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Schock
11-20-2005, 07:16
Are there any bourbons that are 100% corn?

Call me crazy, but let's suppose you had a few whiskeys that were each 100% of one of the major mash grains (Corn, Wheat, Rye, Barley, etc.). After they have been similiarly aged, could you mix them to simulate different mash bills?

By the way, does anyone have a consolidated list of mash bills of many bourbons? I know that distillers don't like to share this information, but I've seen it in a lot of posts.

Thanks,
Jimmy

cowdery
11-21-2005, 14:47
Supposedly, Old Charter is about 80 percent corn and is the highest in corn content.

The only mono-grain whiskey made in America that I know of is Old Potrero, which is 100 percent malted rye.

barturtle
11-21-2005, 14:59
St. George Single Malt.
www.stgeorgespirits.com (http://www.stgeorgespirits.com)

Haven't had it, not sure how interested I am, but I wouldn't refuse a taste either. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

TNbourbon
11-21-2005, 15:41
I have the St. George open currently. Think orange muscat dessert wine. I even vatted to a rye-recipe bourbon, and the concoction tasted like orange muscat dessert wine. Then I tried... -- well, you get the picture. This stuff takes over anything it's wedded to. Orange muscat dessert wine.
I suspect most of it's going to be used in cooking.

barturtle
11-21-2005, 15:55
Hmm...orange muscat for the person who really wants a buzz? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

Maybe a few drops in a manhatten?

clayton
11-21-2005, 16:29
The only mono-grain whiskey made in America that I know of is Old Potrero, which is 100 percent malted rye.



McCarthy's Oregon Single Malt qualifies as a mono-grain American whiskey:
http://www.clearcreekdistillery.com/Whiskey.htm

http://www.clearcreekdistillery.com/_borders/whiskeybottle2.jpg

To me, this has an odd rubber-inner-tube taste that I'm not overly fond of, but as a single malt it does meet the requirements.

barturtle
11-21-2005, 17:04
Call me crazy, but let's suppose you had a few whiskeys that were each 100% of one of the major mash grains (Corn, Wheat, Rye, Barley, etc.). After they have been similiarly aged, could you mix them to simulate different mash bills?



I really don't think so, I could cook all of the ingredients in a nice Marinara sauce seperately and toss them with spaghetti but I seriously doubt it would taste good.

I believe the mash would suffer here. IIRC: malting corn is not too easy, and the mash is cooked at different temps and times as the grains are added(correct me if I'm wrong here). These changes in temp would also affect the other grains that are already in the mash, while you might be able to cook the grains that go in first useing the same routine, it would be difficult to introduce the later grains to a mash already full the slurry that results from the earlier ones.

The yeasts might not be as happy to live in a mash of just one grain either, as one grain may release more usable sugars than another. This would cause one batch to ferment slowly practially creating an aged mash while another might ferment extremely quickly and to too high an ABV, creating more problems.

We only wish it was this easy to mingle a whiskey to match our own preferences. Mmm, Barturtle's Big Bad Bourbon, custom made to my grain/age/proof preferences, Barturtle's Ridiculous Rye, coming soon. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

tdelling
11-21-2005, 19:50
> The only mono-grain whiskey made in America that I know of is Old Potrero,
> which is 100 percent malted rye.

Well, Chuck, you're not a big fan of the microdistillers, are you??!!!

Off the top of my head:
St. George Single Malt
St. James Peregrine Rock
McCarthy's Oregon Single Malt (Clear Creek)
Charbay Whiskey

and then, depending on how you argue it, I'd bet one or two
of the various "all corn" whiskies have enzymes added instead of
malted barley, making them arguably mono-grain.

Tim Dellinger

John_Regehr
11-21-2005, 20:02
Try to find some Virginia Lightning. It's 100% corn and "guaranteed less than 30 days old". I found it to be exceptionally harsh.

John

Jake_Parrott
11-22-2005, 04:12
IIRC, "straight bourbon" has a maximum corn content of 80%, no?

Ken Weber
11-22-2005, 06:51
Ah, a common misperception that even many in the industry are confused about. Bourbon can consist of 100% corn, with the only parameter being that it must contain at least 51%. There is no upper limit. Some people will tell you that after 80% corn, the resulting spirit is refered to as "Corn Whiskey." Not so.

Now, recall some basic chemistry. When yeast is added to the mash, what does it convert into alcohol? That is right, sugar. As we know corn is sweet. It is sweet because we have the ability to convert the starches into sugar. Yeast can not do this, hence the primary purpose of malted barley; provide the enzymes that convert starch to sugar so the yeast has something to act upon. Still this is easily overcome by the addition of enzymes during the fermentation process.

