Whether you want to start aging your own whiskey or you’re simply interested in the importance of oak whiskey barrels, learning about the aging process can launch you into a whole new level of appreciation for your favorite liquors. Here are a few things you might not have known about the whiskey aging process.
Aging Has a Distinct Effect on Flavor
When alcohol enters the small wooden barrels that it’s often aged in, it’s typically clear and almost flavorless. But once inside its barrel, alcohol begins to age and change in numerous ways. In oak whiskey barrels, the alcohol that will become whiskey picks up both flavors and colors from the wood. That’s why when aged whiskey comes out of its barrel, it has that familiar dark color. In addition, the flavor of the barrel will transfer into the alcohol. Most whiskeys are known to have a woody or oaky flavor to them. That’s a result of the wood flavor leeching into the alcohol as it ages.
Brandy and Whiskey Are the Most Commonly Aged Alcohols
Of all the different types of liquor, brandy and whiskey are the most common ones that require aging. That’s right, there’s actually a requirement that these liquors have to be aged before they’re bottled and sold. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to carry the title of brandy or whiskey. In the case of most styles of whiskey and brandy, the minimum aging requirement is about three years. That means these liquors must be aged in wooden barrels for at least three years before they can be bottled and sold. In many cases, these liquors are aged much longer than that. Depending on the brand, the liquor may be aged for anywhere from 10-15 years.
The Aging Barrel Matters
We covered earlier that aging has a distinct effect on the flavor of the whiskey. And that all has to do with the barrel it’s aged in. For example, if whiskey was aged in a maple barrel, it would taste much different than whiskey aged in an oak barrel. Some whiskey producers even have different barrels to use specifically for different batches of whiskey.
Whiskey is a classic liquor that many people enjoy. The more you cna learn about your favorite liquors, the more you’ll enjoy consuming them.