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wintermute
06-03-2008, 13:38
Went to one of the local shops yesterday, and they had a bottle of Hudson Baby Bourbon and Manhattan Rye made by a company called Tuthilltown Distillery out of Gardiner, NY. They claim to have the first legal pot-distilled whisky made in NY since Prohibition and all of the corn in the bourbon is from NY. I have no idea how they taste since it was $39 for a 375 mL bottle.

CorvallisCracker
06-03-2008, 14:05
Went to one of the local shops yesterday, and they had a bottle of Hudson Baby Bourbon and Manhattan Rye made by a company called Tuthilltown Distillery out of Gardiner, NY. They claim to have the first legal pot-distilled whisky made in NY since Prohibition and all of the corn in the bourbon is from NY. I have no idea how they taste since it was $39 for a 375 mL bottle.

I bumped into their web site (http://www.tuthilltown.com/) a few weeks ago. They also make a four grain bourbon, a malt whiskey, an unaged corn whiskey, a rum, and a vodka. It appears that only the vodka and unaged corn whiskey are available in 750ml size.

I was actually researching rum at the time and ran into a review of their rum. The review wasn't memorable so I guess the rum wasn't either.

CorvallisCracker
06-03-2008, 14:20
Just spent some more time looking at the web site. They describe their "Heart of the Hudson" Vodka as being made in a "20-plate copper pot still".

"20-plates" sounds like a column still to me, or, at best, a doubler.

Slob
06-03-2008, 14:21
Their Hudson Manhattan Rye is supposedly good. I have yet to find any around here.

Gillman
06-03-2008, 14:30
I agree Scott and I suspect they are using one of the stills sometimes referred to on the board as a European fruit brandy still, which is a pot still that has a rectification column attached. In other words, such a still can be adapted by the distiller to produce distillates at different running proofs, depending on what character he is looking for in the new spirit.

The bourbon and rye from this distillery I have tried were very young and not comparable IMO to a normally aged bourbon or rye, however I applaud what they are doing and in time believe they can produce some excellent bourbon and rye.

Also, it is evident that right now they are producing excellent spirits that do not require prolonged oak aging such as vodka and an unaged corn. It's a very positive development.

Gary

CorvallisCracker
06-03-2008, 15:04
I suspect they are using one of the stills sometimes referred to on the board as a European fruit brandy still, which is a pot still that has a rectification column attached. In other words, such a still can be adapted by the distiller to produce distillates at different running proofs, depending on what character he is looking for in the new spirit.

Found this pic (http://tuthilltown.com/QUALITY/Gallery/bigt.html) at their web site.

It does look a lot like one of Bavarian Breweries and Distilleries products, similar to this model (http://bavarianbrewerytech.com/potstills/pages/products/distilleries/onsidePearHat.htm).

cowdery
06-03-2008, 15:29
I get into fights all the time with these craft distillers who make a big fuss about using "pot stills" when, in fact, they are using these hybrid stills that are more column still than pot still. About the only difference between one of these and a column still is that they are still batch process as opposed to continuous. They are pot stills but they are not alembic stills, which to me is the real point.

Gillman
06-03-2008, 18:31
Chuck, in my view the question is what distilling-out proof they are using for spirit intended as straight whiskey.

Also, I'd be interested to know if they draw from the shelves. Even if they are distilling spirit at, say 160 proof, if they are drawing secondary constituents from the trays, that is something atypical (I believe) in the tradition of making whisky or brandy or genuine tequila.

Gary

ILLfarmboy
06-03-2008, 18:55
I get into fights all the time with these craft distillers who make a big fuss about using "pot stills" when, in fact, they are using these hybrid stills that are more column still than pot still. About the only difference between one of these and a column still is that they are still batch process as opposed to continuous. They are pot stills but they are not alembic stills, which to me is the real point.

