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**DONOTDELETE**
06-14-2002, 07:38
What is a 'single batch' bourbon? Does it even exist? A while back someone posted a question about 'single batch bourbon'. Chuck Cowdery advised the poster to think of bourbons 'Bottled In Bond' as single batch bourbons, but is that really true?

Pretty damn close is what I say. Single Barrels do make the grade as each barrel can only come from a single batch. Bonded bourbons need only come from a single season - either spring or fall. BIB's can spring forth from any number of batches.

To me a 'single batch' bourbon must come from the same 'run' from a single fermenter. Which is to say that all of the whiskey that is distilled from that single fermenter is barreled and marked as such and aged together.

Distillers know the best rackhouses and the best floors to age their whiskey until it becomes bourbon. Of that you can be sure. They may not tell us the exact truth about it, but rest assured thay do know what they are doing.

I for one would love to see true 'single batch' bourbons become a reality. They could be better than single barrel bourbons in that they can have the charms of being married to one another, and their flavor profiles more easily replicated. Disappointing barrels would be culled and dumped into some other marriage.

Another plus could be simple screening rather that true filtration. Bourbon is dumped out of the barrel through a very fine series of screens or sieves before any charcoal or chill filtration is undertaken.

It would be very easy to ; dump, sieve, and marry the selected barrels of a single batch and bottle at barrel proof.

No gags. No gimmicks. Pure bourbon in real time.

I know a lot of bourbon industry folks read this forum everyday. This is what I would like to see happen.

Big time winners like Knob Creek; Russell's Reserve and Woodford Reserve show the true potential of that general direction. That's a path distillers should explore more fully. I'd just like the distillers to go that 'extra mile'.

Single batch bourbon. It ain't rocket science. It's Bourbo-science, and tastes much better!

Pants Away!


Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

MurphyDawg
06-14-2002, 07:50
AMEN to that, Brother Linn!!



Preach On MAN!!

TomC

kgiammarco
06-14-2002, 11:22
I wish i could just get a bottle of the stuff that pours out of the barrel... put a funnel on the top of the bottle and drill the barrel open... I can 'screen' out stuff on my own, and it may even add 'character' or 'authenticity' to the brand... Along the same lines, i can add water if i like...

I have also heard that one of the main reasons for chill filtering is to the bourbon looks more attractive when in a glass of ice... I can't imagine someone who is 'enlightened' enough to want barrel proof bourbon unfiltered is going to cry about cloudy looking bourbon... Or am i missing something?

rwilps
06-14-2002, 12:39
Great idea, Linn! It doesn't sound like it would demand complicated changes in dumping and bottling - some good batch information (a' la Blantons) would make our learning process much more fun. We'd be sophisticated and learned, and we'd sound like winies or s****hies in our erudite speculations. Well, maybe not...

Ralph

bobbyc
06-14-2002, 20:32
Wasn't Bill Samuels Jr supposed to be a rocket scientist?

Bobby Cox

**DONOTDELETE**
06-14-2002, 21:13
Ralph what goes on at Buffalo Trace with Blanton's and Elmer T. Lee is very simular to what I am talking about. BT has the largest fermenters of any bourbon distillery. They're 92,000 gallons. BT runs two of these a day. As the high wines come off the final distillation they go into a stainless steel holding tank where the proof is adjusted down to 125 proof for barreling. The barrels that will become either Blanton's or Elmer T. Lee are simply taken from the filling station right to warehouse H for aging. They are not special barrels that have been identified as such from other 'houses and then moved to H.

Anyway it would be very easy for a distillery to accomplish a single batch bourbon and it would make for great marketing strategy. I'd like a low barrel proof of 110 like Wild Turkey.

Oh and Chris anything over 100 proof isn't going to cloud up on you so you won't be missing a thing.

Bobby I'd heard that about Bill Samuels, but I don't know if it's true.

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

MurphyDawg
06-14-2002, 21:35
Linn Said = "Big time winners like Knob Creek; Russell's Reserve and Woodford Reserve show the true potential of that general direction. That's a path distillers should explore more fully. I'd just like the distillers to go that 'extra mile'."


Playing Devil's Advocate for a second, why should they?? I mean they already have the "Big Time Winners" in the Small ("We will define it however we feel like at this moment") Batch category and they don't have to work at it nearly as hard because they have greater cross section of barrels to work with. They don't have to worry as much that way.

Though I agree about the unfiltered, Barrel Proof versions and how they should be more prolific in number, just what would be the great point of having siingle batch bourbon, besides more marketing hype???


Tom (the curious little. . . .) C

**DONOTDELETE**
06-14-2002, 22:02
Tom asked "Why should they?" There would be a tremendous amount of honesty contained in such a bourbon. No blending just culling any disappointing barrels. People like us that already buy high end bourbons would just have to buy more. The potential for good profit margins is certainly there. The marketing 'one upmanship' of single batch being closer to a single barrel than so called 'small batch' bottlings. Jim Beam's fermenters are pretty damned big too. Somewhere around 45,000 gallons I believe, or about half a BT batch.

The real reason that distillers should do this is because that is what I want to drink!

