Ultrasonic Aging

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Ultrasonic Aging

Postby r1zzla » Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:34 am

After reading on this forum and others about Ultrasonic aging I came across a 3L ultrasonic cleaner in an OpShop for $20, I was sceptical but the price was right.
Over the past week or so I've had a few washes finally get to below 1.000 and have been busily reaping the benefits, which gave me some 'spare' for experimentation.
I initially did my usual cuts on a TPW, resulting in about a third as hearts, then took the 250ml jar either side of the hearts cut as experiment #1, watered down to 40% threw it in the US cleaner, did 5x5min with an American oak stave, temp went up to 45degC, left it overnight and came back to it - the heads burn that was there the previous night - GONE? vanilla, etc all there after less than 24hrs :shock:

Since then I've done another 6 or 7 comparisons, with neutral and various 'generational' washes and ultrasonic seems to add some age to young spirits (especially the MacRum), but made no difference that I could discern to anything that had been traditionally aged for 3months+.

Anyway thats it for now - jeez I love this hobby always something new to try :D
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Re: Ultrasonic Aging

Postby Minpac » Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:10 am

I've been hoping to pick one up too after reading a few rapid aging threads over on the HD forums. I have tried the nuclear aging method with some success though. Have you given the microwave aging a go? I'd love to hear your comparison.
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Re: Ultrasonic Aging

Postby r1zzla » Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:19 am

Minpac wrote:I've been hoping to pick one up too after reading a few rapid aging threads over on the HD forums. I have tried the nuclear aging method with some success though. Have you given the microwave aging a go? I'd love to hear your comparison.


I only tried it a few times, I wasn't that impressed, it seemed to bring out some harsh flavours from the wood. By comparison the ultrasonic just seems to speed up the aging process, with no downside that i can spot. I have 3or4 batches with 1L straight onto american oak and 1L with the same amount of oak, but with 5x5min of US. Now just need to wait 6 months.

There are other variables to experiment with - more US cycles, ABV% etc, more excuses to spend time in the shed :-D
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Re: Ultrasonic Aging

Postby prawnz » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:26 am

So when you say you threw it in the US cleaner , did you pour it into the basin or did you a glass jar of spirit in the water in the cleaner ?

The reason I ask is , I have an US cleaner here that I use in my business but i dont think I'd like to put my neutral directly into it . I could however put a jar of neut in with water in the bowl . Interesting :think:
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Re: Ultrasonic Aging

Postby r1zzla » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:43 am

After a few cleaning runs initially, I'm putting up to 2L straight into the basin, it's all stainless and I'm only using it for the one purpose.
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Re: Ultrasonic Aging

Postby Whiskyaugogo » Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:56 pm

Minpac wrote:I've been hoping to pick one up too after reading a few rapid aging threads over on the HD forums. I have tried the nuclear aging method with some success though. Have you given the microwave aging a go? I'd love to hear your comparison.


Putting high% spirit in a microwave and turning it on is the stupidest idea ever and should NEVER be attempted!
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Re: Ultrasonic Aging

Postby r1zzla » Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:10 pm

Whiskyaugogo wrote:
Minpac wrote:I've been hoping to pick one up too after reading a few rapid aging threads over on the HD forums. I have tried the nuclear aging method with some success though. Have you given the microwave aging a go? I'd love to hear your comparison.


Putting high% spirit in a microwave and turning it on is the stupidest idea ever and should NEVER be attempted!


The only % mentioned in this thread is 40%. With a max temp of 40degC, why is there a problem ?
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Re: Ultrasonic Aging

Postby prawnz » Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:24 pm

r1zzla wrote:The only % mentioned in this thread is 40%. With a max temp of 40degC, why is there a problem ?


I would imagine because when a portion of the spirit vaporizes inside the micro and comes into contact with sparks in the micros electrics , notably the motor , the potential for an explosion would be veryreal .
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Re: Ultrasonic Aging

Postby Minpac » Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:47 pm

Whiskyaugogo wrote:Putting high% spirit in a microwave and turning it on is the stupidest idea ever and should NEVER be attempted!


The ultrasound does sound safer. I did some review of the process prior to trying it at 40%, and felt pretty comfortable - though there is always an element of risk to these things. As per putting low wines in boilers, I wouldn't recommend above 40%.

While there is possibility for ignition if there are metals in the microwave to spark (forks, lids,etc), autoignition (ie. without ignition source, like a spark or flame) of acetone (the lowest ignition point fusel alcohol) is at 465 degrees C, and these are evaporated first. Ethanol has an autoignition point of 365 degrees C. In minute long bursts, I don't believe the magnetron manages to achieve temperatures of this level, and opening the space to check each minute clears the vapour in the microwave.

In any case, when I did try it, I put a tea towel over the top to absorb some of the vapour, and vapour then predominantly sits in the jar headspace.
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Re: Ultrasonic Aging

Postby Whiskyaugogo » Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:41 pm

Minpac wrote:
Whiskyaugogo wrote:Putting high% spirit in a microwave and turning it on is the stupidest idea ever and should NEVER be attempted!


