Johannes Lindblom

As you might have noticed, whiskey aging kits have become more and more available online. Seems like each year there’s a new whiskey aging kit provider. And I don’t blame them, I love the concept of trying to mature the whiskey yourself. And as the lazy guy that I am, it’s fun that someone has done the basic ground work for me. By ground work I mean manufactured an American oak barrel and distilled some new make spirit. Each whiskey aging set you see online by a respectful company, provides you the tools you need to become a whiskey master distiller from the comforts of your own home. Yes, a home distiller of whiskey!

And what really is the best part – there is a possibility that you’ll mature good whiskey yourself. That’s because of the small barrels. Small barrels reduce the ageing time very much. Compared to the many years it takes the whiskey to mature in standard sized barrels, small barrels give maturity in a much shorter time. Some even claim that it only needs 2-4 weeks to age, while others suggest something between 3 and 6 months. My guess would be the latter part. I really don’t believe you can make even a decent whiskey in 2 or 4 weeks. Even though the whiskey barrel is compact size, 1 liter is the smallest you can get.

I’ve even bumped into one whiskey aging kit producer, who offers some “whisky essence” to help the buyers create a better taste profile. This is interesting because I know that even professionals can use essence while crafting a small batch whiskey in small barrels. For example, Valamo monastery distillery offers 30 liter casks when buying your own cask from them, and if you want their church wine maturation for the 30 liter cask, they’ll use some wine essence to get the wine taste in the whisky.

Don’t worry if whisky is not your choice of poison. There are usually other spirits available too. You can age rum or brandy. You most likely won’t be producing any award-winning whisky, when using whisky aging kit, but you’ll end up seeing and tasting the transformation of your dram, as it ages. That feels exciting.

How to be a home distiller

A home distilling kit is the answer. Home distilling kits for whiskey are trending right now, and I really can’t blame anyone if they get excited about whiskey aging kits. Who wouldn’t want to be a home distiller? I know that I would. That’s why whiskey home distilling kits are on the top of my gift list. I just have to find the right kind of set for my taste. Fortunately there are lots of variations out there. Whether you prefer single malt whisky or a blended whisky or even rye or bourbon whiskey, there is an ageing kit to suit for your preferences. What’s best, the kit has everything you need –so you really don’t have to do anything else than buy a home distilling kit of your preferences and follow the instructions and your taste – that’s right, you decide when the whiskey is ready and good for serving!

Make your own whiskey using a kit

We might as well name the whiskey aging kit as make your own whiskey kit. It sounds much better that way. After all, you’re maturing it yourself, even though the major ground work has already been done when you buy a whiskey aging kit. You get a nicely crafted whiskey barrel and all the equipment you need for aging good whiskey yourself. The spirit has been distilled by professionals, so you don’t have to worry about the quality of it – of course there is a possibility that even professionals can make bad spirit, if they use bad ingredients. But I guess you can count on getting the good stuff, or even the decent stuff, when buying online from a reliable producer. What’s great about whiskey aging kits, you get to choose yourself, when the whiskey is good enough for you. So you can probably make the decent stuff a bit better by maturing it thoroughly. When talking about safe online sellers, Amazon is one of the safest places to buy a home distilling kit for whiskey. You can check out the lowest prices below:

Lowest prices of whiskey aging kits on Amazon US

Lowest prices of whiskey aging kits on Amazon UK

Instructions on aging your own whiskey with a kit

Here’s a great instruction video by Woodinville Whiskey Co. It gives you nice tips on aging your own whiskey when using a whiskey aging kit

If you are tired of watching any videos, below is some tips and info in writing.

What you get with whiskey aging kit?

You usually get these items when buying a whiskey aging kit online:

  • 1 fresh handmade American White Oak barrel. By fresh I mean virgin oak aka new oak. The virgin oak barrel means that your first fill will be very powerful in terms of oak influence on the flavor. You can re-use a new barrel at least 2 more times before the influence of oak wanes.
  • New-make spirit to mature. There are different varieties, rye spirit, bourbon, malted barley and blended spirits. Plenty of different whisky styles to choose from.
  • A tap and a stand for the whiskey barrel.

Remember to give the tap a good whack to mount it in the barrel firmly but don’t whack too hard. You don’t want to push the tap too hard into the barrel. Ensure that the bung and tap have had a decent knock in, to create a proper kind of seal for the booze.

If you notice looseness with the hoops around the barrel or there’s a bit of seepage from the cask ends when filling it, pour some hot water in the cask. This helps the wood expand and become watertight.

Angel’s share = evaporation of alcohol is quite large for these custom barrels. It’s because of the high surface area combined with possible lack of proper temperature control during the whiskey aging. So while maturing your own whiskey with one these whiskey aging kits, be sure to keep your barrel at the coldest temperature possible. It will help minimizing the rate of evaporation. If you have a garage or cellar, use them. Good conditions ensure that the absolute maximum loss is somewhere around 5-15% per month. Most likely it will be far less than that.

March 21, 2016
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