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Some terms that need defining...well at least to me they do!

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Some terms that need defining...well at least to me they do!

Postby Vange » Wed May 24, 2006 6:55 pm

I have been drinking SMSW and whiskies in general for a handful of years now. I never got too caught up in finishes and the like, but it seems that it is a growing fad and with a whole new variety of finishes (champagne cask, etc.)

I know what it means when a whiskey is aged/finsihed in a "cask".

My question is, what does it mean if it reads aged in a "pipe" or "a sherry butt" or "a hogshead"? Are they synonymous with "cask"?
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Postby Jan » Wed May 24, 2006 7:17 pm

Yes, they are.

Cask is the generic name for the oak container used for maturing the whisky.

Cask comes in different sizes and are named accordingly.

I found the below explanation at Aberlours website:

Those used in the production of whisky come in a variety of sizes. In descending order: butts (500 litres), puncheons (450 litres), hogsheads (250 litres), American barrels (180 litres). Quarters (127 litres) and octaves (45 litres) fell out of use years ago, though are still occasionally revived for special presentations.


Port pipes are barrels which has previously held port - not sure on the general size of those though.

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perfect

Postby Vange » Wed May 24, 2006 7:30 pm

Thank you. I just wanted to make sure. Knowing that they are different sizes could help too. Something in a smaller container probably has a deeper flavor profile from it's wood.
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Postby lambda » Wed May 24, 2006 7:36 pm

The volume of a port pipe is about the same as of a sherry butt.
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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Thu May 25, 2006 6:24 pm

Jan wrote:

Cask is the generic name for the oak container used for maturing the whisky.

Cask comes in different sizes and are named accordingly.


Cheers
Jan


That is quite correct Jan but usually when cask is mentioned it is more often than not implied that it is the 180L version is being taked about as a rule other wise it is specified what csak size is being refered to.

Hope this has not confused th issues any further.
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Postby Jan » Thu May 25, 2006 9:22 pm

irishwhiskeychaser wrote:
Jan wrote:

Cask is the generic name for the oak container used for maturing the whisky.

Cask comes in different sizes and are named accordingly.


Cheers
Jan


That is quite correct Jan but usually when cask is mentioned it is more often than not implied that it is the 180L version is being taked about as a rule other wise it is specified what csak size is being refered to.

Hope this has not confused th issues any further.


Hi IWC

I'm not sure if you are right - I believe cask is used pretty much as a generic term, like in "bottling a cask", "cask strength", "number of casks", "storage of casks" etc.

But of course as a large proportion of all whisky is matured on american ex-bourbon barrels, the size would more often than not be 180L.

But is that implied when one uses the term "cask"... It is not for me - what says others ?

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Postby Lawrence » Thu May 25, 2006 9:28 pm

Jan, when you hear some one say 'cask' what do you think?
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Postby Jan » Thu May 25, 2006 9:33 pm

I think of a barrel of whisky - (or that has contained whisky).

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Postby Lawrence » Thu May 25, 2006 9:35 pm

Ok, good comment,

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Postby Jan » Thu May 25, 2006 9:41 pm

Lawrence, do you think of the term "cask" as a specific size ?

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Postby Lawrence » Thu May 25, 2006 9:42 pm

After giving it some thought I don't think of any specific size of cask.
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Postby Jan » Thu May 25, 2006 9:52 pm

Actually, I just checked my copy of "MacLean's Miscellany of Whisky".

Here Charles Maclean on page 153-154 states:
Bourbon is matured in barrels holding around 200 litres. Some are shipped as such, ad are termed "American Standard Barrels" (ASBs). To save space on the ships transporting them, most are broken down into staves and labelled, and arrive in bundles called "shooks".In Scotland, they are reassembled in a slightly larger format (250 litres, by cannibalizing one barrel in three) as "re-made hogsheads".


If this is correct, the standard or most common size, would be 250 liter aka hogshead....

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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri May 26, 2006 1:46 am

I was told at Balvenie (one of the few distilleries still having a cooperage) that they no longer do this. Don't know if it is still done elsewhere, but I would think that standard sizes would be used throughout the industry for brokering purposes. The question then raised is, who is doing coopering work for the majority of distilleries? Are barrels sourced from vast central cooperages, like malt from maltings?
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Postby MGillespie » Fri May 26, 2006 1:58 am

The Glenfiddich folks did a coopering demonstration at Whisky Live NY in which they suggested that this practice still goes on...my thought would be that in selling casks, the distillery and buyer would discuss any specifics for a non-standard size cask...

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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri May 26, 2006 2:09 am

Balvenie/Glenfiddich is the same cooperage. I specifically asked about this, and was specifically told it wasn't done any more. I guess I'll have to go back and ask again! As good an excuse as any.
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Postby MGillespie » Fri May 26, 2006 2:11 am

:::::smacking myself on the forehead::::::

Duhhhh...how could I have let that one get by...it's been a few weeks, and the memories may well have faded a bit...

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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Fri May 26, 2006 10:19 am

Jan wrote:Hi IWC

I'm not sure if you are right - I believe cask is used pretty much as a generic term, like in "bottling a cask", "cask strength", "number of casks", "storage of casks" etc.

But of course as a large proportion of all whisky is matured on american ex-bourbon barrels, the size would more often than not be 180L.

But is that implied when one uses the term "cask"... It is not for me - what says others ?

Cheers
Jan



You are probably right Jan ... it was just the impression I got from talking topeople and distillery tours I've done which is only 3 so I know you have more experience there....
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Postby Jan » Sat May 27, 2006 9:06 pm

Iwc, I am definitely not more experienced than you, quite the opposite, I suspect.

But I think you raise an important point - distillery staff would probably use the term differently, than us laymen.

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Postby Bob & Jill » Tue May 30, 2006 6:51 pm

Evangelos, We like your topic subject: “Some terms that need defining...well at least to me they do!”. We have had similar thoughts when reading the Forum – it is full of acronyms and other undefined terms that can baffle Newbies.

We have been looking for a good source of “whisky terms” and have not found one. Many whisky books, as well as this site, give a meager one or two pages for whisky term definitions, but we find this is quite inadequate. A whole book (dictionary) could be written on the subject. Anybody know the best source for whisky words & terms?
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Postby Lawrence » Tue May 30, 2006 9:07 pm

There's always A to Z of Whisky by Gavin Smith or even Charlie Macleans' Miscellany of Whisky.......both are available from Neil Wilson Publishing via their website http://www.nwp.co.uk
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