F - like barrel filling

Whisky ABC - F like barrel filling

What is filled into the barrels?

The barrels are filled with the New Make Spirit. This is the English term for the fresh distillate obtained after the second distillation in the Spirit Pot Still. This is the middle run, i.e. the heart of the distillation, from which the forerun as well as the after-run have been separated.

What is the alcohol content of the New Make Spirit when it is barrel-filled?

In most cases, the New Make Spirit for barrel bottling at St. Kilian has an alcohol content of 63.5% by volume. However, lower and higher alcohol contents are also quite common.

How does barrel filling take place at St. Kilian?

First, the barrel to be filled is subjected to an olfactory test through the bunghole to check that the aroma of the interior of the barrel does not have any off-notes. If the aroma is okay, a steel rack specially designed for the barrels is placed on a calibrated scale and the weight indicator is set to zero using the Tare button. The empty keg is then placed on the rack and its displayed empty weight is recorded in writing. Again, using the tare button on the verified scale, the display is set to zero. The barrel is filled with the New Make Spirit from the storage tank ("Spirit Receiver") via a hose with a tap - basically like at a gas station. After completion of this process, the weight of the filled keg is read off and also noted.

What happens if the barrel has a bad smell?

If the aroma check reveals an off-odor inside the barrel, e.g. a musty smell of mold, then this barrel is naturally not filled with valuable St. Kilian New Make Spirit, but is sorted out.

Does barrel filling have to be done under customs supervision?

Yes. In the early days of St. Kilian, barrel filling was only permitted under the supervision of a customs official. Up to three customs officers were always on site at St. Kilian all day on Wednesdays, week after week, to check the barrel filling for customs purposes. With the increasing number of barrels filled weekly at St. Kilian, it was relatively quickly determined that a pragmatic solution without the constant presence of customs officials was desirable for both sides. Thus, we are now allowed to fill barrels as required and necessary, without customs supervision. For this purpose, St. Kilian has appointed its own employees as fiscal auxiliaries who, as an extended arm of customs, so to speak, accompany and also document the cask filling process. In this way, the costs for customs or the taxpayer can be saved.

What is the role of the tax assistant?

The control assistant also records all weight data indicated by the calibrated scale in writing, electronically using a laptop computer. After completion of the drum filling process, the handwritten and electronically recorded data are compared with each other. If there is a match, this data is transferred to the digital keg book and thus recorded for customs purposes. The four-eyes principle applies during barrel filling. This ensures the correctness of the data collected for drum filling from the customs point of view.

What data is collected during barrel filling?

The empty weight of the cask, the full weight of the cask after filling, and the alcohol content of the New Make Spirit are recorded in writing, with the alcohol content being determined using an officially calibrated spindle. Thus, when casks are filled, it is not the volume but the weight of the New Make Spirit that is determined.

Why is the weight and not the volume determined?

Determining the amount of New Make Spirit after barrel filling via the mass has the great advantage that one does not have to additionally determine the temperature of the spirit. This would be the case if the volume of the filling were determined. This is because the volume, unlike the mass, is temperature-dependent. Determining the mass thus simplifies keg filling.

How can you deduce the liters of pure alcohol from the filling weight?

Using an official alcohol table, the liters of pure alcohol per 1000 kg of New Make Spirit can be read off on table 2 from the mass specification of the New Make Spirit and the alcohol content (e.g. 63.5 percent by volume). These data are then used to calculate the liters of pure alcohol filled that are relevant under customs law.

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