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View Full Version : Two halves that make a mighty tasty whole: Bulleit Rye and Old Potrero 19th Century



shoshani
04-28-2012, 20:44
I've found that a mixture of half Bulleit Rye and half Old Potrero 19th Century (the one aged in charred, not toasted, barrels) is really tasty. The Potrero's strength still shines through, but it tames a bit of the mintier elements of the Bulleit. I'll bet some fine-tuning of percentages would lead to something better, but I'm happily enjoying this as is.

I'd describe it almost as "Ryerish Pot Still", except of course Bulleit comes from column stills. :) I wonder if anyone's thought of making a rye whiskey from a mash of malted and unmalted rye? (or if LDI might ever consider going back to 5% malted rye instead of malted barley in their mash...)

sku
04-29-2012, 01:31
I believe High West's OMG Rye is a blend of malted and unmalted rye, as was the style of nineteenth century Pennsylvania ryes, but it is only currently available as an unaged white whiskey.

tmckenzie
04-29-2012, 04:24
I have made some malted rye with unmalted rye, it is a pain in the rear end. Rye malt lacks beta glucanase and that stuff gums up like elmers glue. So we use barley malt. Frankly I can not tell any difference in the taste. Just 5 percent barley malt will work better than 20 percent malted rye. And I am pretty sure that the rye that Woodford has out is malted and unmalted rye.

mrviognier
04-29-2012, 04:36
I believe High West's OMG Rye is a blend of malted and unmalted rye, as was the style of nineteenth century Pennsylvania ryes, but it is only currently available as an unaged white whiskey.

Yep, you're right. 20% malted, to be precise. We also use three unique yeast strains in the ferments to give a bit more complexity.

shoshani
04-29-2012, 12:07
I have made some malted rye with unmalted rye, it is a pain in the rear end. Rye malt lacks beta glucanase and that stuff gums up like elmers glue. So we use barley malt. Frankly I can not tell any difference in the taste. Just 5 percent barley malt will work better than 20 percent malted rye. And I am pretty sure that the rye that Woodford has out is malted and unmalted rye.

I haven't seen anything about whether Woodford's is malted or unmalted, but I did read that Chris Morris strongly implied it was a pain in the nethers to work with.

I liked Old Potrero's really sharp, fruity character, but that could of course be many things besides its malt content. Age, char, yeast, what have you. (I wonder what the aging conditions are like in California as opposed to Kentucky, Maryland, or Pennsylvania. How hot their summers are, and what effect the climate has on the whiskey in the red layer.)

tmckenzie
04-29-2012, 17:15
Thinking back Chris told me it was rye and rye malt I am almost positve. They had hell with it foaming. As is the case with most heavy rye mashbills.

Gillman
04-30-2012, 11:27
Given that some distillers, like Alberta Distillers, use high amounts of rye in their mashes, even 100%, they must have found a way to cope with foaming problems. I've read that since relatively little rye is used by U.S. whiskey distillers, they really had no incentive to master (technically) these foaming problems and simply adjusted corn systems to inefficient operation levels to deal with it. I am not sure what that explanation really meant or if it is still relevant today.

In Western Canada where distilleries use large amounts of rye in their process, foaming and viscosity evidently are not a problem.

In 1800's sources I've read, the minority grain in a rye mash was always barley malt. Rye malt's industrial use seems to have been a circa-1900 innovation, and I recall a long time ago we talked here (I believe) about Montreal malted rye. It was a process developed apparently in Canada so malted rye could be used in a whiskey mash. You can find old ads for whisky made from Montreal malted rye, a google books search will show this.


Gary

Gillman
04-30-2012, 12:05
This quotation about foaming, from a different source than was alluded to in my previous note, may be the answer: either anti-foaming agents (type not specified) can be used, or, fermenters are not be filled to capacity when foaming occurs. As the writer notes, foaming is sporadic, and e.g., seems to occur more frequently with new harvested rye. He notes too that wheat and even barley can cause the same problem.

http://books.google.ca/books?id=rkcOAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA86&dq=foaming+rye+mash&hl=en&sa=X&ei=SeCeT8CiJOW36QHCxsGeDw&ved=0CEQQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=foaming%20rye%20mash&f=false

I think the inefficiencies the other writer referred to probably is this reduced use of full fermenter capacity when you mash with rye. It was (is still?) a price worth paying, I infer, when use of rye in your mashing overall was quite small.

