watering down to drinking abv

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watering down to drinking abv

Postby Bumper » Sat Nov 12, 2016 9:45 am

Just thought I would share some of my findings while reading about ageing. When watering down from your 65% or preferred higher abv, don't just add all the water in one go. This is particularly for scotch but I assume goes for other aged products too. If you do, you can flatten out the profile of your aged whisky and it won't recover.

So for aging in glass, it makes sense to leave plenty of headroom, and then as you are couple of months out from bottling, just start adding 50ml of your spring or rainwater - (used if collected to ensure no impurities - massive difference to body and mouth feel apparently) once a week when airing, and give it a gentle swirl to mix it in.

At the very least it may be easily applied insurance for your patience in ageing.
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby scythe » Sat Nov 12, 2016 12:32 pm

Interesting idea.
Prove it.
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby Bumper » Sat Nov 12, 2016 1:23 pm

scythe wrote:Interesting idea.
Prove it.


Prove it to you? Well, I certainly am going to use the method if that's what you are asking.

For those who want to know what the source is, I came across the information in the book 'the maturation of distilled spirits'. Hubert Germain-Robin, the author, is a Master Distiller and Master Blender Hubert Germain-Robin and is the creator of world-renowned brandies. Germain-Robin’s family history goes back centuries in Cognac, where his family had been producing brandies under the name Jules Robin and Company since the 18th century. He a judge and lecturer at the american distilling institute. His cognacs go for $350+ a bottle.

Or just keep doing what works for you, whatever, all good.
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby TasSpirits » Sat Nov 12, 2016 1:51 pm

Reckon Ill give this a try with my next Single Malt, 1/2 this way and the other 1/2 as normal :think:
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby scythe » Sat Nov 12, 2016 1:54 pm

Yeah what i was saying was give it a go and let us know.
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby Bumper » Sat Nov 12, 2016 3:13 pm

scythe wrote:Yeah what i was saying was give it a go and let us know.
TasSpirits wrote:Reckon Ill give this a try with my next Single Malt, 1/2 this way and the other 1/2 as normal :think:


It will be a little while before I can post results, I have a bunch of relatively recent runs but when they are close to bottling I'll separate some out and try the two approaches for bourbon, rum and whiskey and see how they come out.
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby warramungas » Sat Nov 12, 2016 6:15 pm

Bumper wrote:
scythe wrote:Interesting idea.
Prove it.


Prove it to you? Well, I certainly am going to use the method if that's what you are asking.

For those who want to know what the source is, I came across the information in the book 'the maturation of distilled spirits'. Hubert Germain-Robin, the author, is a Master Distiller and Master Blender Hubert Germain-Robin and is the creator of world-renowned brandies. Germain-Robin’s family history goes back centuries in Cognac, where his family had been producing brandies under the name Jules Robin and Company since the 18th century. He a judge and lecturer at the american distilling institute. His cognacs go for $350+ a bottle.

Or just keep doing what works for you, whatever, all good.


Boy. I bet that'll go great with some coke! :))
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby bluc » Sat Nov 12, 2016 7:55 pm

So is the book good? Lots good tid bits? Looking for another read distillers guide to rum is another good read..
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby Bumper » Sun Nov 13, 2016 7:17 am

bluc wrote:So is the book good? Lots good tid bits? Looking for another read distillers guide to rum is another good read..


Thanks for the recommendation, I'll check it out. I'd give it a B+ for home distilling. If you plan on ageing in barrels and managing a cellar this is essential reading. There are some good tips like the dilution process that I think can be adapted for hobby purposes, and is a great treatise on the subject of ageing. Some of it isn't relevant to hobby level production, but I still found it interesting.
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby sp0rk » Sun Nov 13, 2016 7:29 pm

I'd like to hear what Doc has to say about this
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby Bumper » Sun Nov 13, 2016 7:52 pm

In the seek for corroboration..

https://www.straightbourbon.com/communi ... n-process/

Quote from the thread:

I'm not sure that it matters in the scope of this conversation but when we did our Knob Creek selection they didn't add water just once to get to the final proof. They specifically mentioned a multi step process to hit the final proof as overdiluting would be a big problem.
I believe that they added water a total of three times to fine tune the proof. We were not present for that step so this is based on the barrel selection guides word.
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby Bumper » Sun Nov 13, 2016 7:53 pm

sp0rk wrote:I'd like to hear what Doc has to say about this


Indeed
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby wynnum1 » Mon Nov 14, 2016 7:25 am