Ken

Barrel_Proof
11-22-2005, 07:00
IIRC, "straight bourbon" has a maximum corn content of 80%, no?


No. (http://www.straightbourbon.com/27cfr5.pdf)

tdelling
11-22-2005, 08:09
> Try to find some Virginia Lightning. It's 100% corn and "guaranteed
> less than 30 days old". I found it to be exceptionally harsh.

I'd suggest adding a splash of water... it's a little much at 100 Proof.
Some drinks do well at that strength, but this one struggles a bit.

Lighter whiskies are also more temperature sensitive... slightly chilled
can taste very different than slightly warm.

It's an acquired taste, but then again, so is bourbon.


Tim Dellinger

JeffRenner
11-22-2005, 09:01
As we know corn is sweet. It is sweet because we have the ability to convert the starches into sugar.



Well, the former science teacher in me prompts me to add some clarification (I hope).

Sweet corn is immature corn that has sugars in it, but that isn't used in bourbon, after all.

Mature, dry corn is not sweet - it has almost no sugar. As the grain matured, it was polymerized into starch (the sugar molecules are strung together in long, branching chains called starch). This is how grains store their food reserves for their baby plants to use during sprouting. If they were stored as sugars, every mold, yeast and bacteria would glom onto them. But most of these microbes, as you say, can't digest starch. So when the baby plant sprouts, it produces enzymes that cleave off sugar molecules slowly at just the rate it can use them over a period of days until the baby plant produces leaves and can photosynthesize its own sugars.

Brewers and distillers speed up the process by heating the sprouted grains (called malt) to about 150F, which converts the starches to sugars in less than an hour, as opposed to days.

We do have enzymes in our saliva that convert starch into sugar, but it is not a fast process. If you were to chew some cornmeal, it would not taste sweet until you had masticated it for a while. This is one way that the traditional Incan chicha was made - by chewing corn and spitting it into a pot to ferment.

I used to have my science students demonstrate this by chewing a soda cracker and noting how it became progressively sweeter. (Seventh graders love this - they stick their tongues out with that yucky stuff on it -eeew, gross!)

This process really only starts the process of digesting starches - most of it is done in the digestive tract, well away from our ability to taste the sugars that are produced.

Traditional "corn squeezins'" was made by sprouting, or malting, some or all of the corn. One way was to put a bunch of corn into a burlap sack, tie it up, and stick it into a creek for a few days. An experienced distiller would know when the corn had sprouted to the point of having maximum enzymes without sprouting too far and using up the starches.

They wouldn't bother drying this green malt, but would simply grind it wet and mash it, perhaps with some ground dry corn and also, often, with some sour mash left from a previous batch.

I don't think any commercial corn whiskey is made with malted corn.

Jeff

chasking
11-22-2005, 10:09
Malted grains produce a very different tasting spirit from the same grain unmalted: compare pure malt whiskey (i.e., SMSW) with Irish whiskey, the traditional forms of which have unmalted barley in the mash. Or compare regular straight rye with Old Potrero or Lot 40, which are made with malted rye. In each case the unmalted barley or malted rye adds a distinct flavor.

So, when talking about a whiskey with a mashbill of 100% corn, it is I think important to differentiate between corn and malted corn. A spirit distilled from a mash of all malted corn might well bear no resemblance to bourbon as we know it---it's effectively a different grain. Even using malted corn instead of malted barley in a traditional bourbon mashbill might give it a different character, although not so pronounced. Meanwhile, it would be impossible to ferment a mash of 100% unmalted corn, without adding enzymes. I don't know that adding enzymes for fermentation would affect whether the spirit qualifies as whiskey, but one wonders if there is any reason besides tradition to continue using malted barley if it's not legally required. I seem to recall that in another thread Ken Weber said that Rain vodka is made from 100% corn, fermented with enzymes. If it was cheaper to use malted barley, one assumes they would.

By the way, I would love to taste whiskey made from or with malted corn. As noted above in this thread, old-school moonshiners used to malt corn for their products, back when moonshining was more for local consumption and less of an organized crime. Pre-prohibition, moonshiners were (apparently) more concerned with quality and flavor; with the advent of prohibition it became a serious business, with the result being more hooch made from almost straight sugar. Anyway, according to anectodal information, some of that old 'shine was pretty good, notwithstanding that it was not aged. Old Potrero, made from all malted rye, is quite drinkable very young (I know, opinions may differ), so maybe a malted corn spirit would also be palatable without having to spend years in a barrel (although I'm sure it wouldn't hurt).

