Barrel Char in a Jar

Barrel Char in a Jar Review by the fat rum pirateBarrel Char in a Jar. Despite what the Hydrometer Tests may have some believe I’m not a very “scientific” kind of person. I have been able to perform Hydrometer Tests on rum because it is very, very simple. I am no chemist the little science background I have was left behind aged 16, when I picked up a double award “B” grade in Co-Ordinated (Chemistry, Physics and Biology) Science at GCSE level in 1994.

As much as I enjoy rum I haven’t delved to deeply into the distillation side of things. Most of what I write regarding distillation is solely to provide information on the production method only. I don’t go to far into how this distillation took place. If I am being entirely honest, I struggle to retain much information regarding Rum Distillation. Beyond knowing the basics of the still and the type of rum not all that interested.  So it doesn’t really stick in my head. I’m not really that geeky.

Many Rum Enthusiasts seem to enjoy blending or “hacking” their rums together, mixing various rums together.  The idea of the Infinity bottle, which was made famous in the Bourbon world has also gained traction recently. An Infinity bottle is a never ending marriage of various rums or whiskies in the same bottle which produces an often unrepeatable blend.  Admittedly the Bourbon Infinity bottle is a select blend of certain commercially available bourbons – though no disclosure of exactly which ones has been made.

Other enthusiasts take their experimentation a bit further.  Some are buying small barrels and ageing white or young rum in them.  Experimental ageing of inexpensive rum just to see what might happen.

Barrel Char in a Jar dials that concept back a notch and makes it a bit simpler to create the affect of an aged spirit. Though it makes no spectacular claims that it will re-create ageing.  No spirit provided in the pack and the type of spirit you use is entirely upto you. It is not exclusively for Rum.3

Barrel Char in a Jar is currently available here. Please note that the price of £33.30 is increased quite a bit by shipping form the US of £38.11. This does put the price up for UK or even European based customers.

Barrel Char in a Jar Rum Review by the fat rum pirateBarrel Char in the Jar basic kit comprises of wood staves of varying types.  You receive 4 to 5 staves of each wood.  The woods are French Oak (medium plus toast), American White Oak, charred (barrel char), Cherry (light toast), Sugar Maple (medium toast), Sugar Maple (medium toast) and Yellow Birch (medium toast).

You also get Filter Papers, an instruction booklet and some activated charcoal.  It is estimated you can “lavour or age between 8-12 – 750ml bottles of spirits.

The method is pretty simple.  Using the supplied Mason Jar you simply pour (I used around 350ml each time) your rum base into the jar.  Then add a stave or two of wood and if you wish some of the charcoal.  (The instruction booklet recommends giving the wood a clean or steam prior to using it)

For my first experiment I tried some of the White Oak with a Bourbon Barrel Char. I started with a base rum of Botran Blanco – which has a slightly yellow haze to it. My first experiment didn’t go too well as I left the stave in for 4 weeks. By the time I returned to the rum it was almost black! To be honest it was still pretty tasty – very oaky and very well charred but it didn’t look great!

Second time around I opted to age the rum for just two weeks. I used the White Oak Bourbon Barrel Char and the French Oak Medium Plus Toast This gave a really pleasing result. Particularly the rum aged in the French Oak. There was a real development in flavour and the wood used gave the rum a really nice complex flavour. I’m quite skeptical of things but I really found the wood staves supplied in the Barrel Char in a Jar kit to work really well with the rum.

It was really easy to work with as well. The supplied Mason Jars are really good quality and provide a really good airtight seal for the rum. The wood staves are big and I’ve used the same one four or five times now and it shows no signs of becoming faded or dull. It’s still really adding flavour to the rum.

I’ve been playing with this kit for around 6 months now and I currently have around 4 or 5 rumBarrel Char in a Jar Rum Review by the fat rum pirates “ageing” with the different staves provided in the kit. I definitely feel like I have got my moneys worth with this kit and the seller – Ken is very helpful if you contact him for advice.

Admiitedly I haven’t tried any other kits but I’m struggling to find fault with this particular effort. The wood staves and the charcoal really do work well and certainly give even the cheapest white rum a lot of added character.

As well as ageing Botran Reserva Blanco Anejo I have also used supermarket white rums- the effect on such young inexpensive rum is really very impressive. I really like the notes these staves add to what is really just generic white rum.

As time goes on I will re-visit this article and add more of my experience with the kit. Really impressed so far though I must say! I will update with my various experiments as I travel on my journey with this. The French Oak in particular is an early favourite of mine.

Stay tuned……….





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