Alcohol heats up when diluted with water could this have an effect.
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby markus » Mon Nov 14, 2016 9:33 am

Thanks for posting bumper. Looks like an interesting read.
Think I might buy that :-B

Cheers :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby warramungas » Mon Nov 14, 2016 6:42 pm

I think we're a little above that now with today's modern technology and mathematical methods. Yes, I know people preach the old ways are the best. If temperature change during dilution was truly an issue, you could work out the total difference of the temperature change of adding water to the alcohol of the exothermic reaction and compensate by adding cooled water to maintain the same temperature. Sort of cooling and heating at the same time cancelling itself out.
Or would the colder water (wouldn't need to be ice cold) shock the spirit as well?
On our scale, would we even notice a difference?
I do imagine most distilleries doing multiple water additions during dilution to get the strength just right though.
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby Bumper » Mon Nov 14, 2016 7:54 pm

So I checked the chapter again, and he does give an explanation. He says it causes hydrolysis of the esters, resulting in saponification of the spirit. It will become flat and can become soapy, losing its complexity and balance.
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby bluc » Mon Nov 14, 2016 8:19 pm

Have not had a soapy whiskey but did have a soapy rum.. :twisted:
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby sp0rk » Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:56 am

Bumper wrote:So I checked the chapter again, and he does give an explanation. He says it causes hydrolysis of the esters, resulting in saponification of the spirit. It will become flat and can become soapy, losing its complexity and balance.

I've had this happen with my Macrum
Hmm, will try incremental watering down on half of my next batch of BWKO to see if it makes a difference compared to just watering straight to drinking abv
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby warramungas » Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:35 am

Interesting theory. I wonder if its extra time on wood that prevents the flattening or whether its done out of the barrel in a non reactive tank?
H2O hydrolysis is really slow (at room temperature) that's why its usually done with acids in a lab. If you maintain temperature at a constant it shouldn't matter whether you add 1 liter in one hit or 100 ml in 10 separate hits over time to the same solution. Like adding ten separate doses of vinegar to bicarb instead of one individual dose. It will still have the same quantity of end products. The reactant quantities are all still the same.
Maybe the complexity of the esters and ketones in the spirit are more complex than at first thought and creating a small amount of one as opposed to large amounts causes some sort of secondary reaction? :think: Buggered if I know but maybe worth a side by side comparison on 3 bottles. One slowly added to over time, second with total volume added to at the initial point and a third added to at the time of completion of the multiple addition bottle. Temperatures of the solution should remain constant at all times for addition to remove the temperature variable.
I'll have a look and see if I can work out the temperature required of water to prevent the temperature change in the solution during addition. Just gotta remember how. :)) I'll post a spreadsheet if I can figure it out again.
I'd give it a go but my spirits are nowhere near good enough to see if there's any difference.
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby Bumper » Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:56 pm

warramungas wrote:Interesting theory. I wonder if its extra time on wood that prevents the flattening or whether its done out of the barrel in a non reactive tank?
H2O hydrolysis is really slow (at room temperature) that's why its usually done with acids in a lab. If you maintain temperature at a constant it shouldn't matter whether you add 1 liter in one hit or 100 ml in 10 separate hits over time to the same solution. Like adding ten separate doses of vinegar to bicarb instead of one individual dose. It will still have the same quantity of end products. The reactant quantities are all still the same.
Maybe the complexity of the esters and ketones in the spirit are more complex than at first thought and creating a small amount of one as opposed to large amounts causes some sort of secondary reaction? :think: Buggered if I know but maybe worth a side by side comparison on 3 bottles. One slowly added to over time, second with total volume added to at the initial point and a third added to at the time of completion of the multiple addition bottle. Temperatures of the solution should remain constant at all times for addition to remove the temperature variable.
I'll have a look and see if I can work out the temperature required of water to prevent the temperature change in the solution during addition. Just gotta remember how. :)) I'll post a spreadsheet if I can figure it out again.
I'd give it a go but my spirits are nowhere near good enough to see if there's any difference.


Hah! your understanding of the chemistry betrays the quality of your spirits!

Not sure what the benefit of the addition at initial bottling will do other than re-prove that oak ageing at lower ABV will give different flavours (this has been proven... right?) but sold on the other two for a side by side comparison. Life is too short for control groups on previously proved hypotheses. A couple more months on the rum and it is first cab off the rank for an experiment.
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