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View Full Version : BT's micro still and custom distillation program



Rughi
05-14-2007, 18:52
Today's press release (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?p=88267#post88267) had the most amazing line in it:

a ground breaking custom distillation program for consumers and connoisseurs of fine spirits
If BT had asked me to make up a quote that they would then make happen, I doubt I could have written anything cooler!

It looks like Buffalo Trace is really ready to get out of the "distill for the bargain brands and select the best barrels for premium brands" outlook that has characterized the bourbon industry.

In a climate where sales don't grow in amount of alcohol so much as amount people are willing to pay for better and more interesting releases, it seems to make perfect sense.

I look forward to rewarding them monetarily.

Roger

oldironstomach
05-15-2007, 08:31
:bowdown:

My admiration for BT continues to grow. How do you think they'll handle warehousing...will you be able to request specific sections of specific warehouses? I can imagine a run on real estate in Warehouse H :D

Hmm, since they're not restricting it to whiskeys, I wonder if anyone will ask them to custom-distill an absinthe.

jwrussell
05-15-2007, 09:15
Not quite sure I really understand all of the implications, but it certainly sounds like a good thing.

cowdery
05-15-2007, 11:30
I wish I knew how to do to women what BT knows how to do to bourbon enthusiasts.

kbuzbee
05-15-2007, 12:34
I wish I knew how to do to women what BT knows how to do to bourbon enthusiasts.

You mean treat them like gold??? You can do that Chuck. I'm sure of it.

:grin:

Ken

MikeK
05-15-2007, 15:02
Ken Weber mentioned they might do something like this while I was getting the 'back lot' tour last spring. Here is a picture of the yeast room that he said would make great little mash tanks.

Joeluka
05-16-2007, 11:38
:bowdown:


Hmm, since they're not restricting it to whiskeys, I wonder if anyone will ask them to custom-distill an absinthe.

Since the Wormwood in it is illegal, I don't think we'll get real absinthe. BUT, I think The Sazaerac Company distills and bottles HerbSaint ( which is the american made version of this) I could be wrong though.

jwrussell
05-16-2007, 11:58
Since the Wormwood in it is illegal, I don't think we'll get real absinthe. BUT, I think The Sazaerac Company distills and bottles HerbSaint ( which is the american made version of this) I could be wrong though.

Actually they just announced that there is an Absinthe that will be legally imported into the country soon. I can't find the article, I think it was one of Yahoo's "Featured" stories recently, but the chemical that caused it to be banned...thujone, is apparently present in such low quantities that it has been approved for importation. Sorry I can't find the article. :(

cowdery
05-16-2007, 12:50
Buffalo Trace does make HerbSaint, as well as some other similar products, at the Frankfort distillery.

Absinthe is much like gin, in that it is grain neutral spirit infused with herbs and other plant materials, although I believe it also contains sweetener, making it a liqueur.

oldironstomach
05-16-2007, 16:19
Absinthe is much like gin, in that it is grain neutral spirit infused with herbs and other plant materials, although I believe it also contains sweetener, making it a liqueur.
If I understand the articles correctly on Ted Breaux and his work with period absinthe stills, those wormwood infusions for which recipes have floated around for years are not proper absinthe. True absinthe, as manufactured by Pernod and others throughout the 19th C and as made today by Breaux, Versinthe and others, requires distillation of the macerated herbal extract, producing a very different distribution of chemical components in the finished liquor.

Herbsaint, like modern Pernod, is an anisette substitute for the real thing. I keep a bottle on hand for making Sazeracs, but as pastis goes, it's rather harsh for sipping.

But I digress. Bring on the microwhiskey experiments!

cowdery
05-16-2007, 21:59
You are correct, but so was I. It's really a two-step process. The plant materials are infused into the spirit, which is then redistilled. I was visualizing it, but didn't express it correctly. There are some flavored GNS products that are merely infusions but you're right, absinthe is redistilled. My bad.

tritioch
05-20-2007, 07:29
I can imagine this project leading to some very interesting things down the road. I wonder how the costs would break down between distillation, barreling, warehousing, and bottling? I'm looking forward to further news and details.

cowdery
10-04-2007, 10:01
A picture of one of the stills in the BT micro distillery operation. (Photo from BT.)

MikeK
10-04-2007, 10:25
I think that's the only still too. A good picture they gave you, it is tough getting a shot with all that backlighting. I got a tour from Mark Brown of theat area during the festival. He is quite enthusiastic about it. Harlan is still getting everything hooked up and then needs to do at least a few test runs to get the hang of the equipment. Mark said the general idea was to allow the customer to specify grains, recipe, distillation and entry proofs, etc. Most anything you want to do except you must use the BT house yeast. They are worried about the risk of introducing a 'foreign' yeast into the plant. If your ideas sound bad they will advise you against it as well. You'd then write a check for production and warehousing costs and wait 10 years or so for it to be mature. The waiting will be tough!!

I need to ask him their plans about labeling and getting it through the distribution channel. I am guessing that they will do something like the Kulsveens did with their new Willetts label. Make a nice generic label where you can write in specifics, then only that label has to approved everywhere and multiple customers can take advantage of it.

HighTower
10-05-2007, 06:22
From what I read, the micro still begins operation at BT on 10-05-2007, which is today.

Nice work (again) Buffalo Trace!!

Scott

CrispyCritter
10-05-2007, 19:38
Dang... I want one of those! :slappin:

Hats off to BT for offering such a program, in any case. It will be very interesting to see what will result from this!

craigthom
10-06-2007, 00:45
I was once doing some work in the Miller lab and got a tour (because I was asking so many questions, I think). They've got a regular brewpub-sized setup in there, but they've also got a tiny 40 liter brewery. I want one of those .

smokinjoe
10-06-2007, 08:26
Dang, that's purdy...
:toast:

JOE

Barrel_Proof
10-06-2007, 12:01
Now that is a thing of beauty. Another gem from Vendome, no doubt!

cowdery
10-06-2007, 12:15
What concerns me about this still is that it is neither fish nor fowl. It is a pot topped, not with an alembic (as they are in Scotland) but with a rectification column. This is the same type of still most of the so-called craft distilleries are using. Mostly, I object to people who call them "pot stills" as if they harken back to an earlier period, and BT has not done that. Operationally, I think they function more like column stills, which is entirely appropriate for what BT is doing. It's probably hard to make a true column still "micro" because its continuous nature would inevitably produce a lot.

ILLfarmboy
10-06-2007, 14:12
... Operationally, I think they function more like column stills, which is entirely appropriate for what BT is doing. It's probably hard to make a true column still "micro" because its continuous nature would inevitably produce a lot.

The real question is: Is the still capable of producing flavorful low proof (say perhaps 110) spirit with all the good cogeners and very little of the bad? If the answer is yes, then I'm all for it. As long as BT doesn't claim its a true pot still, who cares if it is a hybrid of sorts? Besides, it looks killer cool!!