Agitation

Agitation is a well-established technique for accelerating the barrel-maturation of spirits. Increasing the contact area between the spirit and the oak barrel is a proven means for accelerating the extraction of the oak constituents into solution. In spite of this understanding, the practical implementation of agitating standard whiskey barrels is extremely difficult. At nearly 400lbs, a filled 53 gallon barrel requires substantial manpower or equipment just to move it. Techniques for promoting agitation have included blasting loud-music into barrel rooms, putting barrels on long boat rides, and even submerging barrels underwater, where the motion of the waves are utilized to drive motion of the spirit within the barrel. Considering the effectiveness of these techniques, it stands to reason that agitation would benefit many barrels aging spirits if it were easier to do. Hertzbier’s Wizard solves this problem. The Wizard is an in-barrel agitation device that can be used anywhere barrels are currently stored. The Wizard causes waves to travel through the barrel and also agitates the headspace, constantly impinging fresh spirit on the barrel/spirit interface and promoting accelerated maturation of the spirit.

This is a visualization of what happens at the interface of the spirit and the headspace in a barrel.
Vibration pattern from The Symphony within the barrel.

Vibration pattern from The Symphony within the barrel.

The agitation of barrel aged spirits has long been known to promote accelerated aging, however until now it has been a substantially difficult pursuit to execute in batch sizes of relevance to distillers and manufacturers. Hertzbier’s Wizard solves that limitation in the form of a simple, low-cost device that can be used in any size* barrel (bung hole must be larger than 1.66" [42mm] diameter) and in any warehouse (or vineyard, or brewery, or garage) to imbue waves and agitation within a barrel or carboy to promote accelerated aging. 

Maturation

What is maturation? One thing is for sure...it's NOT the same as aging. Let us go ahead and make sure we repeat that. Maturation is not the same as aging. There. Aging, or the passing of time, is just that. One. Two. Three. Etc. That's aging. And a second is a second, an hour is an hour...they can't be accelerated. That being said, we probably all know someone who is older in age than their maturity level would suggest. That's the difference. Maturation is a state of being, sometimes related to the passing of time, but not a hard requirement. Opinions on this abound, but as it relates to the progression of spirits in a barrel, the following processes seem tried and true:

Make those processes happen faster, and you've accelerated maturation. As we've shown, that's not only possible, but with The Wizard, it's inevitable. It's what it does.