Gary

Gillman
04-30-2012, 12:17
And look now here:

http://books.google.ca/books?id=V4Ig_dF_9FUC&pg=PA55&dq=rye+mashing+foaming&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ruOeT4GgEoOd6AHB-qz2Dg&ved=0CHIQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=rye%20mashing%20foaming&f=false

This suggests that simply making rye the minority grain eliminates foaming.

This is probably the true explanation why many (not all) straight ryes in the U.S. are "legal ryes", i.e., it's not because of flavor. Although, perhaps they kill two birds with one stone. I'd further inf think that due to the relatively high rye content of such legal ryes, in some cases at any rate it may be necessary to accept that fermenters will remain partly full in order to contain foaming (i.e. they are underutilized, thus not being run at full efficiency). This would be considered acceptable since rye whiskey is such a tiny part of straight whiskey production.

Whereas in Canada, somehow they found a way (anti-foaming agents?) to ensure full fermenter capacity, i.e., for high-rye mashes.

I stress: all the above is my thinking and inference from what I've been reading on this over lunch, it's not intended to state actual fact.

Gary

CorvallisCracker
04-30-2012, 12:42
Given that some distillers, like Alberta Distillers, use high amounts of rye in their mashes, even 100%, they must have found a way to cope with foaming problems.

During an exchange (one phone conversation, several E-Mails) with Rob Tuer of Alberta Springs I learned that they don't use rye malt, instead relying on an in-house-developed enzyme.


The vatting of 19th Cent Style OP and Bulleit rye interests me because I'm planing some blending experiments to approach (if not fully match) the flavor profile of some pre-pro rye I recently acquired (Large Distillery Monongahela BiB, distilled 1914, bottled 1918)(no I can't get anymore, so don't ask). It's my understanding that these were mostly rye with the balance being barley malt, typically 15-25% of the latter.

One would think that all I'd need is the Bulleit and some unpeated malt whiskey (I have some 10yo Glengoyne that I plan to use); however the Large is intensely fruity and I suspect I'll need something to boost that component. I'll be in California in June and hope to pick up some OP while there (it's not sold in OR).

Gillman
04-30-2012, 12:54
The foaming problem apparently occurs with malted or unmalted rye, or at least that's what I've understood from this reading.

That use of Glengoyne makes sense subject to the issue of esteriness. I'd adjust the rye whiskey in your blend by adding such whisky, such that the barley malt component ends up being 20%. You might consider using Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey, Scott, since it has the advantage of being aged in new charred wood, however I don't recall if it is peated. If so of course I wouldn't use it. For the fruity side, I'd consider regular Glenmorangie: fruity, not peated. Or toss in some sherry.

Gary

CorvallisCracker
04-30-2012, 13:49
The foaming problem apparently occurs with malted or unmalted rye, or at least that's what I've understood from this reading.


Okay, it was my interpretation that it was the result of unmalted and malted rye in combination.



That use of Glengoyne makes sense subject to the issue of esteriness. I'd adjust the rye whiskey in your blend by adding such whisky, such that the barley malt component ends up being 20%. You might consider using Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey, Scott, since it has the advantage of being aged in new charred wood, however I don't recall if it is peated. If so of course I wouldn't use it. For the fruity side, I'd consider regular Glenmorangie: fruity, not peated. Or toss in some sherry.
Gary

Stanahan's is not available in OR. Occasionally House Spirits up in Portland releases some charred-barrel-aged unpeated malt, usually about 2.5yo. I should call and see if they have any currently available.

Glenmorangie is peated, I believe, just not much (don't know the ppm). As for sherry, perhaps a dash of a'bunadh. It's peated at 3ppm, a level so low it begs the question "why bother?" (not to mention any peat is buried under all that sherry). Perhaps the malt component could be 1:1:1 of Glengoyne 10/Glenmorangie 10/Aberlour a'bunadh (all of which I have on hand). The last would boost the proof a bit (after all the Large is a BiB).

