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Thread: A Stoney Story

  1. #1
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    A Stoney Story

    Limestone filtered water is not unique to Kentucky, arguably the finest limestone in the Country is in Indiana and utilized in structures from the Empire State Building to the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. In addition to being the choice of builders and architects limestone does something else remarkably well, it filters iron out of water. Everybody agrees even a small amount of iron will ruin whisky.

    In times past, even over a century ago, distillerys as diverse as Glenmore in Owensboro, Stitzel-Weller in Shively and Jack Daniels in Tennessee shared a common thread. They all had access to Limestone purified water that came out of the ground at a cool 55-56 degree temperature. Would warm river water do? Yes, of course it would so long as it contained the beneficial trace elements (lime, phosphorus) and was iron free.

    So other than the fact the water is clean (less likely to infect yeast or taint the spirit) what is the advantage of it being cold?

    Well, yeast is a stubborn organism that doesn't like to work in hot weather. Some heat will be generated anyway during the fermenting process and if you don't have the means to cool the vats when the weather heats up then the only option is to close down during the Summer months which is exactly what many distillers did. The answer was to locate your distillery at a place where you had a plentiful supply of already cold water to chill your condensers and equipment.

    So it was a combination of history, a distilling heritage brought over from the Old Country, climate and clean, cold, limestone filtered water that made Kentucky the place to be.

    If I'm ever present when a tour guide/distiller starts going on about their special water I may well ask what trace elements it contains.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  2. #2
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    Re: A Stoney Story

    Toured Four Roses a couple of weeks back, the guide was showing us the Salt River and how/where it flows in. Now I know they filter the heck out of the production water (but not the non contact supply) but it took a heck of a lot to make the fellow guests on the tour trust her. It looked like a mudslide flowing inbound.

  3. #3
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    Re: A Stoney Story

    Yeah, if I were guiding that tour I think I would've left out the river view part.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  4. #4
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    Re: A Stoney Story

    I was born and raised in Indianapolis Indiana. However, I did spend a lot of time in the central/southern part of the state for "fun and recreation" , specifically the area in and around Bloomington. One of my best friends had family near Bloomington, so I spent a lot of time down there with him. For a while I was in to amateur spelunking. (caving) There are a lot of caves in that area, and the area that they're in stretches all the way to the Ohio River. As far as quarries are concerned, I spent more than a few hot summer days taking a refreshing dip in the cool waters of a quarry or two. One time my buddy drove by a quarry and pointed out the fact that stone, and/or the cornerstone of the Empire State building came from it. I believe there was even a sign there to commemorate that fact. IIRC, that quarry was somewhere near Bedford or Oolitic. There's also a lot of good fishing in that area. I always liked fishing at Monroe Reservoir, but I'd have to say my favorite fishing spot(s) in that part of the state, were the strip pits near Linton. I sure had a lot of fun times growing up down there. I was pretty lucky too. I never really did get into much trouble when having "fun and recreation".

    Cheers! Joe
    " I never met a Weller I didn't like"

  5. #5
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    Re: A Stoney Story

    Yes, Bedford Limestone was used in the Empire State Building, but I don't know if the stone was named for Bedford or if Bedford was named for the stone formation.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  6. #6
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    Re: A Stoney Story

    This point was also recently made in the latest WA article on the MGP distillery in Lawrenceburg. Unreal how much water they use in the daily process.

    Neat read on its operations.

    B
    "Life is life and fun is fun, but it's all so quiet when the goldfish die."

  7. #7
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    Re: A Stoney Story

    Squire, you are such a font of interesting and cogently presented information.
    I think I knew some (or even most) of this; but never heard (read) it so nicely and concisely put.
    Once Again, Thanx for being: YOU!

  8. #8
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    Re: A Stoney Story

    Wow, I grew up in Bloomington and am familiar with all the places Joe mentioned. One thing Squire refered to, about the cooler temperature water. I know from home brewing that yeast can produce some odd off flavors if it ferments at a warmer temperature. My home brews were always good. I have a nice cool basement.

 

 

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