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  1. #51
    Advanced Taster
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    May 2010
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    Leopold Bros. Distillery
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    107

    Re: The Proof, The Whole Proof, and Nothing but the Proof.

    Quote Originally Posted by tmckenzie View Post
    Their are more ways to lower EC levels. Some fed yeast mash with triple 13 fertilize which had urea, which turned into EC when distilled. EC is just urethane.
    EC was also attacked at other sources. The UK, for example, has barley varieties that are approved for brewing, but not for distilling. These barleys are high in glycosidic nitrile, a GC precursor for grain fermentations.

    I think that the single biggest change in American distilling was discarding the practice of bacterial fermentation----the Pediococcus you mention, as well as introducing fresh Lactobacillus at the old Seagrams plant together with yeast.

    I think Finger Lakes is very ahead of the curve in your use of the Column still. I get a kick out of the new distillers that make pejorative comments abut column stills based on their 15 minutes of distilling experience. Can't wait for the results, Tom.

  2. #52
    Guru
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    Re: The Proof, The Whole Proof, and Nothing but the Proof.

    Thanks for your input as well Todd and I know what you're saying, I read the comments about column stills over at ADI but don't post because there's no point in trying to converse with those whose minds are against the idea.

    I will say this though, both Tom and Todd through their different approaches are making the kind of whisky that I would be interested in drinking.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  3. #53
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Sep 1999
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    Chicago
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    12,604

    Re: The Proof, The Whole Proof, and Nothing but the Proof.

    Let me try to sort this out.

    Every bit of alcohol you are going to get from the grain is produced during fermentation. Everything that happens after fermentation is about removing water to concentrate the alcohol. Wrap your head around that fairly simply fact and you eliminate at least half of the speculation in this thread.

    Column stills have heads and tails in a theoretical sense, but they are 'processed' differently. One could think of the spent mash that leaves the still as 'tails,' except it contains no alcohol. That's why the column still is superior, it leaves no potable alcohol behind. Likewise the methanol-laden heads. The methanol and other bad congeners are boiled off and the potable ethanol is retained.

    Distillation proof has nothing whatsoever to do with efficiency. A column still can produce a 97-98% alcohol distillate if you want it to, i.e., vodka. Lower distillation proof is strictly for flavor. The lower the proof, the more flavor is retained from the ingredients. Not everyone likes that much flavor, some prefer a cleaner distillate, hence there are variations in distillation proof. But it's also true that since the still can produce at any proof you want and alcohol is what you're producing, higher proofs are more cost effective, in the sense of more alcohol for the buck. The cost of distillation is primarily energy cost.

    A column still is similar to a furnace in that it is either on or off and when it's on it's always doing the same thing. Output, or throughput, is determined by the diameter of the column. Final distillation proof can be controlled within a narrow range on the fly, so Beam for example brings the same distillate off the still at slightly different proofs for different brands, e.g., Knob is different from Jim Beam.

    Proof off the still has little or nothing to do with efficiency in aging, since entry proof can be adjusted by adding water prior to barreling. Although it is most cost effective to barrel at the 125 proof maximum, the reason to go in lower is again flavor. Many of the posters in this thread are over-thinking it. Yes, there is always tension between what the bean counters think is best for the bottom line and what the distillers think is best for the product, and that tension manifests itself throughout the process. My dad was an engineer. He made major appliances. The engineers always want to use a heavier gauge steel or thicker seals, what have you, and the accountants push in the other direction. That's true in every kind of manufacturing.

  4. #54
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    927

    Re: The Proof, The Whole Proof, and Nothing but the Proof.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leopold View Post
    EC was also attacked at other sources. The UK, for example, has barley varieties that are approved for brewing, but not for distilling. These barleys are high in glycosidic nitrile, a GC precursor for grain fermentations.

    I think that the single biggest change in American distilling was discarding the practice of bacterial fermentation----the Pediococcus you mention, as well as introducing fresh Lactobacillus at the old Seagrams plant together with yeast.

    I think Finger Lakes is very ahead of the curve in your use of the Column still. I get a kick out of the new distillers that make pejorative comments abut column stills based on their 15 minutes of distilling experience. Can't wait for the results, Tom.
    Todd, that's the first I have heard of lacto going in with yeast, but i see where it would make flavor and do not doubt it. Now you got me itching to read where you found that out. Yes, it amazes me that micros are so against columns, just like you prefer your pots, I prefer a column. Just like rum distillers add bacteria to produce acid to make esters in rum, dunder, that is why old distillers did the same thing with adding lacto and such. Backset as well will introduce those acids. I cannot prove it, Chuck, Mike Veach others could better than I, but I greatly suspect backset levels have gone done over the years. We run high backset levels. It is flat sure makes a big difference in everything.

  5. #55
    Disciple
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    May 2013
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    Indiana
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    1,661

    Re: The Proof, The Whole Proof, and Nothing but the Proof.

    A little off topic but important to me. Tom and Todd, when are your products going to be available in Indy? Now, back to regular programming.

  6. #56
    Connoisseur
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    Jan 2010
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    927

    Re: The Proof, The Whole Proof, and Nothing but the Proof.

    Quote Originally Posted by mbroo5880i View Post
    A little off topic but important to me. Tom and Todd, when are your products going to be available in Indy? Now, back to regular programming.
    Right now the northeast sucks it up, I hate to speculate but maybe in the next year or so.

  7. #57
    Disciple
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    May 2013
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    Indiana
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    Re: The Proof, The Whole Proof, and Nothing but the Proof.

    I keep looking for it! I can be patient.

  8. #58
    Virtuoso
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    Aug 2008
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    Tallahassee
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    1,383

    Re: The Proof, The Whole Proof, and Nothing but the Proof.

    Mr Cowdery recently reported about some new Experimental releases from BT that are the result of different barrel entry proofs. All samples came off the still at 140 and the difference in entry was the amount of water added. They were able to identify specific taste differences and different evaporation rates from the different proofs. The BT tasters preferred the flavors in the higher proof barrel entry samples. Coincidently those same samples had less evaporation. Apparently water evaporates quicker than alcohol in Kentucky.

    So by coincidence the the high proof off the still and high proof barrel entry is both the best tasting and most profitable.

    If you pony up for the new experimental bottles you can see if you agree with their assessment of the flavors.

    Unfortunately no lower proofs of the still were barreled.

  9. #59
    Guru
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    Sep 2004
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    Jackson, MS
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    Re: The Proof, The Whole Proof, and Nothing but the Proof.

    One hopes they also have some barrels that used lower off the still entry proofs but we will see. I was intrigued by the higher evaporation rate of the lower barrel entrys but did not get if that was mostly water, in which case I don't see how it would matter to the number of bottles produced. The greater air space should contribute to the flavor differences though.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  10. #60
    Taster
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Exile on Tonghuajie
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    77

    Re: The Proof, The Whole Proof, and Nothing but the Proof.

    Anyone know when WT changed from 103?

    Cheers

 

 

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