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cowdery
06-07-2001, 07:49
Linn, such fine work deserves its own subject heading and I am proud to be the one to start it. You did a terrific job with both the story and the photography. It is both evocative and informative. It also sounds like the Mt. Vernon folks did a great job putting on the event.

As an aside, do you know if Mrs. Newman is the wife of the Phil Newman who was formerly an executive at Glenmore and then United/Guinness in Louisville? Mike Veach, who worked with Phil, may also know.

--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)

**DONOTDELETE**
06-07-2001, 08:41
Thank you Chuck you're too kind. I do not know if Phillip Newman III is the Phil Newman you speak of, but it seems very likely so. It is very obvious that Mrs. Newman is well connected at the highest levels of Bourbonia, and happily so,as we all benifit from these ladies selfless works.

The fine folks at DISCUS did a splendid job all around. Judy Blatman deserves accolades for her swift attention for my pleas for press credenitals. She's a real sweety. I also want to thank Jim Butler for having enough faith in me to send in an official request to DISCUS for my press credentials. Many thanks to Esther C. White of Mount Vernon for her tireless efforts to get me included in the event and for providing such good gist for my mill.

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

bourbonmed
06-07-2001, 09:00
Linn,

Nicely done my friend. I'm hoping Esther and her folks set up a booth at the festival.

Omar

**DONOTDELETE**
06-07-2001, 09:39
Thank you Omar! Esther lives with her hands deep into the past. If the booth were several hundred years old and she had to dig for it she'd be there!

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

**DONOTDELETE**
06-07-2001, 15:23
<big>VERY</big> IMPRESSIVE! That's about as well-written an article as I've seen. The opening paragraphs read the way I wish all mine did, and I really appreciated the way you echoed that imagery at the middle and again at the end with Washington's toast. The illustrations were perfect. Good work, Gee Bee.

=John=
http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

**DONOTDELETE**
06-07-2001, 16:02
Chuck,
Yes, that is Phil's wife. She has been involved with many historical societies through the years including a stint as President of the Filson Club.
Mike Veach

**DONOTDELETE**
06-07-2001, 16:07
Linn,
Great article. I do question the wisdom of floating barrels of bourbon in the river. I know that it can cause the whiskey to get musty, but then again, I guess this whiskey is not for public consumption. You should have volunteered to be a taste tester to make sure this did not happen.
Mike Veach

**DONOTDELETE**
06-07-2001, 16:26
Mike take a look at that photo again. The barrels were floating far too high, and were props for the photo op. The real barrels of whiskey were already stored away safely. No one is exactly sure what Mount Vernon is going to do with the whiskey once it's been aged. Perhaps I should offer to visit every so offten to sample the barrels and judge their progress. I feel very patriotic just thinking about it.

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

vasshopper
06-07-2001, 16:28
LINN
You did yourself proud, excellent article and pictures CONGRATULATIONS!!!

**DONOTDELETE**
06-07-2001, 16:30
Linn,
I think that not only should they do this, but they should pay you for your expert opinion (unless some of the bourbon is wheated).
Mike Veach

rwilps
06-07-2001, 16:56
Folks,

Sorry to intrude with a clunky question, but where's the hyperlink? Is the story only available to you Virginians or am I missing something through the bottom of my snifter, here? I'd love to read it - don't keep me in suspense if I can reach it online.

Ralph

vasshopper
06-07-2001, 17:50
ralph, try the front page with the makers,brands, recipes and the discussion board just to the right of it. i had the same promblem. enjoy!----den

**DONOTDELETE**
06-07-2001, 18:27
Thanks for the flowers Den. I had a great shot of the wagon & mule team with the barrels being loaded. I sent Jim the photos and let him pick whatever he thought best. There is a thing called 'bandwidth'that places limitations on just how big the artice could be. Jim would have put up more photos if he could.

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

rwilps
06-08-2001, 07:27
Oh, the home page!...I got it - thanks, Den!

Ralph

rwilps
06-08-2001, 07:57
Linn,

Let me add my kudos to the above - both the article and the pictures evoked Washington's deep love of his land and its gifts. I was especially intrigued by the fact that he used mostly rye with no malted barley for his mashbill. When you add that to the fact that Washington and his family loved good rum (he specifically ordered barrels of "the best Barbados rum" for his inauguration), it may be that his whiskey fermentation could have been helped along by a good dollop of molasses. I seem to recall you having some hands-on experience with that kind of a wash. And also, Fritz Maytag might be very interested in the operation of Washington's cooperage - his theory of "toasted" barrels might be tested by examination of staves found there. You know, you have become the chronicler of this dig, and should be so recognized by DISCUS and the folks at Mt. Vernon. Again, a great job - your article elevates wood, water and grain to its proper status.

Ralph

tdelling
06-08-2001, 09:09
I'll also add my "Huzzah!" as a compliment to Linn's writing.

I noticed that DISCUS put up their press release (with a few pictures)
on their webpage:

http://www.discus.health.org/pr52101.htm

**DONOTDELETE**
06-08-2001, 16:26
Thanks for the kudos Ralph. Washington did continue to import rum. As far as barrel staves go we'll just have to wait and see what Esther digs up. I'll be going back to the site several more times and will report back with any news. You can bet I'll be there for the dedication ceremony when the reconstruction is completed. You'll really hear some HUZZAHS! then.

