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jeff
03-03-2005, 13:11
What type of "experimental" bourbon would you like to see produced? Maybe a 4 grain mashbill, a 100% corn bourbon, a bourbon aged in exotic oaks or maybe something we haven't thought of yet?

Personally I would be interested in trying a bourbon made with both wheat and rye. I have heard that Woodford Reserve and Buffalo Trace are both aging a 4-grain product right now. I don't know how this will turn out, but it would be interesting to try. I guess I could "gillman" up a batch using existing bottles in my bunker http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif

Gillman
03-03-2005, 13:53
Hey that's what (apparently) Corner Creek did.

Gary

P.S. Don't read my last two posts as any shift to brevity. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

jeff
03-03-2005, 13:56
Gary,

Please elaborate. Are you saying Corner Creek is a mingling of wheat and rye bourbons? I wasn't aware of that.

Gillman
03-03-2005, 13:58
Yes, or that is my belief, rather.

Gary

jeff
03-03-2005, 14:00
Based on something you've heard/read, or on your opinion of the taste?

Gillman
03-03-2005, 14:02
Well, on the label it says, "an exceptional marriage of the finest wheat, rye and corn". So either it is a vatting or a 4-grain, but the former is more likely.

Gary

jeff
03-03-2005, 14:06
Sorry Gary, can you tell that I have never picked up a bottle? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/icon_redface.gif

Very interesting. I have heard good things about this bottling, but I don't believe I have heard any discussion on the mashbill or the mingling. I'll pick up a bottle this weekend and give it a try.

Gillman
03-03-2005, 14:31
Well, it is very good. I like it more now than a few years ago. There was a minty-like taste some years ago that seems lessened now. Label seems unchanged from some years ago so hard to tell the approximate year of the bottling but it was always good, now is even better. Can't say I detect a real difference because of the four grains, though.

Gary

bluesbassdad
03-03-2005, 15:15
Jeff,

More opinions on Corner Creek here (http://www.straightbourbon.comhttp://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthreaded.php/Cat/0/Number/1857/page/vc).

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

TNbourbon
03-03-2005, 15:23
Here's its website:
Corner Creek Bourbon (http://www.cornercreekbourbon.com/)

which states it is a blend of wheat, corn and rye -- "a selection of the distillery's finest barrels". So, apparently, "vatting" at the dumping level.

gr8erdane
03-03-2005, 17:18
Personally, I'd like to try a bourbon that uses an older strain of corn more like that which was prevalent in the formative years of bourbon whiskey. There have been so many advances in farming over the past century that I imagine the corn of that time was a lot different than what we consume today. Maybe even a wild maize bourbon if it was possible to gather enough of it.

jeff
03-03-2005, 18:49
You might want to check that link Tim. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/skep.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/nope.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif

cowdery
03-03-2005, 19:00
which states it is a blend of wheat, corn and rye -- "a selection of the distillery's finest barrels". So, apparently, "vatting" at the dumping level.



There is another possibility. When I spoke to Ted Kraut, who owns the brand, two years ago he said he wanted something with wheat because he had a past association with Old Fitzgerald and W. L. Weller. He confirmed that the label was accurate but when I asked him if it was a four-grain mash bill or a vatting of wheated and rye-recipe bourbons, he didn't know. HE DIDN'T KNOW!!! So what I think is that he bought some eight year old bourbon from somebody, wrote some label copy he thought was about right, and that was that. That's what I think.

Gillman
03-03-2005, 19:12
Well, that's interesting. By the way one of my best, and simplest, blendings recently is Corner Creek and Woodford Reserve 50/50 (myabe slightly less Woodford). It is really good. It takes the slight astringency away from the Corner Creek and the big flavor of the Woodford is lightened and extended, with resultant waves of flavor and good drinkability (soft mouth feel, little alcohol burn on the way down). My feeling is Corner Creek is lighter on the rye bourbon than wheat bourbon, and the WR "corrects" that. I didn't add a blending agent, it doesn't need it.

