Whiskey is an age-old drink that is enjoyed by many. However, some who enjoy this type of alcohol have ambitions to take it further.
Some may wish to make their choice of whiskey better. Some have decided that this can be done by aging the whiskey. Certain store-bought whiskeys have already been aged before bottling. Others may not have gone through this process.
Whiskey drinkers that wish to age their whiskey at home may be wondering what the best whiskey to age at home is. We have looked into it, and this is what we have found!
Aging Whiskey at Home
An important step of whiskey-making is aging. While this is arguably the most important step, many can agree that it is vital, nonetheless.
Sometimes, you may purchase a bottle of whiskey, only to find it is not what you thought it would be. Your solution to try and improve the whiskey is to try and age it further at home.
This is no easy or inexpensive task, and it may not necessarily result in the outcome you expected. But it may certainly be worth the try.
Why You Should Age Whiskey at Home
The advantage of aging whiskey at home is that you can experiment with different finishes. You can try aging whiskey either with your favorite whiskeys, or ones that you are not too keen on.
Aging a whiskey that is not quite to your taste may just give it something more that will appease your taste buds.
What You Will Need to Age Whiskey at Home
There are several ways to age whiskey at home. The most popular ways to age whiskey at home include barrel aging or using wood chips or staves.
Other ways to age whiskey in the comfort of your home are in oak bottles or even mason jars with a piece of oak.
In all methods, you will need some sort of whiskey. Either raw whiskey or any old whiskey you have lying around that you would like to experiment with.
For barrel-aging whiskey, you will need an oak barrel. Although oak is not the only wood option, it is the most common wood used for aging. If you wish to use a different type of wood, it is best to do some research as some types of wood can be poisonous.
To age whiskey with wood chips or staves, you would need a couple of chips or staves of the wood of your choice. You will also need something to hold the whiskey and wood chips or staves.
While you could simply add the chips or staves to the whole bottle of whiskey, you may wish to experiment first. For experimenting, it is recommended that you use a smaller container such as a mason jar.
Additionally, you could invest in an oak bottle which you can use to age your whiskey at home. And, for some methods, you may need access to a fire pit or a blow torch in order to smoke or char your wood pieces.
How to Age Whiskey at Home
For all the below methods of aging, the bottle or container with the whiskey should be kept in a cool, dry place and out of direct sunlight.
One of the most popular ways to age whiskey at home is using a barrel. This is also the way whiskey is aged during production. However, for aging whiskey at home, you will not require a full-sized barrel as they use in the production of whiskey.
For aging whiskey at home using a barrel, you will need a small-scale barrel. To get your hands on an aging barrel, you can look into purchasing an aging kit. While oak is the most common wood that is used to age whiskey, you could also try maple wood or even hickory wood.
Once you have your barrel, you should rinse it out first by filling it with water and then draining it again. After you have rinsed your barrel, you can then fill it with the whiskey you wish to age. The length of aging will depend on you.
You should age the whiskey to your taste preference. It is best to check your whiskey as often as daily. Alternatively, you could check your aging whiskey once or twice a week.
Aging can be as short as a week or even a few days to as long as a couple of years.
Using Wood Chips or Staves
To age whiskey using wood chips or staves, you will need a container such as a mason jar to hold the brew. This is most likely the most affordable way to experiment with different tastes and finishes.
This method is as simple as adding the wood chips or staves to a jar of your whiskey of choice or even the bottle it came in if you are feeling ambitious.
Monitor your aging whiskey, checking it often so as not to overage it and essentially spoil the taste completely. As with other methods of aging, you should probably check your whiskey as often as daily.
Once you are content with the taste of your aged whiskey, strain it to remove the wood chips of staves and rebottle the strained whiskey.
Oak Bottle Aging
Interestingly, there are actual oak bottles available on the market. These are perfect to experiment with and age your whiskey in at home.
Much like a wooden barrel, you should rinse the oak bottle before filling it with your choice of whiskey. Check the whiskey often and rebottle it once you are happy with the flavor.
What to Look for In a Whiskey to Age at Home
Typically, the best whiskey to use for aging at home is raw whiskey. Alternatively, if you have a bottle lying around at home that you wish to experiment with, you can use that too.
You could even try aging a bottle you were not too fond of, as it would be a pity for it to go to waste!
Spirits that age the best are the ones that have a higher alcohol percentage. You could also give some subpar whiskeys a chance and try your luck at aging them at home. Although there is no one specific whiskey to use, you could use just about any whiskey you like.
Now that you know what to look for, it will make choosing the right whiskey to age at home much easier.
The Best Whiskey to Age at Home
Some whiskeys that would be a good choice to try aging include the following:
Buffalo Trace White Dog Mash #1 – This whiskey is also referred to as a moonshine. It has 125 proof and is unaged. This type of whiskey is a good starting point if you wish to find your own specific taste.
Coppersea Raw Rye Whiskey – This raw whiskey has a 45% ABV. It may be a nice whiskey to experiment with.
MOTO Spirits Traditional Unaged Rice Whiskey – Something different, this whiskey is unaged and has an ABV of 42%. This whiskey has a soft taste which is ideal if you want to try aging a stronger flavor.
Jack Daniel’s Unaged Tennessee Rye Whiskey – A popular brand name may deter you from wanting to dabble in changing the taste, but this unaged whiskey is the perfect choice to try something new. It has a 40% ABV and is said to have an intriguing flavor that could be great to experiment with.
Straw Boys Irish Poitin – Another moonshine, this whiskey has an ABV of 45%. This is an unaged, white whiskey that has been made in Ireland.
These are just a few ideas of the types of whiskey brands you can try aging at home. But there is no limit to what whiskey you can use to age at home. It really depends on your taste preferences, so there is no one best whiskey to use.
Sometimes you may not get what you expect from a whiskey. You may even wish to just try experimenting with different flavors. If this is the case and you are up for the challenge, aging whiskey at home can be a good way to try and truly fulfill your taste preferences. Or it could just be a bit of fun on the side.
Whatever your motivation may be, there are several ways in which you can age whiskey at home. It should be done with caution, however, as some types of woods are poisonous and therefore should not be used for aging whiskey.
There is no one right answer to the question of which whiskey is the best to age at home. Choosing a whiskey to age at home will come down to personal preference and taste.
If you are looking to expand your whiskey knowledge check out our articles on the best whiskeys under $50 or the best whiskey to drink straight.