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  1. #1
    Taster
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Knoxville TN
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    70

    Short Mountain Distillery TN

    Rainy day trip to Short Mountain Distillery. We got a few pics and some interesting info from Bill Kaufman (CEO) and Ronald Lawson (old time shiner). They were all very helpful, and there was a steady stream of people braving the constant rain to tour and sample the shine.

    There are two active stills. The smaller one shown below is located in the "Shiner's Shack" and produces a wonderfully sweetcorn smelling clean shine at about 115-120 proof, according to Mr. Lawson. The mash bill is 30% corn to 70% sugar.



    The larger still inside the main building shown below is recognizable from the column. The product from the Shiner's Shack is combined with this still and redistilled here.



    The stainless steel pan feeding into the white, round thing on the left is the grinder for the corn. The blue hopper feeds the ground corn into the cooker (hidden behind the column still). After cooking, they ferment the mash for 1 week to 10 days which is quite a bit longer than I expected. (For comparison I believe Prichard's ferments for about 3 days.) Mr Kaufman said the longer ferment time is due to the use of sugar.

    They bottle the original shine at 105proof. It has an initial burn, of course, but is pretty smooth after that with a light taste of corn. They also produce an Apple Pie Tennessee Shine which is bottled at a much lower 40 proof. Of the six women and two guys present, one guy preferred the 105 proof shine, while the other seven preferred the Apple Pie. The pic below is Mr. Kaufman kindly posing with his original and Apple Pie shine in the distillery tasting room/store.



    Business is good. They are building another distillery building nearby this October. Mr. Lawson said it will house four new column stills. The two existing stills would be converted to pot stills and used for "top shelf shine" (a working name) or whiskey.


    Lastly the guys at Short Mountain are aging about (5) 53gal barrels of whiskey. Mr. Kaufman plans to release it as bourbon and says it meets all the criteria. It will be released "when it is ready," which sounds like the perfect answer to me. He expects it will sell out immediately right from the distillery when its released. I'm sure it will too, they have a constant traffic through the distillery store.



    They also have a stack of new, unfilled 10gal barrels still in plastic wrap. I'm told they plan to experiment with a mixture of 53 and 10 gal barrels for their whisky. You can also buy tiny barrels of your own to experiment aging their shine (or some other if you prefer).


    I recommend stopping and sitting on the porch for a bit and listen to Mr. Lawson tell about the old days of illegal moonshine. All in all a pleasant stop in a beautiful part of TN.
    http://whiskeylist.blogspot.com/ downloadable spreadsheet of over 2000 North American Whiskies

  2. #2
    Guru
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    Sep 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MS
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    12,132

    Re: Short Mountain Distillery TN

    Good report, thanks for posting.

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Sep 1999
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    Chicago
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    12,605

    Re: Short Mountain Distillery TN

    In these shine recipes, they don't use any malt, nor enzymes, so they're not getting much conversion from the corn. I suspect it's such a slow fermentation because there is not as much fermentable material as there aught to me. "Because of the sugar" doesn't make sense to me because I assume yeast would just burn through sugar -- it's everything they like and nothing they don't. I've talked to some of the people who use these recipes and they admit they're getting very little alcohol from the corn but they are getting some characteristic flavor. It also fits the mythology better. If a real moonshiner used corn as the sole source of fermentable sugar, it would be malted first. This is what Finger Lakes does for their corn whiskey. Another possibility is that they deliberately hold the beer after fermentation completes for some reason.

    Love the old time set up with the dual thumper barrels, intended not for a second distillation but to prevent puking. (of the still. The imbiber will still puke.)
    Last edited by cowdery; 07-09-2013 at 15:28.

  4. #4
    Connoisseur
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    Jan 2010
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    927

    Re: Short Mountain Distillery TN

    Pure sugar ferments slow, and it may not ferment all the way. Sugar creates osmotic pressure on the yeast, stressing it. You have to have nitrogen for yeast to work, one reason for backset again. If they mashed some of their corn, then sweetened it, they would get better fermentations and better juice

  5. #5
    Mr. Anal Retentive Bourbon Drinker
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    1,823

    Re: Short Mountain Distillery TN

    We should call their product what it really is and it ain't moonshine; its an unclassified spirits distilled from grain and sugar.

  6. #6
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    110

    Re: Short Mountain Distillery TN

    Thomas is right. Those all sugar washes can be pretty weird. There's usually not enough nutrients in the wash for the yeast to be happy. Of course, you can adjust that by adding nutrients. The corn in moonshine type products usually just adds a bit of flavor, but certainly not similar to the flavor if it was made from an all grain mash bill.

  7. #7
    Guru
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    Apr 2012
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
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    2,576

    Re: Short Mountain Distillery TN

    Saw this in a store for the first time but got distracted talking bourbon with the owner and forgot to get a pic or check the price. Wasn't really tempted to buy one though!
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

    Nullum Gratuitum Prandium
    Ne Illegitimi Carborundum

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
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    Chicago
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    12,605

    Re: Short Mountain Distillery TN

    Thanks. It seems counter-intuitive, but I get it now. You can't live on a diet of Skittles.

  9. #9
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Leopold Bros. Distillery
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    107

    Re: Short Mountain Distillery TN

    Quote Originally Posted by SmoothAmbler View Post
    Thomas is right. Those all sugar washes can be pretty weird. There's usually not enough nutrients in the wash for the yeast to be happy. Of course, you can adjust that by adding nutrients. The corn in moonshine type products usually just adds a bit of flavor, but certainly not similar to the flavor if it was made from an all grain mash bill.
    Yep. I think Mr. Cowdery mentioned recipes with creamed corn in a sugar mash. Essentially, this is like that scene in the Pope of Greenwich Village where a customer complains that his martini isn't Beefeater. When the customer isn't looking, the bartender adds a couple of drops of Beefeater in the glass and hands it back.

    If you don't add enzymes from malt or something else, that corn will never ferment. It's merely there to hide the fact that it's made from cane sugar---and cane sugar is by far the worst possible thing you can feed to yeast, for the aforementioned reasons given by John and Tom. When you feed yeast a bunch of glucose, the glycolytic pathway is such that you get massive amounts of ethyl acetate that you can never fully remove it from the distillate. Many of the small rum distillers in the US make do this----ferment bleached sugar.

  10. #10
    Novice
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    DFW, Texas
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    7

    Re: Short Mountain Distillery TN

    Not sure I understand your reasoning behind "When you feed yeast a bunch of glucose, the glycolytic pathway is such that you get massive amounts of ethyl acetate" Do you have a source?

    I am not sure of their process, but if they are using standard "sugar", the substrate is sucrose which is 1:1 glucose:fructose. Sucrose is hydrolyzed outside of the cell membrane into its constituent parts glucose and fructose. The two monosaccharides are then taken up by the cell through a passive uptake process and directly incorporated into the glycolytic pathway. If using only a grain (ie corn) as the source of sugar and enzymes are used to breakdown the corn starch chains, the main sugar source then become maltose, which is 1:1 glucose:glucose. Maltose is hydrolyzed inside the cell membrane and incorporated into the glycolytic pathway as glucose. Sucrose, if present, is actually hydrolyzed and incorporated into the glycolytic pathway before maltose.

    In other words, a mash made from primarily corn does indeed feed the yeast a bunch of glucose, whereas a mash made from cane sugar feeds the yeast a 1:1 ratio of sucrose:glucose.
    Last edited by Rarnold; 07-11-2013 at 08:41.

 

 

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