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WhyteKnight

Oxygenation

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Gatsby,

 

I am not entirely sure I understand your use of the reptile light. Are you simply locating the bottle near the lamp? I wouldn't expect much penetration by the most reactive wavelengths. Glass is pretty good at stopping UV. And many liquor bottles, (absinthe included) are tinted, which may further block UV penetration.

 

The bearded dragon and iguana in our house clearly enjoyed the UV lamps we have used. I always wondered why they didn't go blind with all that UV beaming at them... The lamps sure did a good job of prematurely fading the background graphic panels in the cages.

 

Perhaps most importantly, how do you decide when you've have enough light exposure? Taste test?

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Those are all good points, and I wondered about all that too. Some UV radiation does get through glass. Green absinthe can go brown within a week in clear glass. Put it in the sun and it will go brown in a day or two. If glass filtered all UV, then it would be fine to keep green absinthe in clear bottles.

 

I have one of those MegaRay UVB lights modified by ReptileUV.com for maximum output, and I put the bottle very close to the light (4 inches away). At that distance the light puts out close to 1000 microwatts/cm of UVB, which is about 4x the power of the sun at the equator. At that distance, even though the glass will filter out some, a lot will still get through. I also think the lizard's heat lamp has an effect and performs mild rectification, given that the lamp is about 105F.

 

Obviously the sun is just as good at it. I only bothered with the UV light because I already had one and it was rainy when I wanted to gassify a bottle. My lizard, needless to say, wondered what the hell I was doing!

 

You can tell it's having an effect by the aroma. It will smell cleaner, almost in a bleachy kind of way.

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All very interesting.

 

Note that the apparent purpose of oxygenation and the application of heat and light regards the subjective goal of improving flavor. Perhaps we should consider this further.

 

Medicinally speaking, light and heat are undesirable, and result in the degradation of desired chemical components. Hence, the use of amber or other opaque glass containers for both raw herbs and processed herbal formulas. Arguably, the majority of the most potent, valued herbal medicines are referred to as bitters for a very good reason. A bitter flavor usually indicates the presence of strong chemical terpenes and alkaloids, for good or for bad.

 

In many cultures, bitterness holds a respected place on the palate, and a good meal involves some recognition of bitterness. In our modern Western society, however, this is not the case. Preference for sweet and salty dominates. Interestingly, two of our most valued favorites are in fact strong bitters, left unmolested by sugary processing: coffee and chocolate. Despite ourselves, we heed our animal sense to find a more balanced palate.

 

The notion of good taste is a cultural artifact. Is it possible that the inclination to "improve" the flavor of Absinthe in fact results in a degradation of the quality of the product? I suppose it depends on your individual understanding of quality.

 

Bitterness for the sake of being nasty is not at all the ambition. Bitterness, however, as a byproduct of potency, is a taste worth cultivating. As for me, I enjoy a meaningful bitter.

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Aging in the case of absinthe generally means bringing all the flavors in harmony. It’s not just a question of singular taste preference; balance is also highly desirable, especially with a complex herbal mixture. Undesirable degradation by heat or light and/or oxidation is usually linked with a single product component, like an extract or tincture or even an oxidizable substrate, like alcohol in wine.

 

If you taste a newly distilled and colored absinthe against one aged just 2 months, you’ll immediately understand the issue being discussed here.

 

And welcome. :cheers:

 

What kind of alkaloids are you cultivating, anyway? ;)

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