John_Regehr
11-22-2005, 11:55
I'd suggest adding a splash of water... it's a little much at 100 Proof.
Some drinks do well at that strength, but this one struggles a bit.

Lighter whiskies are also more temperature sensitive... slightly chilled
can taste very different than slightly warm.

It's an acquired taste, but then again, so is bourbon.




Thanks for the suggestions! Unfortunately it may be a while before I'm next in Virginia...

pepcycle
11-22-2005, 14:03
I respectfully disagree.
Its my understanding that this is exactly how Four Roses produces different products with a major exception. None of the products is 100% of one grain. I think there are seven mashbills. All their whiskeys, including Bulleit (I think), are made by mixing straight whiskeys from each of these mashbills in certain proportions.
OK: Am I correct??
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif

barturtle
11-22-2005, 15:08
Yes, you are correct. Four Roses does blend several different bourbons together to arrive at the flavor profile that each bottling requires. Supposedly even the bottom shelfer Yellow Label requires 11 different whiskies to make! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/bigeyes.gif

The only exception to this rule that I know of is the single barrel, unless they found a way to blend whiskies without taking them out of the barrel! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

However, I think my argument still stands, as it was about distilling each individual grain, aging it, and blending to simulate a mashbill profile. Of course I never even got into the things that start happening when you deal with different distilling proofs, barreling proofs, yeast strains, still configurations, water types, char levels, warehouse types, and so on and so forth.

Now if some chemist were to come along and tell me that there is no interaction between the grains during the mash that may create a modification to the chemical properties of the beer or the way that that beer reacts to the distillation process and of course the barrel interaction of the resulting distillate with the barrel, of course I'm listening, but he's going to need some pretty strong(and well-aged http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif) evidence to back it up, before I change my mind on this.

Now change this to "could you blend different bourbon(or even rye or wheat) mashbills together to simulate different mashbills?" then, Yes, but with exceptions that limit the range that is achievable: same as above, proof of distillation, barreling proof, water, yeast, char, still, warehousing, etc.

Now, just as an example, in blending scotch whisky, many use 30 or more whiskies to acheive the brand profile, and IIRC more than one closed distillery has been reopened because there was no way to achieve the brand profile without that malt. You could not make Chivas Regal without Strathisla. Black Bottle uses every Islay, it wouldn't be the same without them.

Bring on the chemists and their well-aged evidence http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif

Gillman
11-22-2005, 15:22
I get what you are saying, Timothy but I don't agree with you and the fact that Four Roses does what it does with its straight whiskeys suggests to me they are not concerned with blending different yeasts or mashbills, it is an alternate way to achieve what could be achieved in one mash but trying to get the Four Roses profile in one mash is hard to do reliably and therefore has less commercial justification. I have blended a 100% rye whiskey, Lot 40, with a very high corn-recipe bourbon, say Old Charter. The result tastes like a high-rye recipe bourbon. I don't rule out that unique chemical reactions can occur when mixed grain mashes are fermented and distilled, but I don't think they are material in nature.

Here's another way to test it: take, say ORVW 10 year old and add again the Lot 40 or some Potrero (Lot 40 is better because older in a 2:1 ratio. Result (in effect): a four-grain bourbon that effectively is a high rye bourbon. Corner's Creek is a commercially available example and it too tastes like a high-rye bourbon (or at least a decent-flavoured whiskey and we know rye is the main flavour grain in straight whiskey). The wheat doesn't add much in my view, it is a neutral backdrop against which to create a high rye bourbon. Why do this when you can buy high rye bourbons in the market? To get a different, maybe better taste - you can craft it to what you want.

Forty Creek in Canada does exactly what Schock was bruiting: its Barrel Select is a mixture of corn, rye and barley whiskeys that are single grain (except I suppose for some malting barley to provide enzyme for conversion). And it's darn good whiskey, ask Mr. Kuzbee. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Gary

barturtle
11-22-2005, 16:04
Gary, I agree with you that you can definitely do some wonderful things by blending whiskies together to reach a flavor profile and I think I really need to spend some time working on my Gillmanizing skills.

However, however this is about blending individualy fermented, distilled and aged grains to simulate a mashbill. I just don't think that(eliminating all the other problems) if you were to lay down a barrel of wheat, one of rye, one of corn, one of barley malt side-by-side with a barrel of bourbon; let them age, filter and then blend together the wheat, rye, corn and barley in the same percentages as the barrel of bourbon was originaly made from that they will taste the same.

