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View Full Version : Why don't they sell White Dog?



bobbyc
03-03-2006, 17:33
A retorical question and the answer follows.........

I spoke to someone who knows this and it was something of a surprise for me. White Dog in the bottle is highly unstable, enough of the yeast survives the distillation process and a secondary fermentation will begin shortly, the shelf life if it is bottled would be short.

So how do we end up with bourbon?

When entered into the barrel, the ph is changed so that the environment is inhospitable, the secondary fermentation does not take place.

JeffRenner
03-03-2006, 19:43
A retorical question and the answer follows.........

I spoke to someone who knows this and it was something of a surprise for me. White Dog in the bottle is highly unstable, enough of the yeast survives the distillation process and a secondary fermentation will begin shortly, the shelf life if it is bottled would be short.

That doesn't make sense to me. The (1) heat of the still, and (2) the high alcohol of the white dog, will absolutely kill dead any yeast. Period. I'll bet on it.

Now it might be possible that some enzymes from the yeast could carry over (but I'm pretty sure that the heat would denature them), but there are no sugars in white dog to support any "secondary fermentation" even if they did.

It seems to me that white dog would be very stable biologically - just as other distillates are. Consider the various schnapps, which are unaged distillates. (So is vodka, but it is distilled at higher proof.)

And I can't think off hand what would change the pH in the barrel.

Color me skeptical.

Jeff

Rughi
03-03-2006, 20:51
Bobby,
I'm pretty sure you were told a tall tale.

No yeast (or very many other organisms) I've ever heard of can live at an abv above 18 or 20% - which is why fortified wines (sherry, port, madeira, etc) tend to be in the low 20%'s. Fortified wines can be higher, but since the reason they were developed was to make wine stable over time in less than sterile storage conditions there's no necessity.

I wonder if Georgia Moon or Virginia Lightning differ very much from pre-bourbon white dog, other than the lack of rye (and perhaps lack of barley). They at least seem stable. I've just got a Virginia Lightning, and one whiff makes me wonder more if _I'll_ be stable after drinking it.

Roger

TNbourbon
03-03-2006, 21:09
Well, you guys sent me on an info hunt. Here's a reference for temperature effects on distiller's yeast:
http://www.distillery-yeast.com/yeastkillingtemp.htm

Apparently, the higher the alcohol content, the less tolerant yeast is to temperature, but in no case will it survive sustained temps above 45 degrees Celsius, or 113 Fahrenheit.

Gillman
03-03-2006, 21:28
I once read some fermentation can occur even in the barrel, even with bourbon, despite the high ABV of the container. That some yeasts in the atmosphere are resistant to the ethanol effects and this can build up pressure in the barrel. I think Bobby may be on to something.

Gary

bobbyc
03-03-2006, 21:40
but in no case will it survived sustained temps above 45 degrees Celsius, or 113 Fahrenheit.

Thanks Tim, That certainly does more to buttress what I'm saying than to disprove it. I remember seeing the temps of the column displayed at Beam and Barton, and it is not static. There are parts of it well under 113 F, only at the top is there the higher temps, so some could easily pass thru.


Bobby,
I'm pretty sure you were told a tall tale.

Roger, If you knew who told me that I don't think you'd phrase your remark that way.

barturtle
03-03-2006, 21:44
No yeast (or very many other organisms) I've ever heard of can live at an abv above 18 or 20%

I'm not sure what they used to get it there, but Sam Adams Utopia hit 25%


I wonder if Georgia Moon or Virginia Lightning differ very much from pre-bourbon white dog, other than the lack of rye (and perhaps lack of barley)

While you can, using enzymes, ferment a mash of 100% corn, it would probably be easier and cheaper(and better tasting) to just use some barley malt. Also on this note, I remember reading somewhere that the original mashbill for Harper/Charter was ~82% corn-leave that unaged or in reused or uncharred cooperage and BAM! you have straight corn whiskey.

Of course none of this changes the fact that I see no reason for white dog to be unstable...matter of fact I think that, depending on the distillery practices, white dog could be more stable than aged product. This would depend on the option of distilling to higher than the 125 proof max that you can barrel at then reducing to get the most alcohol you can in the barrel- if it was distilled to 130 then reduced the lower proof would be ever so slightly less stable than bottling it at the 130 it came off the still.

Of course the market for white dog would be so small as to make it impractical to the extreme, and the few people who wanted it would want it at the proof it came off the still at too. Of course with no annual taxes to be paid out and no barrel to pay for it would be almost all profit for the distilleries, hell I'd even want to get a complete set:grin: ..(BT 1, BT 2, BT wheat, BT rye, HH?, HHwheat, HH rye, HH wheat whiskey, WT Wt rye, and so on and so forth.

cowdery
03-03-2006, 21:54
Any fermentable sugars anywhere are liable to attract wild yeast, but what can live at 62.5 abv?

