3 Methods for Aging Whiskey at Home
Whiskey aging sounds hard, but it can be done at home with the right supplies. The only other thing you will need is patience before you can pour your own aged whiskey into personalized whiskey glasses and enjoy an improved drink over what was in the bottle when you bought it. Here is what whiskey aging does and how to age your own whiskey at home (in a bottle or barrel).
What Is Aging Whiskey?
Aging whiskey involves using a type of charred wood. Changes in temperature and humidity cause the whiskey to slowly filter in and out of the wood, extracting vanillin and tannin. This helps impart some of the unique flavors of the wood into the whiskey. It can add color, as well. Typically, an unaged, high-proof whiskey is used, which is clear compared to the aged whiskey you are used to and can be compared to moonshine. The end product is far more complex, with more character and less of a harsh bite than the clear spirit you started with.
The Wooden Stave Method
If you get a whiskey aging kit, chances are you will have a bottle and wooden staves. You won’t need to char your own wood, and it’s a fairly hands-off method of aging whiskey. This method is as simple as putting a staff in the bottle and filling it with whiskey. The charred wood imparts flavor on the whiskey, but it does not allow any of the volatile compounds to escape as they do in the barrel method. Fill the bottle with corn-based whiskey, and you can fill your engraved glasses with a bourbon-style end product, while barley-based whiskey ends up as something similar to Irish or Canadian whiskey or unpeated scotch. Keep the bottle away from sunlight for a week, and then taste it every day until you have a taste you like. More than two weeks can end up with too woody of a taste.
The Charred Strip Method
The second method uses charred strips of oak instead of pre-made staves. Split a piece of oak into strips that will fit in the bottle. White oak is what most professionals use, but cherry, birch, or maple also work. Char it with a blowtorch or grill, and you can bake beforehand, as well. The wood should be black and shiny on all sides. Cool it with water and wash away any ash or debris. Use an unaged whiskey, 115 proof or higher. Test it weekly for up to a year to get the right flavor and serve in glasses etched with your monogram or custom logo.
The Wooden Barrel Method
The final method for whiskey aging is the most complex but also the most flavorful. Buy a white oak barrel, preferably pre-charred, and fill it with water until it no longer leaks. This can take a day or more. Empty it and refill with an unaged or young whiskey, about 90 proof or higher. Store in a dark place, and spray the barrel with water when it looks dry. A 1-2 liter batch will take a month or two, and beware the longer you age, the more evaporation happens. Barrels can be used a few times but take longer to age each time.
About Crystal Imagery
Eric Schuchart started making custom engraved glasses as a hobby in 2000. He was only making deeply engraved gifts for his friends and family, but all the gift receivers loved his work. Crystal Imagery was incorporated in 2013, with Sherri Blum joining as a co-founder and business partner. The company grew by leaps and bounds, starting in a modest garage and expanding to a full 10,000 square-foot facility in just three years. Crystal Imagery uses a special deep carving technique, which creates a 3D relief in the glass that you can feel. It is a vastly superior technique compared to traditional rotary or laser etching. The method adds depth and shadow to Crystal Imagery’s glass products, including personalized whiskey glasses, shot glasses, decanters, flasks, champagne flutes, and more. With Crystal Imagery, you can give a unique personalized gift or add elegance to your home bar.
Get personalized whiskey glasses to fill with flavored whiskey at crystalimagery.com