the whisky lounge - a journal tracking a whisky maturation project involving a newly-acquired oak cask and a significant amount of patience

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Garth Brooks and I Have Nothing in Common

It's true.

I have friends in high places. :-)

A tip of the hat today to my buddy who, among other things, makes hard cider from time to time. And beer. Maybe wine, too. I can't remember. In any case, he has far too much alcohol-related equipment just sitting around his place, so he's kindly loaned me a hydrometer with which I might be able to figure out how much of the alcohol has evaporated when I determine the maturation of the whisky has reached its end. Mind you, I think this hydrometer is for beverages of lower alcohol content than whisky: if I'm reading it correctly, it would seem its maximum reading is about 20%. Mind you, I have no idea what I'm doing, so I'll figure it out and let you know.

This is the same friend who had promised me a couple 1-litre bottles of home-made cider, and I'm happy to say they're in my possession as we speak, tucked carefully away behind a bottle of wine and some scotch, lest I be tempted to drink them at an inappropriately early occasion. These two bottles will be freeze-fractioned and converted into applejack, which I'll then mature in the cask to see what happens.

I still haven't been able to determine what exactly I can expect from the spirit I'll produce from the cider. Currently, each bottle has been individually fermented, so each will taste slightly different. It also means that the bottles have lees at the bottom. I'm tempted to filter them before freezing, or at least before casking, but this makes me wonder if a lot of the flavour will be lost as well. With the other bottles we've opened, more lees has meant a stronger apple flavour. I guess my course of action will depend on whether the lees gets trapped in the ice or remains in the alcoholic portion during freeze fractioning. I'll do an experiment and see what shakes, then pass on the results to you folks.

If anyone has any experience with applejack, I'd love to hear about it.

Cheers,

Ian

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