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Charred VS. Toasted

If you are testing new material or old materials in a new way, tell us about it.

Which will win overall?

Charred
17
52%
Toasted
16
48%
 
Total votes : 33

Charred VS. Toasted

Postby pintoshine » Sun Oct 18, 2009 7:42 pm

Ok, I've heard all the rumors and anecdotes. I wanted to do a true side by side comparison. I have some extremely nice European oak from a keg I have been using to do French Caribbean rum. Good Rum by the way.
I am a fan of charred oak sticks but, I honestly never though to use a toaster oven to toast up some sticks. So Here we go...

Lets meet the home team.

Image

These are a home favorite. It is a pair of 1/2"x1/2"x6" deeply charred sticks of European oak. They show some shrinkage due to conditioning. They have a proven track performance of coloring up a bottle in a week, providing great sweetness along with huge vanilla and tannin. The char is deeply figured and has lots of nooks and crannies for the alcohol to get into.

Now let's meet the challengers.
Image

They are also 1/2"x1/2"x6" European oak, but they show no shrinkage along with their nut brown tan. The are toasted to a deep brown usually referred to as heavy toast.

Now let's see the arena!
Image

These are full 1 liter bottles. Both are the same brand and geometry but one dons a gold cap to indicate the home team, charred oak.

The game conditions today are wet.
Image
Today, to allow for the most contribution from the sticks themselves, the liquid is going to be 62.5 % sugar wash. This was XX pot stilled averaging 70% and cut to 62.5 with distilled water.

Game on!
Image

Ok, now we have a game. This is October 18, 2009 day 00. Of course straight from the buzzer there isn't much action other than a few floaters.

Let me tell the judging criteria.

1. Color. Nothing impresses like the deep reddish brown of a good barrel aged whiskey. I don't know about you but I could even make myself accept a yellow or clear whiskey as an aged one. To me this is a yellow tomato thing. The color has to be right for the taste to be right for me.
2. Smell, smell, smell. The second thing that is extremely important to me is the smell.
3. Caramel. Needless to say this is a prime component of a charred oak barrel. I'll be checking for this.
4. Vanilla notes. Now that has to be there. I know the charred oak sticks live up to this expectation. We will see if the challenger can bring its game.
5. Miscellaneous notes. I like the sweetness of the European oak. There is also a bit of coconut and tannin which gives a bit of dryness to the flavor. The amount and number of miscellaneous characteristics will be compared.

To start we are just going to hear about the the color and smell. I can check these and show the color to you. After enough color has started then I will become invasive and start reporting the tasting.


Stay Tuned for this exciting competition.
The next update will be tomorrow.
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Re: Charred VS. Toasted

Postby punkin » Sun Oct 18, 2009 8:24 pm

I have, of course, voted for the toasted.

The first photo of the toasted sticks look like thye are way underdone, the second photo has the colour looking closer to what i use. It may just be the flash, but i prefer the colour to be just shy of good dark chocolate.

You will certainly find vannilla and caramel, i wouldn't be at all suprised for there to be more vannilla in the toasted than charred.
More oak flavour is likely to be carried with the toasted as well. This may or may not be too your liking.

The area where the charred may come out on top may well be the tannins. I suspect you will get more of the red colour from the char as well. :wink:



A great idea for a side by side tutorial though :8)






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Re: Charred VS. Toasted

Postby kiwi » Sun Oct 18, 2009 9:05 pm

ditto for the toasted, and +1 on them not being toasted dark enough. temperature and time of toast? will the play-offs move to a different arena (rum, whiskey....)? very interested to see how this goes.
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Re: Charred VS. Toasted

Postby dutchmancreek » Sun Oct 18, 2009 9:35 pm

This is going to be interesting.

I used the charred sticks virtually exclusively. I tried toasted, but like Pint says, the color wasn't there for me. I toasted it darker than the photo and still wasn't really happy with the results. I did have to buy a new toaster oven to replace the one I took to the shop ( I'm not crazy enough to toast sticks in the kitchen) so since I'm invested, I might try it again.
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Re: Charred VS. Toasted

Postby myles » Mon Oct 19, 2009 2:50 am

I am interested in how this turns out. I am mostly using store bought chips. I do however have an AGA - storage type range cooker. 2 or 3 days in the bottom oven should toast them up nicely. Or is there a difference between toasting and roasting?
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Re: Charred VS. Toasted

Postby punkin » Mon Oct 19, 2009 12:37 pm

Forgot to say, i'd sooner see this trial go over two months than a week.

I reckon 6 weeks is the minimum for stick ageing :)
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Re: Charred VS. Toasted

Postby pintoshine » Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:51 pm

Game Results for 12 hours
Image

Game Results for 24 hours
Image

They are both bringing on the color. The color of the toasted looks like second use oak.
Smell:
Charred smells sweet and is starting to have that bourbon scent. High in vanilla and caramel.

