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Calculating The Angel's Share

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Calculating The Angel's Share

Postby bamber » Wed Mar 01, 2006 10:46 am

All this talk about Laddie's new super hooch inspired a quick search of google to try and find a formula for working out the Angel's Share, but ot no avail.

Now I know there are a lot of closet scientists here ! Any ideas ?

To my mind there are the following factors must be considered.

- The proof of the spirit
- The permeability of the barrel - to water and alcohol
- The relative humidity and temperature of the warehouse

Also possibly:

- The 'dryness' of the barrel - how much water it will absorb ?
- How full the barrel is
- The relative concentration of ethanol in the air (pretty unlikely)

Anyone fancy doing a PhD in whisky ?
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Postby bamber » Wed Mar 01, 2006 11:00 am

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Postby corbuso » Wed Mar 01, 2006 11:19 am

Storage conditions are the critical parameters for the angel's share.
Angel's share in Islay is around 1.5% of total volume per year.

Based on that, you can make some extrapolations.
If you want more details, have a look at "Piggot et al., Science and Technlogies of Whiskies".

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Postby bamber » Wed Mar 01, 2006 11:34 am

Thanks fot the link but I looked at Piggott's web page:

http://www.strath.ac.uk/Departments/BioSci/jp_ref.htm

Could not see that publication. Any other details ?
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Postby The Fachan » Wed Mar 01, 2006 11:57 am

Gentlemen,

These figures are an average over a number of years as the Angels Share can be as much as 3% or more in young whiskies and al ot less with older.
The classic 2% per year is very much an average.


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Postby bamber » Wed Mar 01, 2006 12:00 pm

And in Kentucky it is a negative number ....
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Postby kallaskander » Wed Mar 01, 2006 12:32 pm

Hi there,

some thoughts on the share of the angels.

The angels share:
The advantage of oak for maturing alcohol is that it is not airtight. It lets surrounding air enter the cask which explains the salted taste of a whisky aging near the sea, but it also lets evaporate the whisky it contains. It is generally admitted that between 1 and 2% a year evaporates this way. Evaporation can affect the water contained in the cask, but also the alcohol itself, resulting in a diminution of the alcohol percentage. That is called "the angels share". However, this percentage is theoretical, because this could result in a strange situation, as old whiskies (30 years and more) would lose their right to be called whisky. Indeed, assuming a whisky has about 70% of alcohol when it leaves the spirit still, and loses about 1% of alcohol a year a 30 years old whisky would just have a percentage of 40%, which is the lowest limit for a whisky. The angels share is indeed the part of alcohol which escapes to excise rights. Excise rights are calculated on the amount of alcohol coming out of the still and not on the amount of water. As this amount is diminishing over the years, the marketed whisky would be taxed using the alcohol percentage it had when it was distilled.

The nature of the warehouse is also very important. A damp or a dry cellar will influence the evaporation of the spirit differently. In a dry concrete cellar, water will evaporate mainly, letting a dryer whisky with a higher alcoholic percentage. In a damp warehouse with a beaten-earth floor the alcohol will evaporate, letting a rounder whisky with a smoother taste.
http://www.mysterious-scotland.com/whisky/whiskey.html

Angel's Share - Maturing Whisky will evaporate about 2% per year, depending on climatic conditions. More warmer regions (lowlands) will have a higher evaporation then for example on the Orkney's.
http://www.peatfreak.com/art-whisky-Dictionary.php

Once the spirit has been put into casks they are moved off to the bonded warehouse. Here the spirit spends the legal minimum of three years of quietly frantic chemical interaction with the wood of the cask before becoming scotch, and perhaps 10, 12 or more years maturing if it is destined to become single malt whisky.

Bonded warehouses tend to be cool and sometimes damp places. Nonetheless, the wood of the casks is permeable and evaporation of the alcohol does take place. At a rate of about 2% per year of maturation, someone has calculated that the "Angels Share", the evaporated alcohol, amounts to about 150 million bottles per year across Scotland.
http://www.undiscoveredscotland.com/usf ... house.html

The type of cask used to mature a whisky is vital to its final flavour and character.

Casks that have previously held another spirit - normally bourbon or sherry - are used by whisky makers to impart colour and flavour to their product.

Warehouse location can play an important part in a whisky's final flavour and speed of maturation. A cask matured by the sea - such as the many Islay malts - will have a different final flavour to one taken from a warehouse inland.

Lowland malts tend to mature more quickly than those from other parts of Scotland. Speyside malts are known to age particularly well.

While it is maturing in casks, whisky loses around 2% of its alcohol by volume each year in evaporation.

This is known as the Angel's Share.

The Angel's Share can amount to almost 10 gallons (more than 45 litres) in 10 years.
http://www.scotlandgifts.com/Products/W ... _facts.htm

Ageing
Before being transferred into casks, the newly made spirit will have its strength reduced to 63,5% vol. with demineralised water. The cask being used are usually casks having previously contained Bourbon, and are used either as they come or after being rebuilt as hogsheads in Scottish cooperage.
They will usually be kept on site for ageing or in a centralized warehouses together with other spirits from a same company or group.