The ultrasound does sound safer. I did some review of the process prior to trying it at 40%, and felt pretty comfortable - though there is always an element of risk to these things. As per putting low wines in boilers, I wouldn't recommend above 40%.

While there is possibility for ignition if there are metals in the microwave to spark (forks, lids,etc), autoignition (ie. without ignition source, like a spark or flame) of acetone (the lowest ignition point fusel alcohol) is at 465 degrees C, and these are evaporated first. Ethanol has an autoignition point of 365 degrees C. In minute long bursts, I don't believe the magnetron manages to achieve temperatures of this level, and opening the space to check each minute clears the vapour in the microwave.

In any case, when I did try it, I put a tea towel over the top to absorb some of the vapour, and vapour then predominantly sits in the jar headspace.


You are inline for a Darwin award if you think putting spirits in Microwave is safe. Auto ignition is not the issue! At 40% alc/vol, the flash point is 28 degrees which means you heat it to this temp and a simple spark will ignite it. Are you running spark proof electrics in your microwave? No?

This practice is ridiculously dangerous and SHOULD NOT be attempted AT ALL!! :handgestures-thumbdown:
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Re: Ultrasonic Aging

Postby r1zzla » Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:57 pm

The topic of this thread was Ultrasonic aging ?
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Re: Ultrasonic Aging

Postby Minpac » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:06 pm

Apologies for getting off topic r1zzla, was not intending to derail the thread - mods please feel free to clean up.
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Re: Ultrasonic Aging

Postby bluc » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:19 pm

Ultrasonic sounds interesting. Whats are the downsides? Ultrasonic works on vibration correct? I had the idea (prob not the first person to) use a magnetic stir plate. Will have to do some more experiments me thinks..
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Re: Ultrasonic Aging

Postby TasSpirits » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:11 pm

I sample some Whisky that had been treaded this way, heat + vibration, certainly got me thinking about buying one, having good stock aging long term has always been my goal and I have been quite lucky to have the time and cash to put into it. I am quite happy to have some sugarheads for mixing, while I'm waiting for the AG to age, but I am still keen to give this a go, if you could get a jump on the aging process, while building up enough spirit to fill a big Barrel it would be a great way to start. Keen to hear of any progress you make with this. :handgestures-thumbupleft:

ps. always wondered about nuclear aging, never owned a microwave and was always a bit sceptical of the process, seemed like asking for trouble, so never tried it.
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Re: Ultrasonic Aging

Postby mark84 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:19 pm

Hey r1zzla sounds interesting, what size US CLEANER do you use? I have been looking at a few myself but not sure what size/ specs would suit best
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Re: Ultrasonic Aging

Postby r1zzla » Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:41 pm

mark84 wrote:Hey r1zzla sounds interesting, what size US CLEANER do you use? I have been looking at a few myself but not sure what size/ specs would suit best


I've got a 3L model, same as this one .... http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/3L-Stainless-Steel-Ultrasonic-Cleaner-Industrial-Digital-Control-Heater-Timer/281510921436?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649 which I fill with 2L at a time of 40%. I'm not saying it's a replacement for anything, it just seems to get the same results of at least a month of my standard (hearts in glass with charred staves) overnight. I'm new to ALL this, I only put the post up because I was shocked at the difference I detected in the US product.

I would be interested to hear if any of the 'Old Hands' have experimented with this.
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Re: Ultrasonic Aging

Postby scythe » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:31 am

Doc does ultrasonic ageing and infusing in his commercial distillery.
I think he does it under vacuum tho so the ethanol boils at a lower temp to prevent scorching what he is trying to infuse and there are no vapours.
He also does it at high %ABV iirc.


Creating alcohol vapour in open atmosphere is always a bad idea.
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Re: Ultrasonic Aging

Postby prawnz » Thu Aug 03, 2017 10:12 am

scythe wrote:
Creating alcohol vapour in open atmosphere is always a bad idea.


Yup , so I'm thinking , next batch of Neut I do O'll put some in a sealed jar with a vac sealed domino and give it a couple of 5 min cycles . See what happens .

Interesting topic :clap:
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Re: Ultrasonic Aging

Postby ThePaterPiper » Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:42 pm

Hey guys, any updates on this process?

I am considering buying an ultrasonic transducer and affixing it to the side of a corny keg so I can do up to 18l at a time. I was also thinking of upping the pressure inside by a couple of psi. You can get the transducer and electronics to drive it for about $50. Any thoughts?
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Re: Ultrasonic Aging

Postby the Doctor » Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:43 am

If just doing small batches you can find ultrasonic tool cleaners at supercheap which may give you a head start in the game... we use one in our bar to make forage cocktails using our vodka and foraged edible flowers such as rose buds... nasturtiums...we simply vacuum in a mason jar and place in the ultrasonic for 90 seconds then into the cocktail shaker ...the results are spectacular if you like a fresh martini... as for ageing ...ultrasonics are good for testing out ideas but I do not think they are a replacement for time and oak.
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