Since unaged corn whiskey like Georgia Moon is, essentially, bourbon white dog, and may actually be bourbon white dog, I think this explanation fails on its face. The only difference between a typical bourbon mash and a corn whiskey mash is about 5 percent corn, either way.

They don't sell bourbon white dog, except as corn whiskey, because they wouldn't know what to call it other than straight corn whiskey and, based on the paltry sales of corn whiskey, because there wouldn't be much market for it. I think it could be positioned, perhaps in export only initially (in cultures where low proof raw spirits are enjoyed) as an American grappa or slivovitz, but I can see the point of people who say it just would not be worth the trouble.

In America especially, consumers are used to clear spirits being relatively flavorless, whether you're talking about vodka, white rum or even white tequila. I'm not persuaded there is any technical reason why bourbon white dog couldn't be sold, although I can imagine people using that as an excuse and maybe even believing it's true.

You know for a long time how all the distilleries said they "couldn't" make four grain bourbon because they only had three grain paths to the mash tubs, not four? Well when someone (Woodford) finally did it, they said "bullshit." You can just put the wheat and rye in together.

JeffRenner
03-04-2006, 09:58
Any fermentable sugars anywhere are liable to attract wild yeast, but what can live at 62.5 abv?

I think that any yeast present would have to drift in, as you suggest, and would not come over the still, as I had implied. IOW, the heat of the still wouldn't play a part.

But, as you say, what could survive in that level of alcohol, or even diluted to 40% for packaging?

Timpthy (Barturtle) wrote


While you can, using enzymes, ferment a mash of 100% corn, it would probably be easier and cheaper(and better tasting) to just use some barley malt.

The enzymes you are speaking of convert the starch of the corn to fermentable sugars, rather than actually ferment the sugars. That may have been what you meant.

What I had meant in my previous post was the remote possibility that active enzymes from yeast that convert the sugars to alcohol might somehow be present without the actual yeast. (That is where the first enzyme was discovered, BTW, in the 19th Century. The word comes from the Greek, meaning "in yeast.")

It still doesn't add up. I can't imagine white dog not being biologically or enzymatically stable.

Bobby - can you check with your original source for details?

Jeff

gr8erdane
03-06-2006, 03:30
I guess my question is, as is posed in part later in this thread, even if they could bottle it would it sell? For us white dog is an obsession. Why? The forbidden fruit? Because the rare occasion where we get a taste usually coincides with a group function where we enjoy it as a group and accompanied by that "we're not really supposed to let you do this" statement. If it were readily available would we find it as desirable?

pepcycle
03-06-2006, 08:18
Its called Moonshine.
:skep:
And no yeast or other sugars ferment in it after distillation.
Yes there maybe proteins, but they no enzmes are active.

gr8erdane
03-06-2006, 17:47
Yes there maybe proteins, but they no enzmes are active.


I agree there may be proteins but aren't those mostly from whatever flies into the jug and can't get out?:slappin:

bobbyc
03-06-2006, 18:43
For us white dog is an obsession. Why? The forbidden fruit?
It is because the flavors in white dog are always present in the bourbon, they merely get overlaid with oak and time in barrel. A taste of white dog when compaired to aged spirit really sheds light on barrel and aging effects.
A good taste memory of White Dog serves as a good yardstick for determining age/maturity.

As for the original jest of this post, just forget it. The fellow that told me that has impressive creditials that should trump homebrewing and writing.

As far as moonshine being the same thing, thats a bit of a stretch. The fermented mash is a long way from Creamed Corn and Dixie Crystals.

Gillman
03-07-2006, 06:09
Bobby ,what about Georgia Moon though? It may not contain rye but a bourbon mash does not have to contain rye. Possibly it is made in a way to ensure the PH does not cause the problem mentioned by the expert you mentioned.

I still believe fermentation is possible in both bottles and cask. Why assume that the environment in either is always 40% abv or higher? Is it 40% abv in the head or neck space of the barrel or bottle? It is easy to conceive that wild yeast can ferment, say, caramelised sugars on or near the interior surface of the barrel not touched by liquid. Head space goes down, what, a third or so in the first year in a barrel? Is the head space occupied by some alcohol vapor? Maybe (and maybe not) but at what concentration? I do not rule out that some yeasts can in fact survive distillation (some of those small critters are very resilient and can survive 25% abv environment as we see from that special beer, Utopia, made by Samuel Adams); or that some enzyme survives which can convert wood or cork starches in barrels or bottles to sugar whence wild yeast can attack it. I have had some bottles of whiskey which when opened show a light fizz, many of us have noticed this I believe. Where does the carbonic gas come from? Some of it might come from the original ferment (I read this too somewhere) but some might result from fermentation somewhere on the barrel interior not touched by liquid (which as we know can be like that for years if the barrel is not moved, and even when dumped the fizz might just stay in, like in a bourbon and soda).

