One of the exciting parts in learning how to moonshine is adding flavors that greatly enhance the taste of your moonshine to resemble commercial spirits. Basically, you can come up with various products such as bourbon, vodka, whiskey whatnot and many more. All of these have undergone some kind of flavoring and a lot of aging in order to achieve the final taste of your spirits. But then, the taste and smell of the finished product also depend on the raw materials used in the process. More than that, the character of your final product also relies on how you take control of the distillation such as making cuts out of your fermented wash.
Both the process of aging and adding flavor is important if you are making use of spirit essences to enhance the taste of your neutral spirit. Although it is a fact that the flavored spirit can be consumed right on the very same day it is distilled, many distillers suggest that you will benefit a lot if you let your spirit sit in the bottle for a period of one month or so placed in a dark place. If you follow this simple technique, your bourbons and wines can be sweeter and more refined. In case that you create a scotch whiskey, letting it age will make your product more scotch like. Another great technique to create excellent bourbon is to let your neutral spirit to age in oak chips for about 15 days using 15 grams of oak chips in one liter of spirit. If you worry about acquiring the taste of wood in your finished product, you can taste a sample of your spirit aged at 10 days and see how it taste and just do the same thing in an interval or 1-2 days. By doing this, you will come up with the realization that the taste of your bourbon is just perfect at day 15 or 16. And in order to intensify the taste even more, what you can do is filter it in muslin cloth and include the sweet bourbon essence into it. After which, you can proceed with bottling the product into 700 bottles which should be stored in a cool dark place for a period of one month or more. With this, you can achieve bourbon that is smooth and mellow to drink.
You will also see that commercially produced spirits are usually stored in wooden cask or barrels as this enhances the taste through aging and flavoring techniques. For instance, scotch whiskey is usually kept in sherry cask in order to combine the different flavors of sherry, sugars present in the wood as well as the distinct flavor of the whiskey. The resulting product is quite unique and more flavorful. Also, if you will take a look at these products, you will find that the age is about three to eight years and even twelve. So, you will begin to wonder why your spirit soaked with oak chips in order to achieve aging takes only a few days instead of years. The answer greatly depends on the surface area of the oak wood chips that comes in contact with a certain amount of spirit. Essentially, the surface area of the oak chips is greater than that of the barrel which makes the exchange of flavor more rapid. Furthermore, old wood new wood has the capacity to age spirit more than old wood does. So, it is more recommended to use fresh wood chips rather than the old one because your spirit can have a woody taste and this can negatively affect the flavor of your finished product.
Just in case that you would like to come up with dark rum, you can modify the technique mentioned above by soaking your spirit in oak chips at 10 grams per liter of spirit for a period of 15 to 20 days. You should wait for at least 10 days before you can take out a sample using a shot glass so that you can avoid consuming it all. This will help you gauge the flavor earlier in time. You must be aware that leaving it for a long time can cause a woody flavor so you have to make a wise judgment. Once you are satisfied with the flavors that the oak chips have given your drink, you can now remove the wood chips and start filtering your spirit in order to eliminate splinters. Yet, you must not filter it using a carbon filter because it will only remove much of its flavor which makes you lose all your efforts. Using a muslin or tea towel is highly recommended in this case so that you can retain all the flavors that you would like to keep. You may also try a coffee filter which may take slowly compared to muslin, but is really quite effective too. And to add final touches, you can add 5 teaspoons of caramelized raw or white sugar per liter of your spirit. You can add addition sugar if you want it sweeter because your final product will greatly depend on your taste buds. Read more