watering down to drinking abv

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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby scythe » Wed Nov 16, 2016 5:17 am

There is a graph somewhere here that shows the approximate flavours you can ecpect to get from oak at certain %ABV when ageing.
Maybe this is what old mate was on about when saying that the spirit becomes flat.
Rather than neutralizing what is already there it prevents the extraction of other "notes" from the wood.
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby JamieC » Mon Dec 26, 2016 6:50 pm

Hmmm. Interesting, I just watered down 10L of 88% neutral. Been hot days and the spring water container was over 30Deg. Spirit was around 23deg. When blending I noticed some strange louch/clumping. Disappeared when mixed, but was there all the same. Food for thought.
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby RC Al » Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:22 am

So a year later, how are people going with this?
Did anyone remember to give it a try?
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby bluc » Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:03 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.

bluc wrote:Have not had a soapy whiskey but did have a soapy rum.. :twisted:


So I now have had a soapy whiskey will have to grab this book for a read..
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby db1979 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:07 am

I reckon this is a matter of the equilibrium system in the spirit. It's a series of dynamic (constantly changing) reactions that occur where the reactants are reacting to make products and at the same time the products are reacting to go back to the reactants again.

Over time, if left undisturbed, an equilibrium system will establish at a specific point where the amount of reactant and product appears to be fixed and unchanging (this is referred to as "at equilibrium"). In reality, the concentrations of both are staying the same because the reaction that uses up the reactants is happening at the same speed as the reaction that uses up the product.

The concentration of the reactants and products will influence the position of the equilibrium (favouring more reactants or more products) and so adding water to the spirit will cause the dynamic system to respond until it reaches equilibrium again (this is because water is a reactant in the hydrolysis of esters). This means the speed of the two reactions will change until they both become equal again. This takes time, especially for slow organic reactions, like the hydrolysis of large esters by water into fatty acids (soap taste) and an alcohol.

Adding water slowly may help to keep the equilibrium from going too far from where it was in the barrel (and possibly needing more time to readjust) and then needing less time to return closer to where it was before the addition of water.

On the other hand, quick dilution with water should just need time for the spirit to sit and return to equilibrium. Perhaps it's faster overall to add the water slowly.
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby crow » Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:15 pm

Somewhat true and staged tempering will likely get there faster. Imagine you are making a concrete mix where you have sand and gravel to mix first, water molecules are your gravel and ethanol is your sand. You tip the gravel over damp sand it don't mix well, you tip the damp sand over gravel it mixes a lot better but still has a long way to go to being mixed. Mixing bit by bit will get an even mix faster but in the end given time the result will be the same. Aging as such might stop at bottling but the molecular structure won't stay static and chemical reactions and the formation of compounds will continue, you could call that bottle aging I guess. This will happen at a fastish rate after tempering slowly reducing as time goes by but probably never actually stopping. That is to say there is a massive difference between new make and aged. Then a fair difference in fresh tempered/ bottled and 12 months latter , a smaller difference in 1 year to 2 , 2 to 5 even less 5 to 10 even less and 10 to 30 less so but there is a noticeable difference from 1year to 20 or 30.
Bottom line is this method will make a difference short term, long term it will even out.
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby A&O » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:54 pm

To throw a cat amongst the pigeons, how does oxygen affect the transfer from cask to bottle even adding water to spirit to dilute down to 40% for long term storage in bottles/consumption? Does stirring the sprit where more oxygen can be added to solution affect the spirits flavour profile?
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby db1979 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:06 pm

Oxygen will oxidise any tannins which changes their flavour and also make them less soluble. This is how aeration can counter over-oaking. Microbes present can use the oxygen to convert the alcohol into vinegar.
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby A&O » Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:34 pm

Mm interesting, thanks db, gonna have to look into how vinegar is made, as I didn’t realise it is made from alcohol.
Cheers
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby crow » Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:07 pm

Yes sure but not any microbe it has to be mother of vinegar or one of a few acetic acid bacteria capable off withstanding oxogenized higher proof spirit, I'm not sure off hand what that proof is but there is as far as I'm aware a limit. I understand they always temper spirit right down to make distilled vinegar, I think the risk is very low. It might make for some fun experiments to see how high abv you could get an acetic to take hold, I'd guess not much higher than 20-25%
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Re: watering down to drinking abv

Postby db1979 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 11:38 pm

Yep, you've got good points there. Microbiology isn't my strength.
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