Toasted has a sweet smokey aroma.

How about a look at what is going on inside each player.

Our Players
Image

Charred Oak
Image

The char does not go very deep. It is a very thin char. It is amazing so much color comes from such a small amount of charring. :8) The loose carbon got knocked away. This is why it is so much smaller.
Toasted Oak
Image
Sorry I don't remember the details of the toasting. I know it was at 500F until it was a dark chocolate almost black color. The flash lightens it considerably. I was shocked to see the toast goes all the way through. :shock:

How much different in physical specimens can we get? Speculations?
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Re: Charred VS. Toasted

Postby kiwi » Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:05 pm

Hmm ok 500F might be a bit on the high side. still an interesting test though.

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Re: Charred VS. Toasted

Postby pintoshine » Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:16 pm

I doubt the wood got to 500. I could handle it straight out of the oven. The wood itself tastes toasty.
On the other hand. The charred wood got well up into the 2200F range. Glowing orange on the outside. So I guess it must contain that whole scale. The one flavor I have never gotten from the charred oak using MAPP gas is smoky. The propane torch gives it a small amount of smokey but takes a lot longer to get it to glowing orange.
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Re: Charred VS. Toasted

Postby Zymurgy Bob » Mon Oct 19, 2009 9:14 pm

pintoshine wrote:I doubt the wood got to 500. I could handle it straight out of the oven. The wood itself tastes toasty.
On the other hand. The charred wood got well up into the 2200F range. Glowing orange on the outside. So I guess it must contain that whole scale. The one flavor I have never gotten from the charred oak using MAPP gas is smoky. The propane torch gives it a small amount of smokey but takes a lot longer to get it to glowing orange.


I love the test, Pint. We agree remarkably in stick size and degree of char on the charred sticks, but I've been toasting my toasted stuff way lighter than you. Of course, I only use the charred oak to age bourbon; for everything else, I use toasted. I'll try your more extensive toast.

After you're through with the oaking, I'd bubble a bit of oxygen through the samples before I did the final taste test. Get all those vanillins, dontcha know.
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Re: Charred VS. Toasted

Postby pintoshine » Mon Oct 19, 2009 9:42 pm

I think the bubbling would be a bit much. When I was experimenting with the green walnuts, I found that simply removing the cap and allowing the air to exchange with a wave of the open bottle was quite enough to fully oxygenate the spirits. It completely developed the juglone and tannins from the walnuts.
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Re: Charred VS. Toasted

Postby pintoshine » Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:20 pm

The 48 Hour Results are In!

Game Results for 48 hours
Image

Is it me or is the toasted just now up to the color of the charred after 12 hours?

Here is a collage of the results from 12 to 48 hours.
Image
I have tried my best to duplicate the lighting and the camera for all photos. All photos are untouched except for cutting pasting and resizing.
This actually gives me hope. If the toasted is catching up it may just be a matter of time until there is no difference.
Here is a comparison of a 10 YO single barrel vs. 11 Day old vs 2 day old.
Image

Isn't it interesting...

Oh smell.
The charred is becoming very Bourbonesque. The toasted smells more like an Irish malt.
They both have a very sweet smell but very different.
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Re: Charred VS. Toasted

Postby Rebel_Yell » Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:53 pm

It's kinda like the differences between a girlfriend and a whore....

Sometimes you want children, other times ya need well....

They both can provide something that one wants...

How much charring/flavor do ya want??? It is possible to get too much of a good thang...
Your results may vary..
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Re: Charred VS. Toasted

Postby airhill » Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:07 pm

Rebel_Yell wrote:It's kinda like the differences between a girlfriend and a whore....

Sometimes you want children, other times ya need well....

They both can provide something that one wants...

How much charring/flavor do ya want??? It is possible to get too much of a good thang...


Half charred half toasted or a promiscous girlfriend
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Re: Charred VS. Toasted

Postby mikejwoodnz » Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:28 pm

pintoshine wrote:Isn't it interesting...

Oh smell.
The charred is becoming very Bourbonesque. The toasted smells more like an Irish malt.
They both have a very sweet smell but very different.


Yes this a VERY important distinction. My commercial experience is that Scotch Whisky and Irish Whiskey drinkers, like myself, do not like the "nose" or the bite of Bourbon. Canadian Rye drinkers seem somewhere in between. Scotch drinkers do not favour Jack Daniels or Southern Comfort. The toasting of my oak sticks is leaning more towards barbecued as I drench them in high ABV and set them alight before putting them in the cube containers. I have just bought 2x 5 litre glass bottles so will do a dual test (charred/toasted) on some of my current whisky run when it's finished (Harry style 3x2x1 distilled). Great posting thanks Pinto :beer:
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