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

MurphyDawg
06-14-2002, 22:10
Amen to that!

thats what i wanted to hear, anything that would drive the distillers to make the product better cant be a bad thing!! I envision single batch bourbons being like what my naive soul thought the small batchers really were.


TomC

cowdery
06-18-2002, 09:00
"Single Batch" is a term I created as an alternative to "bottled in bond," which has such an archaic sound to it. The definition of "Single Batch," as I proposed it, is the same as "bottled in bond," that is, a whiskey that was made at one distillery, in one season, by one distiller. Those are what I call the "singularity" requirements. I like the other bonding requirements too -- minimum age of four years and minimum proof of 100 -- but those requirements don't make it "single."

"Small Batch," as distinguished from "Single Batch," is a term coined by Jim Beam that doesn't really have a definition, except that the brands so called tend to be low volume. Other companies have also used the term to describe their ultra-premium, low volume offerings. To the best of my knowledge, no one has used the term "Single Batch."

As for chill filtering, it is the wholesalers and retailers who demand it. If they let their store (or warehouse) get cold and the whiskey hazes up, they think there's something wrong with it and want their money back, as they are convinced that the consumer won't buy hazy whiskey. Although most consumers aren't consciously aware of it, it is no accident that all bottles used for straight whiskey are clear. In other words, haze wouldn't be an issue if the bottles were tended, as they are for brown vodka (i.e., Canadian Whisky).

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>

tdelling
06-18-2002, 10:43
Linn, I hereby accuse you of being a damn good writer.
That post is better than anything you'll get from a glossy
magazine. There's nothing like a well-informed, highly
opinionated writer. I propose that we put that post in a
"Best of StraightBourbon" archive.

As to the ideas expressed: I agree wholeheartedly.
To quote my own post (Re: storage of Bourbon Tue Jan 29 10:50:36 2002)

"Personally, I'm very much in the "purist" camp that is absolutely against
chill filtering, especially for high end spirits. chill filtering removes some
of the flavor!

Does anyone know when bottlers started the unholy practice of chill filtering?

(Dr. Crow would be ashamed... it's a reduction in quality in order to appease
the ignorant masses who are afraid of a little cloudiness. We need Bourbon
Education, not chill filtering!)"

The "single batch" idea is a marvelous one. I think every distillery should
be tinkering with new variations on the bourbon-making process in order
to produce interesting small batch bourbons.

Tim

bourbonmed
06-18-2002, 13:31
Tim and Chuck,

I believe Julian gets special orders from clients in Europe or Japan requesting NO chill filtering. I don't know how frequent this is, maybe just a boutique request here and there.

Julian, if its not too much trouble, could you bring a tasting sample to the gazebo and satisfy our curiosity?

Cheers,
Omar

**DONOTDELETE**
06-18-2002, 13:38
Why thank you Mr.Dellinger. I have been accused and convicted of worse. I can't tell you when chill filtering came into common usage by distillers. It more than likely was a gradual shift with first one distiller and then another until all of them were doing it. I do know that Woodford Reserve is unfiltered. Their bottling operation at Labrot & Graham is very small. The barrels are dumped into a trough where the whiskey is runs through a series of seives. I saw no filtration apparatus, but I will make sure this September at our tour & tasting event at L&G.

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

ratcheer
06-18-2002, 17:31
".... brown vodka (i.e., Canadian Whisky)."

Heh, heh, heh. Nice shot, Chuck.

boone
06-18-2002, 21:43
Make sure you look up........some chillers are attached to the ceiling to save on floor space..............

Bettye Jo

boone
06-19-2002, 09:54
I just talked to Mike Sonne, Quality Control manager for Heaven Hill Distilleries....I asked him when did they start chill filtering? He said he did not know the exact date but he would find out for me.....

I asked him why do we chill filter and some don't ----Linn said that W R told him that they did not chill filter.......Mike said.......If they don't chill filter then they are adding lots and lots of carbon to it................He said you have to do something either .....chill or carbon.......if you don't you are going to have problems....... especially in export cause it will flock.......that bourbon is going to come back on you.......I told him the ones that have said they don't chill filter.............I told him that I was gonna post it here...............................

I have talked to Chris Briney (our chemist) in debth about this subject.....he explained how the entire process works and why we do it.........At the time I knew very little about Chillin.......... NOW I KNOW.......... I know that whenever I have a question that Mike or Chris will answer it.......very quick....and in terms that a regular person can understand.......TWO REALLY SUPER GUY'S!

I ride my bicycle by the Old Seagrams plant in Aterhtonville.....it burned in 1972.....
.......Chuck Cowdery did a story on the plant in the Bourbon Country Reader....they make barrels there now....I looked inside......shouldn't have but Miss Nosey did............got outta there real quick........ANYWAY....the door that I entered there was a sign that said.......... CHILLER ROOM...........So I know that that particular plant was a chillin befor 1972.

I'm done

Bettye Jo

**DONOTDELETE**
06-19-2002, 11:24
Good work Miss Nosey! That is why we love you so. "The rooster may crow, but the hen delivers the goods." Thanks Bettey Jo for your down to earth insights into the work-a-day world of the bourbon industry.


Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

**DONOTDELETE**
06-19-2002, 11:40
So this bottle of Sunny Brook, Kentucky Straight Bourbon, Bottled in Bond 100 Proof, Made in 1917 and bottled in 1932 fits the bill. it was distilled by Harry E. Wilken ( whoever he may be), a single distiller and B i Bond, Distillery #368 so they were doing this years ago. Why the change?

**DONOTDELETE**
06-19-2002, 11:45
Do tell chas! Just what were they doing, and how do you know? Don't think me flip as I realy want to know your take on this and why you think this is true.

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

cowdery
06-20-2002, 07:53
Since the Sunny Brook was bottled in bond, we know it was the product of one distiller, one distillery and one season -- i.e., single batch -- and we know it was at least four years old and 100 proof.

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>

bobbyc
06-20-2002, 10:19
On the aside I saw somewhere that Jim Beam owns the Sunny Brook label but I haven't seen any available in Kentucky yet , at least not where I shop.

Bobby Cox

cowdery
06-20-2002, 11:09
I think Sunny Brook came to Beam when they acquired National in 1987. It was still being sold then. I can't speak for now.

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>

cowdery
06-20-2002, 11:20
The idea of separately distilling a single fermenter run probably isn't possible in most Kentucky distilleries. "Continous" distillation has that name for a reason. Considering the need to discard heads and tails, the size of a single-fermenter run might be very small indeed. "Single Batch" could be narrower than "season." It could be all the whiskey distilled in one continuous still run. I'm not sure how long they go before shutting the still down for cleaning, but that would be a good definition of a "batch."

As for the filtration problem, the answer is simply higher proof bourbons. Booker's isn't filtered but it doesn't flock because the proof is so high. Retailers will never accept flock. High proof and no filtering is the win-win solution for everyone.

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>

**DONOTDELETE**
06-20-2002, 13:00
Good point Chuck. When you say shut down the still for cleaning I take it you mean when they remove the slop from the foot of the still. If that defines 'a run' than it is as good a way as any to define 'a batch'. Is this how distillers think of as a batch already?

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

bobbyc
06-20-2002, 18:47
Another thing to remember about Bookers is you are getting 20% more alcohol than a 100proof bottling. If it costs 50 bucks It has the same relative value as a 40 dollar bottle of 100 proof whiskey. I think we can get it for 42.00 some of the time.

Bobby Cox

cowdery
06-21-2002, 08:58
If they thought in terms of batches, that would be the way to do it. That's when they change parameters if they are going to for any reason. In other words, if you're going to do a run of bourbon, followed by a run of rye, you will shut down in between, clean the still, and start over with the different mash.

They do have to be stopped down and cleaned periodically, though I don't know the interval. If you think about what the column stills look like, you'll remember that there are removable panels from top to bottom. Mash can built up at various places throughout the still, not just as the bottom, and has to be cleaned out.

One time I was at Jim Beam's Boston plant and they were running an experiment, operating the still much longer than was normal, to see if it made a difference. I was there when they opened it up and huge chunks of black gunt were everywhere. It was a mess. I asked the plant superintendent what they learned from that experiment. "Not to do it again," was his reply.

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>

**DONOTDELETE**
06-21-2002, 12:11
Bleee! That's funny Chuck. That's also something that can't happen with a pot still. They are usually of a size to hold one fermenter's worth of mash and must be cleaned out after each run. Hence the "One Fermenter. One Batch." mantra.

We'll just have to wait and see what Lincoln Henderson and the boys have whipped up for us at Labrot & Graham. I hope it's the best bourbon the world has ever tasted, but we'll just have to wait and see.

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

cowdery
06-23-2002, 12:52
Labrot and Graham is the perfect example. When they call their stills "modified" pot stills, that's what they modified. They modified them so they can be run continuously.

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>

MurphyDawg
06-23-2002, 19:04
Okay, I don't anything about stills, but that sounds like it would compleatly defeat the purpose! I mean I would figure that pot stills aren't continuous stills for a reason. . . . . . . . .is this true????


TomC

**DONOTDELETE**
06-24-2002, 04:17
Lets go into that in a little more detail Chuck. For anyone that's never visited L&G you might want to check out the virtual tour at <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.l-g.com>http://www.l-g.com</A>.

At first glance the pot stills at L&G look like any other Forsyths still. I checked all of my photos and I have no photographic evidence that the stills have been modified in anyway. Also the tour guide makes no mention of any modifications. However, on page 164 of Classic Bourbon; Tennessee & Rye Whiskey, Jim Murray writes "What made life difficult was the unusual, indeed truly unique method of passing beer complete with solids into the first pot still."

Underneath the still viewing platform is a tremendous amount of pipework. Steampipes; waterpipes, drainpipes, and pipes that go from the fermenters to the primary still. I had no idea that this was anything special.

As of my last visit to L&G they stated that they were running one fermenter a day. Our special visit in September (thanks to Omar) will prove to be very educational.

Pants Away!
Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.