Not sure that the fruit in the Large is all that sherryish. Need to taste it again (both me and my wife, who's better at such things). If we can pick out some specific fruit(s), might be better to add a dash of the right type of liqueur.

Gillman
04-30-2012, 16:28
All good approaches IMO, I'm sure it will be great.

Gary

tmckenzie
05-01-2012, 04:29
All rye mashes I have worked with foam. Ones with barley malt seem to be less prone to it. It is sporadic. I think weather must effect it. I have had rye mash over flow a fermenter that was half full and run uphill, and be on a wall 10 feet away. The a fermenter set 6 hours later not foam nearly as bad. Sometimes it just gets pissed off I think. There are some very effective anti foamers out there, but I do not like using them.

Gillman
05-01-2012, 04:58
I like the fact of the unpredictability although I realise it makes the job of Tom and other distillers harder. Despite the modern science, the organoleptic this and chromatographic that, you can't fully master all the incidents, you can't always tell when that sucker in the vat will get ornery! It's another aspect of the enigma whiskey still is, one of the many quirks on the long strange trip from paint-cleaner to the opulent richness of old rye whiskey, say...

Gary

shoshani
05-01-2012, 07:10
I like the fact of the unpredictability although I realise it makes the job of Tom and other distillers harder. Despite the modern science, the organoleptic this and chromatographic that, you can't fully master all the incidents, you can't always tell when that sucker in the vat will get ornery! It's another aspect of the enigma whiskey still is, one of the many quirks on the long strange trip from paint-cleaner to the opulent richness of old rye whiskey, say...

Gary

What was the classic Monongahela rye, then - malted, or unmalted with a dash of malted something or other (rye or barley) to assist fermentation?

Fritz Maytag seems convinced that the original American Rye Whiskey was 100% malted rye, thus using that for Old Potrero. But I'm getting the impression, particularly from some of the excerpts you've posted here, that it was similar to Bulleit: unmalted rye with a dash of malted grain. (LDI used 5% malted rye back when Seagram owned it; now, of course, that 5% is malted barley.)

Gillman
05-01-2012, 07:35
From what I've read, e.g. in Samuel M'Harry's book (circa 1810) or F.X. Byrn (around 1860), the mashbills for rye whiskey then were based on unmalted rye with the small grain being malted barley. The percentages of each varied, sometimes 90%-10%, sometimes 80%-20%. 70%-30% was mentioned in at least one source IIRC. Barley malt varies in enzymatic power and starch content with the seasons, so probably even the same distillery changed it around to get the result they wanted. IIRC again, Byrn said you could substitute malted corn for the malted barley. (Incidentally both M'Harry and Byrn lived in Pennsylvania, home of Monongahela rye whiskey).

There would have been variations though amongst distillers, and maybe some did use 100% malted rye. I think Canadians did for their flavoring whisky, or for some types of rye marketed around 1900 at any rate.

Given barley malt has the power to convert starch to sugar well beyond the starch content of its own kernel, there would have been no incentive I believe to use all-malted grains (since more expensive than unmalted), unless there was a specific reason. Flavor may have been a reason, which is way traditional malt whisky in Scotland is 100% barley malt. Anchor's approach is just one particular approach amongst a range of possibilities.

But based on what I've read, the typical Pennsylvania rye recipe was 80 or 90% raw rye and the rest barley malt.

Gary

Gillman
05-01-2012, 07:55
This 1890 record of speeches in the Canadian Senate is very interesting, I draw attention to the comments of Mr. Read, who was a distiller for 25 years:

http://books.google.ca/books?id=vTklAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA791&dq=montreal+malt+rye+whisky&hl=en&sa=X&ei=rfWfT9u5Hsa46QGwweC3Ag&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=montreal%20malt%20rye%20whisky&f=false

First, he confirms that Canadian whisky originally did not use corn. He states no corn was distilled in Canada before 1845. This is why surely to this day Canadians call their whisky rye whisky (amongst other names). The name dates from a time when it really was made from rye and popular usage has never abandoned it even though most Canadian whisky today uses corn as the base.

As to the mashbill of "old rye", which in my opinion was a straight-type rye, akin to Monongahela, he says it was rye (i.e., raw rye), malted barley and sometimes oats although he never used oats. So this IMO shows another source for a typical mid-1800's rye whiskey mashbill as being a combo of those grains.