Last stage of the process of whisky making, ageing is at the same time the longest one and one of the most important. The origin and the quality of casks have a determining role in the end result, as well as, even if to a lesser extent, the location of the warehouse. The quality of he air, its temperature, its humidity, its coastal character or not, have an influence on the ageing process.

The nature of the warehouse itself has its importance, in particular depending whether it is more or less isolate. For instance, it is generally admitted that warehouses with earth ground provide the best results as they maintain higher humidity level. As a matter of fact, during ageing some alcohol evaporate through the wood of the casks with losses of about 2% per year, this is what is called the "Angel Share". In a humid warehouse the loss of spirit will materialize as a decrease of the alcoholic loss, which will advantage the obtaining of a high quality whisky. In a dry warehouse, this loss will materialize through a diminution of volume, with in extreme cases a rising of the alcoholic strength, and will deliver a dryer spirit. Altogether, losses are lower in dry warehouses than they are in a damp ones, the latest which provide the best results are also the most costly.
Temperature also has its influence on ageing, if it is higher maturation of the whisky will progress faster.
http://www.celtic-whisky.com/ageing.htm

And that is just a small part of it all. So if we find a formula to calculate the angel´s share we are real good.
Reminds me of the question medieval scholars discussed about for some hundred years:

How many Angels can dance on the point of a needle at the same time?

Greetings
kallaskander
Last edited by kallaskander on Fri Oct 27, 2006 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Wed Mar 01, 2006 12:44 pm

bamber wrote:Just found this at sb.com:

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/s ... vaporation


Had a quick read of this

One of the forumers on this link reckons that half a barrel is evapourated after 15 years (7-8% the first year and 3% every year after approx). I do not think it is that much over in this side of the world. Remember that Bourbon is stored in new barrells and over here we use used barrells whether Bourbon, Sherry and the like.

I would conclude that new barrells are more pourous and that maybe is why Bourbon is not aged as long as Scotch or Irish whiskey can.

Also used barrels have soaked in their previous content so have less soakage for the whiskey and maybe creates a better barrier than a new barrel from evapouration.

This still does not answer the original quuestion though.
Last edited by irishwhiskeychaser on Wed Mar 01, 2006 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby bamber » Wed Mar 01, 2006 12:44 pm

Great stuff kallaskander, I really think it is an interesting problem.

A great deal of empirical evidence would be required. One would need to make regular observations of humidity and temperature in different warehouses / distilleries all over the world. You would need to sample the spirit - only to check its alcoholic percentage of course ;)
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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Wed Mar 01, 2006 1:00 pm

bamber wrote:Great stuff kallaskander, I really think it is an interesting problem.
;)




I don't think that Angles think tis is a problem :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Postby bamber » Wed Mar 01, 2006 1:17 pm

I would ask them the forumula but they're probably legless most of the time.
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Postby kallaskander » Wed Mar 01, 2006 1:39 pm

Hi there,

150 million bottles a year? I`d say it depends on if the angels are sober enough to care. :)

Those medieval scholars never decided this question, actually. :twisted:

Greetings
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Postby bamber » Wed Mar 01, 2006 2:17 pm

kallaskander wrote:Hi there,

150 million bottles a year? I`d say it depends on if the angels are sober enough to care. :)

Those medieval scholars never decided this question, actually. :twisted:

Greetings
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Some losses will be necessary, if regretable :twisted:
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Postby Elliot » Wed Mar 01, 2006 2:34 pm

irishwhiskeychaser wrote:I would conclude that new barrells are more pourous and that maybe is why Bourbon is not aged as long as Scotch or Irish whiskey can.

Also used barrels have soaked in their previous content so have less soakage for the whiskey and maybe creates a better barrier than a new barrel from evapouration.


Believe me, when you store bourbon in a new barrel in the Kentucky heat, after 17-18 years, the wood can certainly overwhelm the taste of the whisky. Some of the bottlings around that age taste like chewing on a tree in my backyard.
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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Wed Mar 01, 2006 4:49 pm

Just got delivery of my George T Stagg 141.2 and Willian L Weller 121.9.

I'm like a kid in a sweet shop :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Can't wait to crack open these monsters :twisted:

Won't be opening them for a couple of weeks though as I seriously need to mop up quite a few bottle ends but will give ye my opinion then.

However I got these nice little facts sheets with both and makes interesting reading in relation to ABV and evapouration.

George T was distilled at 135.0 but casked at 125.0

It was then bottled at 141.2 aged 15 years 4 months

William L was distilled at 130.0 but casked at 114.0

It was then bottled at 121.9 aged 12 years 2 months

The interesting thing is that they actually listed the evapouration loss too.