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

**DONOTDELETE**
06-08-2001, 16:30
Tim I'll take those HUZZAHS! thank you.

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

**DONOTDELETE**
06-08-2001, 18:18
Thanks John! Now you see just what I'm really capable of writting. All anyone has ever seen of me has been rough drafts thrashed out on the spur of the moment. It helps to have Jim Butler do the proof reading and polishing.

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

MashBill
06-08-2001, 20:24
Great article Linn! You really have a way with words. Your photos were excellent too. I look forward to reading your updates on the progress of this facinating historical site.

Bill
http://home.kc.rr.com/mashbill/

**DONOTDELETE**
06-09-2001, 05:08
Thanks Bill! Let me tell ya that being a 'cyber-reporter' for StraightBourbon ain't as easy as it looks. Going to the event was great fun. Taking notes and running down the facts was real work. The first paragraph of the story just poured out pretty much as you see. The rest I had to struggle for. Whenever you write any sort of historical material it is so easy to get bogged down in minutia. Detail after detail can really make a story just crawl along. It's tough to keep things moving at a reasonable pace so people don't get so bored that they just stop reading. That's why so many people hate history. I find history can be very exciting. The problem is that so many historians are horrendous writers.

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

cowdery
06-11-2001, 15:41
Some of you who have dabbled in distillation might know the answer to this. Washington claims his distiller used no barley. Is it possible he used no malted grain of any kind? Or would he of necessity had to have malted some rye or corn? Can you obtain an adequate conversion just by cooking?

--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)

cowdery
06-11-2001, 16:07
If anyone is still having trouble finding Linn's story, click here. (http://www.straightbourbon.com/gwstills.html)

--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)

Ken Weber
06-15-2001, 12:35
Chuck,
I spoke with our master distiller, Gary Gayheart, and he said that Washington would have had to use some malted rye or malted corn. The yeast is incapable of converting the starch into alcohol. The enzymes in the malted grain break the starch down into sugars and the yeast then act upon the sugars. He did say that rye possess a small amount of natural enzymes, but not enough the affect the starches in corn. Of course today, distillers can purchase enzymes to break the starches down.

Ken

cowdery
06-16-2001, 08:53
Ken,

thanks for checking with Gary. That's good to know.

--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)

**DONOTDELETE**
06-19-2001, 09:08
Hi, I've been spending long days in the field and have just gotten a chance to see Linn's article, GREAT JOB!!

I want to invite folks to see the site themselves, we're having three open houses Oct. 6 and 7 and Oct. 11. Of course we're at the site Wed. - Sat. until November, but please contact me if you're making a special trip.

Naturally, we're also very interested in the ingredients of Washington's mashbill, let me add a couple of points. I think it is significant that Washington says "...no Barley..." as opposed to mentioning malt specifically. From a preliminary reading of the Weekly Farm Reports, we know malt WAS used in the whiskey. Interpretation currently suggests that a ratio of 60% rye / 35% corn / 5% malt was routinely distilled.

We are a less certain what grain was malted. One clue is in the same Weekly Reports. In December 1798 a "malt house" was constructed. Although we have not found the remains of this building we think it was located near the distillery. Once this building is completed, barley suddenly appears in the records being sent to the distillery complex, rather than malt. This suggests that barley is probably the grain being malted in the new malt house. I think Washington (and perhaps 18th century distillers in general?) made a distinction between unmalted grain and malt and his reference is to unmalted barley being used in the whiskey. For a longer discussion on ingredients check out the Celtic Malts site www.celticmalts.com

We have not located the site of the cooperage yet either, although we think it might be in one end of the distillery. Naturally, we'd love to find barrel staves, but organic material (wood, paper, textiles...) doesn't preserve very well in Virginia. Rest assured y'all will hear of it though.

And finally, I'm not sure if anyone from Mount Vernon will attend the Festival this year. We had a wonderful time last year and hope to be back in 2002 with much to report about the distillery. While we do spend lots of time lost in the past, we rely on the present to help us understand what we're discovering, and a nice shot of bourbon sure tastes good after a long day digging.

Cheers,
Esther

**DONOTDELETE**
06-19-2001, 09:50
Thanks Esther for the additional information on the building of the malthouse and the estimated mashbill that the Anderson's may have used. That's good to know. I'm also glad that you're pleased with the report.

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

cowdery
06-19-2001, 15:09
Esther,

Thanks for sharing that with us, especially since it seems to confirm my belief that the malting of anything other than barley was strictly done as a field expedient.

Five percent malt would be low based on current practice and I am not knowledgeable enough to say whether or not it is possible to affect an adequate conversion at that level.

I'm sure this is an exciting project for you. In us, you have an avid audience.

--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)

**DONOTDELETE**
06-19-2001, 19:21
A final interesting note....during the initial four months of the endeavor (spring 1797), they are distilling wheat. For some reason the transfer of wheat to the distillery stops about the time the rye / corn / malt transfers begin.