Aging whisky in a barrel can take time. A long time. Using pieces of charred wood inside your glass bottles can make this aging process exponentially faster. In as little as a few weeks you can achieve some amazing results in both color and taste using pieces of charred wood. I will demonstrate the steps I took to achieve charred wood at a fraction of the cost of buying it.
Step 1: The Supplies
- Wood: I'm going to assume no one reading this is an idiot; so mentioning how ignorant using any kind of treated or poisoning wood would be just plain silly of me, correct? If however, you want to experiment with creosote or pressure treated lumber or waterproofing lumber, construction lumber or any poisonous woods... it's all you baby. My advise is to stick with only cooking woods. You were warned.
- Aluminum foil: any kind you have
- Permanent Marker: to identify your wood
- Ziplock bags
- Stove: one that will bake to 400F
- Spirits: Whisky, Ever Clear or Vodka. Really anything but I'm using a clear whiskey.
*** This method of charring wood creates a strong earthy, creme brûlée, vanilla ish type smell. ( wife statement) She loved it!! It can be pretty strong but is nice. I used the vent hood and a fan to circulate the aroma.
Step 2: Getting Your Wood
So I wanted to experiment with the effects various types of wood have upon the flavor and aesthetics of the whisky I had placed within my 5 oz glass bottles. I also wanted to compare them to a control bottle (no charred wood, no barrel, no wood aged whisky). I obtained the wood chips from my meat smoker supply. Hickory, Pecan, Cherry, and old Whisky barrel wood (oak).
Step 3: Turn Up the Heat
- Preheat your oven on BAKE for 400F.
- Set timer for 2Hrs
Step 4: Packaging and Putting Your Wood in
While you are awaiting the arrival of 400F make the packages that will go into the oven.
- Tear off a good 8" of aluminum foil. You will need two pieces per package to adequately cover you wood.
- Place more than a handful of your wood onto first piece of foil.
- Take second piece of foil and place over the top of your wood.
- Fold edges over to create an envelop. Ensure all edges are folded and sealed. I tried to lay my wood evenly in one layer but I don't think it's critical for this scale of operation.
- Turn your package over and with your permanent marker write the type of wood you just sealed in there. Omit this step if using only one type of wood.
- Take any pointed instrument and poke about 10-12 small holes into the top of your package.
- Place packages on oven rack and place in oven when 400F is achieved.
- Start 2Hr timer
Step 5: Take Your Wood Out
- Once the two hours are completed and your entire house smells like a hippie hangout carefully remove the packages from the oven. They will be hot. Duh.
- Open the packages and allow to cool
- Admire the perfectly charred wood you just created using this Ible.
Step 6: Storing Your Wood
- Once your wood is cool, store in ziplock baggies. Be sure to label each bag with the corresponding woods.
- I weighed out about 2 grams per 4.5 oz of clear whiskey. I don't have a reference so I will begin the R&D portion of this experiment regarding the taste and appearance.
- After completing this project I have to say it turned out very well. There was a nice even char on all the pieces and the cost was mere pennies. When you consider the novelty aging spikes are almost $10-$15; this is a very easy and inexpensive way to go. Will post an update on this project in the coming weeks. Thanks for reading.
Step 7: So It Begins
Here you can see I have added the various woods to my glass bottles. As stated, will update in a few weeks with the progress