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  1. #1
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    Another Historical Tidbit

    Here is another document from the Filson Historical Society's archive for you to consider. It is from the the Eli Houston Brown III papers and was written by John Stone who was born in 1745 and came to Kentucky in 1790 from Virginia. It is undated but the correspondence of Stone ends in 1833 and the paper and such makes me think about 1800.

    "Pennington Method Stillery
    Take 12 gallons water into a tub then put in one bus.l corn meal and stir. Will go over three tubs in this manner Then begin at the first tub & put into it 10 or 12 gallons of boiling water in each then stir as above Then fill your still again with water to boil - 20 minutes after this put 4 gallons of cold water to each tub Then add one gallon of malt add to this half bus'l rye meal Stir these all together Will when the still boils add 10 gallons boiling water to each tub Stir as aforsaid Then let your tubs stand ab't 3 or 4 hours after which fill up your tubs with cold water Stir as aforsaid Then let your tubs stand until as warm as milk or rather cooler then yeast them"

    Is this a "Bourbon" mash? It sounds that way to me. If so this kills the Craig myth probably by 10 years or so.

    Mike Veach


  2. #2
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    Re: Another Historical Tidbit

    Mike I am perplexed by this. I am thinking that rather than milling dryed kernnels of corn the first distillers of corn whiskey would just pick it fresh and cut the corn off the cob with a knife thereby making the mash a sweet fresh cream style corn ready to cook and capture wild yeast out of the air. Once the mash has "worked a while" then you just toss it into the still. This is the way I've always done it.Are there no written records of such a process?



    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

  3. #3
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    Re: Another Historical Tidbit

    Linn,
    I have never seen any such recipes but that does not mean they don't exist.
    Mike Veach


  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Another Historical Tidbit

    This is really remarkable. I would not have expected there to be bourbon-like formula around that early. What a great find!

    --Chuck Cowdery

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Another Historical Tidbit

    How corn was used and processed in pioneer America would be an interesting study unto itself. We always think of distilling as a by-product of milling, so it seems likely that most corn used in distilling was dried and milled first. The reasons for this are another question. One can certainly imagine a very thirsty pioneer following your method.

    --Chuck Cowdery

  6. #6
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    Re: Another Historical Tidbit

    Another thing is that there's nothing about that recipe to make you think it was a particularly uncommon, experimental method even then. Whether Pennington or someone else "invented" the corn-malt-rye combination, that might have been well before this description of it was written.

    =John=
    http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

  7. #7
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    Oct 2000
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    Kansas, USA
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    Re: Another Historical Tidbit

    Linn,

    Interesting concept, but I'm not sure it fits in with the frugal lifestyle of our ancestors.

    Corn that is grown to make bourbon, corn meal, and animal feed (we call it field corn here in Kansas) is much different than the sweet corn that we eat. It is very hard stuff. I don't think you could cut matured field corn off of the cob. If you pick it very early it is edible, but it is still very tough and not nearly as sweet as the sweet corn that we humans eat. I doubt that our pioneer forefathers would harvest field corn that early, as they would get much less yield (bushels/acre) and they would have a hard time keeping it from spoiling. Fully matured field corn is much higher in volume (more bushels/acre) and is very dry. Sweet corn that is left to mature on the stock will usually rot before it dries out.

    By the way, how did yours turn out?

    Bill
    http://home.kc.rr.com/mashbill/

  8. #8
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    Re: Another Historical Tidbit

    Mike,
    It sure sounds like a bourbon mash to me. This is very interesting information. Thanks for sharing it with us. Wouldn't it be fun to have a time machine so we could go back and find out for ourselves ......

    Bill
    http://home.kc.rr.com/mashbill/

  9. #9
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    Re: Another Historical Tidbit

    Bill at that early date there weren't any hybred varities that I am aware of. Corn was corn. Does out there know for sure?

    I haven't made any corn liquor in many years, but I'm going to bring a sample from a local micro-batch distiller to the festival. Unaged corn moonshine is best used as fuel additive. Bourbon it ain't.

    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

  10. #10
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    Re: Another Historical Tidbit

    I agree Chuck. That is why I posted it here. It also shoots holes into the already leaky Elijah Craig myth.
    Mike Veach


 

 

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