Gary

TNbourbon
03-03-2005, 20:22
You might want to check that link Tim. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/skep.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/nope.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif



Oops! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif
Try it now. I think I've got it.

sharkman
03-03-2005, 21:02
I have been a corner creek fan for about 1.5 years now. It is the one I reach for when I want something a little different. I love the seetness and the rye notes I get from it. The palate starts off velvety but doesn't stay that way. This is a nice little bottling that I will never be without on my shelf. It's not carried in my state.I think the last time I bought it was from Sam's Wine and Spirits, they have it for $19.99.
One of the BEST ever $20 bourbons IMO. If you are looking for multi-grain whisky, then try the Forty Creek 3-grain Canadian. It's a good little drink when you want a Canadian whisky. Small grains are malted barley, rye and corn (they call it maize). Prominant on the maize side I think (which makes it very intersting) and the barley is a nice touch and I just flat out love rye. Bourbon still rules, but ya gotta see whats on the other side of the fence from time to time.

Barry

Gillman
03-03-2005, 21:40
Well put but this maize thing is a mystery to me. Canadians use the term, "corn" exactly like Americans. We don't use the term "maize" and if you asked 100 people on Yonge Street in Toronto what it meant I doubt one of them could tell you. I think this was put on Forty Creek labels with the export (U.K., rest of EU) market in mind. I am not sure if the term is used on the latest bottlings, I will check.

Gary

jeff
03-04-2005, 06:06
From the Corner Creek website:



"Deep amber hue.<font color="red"> Hedonistic sweet wood</font> , smoke and charred barrel aromas. A very smooth attack leads to a medium-bodied palate. Refined, supple, flavorful finish. Rounded and elegant, this is a very refined style."



Hedonistic sweet wood? Sign me up!

Gillman
03-04-2005, 09:00
Accurate description of the current bottling.

Gary

sharkman
03-04-2005, 21:50
From the Corner Creek website:



"Deep amber hue.<font color="red"> Hedonistic sweet wood</font> , smoke and charred barrel aromas. A very smooth attack leads to a medium-bodied palate. Refined, supple, flavorful finish. Rounded and elegant, this is a very refined style."



Hedonistic sweet wood? Sign me up!



Hell, save me a seat!

Barry

TNbourbon
03-09-2005, 12:45
Interesting that Corner Creek came up so recently here -- today I bought the first bottle I've ever seen in Middle Tennessee. I almost looked right past it because the bottle/label are so similar to wine. The storekeeper said it had been on the shelf a long time, and didn't know if it's still distributed here. I kinda doubt it, or somebody else would have it.

cowdery
03-09-2005, 17:08
It wouldn't be bourbon, by definition, but I would like to try a straight wheat whiskey. As much as I like wheated bourbon, I think a straight wheat whiskey would be dandy. They must have been made at one time, otherwise why would the regs even mention them? (They don't, for example, mention rice whiskey.) You could still have rye involved, either in lieu of corn or in a four-grain mash bill.

I have said before that I think a bourbon mash whiskey long-aged in used cooperage, like a scotch, might be interesting. Again, it wouldn't by definition be bourbon, but that's something I'd like to see. When I had occassion once to try some 20-25 year old single malts side by side with their 10-12 year old expressions, I was impressed by how the older versions were more subtle and refined, yet also more crystalline. I'm not sure what that means, but it's the word that popped into my head.

TNbourbon
03-10-2005, 15:31
Gary,

Please elaborate. Are you saying Corner Creek is a mingling of wheat and rye bourbons? I wasn't aware of that.



Alas, I fear whatever is the case, it's now was, not is. On the KY Secretary of State website, the name Corner Creek is listed as 'inactive', expiring in 2003. And, my attempt to email the marketer from the brand's website bounced back to me undeliverable.

chasking
03-11-2005, 13:25
I would like to try a whiskey made from all (or at least a substantial percentage) malted corn. I have heard that corn is hard to malt, but from some books on moonshining I've read, it sounds like at one time malted corn was commonly used as at least the malt component of the whiskey mashbill back in the farmer/distiller days. So, it's not impossible, at least on a small scale.