George T 58.59% of original whiskey lost to evapouration.

William L 58.04% of original whiskey lost to evapouration.

A lot of whiskey loss there so given the evapouration and the abv these bottles actually seem good value for money. I got both from the US and paid (including delivery) what the equlivent retail price for one bottle is over in Europe.

Happy Days for the Angles there

Couriously though the evapouration is similar eventhough there is 3 years of a difference between the whiskies ages.
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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Wed Mar 01, 2006 4:56 pm

[quote="Elliot]
Believe me, when you store bourbon in a new barrel in the Kentucky heat, after 17-18 years, the wood can certainly overwhelm the taste of the whisky. Some of the bottlings around that age taste like chewing on a tree in my backyard.[/quote]

Interesting ... I suppose that again has something to do with using new barrels?

DO any of the American Whiskey makers use Used barrels???

With the likes of Buffalo Trace comming out with more and more aged Bourbons is it likely that this will catch on or has it always been the case that you DO get some older aged Bourbons?
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Postby kallaskander » Wed Mar 01, 2006 5:20 pm

Hi there,

not if the want to sell a straight bourbon or a bourbon blend.

Greetings
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Postby Photon » Wed Mar 01, 2006 5:51 pm

irishwhiskeychaser wrote:
DO any of the American Whiskey makers use Used barrels???



Bourbon is required by law to be aged in new barrels. Not sure about straight rye, wheat, etc. Tennesee whisky (JD, George Dickel) is not mentioned in law, but they follow the bourbon process to the letter, plus add a charcoal filtration.

-P.
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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Wed Mar 01, 2006 6:06 pm

Cheers Guys.. Its all a learning process for me. Another clear difference between Bourbon and Scotch/Irish Whiskey.
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Postby Photon » Wed Mar 01, 2006 7:36 pm

irishwhiskeychaser wrote:Cheers Guys.. Its all a learning process for me. Another clear difference between Bourbon and Scotch/Irish Whiskey.


Hey, I learn a lot from the forums. It's nice to actually be able to contribute back (aside from upping the smart-ass quontient)

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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Wed Mar 01, 2006 8:29 pm

Photon wrote:
irishwhiskeychaser wrote:Cheers Guys.. Its all a learning process for me. Another clear difference between Bourbon and Scotch/Irish Whiskey.


Hey, I learn a lot from the forums. It's nice to actually be able to contribute back (aside from upping the smart-ass quontient)

-P.



SMART-ASSism is acceptable too :wink: :lol:
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Mar 01, 2006 9:03 pm

If the smart-ass quotient falls below 40%, they can't legally call this a whisky forum. Fortunately, we are in uisgebagh-baul territory. And the angels ain't buyin'.
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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Thu Mar 02, 2006 1:50 am

MrTattieHeid wrote:If the smart-ass quotient falls below 40%, they can't legally call this a whisky forum. Fortunately, we are in uisgebagh-baul territory. And the angels ain't buyin'.



Don't forget about the cock and bull quotient ....

that is quite important too :wink:
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Postby Elliot » Thu Mar 02, 2006 6:35 am

irishwhiskeychaser wrote:
Elliot wrote:Believe me, when you store bourbon in a new barrel in the Kentucky heat, after 17-18 years, the wood can certainly overwhelm the taste of the whisky. Some of the bottlings around that age taste like chewing on a tree in my backyard.


Interesting ... I suppose that again has something to do with using new barrels?

DO any of the American Whiskey makers use Used barrels???

With the likes of Buffalo Trace comming out with more and more aged Bourbons is it likely that this will catch on or has it always been the case that you DO get some older aged Bourbons?


It's precisely because of the new barrels. There are a few whiskey distillers in the US that use used barrels, but it can't legally be called bourbon. Early Times is sold as "Kentucky Whiskey" in the United States because, as the label stipulates, it was aged for 36 months in "reused cooperage."

Quite a few distilleries have older products on the market. If you notice, many products do not have an age statement because they are a combination of different ages meant to fit a flavor profile and not simply from a particular year. The location in the warehouse where each barrel is stored makes a remarkable difference in the finished product. As a result, you will see many different bottlings come from a bourbon distillery because of the way that the same exact "white dog" (new make spirit) will change over time depending on the rickhouse design, on which floor the barrel is kept, if it's near a wall or the interior of the building, and so forth. Often, a bourbon will use older stock but won't want to put an age on the bottle because by law, the age on the bottle must be of the youngest whiskey used. In the case of Wild Turkey, for instance, despite the fact that there is a fair bit of 10 year old stock in the Wild Turkey 101, it would have to be labeled as a 6 year because the 6 year whiskey is a component. It's a very delicate balancing act between the maturity of the whiskey and the sometimes overpowering wood aspect. This is also the reason that you'll often see older whisky being bottled at a higher alcoholic strength, because the alcohol is mitigated by the maturity the older it gets.
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