Adult beverages in the backcountry.
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William Puckett
(Beep) - F

Locale: Land of 11, 842 lakes
"watering" your whisky (or whiskey) on 01/14/2009 20:25:45 MST Print View

Another factoid from the Glenlivet distillery...

As the product ages in the big wooden barrels (generally bourbon barrels from America), it also loses water from evaporation through the wood (around 1-2% per year). The older the product, the higher the "proof" or alcohol content since more water has evaporated.

The most significant action in bottling the product for sale is adding water (!) to reduce the proof to the desired level of 86 (about 43% alcohol).

Cask Strength is just that...no dilution as the product is bottled straight from the cask. The 16 year old Glenlivet cask strength I bought at the distillery is 115 proof and generally too "strong" to be pleasant without some water added.

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re : Whisky on 01/14/2009 21:09:04 MST Print View

I wouldn't say there was a right or wrong way to drink whisky, but personally, i prefer a splash of water. Preferably from the mountain stream next to my tent! :)

The word whisky comes from the Gaelic "uisge beatha", literally meaning 'water of life'. Hundreds of years ago, sitting in a freezing 'black house' during an 18 hour winter night, it probably was their 'water of life'! :)

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: aussie cask on 01/14/2009 22:37:58 MST Print View

> The only problem was I somehow drew the short straw to carry the bladder up there !!!

He who carries the cask controls the tap.

Cheers

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Adult beverages in the backcountry. on 01/15/2009 10:59:08 MST Print View

In my last re-supply package during my 2007 Pacific Northwest Trail thru-hike I was pleased to find a gift from the gear shop I worked at - a Snowpeak titanium flask filled with Jameson.

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Water and whisky on 01/15/2009 11:29:05 MST Print View

Williams, James, and Chris -

I think we need to undertake a serious, principled study to determine EXACTLY the proportions that best bring out the taste and nose. Strictly for science, of course. I graciously volunteer to participate in this study. Name a laboratory and a time.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Adult beverages in the backcountry. on 01/15/2009 11:40:20 MST Print View

Sam, I believe that's the most civilized act I've ever heard of. I'm feeling a little teary eyed right now just thinking about it. (Sniff.)

William Puckett
(Beep) - F

Locale: Land of 11, 842 lakes
Testing Panel on 01/15/2009 11:41:07 MST Print View

"I think we need to undertake a serious, principled study to determine EXACTLY the proportions that best bring out the taste and nose. Strictly for science, of course. I graciously volunteer to participate in this study. Name a laboratory and a time."

I agree!! ...and we haven't even started to distinguish between the lowland and highland whiskies!! (I'm partial to the smokier/peatier lowland varieties.)

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Testing Panel on 01/15/2009 12:18:38 MST Print View

I am more of a Highlands guy myself!

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: adult bevs on 01/15/2009 12:19:18 MST Print View

Justin you should try Clas Azul. Nice!!

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: "watering" your whisky (or whiskey) on 01/15/2009 13:39:15 MST Print View

>As the product ages in the big wooden barrels (generally bourbon barrels from America), it also loses water from evaporation through the wood (around 1-2% per year).

I find this very curious. How is it that the water evaporates and the alcohol doesn't? I usually think of it the other way around...alcohol is a lot harder to prevent from evaporating than water!

James Lantz
(jameslantz) - F

Locale: North Georgia
The Angel's share on 01/15/2009 14:17:00 MST Print View

Allison,
The alcohol & water both evaporate thru the cask which is known as the "angel's share". I would assume that many factors such as the porosity of the white oak casks, the surface tension of water molecules, the amount of air in the cask after fluids evaporate, the relative differences in the volatility of ethanol vs. H2O, the size of the cask (which varies greatly), & possibly even what the cask was previously filled with (American whiskey, sherry, port,rum, etc.)would all have an effect. Suffice it to say that I haven't a clue as to why the water would evaporate in greater concentration than the ethanol! I think I'll have a wee dram of 12 YO Macallan & think about this for a while! ;)

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Watering your whisky on 01/15/2009 14:22:03 MST Print View

Alison, alcohol does evaporate through the barrels. This is known as the "angel's share". When you visit a warehouse full of casks you can smell it! If Scotch whisky is kept in a barrel long enough the alcoholic strength may decline so much that it can no longer legally be called whisky. Most whisky is still pretty strong when bottled however so it's diluted to 40-46% alcohol. If bottled as cask strength it's usually 50-60% alcohol. (I have some magnificent cask strength Laphroaig that is 55.7% alcohol).

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Watering your whisky on 01/15/2009 17:32:42 MST Print View

ahhh two of my most favorite topics in life. Alcohol and backpacking

Justin Chaussee
(judach) - F

Locale: Earth
Re: Re: Watering your whisky on 01/15/2009 21:12:53 MST Print View

I agree Ken. Nothing like good scotch/tequila/wine and backpacking for me. Never been much of a gin man, but I have recently gotten into scotch.

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
koonunga hill on 01/16/2009 08:44:42 MST Print View

ashley said: "the Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet 2007 is a surprisingly good vintage and on special for $8.50/bottle"

I just saw that at my local supermarket, on sale for $US13
I opted out and grabbed some little boomey shiraz since its easier to justify ruining a $7 wine with platy "flavor". I'll keep the Koonunga for dinner at home. Thanks for the interest, i'll keep it on my list of wines to try.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Beverages on 01/22/2009 10:20:23 MST Print View

I had the Little boomey at Outback, seemed ..........not good. YMMV. I had a friend the other night open a bottle of Scotch called "Dallas Dhu", 30 years old. I think it ruined me for the stuff I usually drink. I like the idea of cask strength scotch for hiking, but where to find it....

Daniel Fosse
(magillagorilla) - F

Locale: Southwest Ohio
Rocket Fuel on 01/22/2009 12:10:10 MST Print View

Everclear for me. It's simple math. 1 pint of 190 proof is like 2 pints of 95 proof. Twice the booze for the same weight. 1 part Everclear, 3 parts water, and crystal light lemonaid to taste = Rocket Fuel.

I love whisky. Try Elijah Craig it is very good. This is what I pack if I'm not in the mood for Rocket Fuel. I'm in the 20-15% splash of water camp.

James Lantz
(jameslantz) - F

Locale: North Georgia
Beverages on 01/22/2009 12:58:06 MST Print View

Joe,
You can usually find cask strength scotch at larger beverage stores with larger selections. Macallan, Laphroaig, & Aberlour all make cask strength offerings & all are about 25% more expensive than their similarly aged brethren. Be careful, however, as I once had a friend show me how to make a "snow angel" in a loose gravel parking lot at a college football game after imbibing the Macallan variety!!

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Black Box on 01/23/2009 16:48:57 MST Print View

A good box wine we drink at home all the time is Black Box wine. It's as good as 2 Buck Chuck.