But once again, it doesn't mean everyone then used this. Some distillers may have used 100% malted rye, perhaps they liked the flavor, or had some other reason. Raw rye can be quite pungent in flavour even after 4 years in charred wood never mind uncharred oak or a quick rinse in maple charcoal vats (which some Canadian distillers did then).

Is it any wonder that without a tradition of using only new charred wood to age, Canadian rye ended as a blend? Even 10% rye flavoring whisky pokes its nose through a blend with 90% aged spirit distilled at a high proof.

Hey Tom what's Read talking about re a cap and all that, about the kernels of corn sinking unless you put some kind of support in the vat? I couldn't follow that.

Gary

shoshani
05-01-2012, 11:10
Hey Tom what's Read talking about re a cap and all that, about the kernels of corn sinking unless you put some kind of support in the vat? I couldn't follow that.

Gary

He says the shells of the corn are heavy and cause it to sink. The same phenomenon is noted in Harrison Hall's "The Distiller" from 1818. His Pennsylvania book (it's on Google but I lost the link when I downloaded the PDF) cautions against using a mash of 100% corn, saying that because of the bran it tends to sink to the bottom of the hogshead and is thus difficult to ferment. Most of Hall's mashes are proportions of corn and rye; he considers a mixture of the two to make a better and purer spirit than either alone, but says you can use as little as 25% rye.

Getting back to Read, it's interesting the overwhelming prejudice he has against corn, because of its fusel oils. Because both he and Hall talk about the shell or bran of the corn weighing it down, I wonder whether the corn they were using was milled or not...it almost sounds like whole kernels.

Gillman
05-01-2012, 11:24
Well that's it, normal milled and mashed corn shouldn't act like that, I wonder if they just soaked regular corn that had been dried. Perhaps the effect of the kernel created more fusels? Although rye is still fuselly too.

Gary

MrAtomic
05-01-2012, 11:27
I don't have any specific information to contribute, but I'd like to thank everyone who has, because this thread typifies my favorite aspects of this forum. I'm learning a lot, getting ideas for vatting, and generally having my mind blown by the knowledge at people's fingertips.

Thank you.

tmckenzie
05-02-2012, 03:41
He says the shells of the corn are heavy and cause it to sink. The same phenomenon is noted in Harrison Hall's "The Distiller" from 1818. His Pennsylvania book (it's on Google but I lost the link when I downloaded the PDF) cautions against using a mash of 100% corn, saying that because of the bran it tends to sink to the bottom of the hogshead and is thus difficult to ferment. Most of Hall's mashes are proportions of corn and rye; he considers a mixture of the two to make a better and purer spirit than either alone, but says you can use as little as 25% rye.

Getting back to Read, it's interesting the overwhelming prejudice he has against corn, because of its fusel oils. Because both he and Hall talk about the shell or bran of the corn weighing it down, I wonder whether the corn they were using was milled or not...it almost sounds like whole kernels.

I doubt they were using whole kernels. I think the cap is something I have heard older folks including ,my grandaddy talk about. You need rye or wheat bran or something to cap it up to hold the heat in. It could be that is what they are talking about. But it sounds like he is takling about an acutal structure in the fermenter too. and it could be that they were using pots, with not any pratical way to stir them and had some type of cap you could raise up from the bottom during the highest stage of fermentaion to extract all of the grain, instead of using a lauter tun which would be a pain in the you know what with corn. Corn has to be milled just right, it will not cap up completly, but it will roll. The yeast get down in it at the bottom of the fermenter and will cause a show like you have never seen. Just a costant rolling from time to time of corn. If you grind too fine it will setup like concrete, but if you have the right screen in the mill, it will give some surface are for the co2 to push the grain up on. It is really fun to watch.

Gillman
05-02-2012, 05:21
One of the things (there are some) not discussed much, if at all, on SB is how the various grains are milled and what differences if any there are to the same grains milled in M'Harry's and Harrison Hall's time.

This page shows a brief enumeration of the by-products of wheat, only some of which are used for human food:

http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/livestock/beef/facts/wheat.htm

Grist for the mill (ahem) for another thread, but it would be interesting to learn how each grain used today in bourbon and rye production is processed and milled.

Gary