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Thread: Bourbon making

  1. #11
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Bourbon making

    Thanks Chuck, and that's interesting about Four Roses - my favorite distillery (with Heaven Hill).

    Gary

  2. #12
    Advanced Taster
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    Re: Bourbon making

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    Yeast is important, so is water.

    Only one major American distiller, Woodford Reserve, uses pot stills exclusively. The rest use a column still for the first distillation and a pot still for the second.

    Gary, I don't know if it's correct to say most American whiskey distillers cook under pressure. Some do, and I don't have a list of who does and who doesn't, but I think atmospheric cooking is still the most common.

    Apparently, wheated mashes cannot be cooked under pressure because they foam up too much. That means MM, BT and HH aren't using pressure cookers. The one distillery I know off hand that does is Four Roses.
    Chuck,

    Almost all of the big U.S. bourbon and Tenessee whiskey distillers cook at essentially atmospheric conditions (cook temp 212 to 215 F)... only a couple cook under some pressure (around 259 F).

    The decision is more of equipment that of handling wheat, because the pressure would be applied during the corn cooking phase ... then released for flash cooling, then cooled further before the wheat is added... so the wheat wouldn't get pressure cooked anyway.
    Dave

    "Remember, the BEST bourbon is FREE bourbon ..."

  3. #13
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    Re: Bourbon making

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillman View Post
    A large subject. The weather cycles you get in Kentucky seem to be ideal for aging whiskey - it's not bourbon until aged for a certain period - albeit this is controlled now in some cases by HVAC equipment. You need in any case a regular day and night and especially seasonal range of temperatures which suit whiskey maturation in new charred barrels, which again Kentucky weather (but not only there) offers, so you might check its typical weather patterns.

    Gary
    When at a conference less than 2 weeks ago I had an interesting discussion. It was with a lady that had lived 10 years in Sweden, but originally came from Ukraine. When I asked her whatís the most odd thing was about her former country she answered the enormous weather cycles between summer and winter. Winters were much colder than Sweden and the summerís breathtaking hot with the temperatures often above 40 Celsius. That is bigger cycles than Kentucky and it is very much inland as well. As Ukraineís is a typical vodka belt country they are probably not interested in making bourbon type of whiskey, but it would probably be possible climate wise.

    Leif
    Swedish lover of American whiskey

  4. #14
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Bourbon making

    I'm sure it won't surprise Dave to know that the information about not cooking wheat under pressure came from Bill Samuels, offered as an example of something his father learned from Pappy Van Winkle.

    What Dave says makes sense since it's only corn that really needs aggressive cooking, but everybody cooks their grains in sequence, whether they use pressure or not, so there would be no need to use pressure with wheat or rye, and malt just needs a little warm water.

    I know Four Roses uses pressure because they played a trick on me, making sure I was standing next to the cooker when they released the flash cooling water. The result is a very loud and startling sound if you're not expected it and, as intended, I nearly wet myself.
    Last edited by cowdery; 02-20-2010 at 22:23.

  5. #15
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    Re: Bourbon making

    Going along with learning the distilling process-

    Is it actually legal to distill at home for yourself? I know people that have in the past, but I can't find anywhere stating whether it is legal or not. I live in PA, not sure if that makes a difference or not. I've often wanted to do it myself, but I only will do it if it is legal!
    If you have anything Michter's or Pennco and would like to sell it or share it with me, please let me know.

  6. #16
    Trippah and Admin
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    Re: Bourbon making

    Quote Originally Posted by ethangsmith View Post
    Going along with learning the distilling process-

    Is it actually legal to distill at home for yourself? I know people that have in the past, but I can't find anywhere stating whether it is legal or not. I live in PA, not sure if that makes a difference or not. I've often wanted to do it myself, but I only will do it if it is legal!
    It is illegal to distill without a license.
    My name is Joel Goodson. I deal in human fulfillment.
    I grossed over eight thousand dollars in one night. Time of your life, huh kid?

  7. #17
    Connoisseur
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    Re: Bourbon making

    How hard and expensive is it to get a license and what all is needed (training, facilities) to get it?
    If you have anything Michter's or Pennco and would like to sell it or share it with me, please let me know.

  8. #18
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    Re: Bourbon making

    Here's one answer, though you may not like it. The author claims, "There are numerous requirements that must be met that make it impractical to produce spirits for personal or beverage use." As they say, YMMV.

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_do_you...illing_license

    In addition to federal regulations, your state may have its own requirements.

    Matt

  9. #19
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    Re: Bourbon making

    That looks like fun. (sarcasm)

    I know of a few people that own small stills and use them from time to time and they certainly don't have any special licenses. I wonder how prevalent home distilling is. I see you can even buy stills on EBay with instructions and everything!
    If you have anything Michter's or Pennco and would like to sell it or share it with me, please let me know.

  10. #20
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Bourbon making

    "There are numerous requirements that must be met that make it impractical to produce spirits for personal or beverage use."

    While that may still be true, it isn't quite as true as it used to be.

    During the big push for fuel ethanol a few years ago, the feds lowered the bar for small distillers, primarily to encourage farmers to use their own corn to make their own fuel. Suddenly, it was pretty easy to get a federal license to distill, for fuel or beverage purposes. Now, states are the bigger problem, and state laws vary a lot.

    For anyone who is interested in home distilling or any other kind of small scale distilling, you have to read Chasing the White Dog by Max Watman. It's very informative and a very enjoyable read.

 

 

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