Gary

barturtle
03-07-2006, 16:04
Is the head space occupied by some alcohol vapor? Maybe (and maybe not) but at what concentration?

I would think that the liquid vapor content would actually be higher than the ABV of the liquid in the bottle/barrel. Alcohol evaporates at a higher rate than water at the same temperature. Also any stray humidity that would have been present when the bottle was filled would have been absorbed by the whiskey in the bottle due to alcohol being hydroscopic.

An interesting thought on the slight fizz issue, could these bottles have been filled at a lower altitude(or even on a day with a high barometric pressure) than when/where they were opened causing a pressure release-much like the pressure causing your ears to pop on a drive through the mountains. That pressure would have disolved gas(the atmospheric nitrogen/oxygen/oxides of carbon we breathe everyday) into the whiskey that would "boil" out of the liquid once the pressure is released.

JeffRenner
03-07-2006, 16:32
An interesting thought on the slight fizz issue, could these bottles have been filled at a lower altitude(or even on a day with a high barometric pressure)

This was a thought I had as well. Here is a photo of a bunch of plastic 1.75 L bottles of Kentucky Tavern I found at the Party Source in Bellevue, KY last year. They were apparently filled at higher pressure (or temperature), and collapsed when the temperature or pressure dropped. Note the tilted, collapsed necks.

If they had been bottled in glass at high pressure rather than low, they might well bubble when opened.

Jeff

Gillman
03-07-2006, 17:20
Those Kentucky Taverns look like all the bottles looked at the end of that party at Cliff's. Either that or Dali did a painting I'm not familiar with. :)

I don't know about the second paragraph of Tim's post and Jeff's follow-up, but I do not agree at all with Tim's suggestion in the first paragraph.

Ethanol vaporises at 78.3 degrees C. Even in a warm warehouse (and it isn't warm all year) the average temperature in a barrel is nowhere near that.

Yes, alcohol will evaporate at lower temps but very slowly, the concentration in the head space will not be close to 40% of the volume in my opinion.

Gary

barturtle
03-07-2006, 18:12
Actually I was referring to the amount of liquid vapor in the headspace, not counting the normal atmospheric gases. Assuming the airspace reaches maximum vapor level before condensation, I would think the alcohol level would be higher than the water level.

Water doesn't vaporize until 100C and it also vaporizes slowly at lower temps, but at a much slower rate than the alcohol at the same temp, thus I would think that the airspace would reach maximum vapor density from the alcohol before the water would have a chance to evaporate to fill that space.

Gillman
03-08-2006, 02:51
Tim this may be so, this is a technical question I can't answer, but isn't the real question what the concentration of the alcohol is in relation to those other gases including oxygen? Is it so high as to kill or render ineffective any ambient yeast in those gases? Bearing in mind the porosity of the barrel and the cracks and leaks most barrels are subject to, it seems unlikely to me that the amount of alcohol vapour is high enough to render yeast action inert, but I don't know. I wonder if echochem has an opinion.

Gary

boone
03-08-2006, 07:52
This was a thought I had as well. Here is a photo of a bunch of plastic 1.75 L bottles of Kentucky Tavern I found at the Party Source in Bellevue, KY last year. They were apparently filled at higher pressure (or temperature), and collapsed when the temperature or pressure dropped. Note the tilted, collapsed necks.

If they had been bottled in glass at high pressure rather than low, they might well bubble when opened.

Jeff

Heat will make the fill point rise. The volume will rise---It will pop the cork out of a wax sealed bottle easily. On really hot days, and on the rare occasion that we pump directly from a exterior tank...I have to raise the fill point at least 5 points depending on the bottle size. This is rare but it does occur. Maybe this could cause a "bent neck"? I really don't know "for sure" if there's enough force to cause that, naturally.

Another reason for the a bent neck and possibly getting a "vacuum" while opening a plastic bottle? Trans grip arm (and side saddles) being to tight on the capper. If it's too tight "while being capped" the bottle compresses and the fill point will be too high. The bent neck will occur in last phase in bottling---at the "packer"---When the "plunger" holds the first two bottles in place (before they (6) drop in the box) the necks will push down and stay that way. This does not happen very often, but it does occur.

This is one of many things that I troubleshoot on the lines, from time to time :grin:

Bettye Jo

NorCalBoozer
03-08-2006, 12:32
maybe the case got too much weight placed on it. i see that a lot with palletized or stacked cases.