What is Spirits Maturation?

Barrel maturation is an essential step in the production of spirits. This process involves storing distilled spirits in wooden barrels, typically made from white oak species, to develop unique flavors, aromas, and complexity. Until recently, this process could take anywhere from months to decades to produce high-quality, more pronounced results.

Once reserved for cutting-edge distilleries and renowned barrel-aging brands, accelerated maturation technology can produce results that rival decades of aging in just a few days. Accelerated maturation became popular for spirits enthusiasts with newly accessible and easy-to-use accelerated home maturation equipment like the MOBA Smart Barrel Maturation System.

  • 1. Exchange

    During barrel aging, an exchange takes place between the distilled spirit and the wood. Our tiles are toasted and charred, just like barrel staves, to impart vanilla, caramel, tannins, and other flavors to the spirit. Off notes present in the original spirit will be pulled out by the wood.

  • 2. Digestion

    Wood is somewhat soluble in alcohol, and over time both wooden barrels or tiles will dissolve slightly. This helps create a rounder, more viscous mouthfeel that fans of barrel aged spirits tend to appreciate. MOBA uses moderate heating to accelerate this process substantially.

  • 3. Oxidation

    Oak barrels breathe, so we make sure MOBA breathes too. Oxygen reacts with components of the distilled spirit and wood to create the most important molecules in maturation. Chief amongst these is acetic acid (vinegar).

  • 4. Esterification

    Acids produced during oxidation react with alcohols to create a family of molecules called esters (again enhanced by mild heat). Esters comprise the fruity, flowery, and nutty notes found in the finest barrel aged spirits.

Next: Types of Maturation Equipment