Hard alcohol long term storage

Started by Optimist, July 08, 2021, 04:54:59 PM

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Optimist

So I've been thinking about putting up some extra of my go-to cheap bourbon (Evan Williams). It comes in both plastic and glass bottles for about the same price, I think the plastic is about a dollar cheaper. My first thought was to go with the plastic because it would be very resistant to breaking (earthquakes are one of the more common natural distastes around here). However, now I'm leaning towards glass and putting them in a sturdier container as glass would be less likely to break down with age.

Would you guys go with glass or plastic bottles?

Also, are there any other considerations for long term storage? I know to keep them out of sunlight, and I imagine with plastic bottles heat might be a problem.

The biggest failure point for a lot of hard alcohol would probably be the cork. It can dry out over time, but if left in contact with the alcohol over a long period of time the alcohol can eat it away. When I was doing a little research it sounded like people with collections would occasionally tip their bottles over on their sides for a few hours to re-hydrate the corks then tip them back upright, which wouldn't be as easy to remember to do with bottles stashed down in the root cellar. Maybe if I was storing something with a cork I would coat it in wax to help keep it from drying out. Luckily, Evan Williams is a plastic screw cap, which I imagine is probably good indefinitely. Do you think there's anything extra I should do, or should it be fine as-is?

I know rotation is always a good policy, but honestly if something can be done in a way that doesn't have to be rotated for not much more money I think that is better for the sake of convenience and forgetfulness.

boskone

Maybe glass, in a sort of like felt-padded wine rack?

Regarding corks, would waxing the cork prevent drying and air leaking?

SCBrian

The higher the %, the longer it'll last.  Also - plastic and synthetic caps are available that may circumvent the issue with corks. 
BattleVersion wrote:  "For my Family?...Burn down the world, sure... But, I'm also willing to carry it on my shoulders."

CG

Why plastic OR glass?  Store 1 of each and just keep adding until you have the number you want or figure out where the problem will be.

Crosscut

We stocked up on discount 80 proof varieties (rum, vodka, whiskey) in plastic bottles/caps back in the 2007-2008 timeframe, the only problem (discovered in 2020) was with one bottle of vodka which had lost about 1/8 of the contents but that didn't appear to have leaked in storage nor even when turned over.  Must have been evaporation due to a very small hole or deterioration of the plastic I guess as the tamper seal on the cap was still intact.  Smelled and tasted normal.  This was only 1 of about a dozen bottles, stored for the first 2 years in a temp controlled environment before being moved to our unheated 3-season room where the temp varied from as low as -10 to up to about 90 F.

CG

Hmmmm.  I wonder if the bottle of Stolichnaya labeled CCCP is still in my parents' liquor cabinet.  Tried it once back around 2005 - tasted like rubbing alcohol.


SCBrian

The other thing with corks....  This happened ~2 months ago and sent me into a panic:



BattleVersion wrote:  "For my Family?...Burn down the world, sure... But, I'm also willing to carry it on my shoulders."

Micon

My guess is yes, a cork will be a bad idea long term.  I do have wine bottles in a rack - they intentionally lean the bottles toward the cork side for just the reasons you say.  But I (like you) prefer the convenience of 'fire and forget'.  I 100% will NOT remember to go twist my bottles a half turn once a month to keep a cork hydrated properly or whatever.

To that end, I would keep the stuff with the corks in my bar for every day use, and stock up on stuff in plastic, with screw tops, for the storage.  With all the complaints about plastic never breaking down in landfills over centuries it would see that you wouldn't need to worry about it breaking down over 10-20 years.

As a side note - I randomly started grabbing some of those small 'airline bottles' every once in a while as well.  I figure if it ever comes down to needing to break into my stash, I might also want to have stuff to trade.  If I can offer 2 or 3 tiny bottles it will 1) keep the amount I have more secret and 2) allow me to better adjust a trade.  Plus it was easier to just add a few every once in a while and slowly build up a stock.

NapalmMan67

Glass would be my choice-  If I remember, isn't the recommendation on storing water in plastic bottles not to go beyond two years? Something about the possibility of chemicals leeching in to the water?  Yes, alcohol kills germs but...   

Glass bottles in a 10 year rotation, (they'll more than likely be good beyond 10 years if still sealed) but may start to degrade after that.  My long term alcohol storage is out of direct sunlight and pretty much 65* year round with whatever ambient humidity is in a climate controlled basement.

I have a few sealed bottles from the '70s with plastic screw tops that have lost volume, I'm sure due to evaporation.  I honestly don't know why I keep them other than sentimental value, as they were from my Grandparents.  And some still have the Tax Stamps across the caps, which I think is kind of cool.


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Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc-  Not just pretty words.

NapalmMan67

Quote from: SCBrian on July 09, 2021, 10:06:06 AM
The other thing with corks....  This happened ~2 months ago and sent me into a panic:

   

Egads man, that would send a shiver down my spine!  Especially since 18 Traditional is getting harder to find in my AO for less than 3 1/2 bills per.


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Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc-  Not just pretty words.

SCBrian

Quote from: NapalmMan67 on July 09, 2021, 04:41:37 PM
Egads man, that would send a shiver down my spine!  Especially since 18 Traditional is getting harder to find in my AO for less than 3 1/2 bills per.
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:smiley_blink:  I JUST had this conversation with my Mother in law...  "Hey SCBrian - We're going out of town for 2 weeks,  would you mind taking care of the animals, I'll buy you a bottle of your favorite Scotch, what is it?"   "Macallan, 18"....(click, click, clicking).."ohhhh....  What's your second favorite.... " 
lol
BattleVersion wrote:  "For my Family?...Burn down the world, sure... But, I'm also willing to carry it on my shoulders."

MacWa77ace

The longest I've ever stored a bottle of hard alcohol was about a week. It was some genuine worm in the bottle mescaline tequila gifted to my room mate at the time by his girlfreind who went to Mexico.

We were semi-pro drinkers back then, yet that bottle of Tequila lasted 100 times longer than any other bottle that crossed our threshold. And it wasn't because of the proof, IIRC it was 80. And I'd drank Jamaican 200 proof rum before. [I don't think those guys knew anything about aging and mixing etc either] burned, yeah. And Bacardi 151 was no stranger. No, it was the taste/smell.

I can only describe its smell/taste as exactly like drinking liquified copenhagen snuff. Exactly. All I had to do was smell it in a shot glass and my mouth would water. Pavlov. [that brand of snuff was my go to when golfing so yeah, I was conditioned for that response.]  :crazy: Those were the days.

OT: I've seen a bottle of Perrier Jouet's cork go dry and the entire bottle evaporated before we realized it was stored vertical.
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RoneKiln

Quote from: CG on July 08, 2021, 07:23:39 PM
Why plastic OR glass?  Store 1 of each and just keep adding until you have the number you want or figure out where the problem will be.

My preference would be glass, but I think CG is right here. If the goal is to stock a long term supply that could potentially used in a wide range of applications, it's probably not an "either / or" scenario.

My whiskey is a luxury and always comes in glass.

My vodka is an ingredient/tool, I get it in plastic.

Everyone else will have differences in their preferences rooted in similar principals.
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rlail

I don't really have anything to add, other than I discovered a mason jar of my grandpas white liquor, and drank it with no ill effects.......and that gentleman has been dead for 40 years
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