Pardon my ignorance on the subject, Chuck, but when using these hybrid stills aren't they avoiding the steam that is used in column stills. steam that would dilute the the mash as it is stripped of its alcohol and cogoner content. I guess what I'm trying to say, or ask, is that isn't all of the water in the final distillate, when using these hybrid stills, once a part of the mash whereas the same can't be said of column stills? And how does that effect the flavor. Does "distilling on the grain" in a column still make up for (flavor wise) any additional water in the final distillate that came from the column of steam as it vaporised the alcohol. I guess that question assumes all of these micro-distillers are distilling only the wort? Am I correct in that assumption?

cowdery
06-03-2008, 21:03
Yes, people using any kind of pot still likely are distilling a wash, contrary to tradition.

I think these hybrids use steam, but not sure if your premise is valid, that introducing additional water dilutes the mash. Water is water and 160 proof is 160 proof.

Gillman
06-04-2008, 04:52
I think when using these hybrid stills, which are really a linked pot still and column still - sort of the reverse of a bourbon still set up with its doubler, there is, at least typically, only one distillation. In other words, there is no condensation in the open atmosphere and redistillation as occurs with, say, a traditional malt whisky distillation. Some distillers believe you get a better distillate in one run. They might compare a one run 160 proof result, say, from the hybrid to the same proof when produced in two pot still distillations. In this sense the hybrid still does seem to resemble the bourbon still since a doubler is connected to it - there is no preliminary condensing and reheating of the spirit for the doubler.

As to water being introduced in the distillate by steam when it has live contact with the mash or wash (depending on which is used), that is true. Some of that water will replace water - condensed and allowed to run off - in the beer being distilled.

I think the question really is, at the same proof as would result from any apparatus (column still or pot still or hybrid), how many and what type of congeners form part of the distillate (assuming no draws from the trays)?

If you distill in two runs in a pot still, say at 140 proof, and get 140 proof spirit in one run through a column still (say like Armangac is made, they use a fairly small primitive column still to do this I understand), the water in each - and the ethanol - is the same, but what about the vital secondary constituents? I believe they will be composed differently because each process will vaporise them differently. Put another way, my understanding is not all higher alcohols, say, have a fixed vaporization point. They might vaporize at a higher or lower temperature when in solution with water and other compounds, depending on a number of factors. This is true of water no less; were that not so, no distillate would contain water (i.e., some water boils off evidently a under 212 F.). The particular process used in particular may affect which congeners get vaporized at what tempertaure. It seems to me the application of live steam directly to a distillate must produce a difference as compared to the same heat source applied indirectly, e.g., to the base of a metal pot still.

Any thoughts from the chemical engineers on the board?

Gary

cowdery
06-04-2008, 10:32
I disagree with your characterization that it is "a linked pot still and column still - sort of the reverse of a bourbon still set up with its doubler," although something like what you describe does exist, where the column is separate and "on the side," the more common design has the column atop the pot. The difference is that in a beer still, the beer is enterinng at a point above the stripping plates, whereas in the hybrid everything starts in the pot and only reaches the plates when the pot starts to boil. Still, the principle has to be the same, which is that each plate is boiling at a slightly different temperature. As for boiling points, an alcohol and water mixture will boil at every temperature between the pointing point of alcohol and the boiling point of water.

The point some people have made to me is that, unlike with a continuous still, with these hybrids there are true heads and tails cuts and the distiller controls this.

Gillman
06-04-2008, 10:57
Well, how is the boil from the pot processed in the column standing over it? I would think the boil is condensed internally and then piped near to the top to meet rising steam as it falls through the plates - the same way it would be dealt with in a separate rectification tower (standing nearby) or in a column still (except there the beer is dilute). In each case the condensate is conveyed to the tower by pipes internally. I am just speculating though and am interested to know exactly how these hybrids work.

I guess another way it could work, where the tower is an extension of the pot still, is the condensate is allowed to exit the pot and then is introduced in a separate step at the top of the tower where the pot becomes a steam kettle.

If it runs the former way though, it would seem that whether the tower stands on or next to the pot, the function would be similar.

Gary

mozilla
06-04-2008, 10:58
I get into fights all the time with these craft distillers who make a big fuss about using "pot stills" when, in fact, they are using these hybrid stills that are more column still than pot still. About the only difference between one of these and a column still is that they are still batch process as opposed to continuous. They are pot stills but they are not alembic stills, which to me is the real point.

Chuck,
could you please explain why it make such a difference to you. Is there something wrong with using a combo still or other type of hybrid? What are the benefits of the true alembic stills to alcohol/whisky production? Do any of the big boys use an alembic for their production(beside BTs little fella)? I know that Willetts has a huge pot still, though I also remember that Evan has the ability to remove any and all stripping plates from it.
Thanks for the insight.

Gillman
06-04-2008, 11:10
Also as mentioned I wonder if two distillates, at the same proof, one from a pot still and one from a column still, but made from the same mash or wash, would contain identical amounts and types of congeners.

I think the answer is no and this is why e.g., doublers are used instead of doing just using one run in the column to get at final doubler proof.

But that is a specific instance, and I wonder why the two distillates aren't the same in composition or initial or final-matured taste. It must have something to do with the effects on the beer of being hit by live steam as opposed to being heated indirectly by that or another heat source. Is this a chemical engineering area or thermodynamics or both, I don't know..

Gary

cowdery
06-04-2008, 16:36
The issue to me is people who make a big fuss about using a pot still when the pot still they are using is technologically almost identical to a column still. Yes, they can bypass the rectification column and run it like an alembic, at least in theory.

This bothers me because to the extent most consumers know the difference between a pot still and a column still, the type of pot still they are thinking about is an alembic, such as is used in Scotland, Ireland and Cognac to make malt whiskey and brandy, respectively.

People who tout these hybrids as "pot stills" are deliberately playing on consumer ignorance, much as Michter's did when they called their product "pot still" because it was doubled. It's deliberately misleading.

A good example of this is when someone talks about pot still vodka. It is impossible to make vodka in a true alembic. It would be honest, if they really want to distinguish between what they use and a column still, to call it a batch still. It's not honest to call it a pot still.

Technically, "pot" in the term "pot still" just refers to the base. A pot still has two parts, the pot and the top. The top is called the alembic, but people use the terms interchangeably to mean a pot topped with an alembic, which was the only kind of still that existed for hundreds of years, until Aneas Coffey came along in the 1840s.

A pot topped with a rectification column is not a "pot still" as most people understand the term.

ILLfarmboy
06-04-2008, 18:36
Yes, people using any kind of pot still likely are distilling a wash, contrary to tradition.

I think these hybrids use steam, but not sure if your premise is valid, that introducing additional water dilutes the mash. Water is water and 160 proof is 160 proof.

My misunderstanding. I was under the impression that flavor constituents were vaporised with both water and the various alcohols and that the additional contact with steam would dilute the flavor of the final distillate.

doubleblank
06-05-2008, 06:52
Chuck is correct in calling these "batch" stills. They are commonly used in many businesses other than alcohol production. Initially the "pot" is loaded with a batch of fermented beer/mash/whatever. Usually 100 gallons for the smaller ones. Heat is applied, often low pressure steam, to a jacket around the pot portion of the still (the reboiler). As the temperature rises, vapors form and rise to the top of the column which sits atop the pot. There is an external condenser (on the ones I saw at Vendome) which condense the vapors. The resulting liquid is collected and initially either a) returned 100% back to the column as reflux, b) drained out of the liquids collector and discarded as "tails", or c) a combination of a) and b). At some point the distiller decides its time to begin pulling saleable distillate from the operation. As this occurs, the composition of the boiling liquids, vapors and distillate begin to change.....so its never actually in a steady state condition like a continuous distillation column may be. The temperature of the pot/reboiler is increased as the alcohol to water ratio decreases until the distiller decides to shut down and discard the remaining materials as "tails". Clean out the pot/reboiler and repeat.

Without actually answering your technical question Gary, I'd speculate that each type of still could be operated to produce extremely similar results if a distiller were so inclined.

Randy

pepcycle
06-05-2008, 07:40
Randy,
More than a passing knowledge of stills offered here.
Something you want to tell us???
Seems my wife started talking about child psychology and the intricacies of rearing just before she announced her pregnancy.

jeff
06-05-2008, 07:50
Patty is pregnant? :bigeyes::bigeyes::bigeyes:

Gillman
06-05-2008, 07:50
Thanks Randy (and I wasn't trying to put you on the spot by the way!).

In the process you describe, the result really does seem a hybrid since pot still vapours (produced by heat indirectly applied) return when condensed to the column portion to be further vaporised by the still-rising vapors. That reflux is applied of course in many column stills but there the first distillate is produced by direct action of steam on the beer.

While I am sure the pot portion can be operated on its own (where no reflux is used as you described), where spirit is produced to make a whisky using that reflux and the plates in the pipe over the pot, that seems a true hybrid process. Yet so I would think is a typical large bourbon still except it works in reverse in a sense, the first vapours are produced by direct steam action and the re-distillation in the doubler operates like a pot still.

Gary

CorvallisCracker
06-05-2008, 10:38
Although this thread has drifted into a very informative discussion of stills, I'd like to briefly return to the original topic -


I have no idea how they taste since it was $39 for a 375 mL bottle.


The bourbon and rye from this distillery I have tried were very young and not comparable IMO to a normally aged bourbon or rye, however I applaud what they are doing and in time believe they can produce some excellent bourbon and rye.

Also, it is evident that right now they are producing excellent spirits that do not require prolonged oak aging such as vodka and an unaged corn. It's a very positive development.

Too bad they're so pricey and such limited distribution.

I note they are using wax to seal the bottles. We'll tell them that if they don't decrease their prices and expand their distribution, we'll sic the Makers Mark lawyers on 'em.

Go get 'em Chad. Good boy!

doubleblank
06-05-2008, 10:48
Ed, I've run a distillation column or two in my lifetime. My first was doing a propane/propylene separation in a petrochemical plant back in 1980. About two hundred trays in two separate 200ft tall towers in order to produce 99.95% pure propylene.

More fun was my college lab class. We actually did an ethanol/water distillation using a batch distillation column. Each tray had a "window" so you could see the vapors and liquids mixing. This was back in the old analog control days and no computer monitoring/controls. You pretty much did the fractionation "manually". Using thermometers installed at various points in the distillation column, reboiler, etc, you knew you were making the desired product when your temperature profile in the column looked good from top to bottom.

I'd really like to see one of these new batch distillation columns in operation.

Randy

Gillman
06-05-2008, 10:56
This is a very small distillery that has taken the gutsy move to release the first new bourbon (i.e. from a new company) in America since the 1950's and the second aged rye if we consider that Anchor in San Francisco has had a new charred barrel-aged rye out for about 10 years. The price charged (ditto for Anchor's products) is reasonable bearing in mind the difficulty of getting a distillery venture off the ground. The taste of the products is good, albeit of young whiskey, but it shows too their potential for aging. This new venture deserves the support of all. I realise not everyone can buy the products due to price and/or availability. However, some of it has been available at Gazebo and other SB gatherings in Bardstown in recent years. One of my goals is to get down there, tour the place, talk to the people.

Gary

CorvallisCracker
06-05-2008, 11:13
This new venture deserves the support of all. I realise not everyone can buy the products due to price and/or availability.

Jeez Gary, I was kidding about the MM lawyers. It was really more of a shot at MM, whose recent lawsuit against another wax-sealing-bottler is, in my view, unconscionable.


One of my goals is to get down there, tour the place, talk to the people.

I do, however, agree with Chuck's statement that calling their still a "pot still" is misleading. If you go there suggest to them that they should call it a "small batch still" which sounds just as exclusive and is more accurate to boot.

Gillman
06-05-2008, 11:19
I know you were kidding, I was just making a general statement in support of them, because in fact there is little discussion of Tuthilltown on this site and there should be more, IMO.

As for the still thing, people are entitled of course to their view. I'd like to get down there and see what they are actually doing. E.g., I think they have a new still now, how does it differ from the first one, how exactly are they distilling bourbon mash in it? I just don't know and would like to get more facts. E.g., if they take the plates out (or leave them in, even) and simply boil a beer, take a cut (no reflux) and distill it again, that is pot distillation as I understand it.

