak. By time the hot oak and distillate equalize in temperature the process slows. When the staves are hot you can see the colour moving into the distillate. Heat the wood repeatedly in the Marsala and put the staves back in the distillate. Back and forth. Repeat till the colour and flavour are what you want.

Now you can age on the same staves, or not. In oak or glass.

I hope the explanation makes sense.

Let me know if you have been doing this and what results are.

Thanks for looking in.
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Re: Infusing flavours INTO oak...

Postby Dancing4dan » Wed Mar 17, 2021 2:43 pm

One gallon. Seven cycles. Now it is going to age on the oak staves with some chocolate barley malt and four Sumatran coffee beans.

Yes. It will need to go through a coffee filter.
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Last edited by Dancing4dan on Wed Mar 17, 2021 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Infusing flavours INTO oak...

Postby Dancing4dan » Fri May 07, 2021 7:42 am

This is another batch on same oak staves for one week. Not cycled, just soaked.
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Re: Infusing flavours INTO oak...

Postby bluc » Fri May 07, 2021 11:14 am

Looks mighty tasty :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: Infusing flavours INTO oak...

Postby BigRig » Fri May 07, 2021 12:00 pm

So you are not heating your spirit, you are heating the wood with your chosen flavour then adding the wood to the spirit whilst it is still hot ?

How many infusion cycles will you / have you been doing ?
How long are you waiting between cycles ?
Do you intend on aging for the normal length of time doing it this way ?
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Re: Infusing flavours INTO oak...

Postby Dancing4dan » Fri May 07, 2021 11:50 pm

BigRig wrote:So you are not heating your spirit, you are heating the wood with your chosen flavour then adding the wood to the spirit whilst it is still hot ?

How many infusion cycles will you / have you been doing ?
How long are you waiting between cycles ?
Do you intend on aging for the normal length of time doing it this way ?


Hey BR, correct on heating the wood and chosen flavor. And yes to adding the wood to the spirit while still hot.

HOWEVER. I use two methods to oak the spirit. The first method is to add the hot oak to the spirit and let it sit for an hour or so. Then remove the wood, put it back into the “flavor “ soak and reheat it a few times. Then add it back to the spirit.

The second method. The oak was heated in its flavor bath repeatedly then left to soak in its flavor bath between spirit production runs for several weeks. When the spirit run and cuts were completed and all chosen spirit combined into one container the oak was removed from the flavor bath (cold) and added to the spirit. The last photo posted shows this process (cold) after one week.

The difference between the two processes? Second process adds a deeper and more robust flavor profile. Has more oak notes. Smoother mouth feel. “Legs” in the glass are more predominant with the cold process it seems.

Possible advantages are 1) no high proof spirits in microwave. Have not heard of anyone having a problem with that but the potential is there. 2) you can work on getting your oak “infused” with flavor any time. You can build multiple batches of oak with different flavor profiles. And it fits in quart sealers. 3) heat cycling the oak and flavor bath really pushes the flavor and colors into the oak fast and seems to make the color and flavor readily available when aging a new spirit.

I am surprised at how fast the spirit has changed over the week exposed to the pre flavored oak. I will keep tinkering with the process.
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equipment: Pot still modular design that can use a beer keg or a 70 L SS pot. Steam distillation in development.

Re: Infusing flavours INTO oak...

Postby Dancing4dan » Fri May 28, 2021 8:44 am

Here is another batch that is just a couple days from finishing. That’s an Imperial gallon at 130 proof.
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