As far as what Four Roses does, they have several different bottlings that have different flavor profiles. As a (relatively) small producer they would need to be much more careful to achieve that profile. Their batches are probably much smaller than the massive dumps that Beam does, and in those smaller dumps one or two off barrels could easily throw "off" the profile they're going for. What's the easiest way to adjust the flavor? Is it by throwing in another 10 barrels that are ever so slightly different and running through the warehouse trying barrel after barrel to find those made from the same mashbill that taste different, or to just use one barrel of a whiskey from a very different mashbill to adjust the flavor to where you want it. Now, Four Roses has probably come up with a base recipe for each of its labels designed to utilize the bulk of what it distills evenly, and can then adjust each one by grabbing another one of this or another of that or one of each. I have a huge amount of respect for the people that do this, blending whiskey is an artform that few are capable of and fewer are masters of.

Of course all of this is merely my thoughts on the issue, as I'm not a chemist nor do I work at Four Roses(or any other distillery).

Someone grab the bottles of 100% corn, wheat , rye, and barley malt- I'm looking to be convinced otherwise http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drinking.gif

Gillman
11-22-2005, 17:10
You may be right. Maybe it doesn't matter: by either method one can arrive at tasty whiskeys; if that is so, the question of emulation is moot.

Gary

CrispyCritter
11-22-2005, 19:03
I have the St. George open currently. Think orange muscat dessert wine.



I have a bottle here, and I get a strong cocoa/hazelnut flavor out of it - nothing orange-like. Different batch?

TNbourbon
11-22-2005, 19:23
I have the St. George open currently. Think orange muscat dessert wine.



I have a bottle here, and I get a strong cocoa/hazelnut flavor out of it - nothing orange-like. Different batch?



Could be. I think they've made three batches so far. Two for sure: The first was released in 1999, Malt Advocate first noted it in 2001, and there was a 2004 release.
They sold 400 cases of the whiskey in 2004.

barturtle
11-22-2005, 19:35
Maybe it doesn't matter: by either method one can arrive at tasty whiskeys; if that is so, the question of emulation is moot.




I agree, I'm constantly amazed by the variety of whiskies that are available from the few distilleries that exist in America(both the US and Canada).

I believe tonight I'm trying by own blending: I've got 3 open bottles down here ORVW 15 OGD 114 WT Rye, any suggestions on where to start?

Gillman
11-22-2005, 20:11
Try the ORVW 15 with the OG 114 3:1. This will produce a well-aged rye-recipe-style bourbon that is superior (arguably) to each of the others.

As for the WT rye, I might use that to "dilute" the OG 114 which at full power can be a bit much. I'd go 50/50 here, or maybe try OG 114 to WT rye 2:1. It will be perhaps something close to a "legal rye" rye such as ORVW 13 year old (but younger, which may be salutary).

This is fun, and I'm not even there. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Gary

barturtle
11-22-2005, 21:45
Okay working on the last of 3 blends I'm trying tonight

Started off with the ORVW 15 / OGD 114 3:1 : this is a BIG combo, leading off with the spice and alcohol from the OGD and finishing with the wood of the ORVW, a nice if not too relaxing blend. It'll make you sit up and notice it, no kicking back and relaxing here.

Followed that with a ORVW / WT rye mixed 2:1 : Wow! Smooth, and it makes my mouth water during every sip, seems really juicy. Really makes me wonder what a bourbon with a mashbill closer to the 51% min would be like, or what the Mitchers Sour Mash is like. Wow! I will really revisit this when I open another ORVW.

Currently workin on the OGD/ WT mixed 2:1: Here again the bourbon takes the initial palate, but in a much calmer way that when mixed with the ORVW, and the rye takes the finish, not quite as mouth watering, but a smooth honeyed finish with almost a hint of saffron(!?! never seen that in a whiskey before). Very nice. I think I could drink this pretty much everday, use in manahattens, just enjoy, very good.

Thanks

Gillman
11-22-2005, 23:09
All these sound very interesting. Sometimes small changes make a big difference, e.g., perhaps a 4:1 ORVW 15 with OGD 114 would work well. Or maybe the 3:1 but with a dash of water. All the ones you tried would make superb Manhattans or other whiskey cocktails, absolutely.

Gary

cowdery
11-22-2005, 23:15
Okay, how about this: The only mono-grain whiskey made in America that you can find without a microscope is Old Potrero.

If I can't buy it at Sam's, it doesn't exist.

pepcycle
11-23-2005, 13:27
OMG
Turtlizing!!!!

barturtle
11-23-2005, 14:01
Oh, no. I am but the learner, Gary is the master.(Star Wars reference http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif)