Welcome to the Straightbourbon.com Forums.
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13
  1. #1
    Virtuoso
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Swaziland, Africa
    Posts
    1,473

    Typical Procedure for Production of Distilled Spirits

    Those of you who have been on the Buffalo Trace hard hat tour may have seen this, but since we often get questions about the distillation process I figured this would be helpful. This schematic hangs in the walkway between the grain cookers and the fermenters/stills at Buffalo Trace. Even though it is dated 1951, as far as I can tell it is the same procedure being used today. I have attached a low resolution picture, but you can get the full resolution here:

    http://www.kickert.info/btdistillation_full.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,393

    Re: Typical Procedure for Production of Distilled Spirits

    That's very cool, but a few things about it are odd.

    1. "Meal conveyors from off-premise granary" suggests the grains aren't milled there, which is incorrect. I've never heard of any distillery, even in 1951, doing its milling off-site, but it would have been Schenley then, and they had several distilleries, so maybe they had a central granary, but I've never heard of that.

    2. It seems to show the corn and small grains being cooked separately, although it doesn't identify the boxes where it shows the cooking temps as actually being cookers, and there is a line that seems to show the small grains going into the cookers with the corn, so I'm not quite sure what I'm really seeing there.

    3. It also makes it look like the small grains (rye, malt) get mixed together, then separated, which is at best misleading. Guess they didn't use any wheat in 1951.

    4. The beer still diagram seems to show the beer entering at the top, which it doesn't. It enters from the side about 2/3 of the way up.

    5. It shows the doubler but doesn't identify it, an odd oversight on a technical drawing.

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Nelson County, Kentucky
    Posts
    2,734

    Re: Typical Procedure for Production of Distilled Spirits

    This video with Craig will guide you thru the distilling...step by step with the "Master" himself

    http://www.heaven-hill.com/virtualTour/virtualTour.html

    Bettye Jo

    Quote Originally Posted by kickert View Post
    Those of you who have been on the Buffalo Trace hard hat tour may have seen this, but since we often get questions about the distillation process I figured this would be helpful. This schematic hangs in the walkway between the grain cookers and the fermenters/stills at Buffalo Trace. Even though it is dated 1951, as far as I can tell it is the same procedure being used today. I have attached a low resolution picture, but you can get the full resolution here:

    http://www.kickert.info/btdistillation_full.jpg
    Colonel Bettye Jo Boone
    Industrial Maintenance
    Technician/Journeyperson
    Heaven Hill Distilleries
    Bardstown, Kentucky

  4. #4
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    982

    Re: Typical Procedure for Production of Distilled Spirits

    Quote Originally Posted by boone View Post
    This video with Craig will guide you thru the distilling...step by step with the "Master" himself

    http://www.heaven-hill.com/virtualTour/virtualTour.html

    Bettye Jo
    Neat link, Bettye Jo. Thanks for posting it.

  5. #5
    Disciple
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    1,606

    Re: Typical Procedure for Production of Distilled Spirits

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    That's very cool, but a few things about it are odd.

    1. "Meal conveyors from off-premise granary" suggests the grains aren't milled there, which is incorrect. I've never heard of any distillery, even in 1951, doing its milling off-site, but it would have been Schenley then, and they had several distilleries, so maybe they had a central granary, but I've never heard of that.

    2. It seems to show the corn and small grains being cooked separately, although it doesn't identify the boxes where it shows the cooking temps as actually being cookers, and there is a line that seems to show the small grains going into the cookers with the corn, so I'm not quite sure what I'm really seeing there.

    3. It also makes it look like the small grains (rye, malt) get mixed together, then separated, which is at best misleading. Guess they didn't use any wheat in 1951.

    4. The beer still diagram seems to show the beer entering at the top, which it doesn't. It enters from the side about 2/3 of the way up.

    5. It shows the doubler but doesn't identify it, an odd oversight on a technical drawing.

    Could the answere to question 1. be that they were being milled at a building next door account for off premise? Probably a stretch....

    As far as question 2. and maybe, 3. I can only provide a picture of the small grain cookers...and hope that might help.

    4. Could it be that they have remade the stills and also made slight adjustments?

    5. Could not agree more.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    ______________________________

    Jeff Mo.

  6. #6
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,393

    Re: Typical Procedure for Production of Distilled Spirits

    I see the yeast mash cooker, which is something else entirely. Are the two vessels to the left the alleged small grains cookers? Is it your understanding that they do, in fact, cook the small grains separately? Then why would they add them to the corn in the cooker, if no further cooking is being done? Why not unite them in the fermenters?

    Also, any idea what an atmospheric cooking process is?

    I haven't had a thorough tour of Buffalo Trace in years and it looks like I'm overdue for one.