Malted rye and unmalted rye produce very different flavors when used in whiskey, as do malted and unmalted barley. It would be interesting to see the effect malting has on the flavor of corn.

I'm not sure whether the resulting spirit could be called bourbon or not. The regs don't distinguish between malted and unmalted corn, as they do with other grains.

Here's a not entirely hypothetical question: if a distillery offered the ability to have a small amount of whiskey (maybe even a single barrel or cask) distilled from a mashbill of your specification, also granting you some level of control over other easily-controlled variables in the process, would you order any?

"How much would it cost?" is the obvious question. Unknown, but I know that a prominent distillery in Scotland is selling newly-distilled whisky by the barrel for 775 pounds, which at present exchange rates comes to a little under $1,500.00 for 50 gallons of whiskey into the barrel. (Angels' share will reduce that by some amount, depending on when bottled.) That's pre-tax, but includes storage while it ages. Of course, that's a Scotch distillery, so presumably it would be rather less expensive than that. And, that's for a full barrel; smaller casks would be an option.

What would you order? At one end of the spectrum, you could of course get your own personally tweaked bourbon mashbill---including a four-grain bourbon. But at the other end of the spectrum, if you have a hankerin' to try an oat, rice and malted wheat whiskey, that possible too.

This is at present an academic exercise, but the idea of a micro-distillery has planted itself in my brain, so this may also count as a feasibility study/market research.

Chuck King

Gillman
03-11-2005, 13:44
I would stipulate for whiskey made from 80% unmalted rye and 20% barley malt. I believe this would produce the best, and most historical, Pennsylvania-style rye whiskey. This is the mashbill given in Byrn's classic Practical Distiller from the 1870's. Take her off at 100 proof, barrel her at ditto, use heavy-charred oak barrels made from wood seasoned outdoors for 5 years (and preferably from very old trees), and age in a wooden or iron-clad warehouse on a hill side where the winds blow. That whiskey would sing on exit from the ricks, take it from me. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Gary

P.S. I realise my recipe above is not for a bourbon but since you suggested experimentation I felt a straight rye fell well within the bounds.

TNbourbon
03-11-2005, 14:31
I have none of the historical whiskey knowledge that Gary has, but I'll take a shot at mixing my own mash based on things I know I like. I find great bourbons -- with distinctive respective assets -- in both wheated and rye categories, so I think I'd have to try a 4-grain. Since I don't want the rye to overwhelm the wheat, the wheat will be a somewhat higher percentage, so let's say: 65% corn, 15% wheat, 10% rye and 10% malted barley, aged 10-12 years with a #3 char.

cowdery
03-11-2005, 14:33
The biggest obstacle to small-scale custom distilling is the fact that most American whiskey distilleries aren't set up to do anything on a small scale. That is in the nature of the column still. You have a bunch of fermenters set, timed to finish as needed, then you crank up the still and go, running it continuously. That produces a lot of whiskey.

Only Woodford Reserve has a true batch process. What they call a "batch" is a bottling batch, but a batch on the production side is about 1,300 gallons of 155 proof spirit. Diluted to the maximum legal entry proof (for bourbon) of 125, that's going to fill 30 barrels. Figure 250 bottles per barrel and your batch is already not very small.

I don't know what the minimum would be for a custom run in a column still operation, but it would be a lot more.

There is also an obstacle to four grain, which is that every distillery has three mills feeding its mash cooker, not four. Conceivably they could mill the wheat and rye together, but again you're clearly monkeying with the operation.

But thinking along the same lines as you, I would love to commission Vendome to make a small scale bourbon distillery, using a smaller-than-normal column still, doubler, the whole bit, that would allow the production of whiskey in small, unique batches. There are small distilling operations about and some make whiskey, but they use pot stills, which are all well and good, but that's not the American way.

