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Old 08-27-2009, 05:44 PM   #1
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Default We all know to protect our beer from oxidation...what about liquor?

We know it is okay to aerate wort before fermentation has taken place, but once it is beer, we protect it from oxygen. For me, it has always been good enough to assume that the alcohol itself is what makes the difference here. That got me thinking that maybe my half full bottle of johnnie walker blue label is slowly getting worse instead of better now that it has been open to the air and sloshed around. Can anyone confirm or deny this? What actually oxidizes in beer to cause a staleness, and is that present in distilled beverages?

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Old 08-27-2009, 06:30 PM   #2
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I may be totally off on this, but I remember hearing something about yeast that remain in beer can brake down ethanol in the presence of oxygen after fermentation. Since no yeast would remain after distillation You shouldn't have this problem.

By the way, IMHO Johnny Blue is awful, and is nothing more than a sales gimmick.

Edit: It was actually discussed in the latest issue of BYO.

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Old 08-27-2009, 08:03 PM   #3
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Someone was asking the same thing about this the other day on Badger And Blade. Whiskey breathing, does it have any effect?

I think the general consensus is that while letting whiskey breath just before drinking is good, long term exposure to oxidation is probably bad. At the very least, long term oxygen exposure does change the character of whiskey. You might be able to find more info on this from one of Michael Jackson's whiskey resources.

I'm taking a guess here, but oxidation probably has a worse effect on spirits like whiskey, dark rum and tequila, so dark liquor. The reason being is that there is a lot more than just ethanol in these beverages. The compounds that give them the flavor and color would therefore be inversely affected by oxygen. Gin would probably loose some of its aromatics. There is really no taste to vodka, so I don't see how it can change.

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Old 08-28-2009, 12:26 AM   #4
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I know that with beer oxidation is a huge problem because its oxidizing certain malt characteristics left behind in the beer. However with whiskey (Irish, Canadian, Scottish) you dont have many (if any) of those malt characteristics to break down. The largest issue would be loosing the oak aging in the whiskey, personally I have no clue if it escapes the whiskey however that is where you get 80% of your taste in a good scotch/whiskey. I know with oak aging oxygen will actually enter the barrel through the pores of the wood and can sit there for years. So I would assume that you are safe with the whiskey. I have had whiskey bottles, open, for quite some time and never noticed a difference. IMO its blue label, drink it, get it over with and revert back to something better. Yes is expensive but I have had $50 bottles that blow it out of the water. If I may say, I dont know if you are a scotch guy only, but I would recommend a pure pot still Irish whiskey, you will be effing amazed!

Side note, If you leave the top open you will probably loose a lot of the aromatics and some of the flavor of the whiskey. But as long as its corked you should be fine.

Edit: I just read that link posted above it had some really good points. I could see how breathing affects it, but it shouldn't have a major effect in the bottle until you are toward the end of the bottle. Im certain my not so refined taste buds couldnt taste it but a professional whiskey taster probably can.

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Old 08-28-2009, 12:43 AM   #5
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Also, a big reason to avoid oxygen in beer is acetobactar. Acetobactar requires oxygen to reproduce, and it can turn beer into vinegar. It cant live in whiskey.

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Old 08-28-2009, 01:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edcculus View Post
There is really no taste to vodka
I call bullsh*t.
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Old 08-28-2009, 02:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Falcor View Post
I call bullsh*t.
I agree. It tastes like overcooked gin
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Falcor View Post
I call bullsh*t.
By definition, vodka is supposed to be tasteless, colorless, and odorless...
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:48 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rking View Post
By definition, vodka is supposed to be tasteless, colorless, and odorless...
Have you ever tried Banker's Club vodka? Very good vodka has those characteristics, but the cheaper the vodka, the more off flavors it has. Buy cheap vodka and run half of it through a brita filter, you'll see.
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Old 08-31-2009, 02:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Professor Frink View Post
Have you ever tried Banker's Club vodka? Very good vodka has those characteristics, but the cheaper the vodka, the more off flavors it has. Buy cheap vodka and run half of it through a brita filter, you'll see.
I remember reading about an experiment done with professional tasters where they ran bar brand vodka through a Brita multiple times and tracked the flavor evolution.

These tasters were amazing. They were actually able to line up the flight of blind samples based on the number of times through the filter. All four of them were almost exactly right with 10 different samples.

They all agreed that the vodka that had been run through the Brita 10 times was as good as any top shelf brand they had ever tasted. (And they were fans of vodka.)
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