Temperature and Whiskey


Whiskey makers for centuries understood that the changes in temperature throughout the beautiful Kentucky seasons had an impact on how whiskey would age. Inherently, they understood that the whiskey inside barrels swells into the wood as temperature rises, and is pushed out of the wood as the temperature decreases. The newest experiment out of Warehouse X at Buffalo Trace Distillery set out to discover just exactly how much of an impact temperature has on the way whiskey ages in a barrel.

From this experiment, we have already gathered over 1.3 million data points to help us form a better view of how important temperature is to whiskey changes. In Warehouse X, chamber 2 and 3 were set at a constant temperature while chamber 1 and 4 were set to mimic the outside temperature with an offset of +/- 10 degrees. The breezeway saw the highest temperature differences, from -5 degrees from the winter to 105 degrees last summer! As we are aging we have noted that color, proof, and extracts are correlating closely to the changes in each chamber. Recently we could confirm through a multitude of data points that barrel pressures were also correlating as you would expect. The higher the temperatures, the higher the pressures.

All of the variables will certainly influence the flavor, quality & volume of the final whiskey product, but only time will tell if there is a perfect "temperature recipe" for the whiskey being aged in our barrels.