(I get some disagreement in this forum when I opine on "the American way" in other contexts, but I think I'm on safe ground here.)

Gillman
03-11-2005, 18:19
Small column stills are commercially manufactured. They are used to distill amongst other things the so-called, "white alcohols" ("alcools blanc" in France, made from various fruits). Because fruits deliver small quantities of distillate (e.g. how much cherry wine can you produce from a quantity of wild cherries?) these small columns are suited to that production. No doubt they could be used to make a good cereal distillate to be aged as bourbon, too. I agree with Chuck it is not useful or revealing to linger on the idea that traditional whiskey was made in pot stills. Bourbon to me is quintessentially an industrial and commercial product, one made in the industrial "par excellence" column still since the mid-1800's. This is not to say a pot still product may not be interesting but this does not mean it is necessarily better or more authentic than column still-derived whiskey. Woodford Reserve is pretty good but you know the other day it struck me as kind of heavy and gritty. I sampled the column still-produced Ancient Age Bottled in Bond just after. That night at any rate it seemed better, more elegant, tasty and refined, yet with plenty of bourbon character. Baby that's U.S. bourbon, it defines it.

Gary

cowdery
03-12-2005, 12:54
One doesn't have to even prefer one over the other to accept the fact that bourbon/American whiskey is a column-distilled product.

I learned yesterday that there is big difference between the way column stills for American whiskey are made and the way stills for GNS and even for scottish grain whiskey are made, possibly Canadian whiskey as well. One difference is size. It was described to me that the plates in a scottish grain column still are large enough for a man to lay on, spread eagle, without touching the sides. To do that in an American whiskey column still, the man would have to be extremely small, as I think the largest are about 4 feet in diameter.

wrbriggs
03-12-2005, 14:01
Interesting, Chuck. Does anyone understand how or if the difference in construction affects the output of the still?

Gillman
03-13-2005, 05:28
The size, number and position of the plates affect how complete a fractionating can be done with a given amount of mash or wash moving through the column. The larger and more sophisticated the column, the easier it will be to get a rectified product, i.e., a GNS of about 96% alcohol by volume. But the important thing to remember is a column still (any type) can be adjusted to produce a lower proof spirit. So the column stills in Kentucky either by design or the way they are operated, produce spirit at less than 160 proof (often much less) to be aged into bourbon. Therefore they are not that different from pot stills which produce alcohol at similar (final) tallies although in a different way and possibly requiring more distillations to do it. Some differences remain, e.g. live steam hits the mash in the column stills to do the separation and heat is applied to a pot to boil the contents, so the processes are not identical (apart that is from issues of throughput, energy efficiency and personnel requirements). It seems too at whatever proof the column delivers the resultant spirit it is "cleaner" than that issuing from a pot still. This may not be only a question of proof differences. I am sure, say, Craig and Parker Beam would know the answer to that one. Certainly one should not assume one still will necessarily make a better whiskey than the other. In considering the other day Woodford Reserve vs. Ancient Age Bonded, I felt the latter was better, for example. WR is only partly a pot still product and it has its particular profile and style. Possibly other pot still bourbons, if and when they emerge, will be sensational in taste and a clear advance on anything the Bluegrass columns have produced to date, but I doubt that will happen. More likely some pot still bourbon will be good, some very good (which WR generally is) and some great. That is true now of column still whiskey.

Gary

cowdery
03-13-2005, 13:03
Interesting, Chuck. Does anyone understand how or if the difference in construction affects the output of the still?


Well, yeah, that's the point. Although no one understands everything that happens in the whiskey-making process, the design and operation of a still determines which congeners are removed and which remain, and in what concentration. American whiskey stills are designed to produce a flavorful whiskey, not a neutral or nearly-neutral spirit. That's the basic difference.

jbutler
03-13-2005, 13:55
Will,

There's an article here (http://www.distilling.com/PDF/AD0114.pdf) that might be of some interest to you.