  7. #7
    Disciple
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    1,606

    Re: Typical Procedure for Production of Distilled Spirits

    Since, I don't have all the answeres...I sent a note to someone who might. Hopefully, we will have some good info soon.
    ______________________________

    Jeff Mo.

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Kentucky!
    Posts
    4,749

    Re: Typical Procedure for Production of Distilled Spirits

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    I see the yeast mash cooker, which is something else entirely. Are the two vessels to the left the alleged small grains cookers? Is it your understanding that they do, in fact, cook the small grains separately? Then why would they add them to the corn in the cooker, if no further cooking is being done? Why not unite them in the fermenters?

    Also, any idea what an atmospheric cooking process is?
    Not sure where you heard or read that term, I don't see it on the sheet, but considering they list the corn as being cooked under pressure, I would think "atmospheric" would mean "not cooked under pressure" in other words cooked in a non-pressurized cooker.

    It seems they do, according to the schematic, cook separately, as the small grains go through a "mash pump": I can't think of any other reason to call it a mash pump than the fact that they are already cooked.

    Reason to add ti to the cooker? It says something about "temp of cook after addition of small grain mash-145 (temp of conversion from starch to sugar)" I'm guessing that there is an extended "steeping period" in the cooker once all the grains are together, before the send it to the "drop tubs" for cooling.
    Last edited by barturtle; 10-20-2008 at 15:54.
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

    As long as you have good whiskey you're not "unemployed", you're "Funemployed!!!"

    I'm no Pappyophile

  9. #9
    Virtuoso
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Swaziland, Africa
    Posts
    1,473

    Re: Typical Procedure for Production of Distilled Spirits

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    That's very cool, but a few things about it are odd.

    1. "Meal conveyors from off-premise granary" suggests the grains aren't milled there, which is incorrect. I've never heard of any distillery, even in 1951, doing its milling off-site, but it would have been Schenley then, and they had several distilleries, so maybe they had a central granary, but I've never heard of that.

    2. It seems to show the corn and small grains being cooked separately, although it doesn't identify the boxes where it shows the cooking temps as actually being cookers, and there is a line that seems to show the small grains going into the cookers with the corn, so I'm not quite sure what I'm really seeing there.

    3. It also makes it look like the small grains (rye, malt) get mixed together, then separated, which is at best misleading. Guess they didn't use any wheat in 1951.

    4. The beer still diagram seems to show the beer entering at the top, which it doesn't. It enters from the side about 2/3 of the way up.

    5. It shows the doubler but doesn't identify it, an odd oversight on a technical drawing.
    First, the schematic appears to not be specifically Buffalo Trace, but rather the typical distillation process. Does anyone know who E. Joyce is? Here are some thoughts:

    1. Maybe the schematic is saying it doesn't matter how it is milled - the distillation process starts with making the mash.

    3. It does seem odd that is shows grain going together and then separating. I think we should remember this is a "typical" schematic rather than an actual drawing of BT.

    4. If you follow the arrows the beer comes in about 4/5's up at the side. I am confused by how the first cut exits and where it goes (back through the beer heater?)

    5. It labels the "doubler condenser" but not the doubler. Interesting.

    As for the atmospheric cooking process... Our tour guide at BT used that term to describe how the corn was cooked. In response to barturtle, it is actually the opposite - it is a pressure cooking system. I too am curious where that question came from - I could not find the term on the schematic.

    I posted this in another thread, but here are my other pics from that trip. There is one shot inside the corn cooker. They just happened to open it long enough to add some enzymes.

    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...f&id=504187490

    -bk

  10. #10
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,393

    Re: Typical Procedure for Production of Distilled Spirits

    The words "atmospheric cooking process" are on a sign over the yeast mash tub in the photograph above. I guessed that it meant either under pressure or not under pressure if the main cooker was under pressure.

    I know it's not good to cook wheat under pressure, because it foams terribly. I don't know about any other small grains but I know you can cook corn under pressure and, in fact, that's a very good way to do it. Another reason to cook the small grains separately would be so that you can cook the corn at high temperature and high pressure and really make sure every starch molecule is dissolved.

    The schematic seems not to be typical in that the typical whiskey distillery in Kentucky and Tennessee has in-line milling virtually adjacent to the cookers, and the typical whiskey distillery in Kentucky and Tennessee does not cook corn and small grains separately. They do have separate yeast mash cookers, although they're usually not so large (based on the photograph), although they may have more than one.

    I see you are correct about the beer entry location. I was misreading it. It's not in exactly the right place, but it's close enough for a schematic.

 

 

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 4
    Last Post: 09-11-2008, 10:35
  2. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-03-2006, 05:23
  3. VG production
    By barturtle in forum General Bourbon Discussion
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 11-17-2005, 07:09
  4. Top 20 Distilled Spirits Brands in Iowa
    By cowdery in forum Non-Whiskey Alcohol
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 08-09-2005, 20:02

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Back to top