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After distilling the wash, the next step that you have to accomplish is blending your spirit that can be performed through adding flavors and aging. The process of blending and flavoring goes hand in hand in order to come up with a finished product that is essential part of distilling moonshine whether you are using sugar based or grain based wash. These processes play a big role in spirit making because it makes your spirit pleasing to your palate. It must be noted that the way you flavor and age your spirit will rely n the type of spirit that you are creating such as vodka, whiskey, bourbon and many more. There are various processes that are involve in the process of aging your spirit and in case of bourbon, you can use oak woodchips sometimes referred to as staves to trigger the aging process of your bourbon. Oak woodchips are excellent in improving the flavor of your bourbon making it smoother and mellow. It is more advisable to use wood chips if you are making your own spirit instead of aging these in barrels because oak wood chips have better capacity to enhance flavor.
Yet, a lot of spirits require aging in barrels in order to accomplish the flavor profile. There are helpful guidelines that can help you become successful with this process. Primarily, you have to choose a barrel that is fit for the kind of spirit that you are creating. In case of bourbon, it will be perfect if you will use charred oak barrels. On the other hand, if you will produce whiskey using a plain oak barrel will be good enough. If you are making a Scotch Whiskey, aging it in old sherry cask can bring out enticing flavors.
But then, no matter what kind of barrel you use in aging your spirit, there are certain facts that you have to follow carefully. The most important thing that you have to remember is not to leave your spirit in the barrel for an extra long period of time. This is because the spirit can acquire a woody taste that can make it not appealing to the palate depending on how long you have let it age in the barrel. In order not to waste the spirits that have gone woody, what you can do is to blend it to develop a good taste. Another thing is that spirits will age rapidly in small barrels or using wood chips compared to aging it in large barrels. This has something to do with the allocation of the volume of the spirit to the surface area of the barrel. For instance, if you are making a whiskey, you can come up with a well aged beverage using a 50 liter cask for a period of six months. Therefore, if you will age whiskey in a 500 liter cask, it will take about 5 years in order to achieve good results. Yet, if you are using woodchips, you can achieve a well aged spirit in a period of 5 to 7 days. Also, you must remember that a new barrel have the capacity to age spirits better than an old barrel. Apart from all these, wooden barrels have the tendency to breathe which is why a great percentage of the spirit can be lost over a certain period of time. With this, wooden barrels need to be topped up.
The process of blending is also an important area to consider when making spirits as this is widely utilized in commercial distilleries. One good example of this is the y Scotch Whiskey that has been blended in wide varieties. Also, it is believed that a single malt whiskey is too strong which is why it is the best practice to blend it with grain whiskey, malt whiskey as flavorings, color additives as well as neutral spirits. Adding these substances make your final product more affordable to the consumers. The most common examples of blended whiskey are Chivas Regal and Johnnie Walker. Yet, if you are after a neutral spirit, what you can do is to use a sugar based wash and distill it thrice until you come up with a 96% alcohol. You may dilute it with plain water to bring it back to 50% concentration. In this way, you can always create instant and affordable neutral spirit.