Gary

cowdery
06-05-2008, 11:44
Saying "pot still" is a way of saying, "we're doing this the old-fashioned way." Using a pot equipped with a rectification column is not "the old-fashioned way," hence their use of the term "pot still" is misleading.

Gillman
06-05-2008, 11:47
On further thought, if they boil a batch in the pot still portion of the apparatus and leave the trays in the column part, then even though the run or part of it isn't refluxed back through the column, that isn't strictly pot distillation I think. The reason is, the column is being "packed" and the vapours that become liquid in the pipe (through naturally occurring condensation at the temperature in that part of the still) will flow down through the plates and be redistilled. In a traditional pot still, that happens too, however only on the "natural" surfaces of the pot still. Some will recall the bubble-like "boil" at the top of some pot stills, that is to encourage such internal condensing and redistillation. To some extent though, one can see this is a question of degree..

Anyway it would still be good to know exactly what still they are currently using and how. Presumably when they want to make vodka they operate it in a way to get a very highly rectified product. But how are they using their equipment exactly with a bourbon mash? This is all I am asking.

Gary

cowdery
06-07-2008, 11:37
Although I don't know every instance, my sense is that most micro-distilleries are doing a single pass, using the column section to achieve the desired distillation proof.

boone
06-07-2008, 12:07
This is a very small distillery that has taken the gutsy move to release the first new bourbon (i.e. from a new company) in America since the 1950's and the second aged rye if we consider that Anchor in San Francisco has had a new charred barrel-aged rye out for about 10 years. The price charged (ditto for Anchor's products) is reasonable bearing in mind the difficulty of getting a distillery venture off the ground. The taste of the products is good, albeit of young whiskey, but it shows too their potential for aging. This new venture deserves the support of all. I realise not everyone can buy the products due to price and/or availability. However, some of it has been available at Gazebo and other SB gatherings in Bardstown in recent years. One of my goals is to get down there, tour the place, talk to the people.

Gary


I tasted this at the Gazabo. To be staight foward, it tastes just what it is...white dog with slightest (and I mean slightest) hint that it might be bourbon, or a wanna be of sorts.

Bettye Jo

Gillman
06-07-2008, 12:46
I agree BJ, not too far from white dog, but good of its kind I thought. I figure they are selling it to get income to keep the operation going and presume they will at some point release straight bourbon which is more traditional in palate. I want to encourage the new producers and of course the existing ones. I think it's good for the industry as a whole.

Gary

B1bomber
06-10-2008, 14:37
For what its worth, I bought the Baby Bourbon a while ago (Shoppers Vineyard in Clifton, NJ carries it) and was rather disappointed. I'm guessing it'll appeal to some people but I found it too peaty for my tastes. It should be noted I'm not a scotch drinker also because of the peaty flavor associated with scotches. So bourbon lovers who also enjoy scotch might find the Baby Bourbon just fine. But for me it doesn't work.

B1bomber
06-11-2008, 12:07
Oops, my bad. Pulled this out from the back of the shelf last night and saw that it was actually the Four Grain bourbon that I have (and dislike), not the Baby bourbon. Regrets.

cas
06-16-2008, 07:32
I will be in that area later this week and may try to pick up a bottle. Or is the bourbon so young that it's not worth a try?
Craig

pepcycle
06-18-2008, 19:24
Here's a pic of the still.
Looks like a pot still, column still combo.
The pot still looks like the primary and column as a secondary.

Gillman
06-19-2008, 04:06
I like that funnel into the barrel-shaped tank. Even though the set-up is high-tech that part has an endearing, low-tech look, no doubt a whimsical flourish by the designer.

Gary

Gillman
06-19-2008, 04:31
Based just on how this equipment looks, it would seem you could operate it in different ways. I would think you run a batch through the pot still twice, since it seems to have its own condenser and tubes to the barrel-shaped tank. I think you could run the pot still distillate through the column to rectify it. Maybe you could start with the column part (albeit in a batch way as discussed before) and re-distill it in the pot still part, which would emulate a large-production modern bourbon still. If this is possible, the pot would be used initially as a steam kettle. It seems quite flexible from the outward look of it.

Gary