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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2003 and Super Moderator
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    Why don't they sell White Dog?

    A retorical question and the answer follows.........

    I spoke to someone who knows this and it was something of a surprise for me. White Dog in the bottle is highly unstable, enough of the yeast survives the distillation process and a secondary fermentation will begin shortly, the shelf life if it is bottled would be short.

    So how do we end up with bourbon?

    When entered into the barrel, the ph is changed so that the environment is inhospitable, the secondary fermentation does not take place.
    ___Bobby Cox___
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobbyc
    A retorical question and the answer follows.........

    I spoke to someone who knows this and it was something of a surprise for me. White Dog in the bottle is highly unstable, enough of the yeast survives the distillation process and a secondary fermentation will begin shortly, the shelf life if it is bottled would be short.
    That doesn't make sense to me. The (1) heat of the still, and (2) the high alcohol of the white dog, will absolutely kill dead any yeast. Period. I'll bet on it.

    Now it might be possible that some enzymes from the yeast could carry over (but I'm pretty sure that the heat would denature them), but there are no sugars in white dog to support any "secondary fermentation" even if they did.

    It seems to me that white dog would be very stable biologically - just as other distillates are. Consider the various schnapps, which are unaged distillates. (So is vodka, but it is distilled at higher proof.)

    And I can't think off hand what would change the pH in the barrel.

    Color me skeptical.

    Jeff
    "One never knows, do one?" Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943

  3. #3
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    Bobby,
    I'm pretty sure you were told a tall tale.

    No yeast (or very many other organisms) I've ever heard of can live at an abv above 18 or 20% - which is why fortified wines (sherry, port, madeira, etc) tend to be in the low 20%'s. Fortified wines can be higher, but since the reason they were developed was to make wine stable over time in less than sterile storage conditions there's no necessity.

    I wonder if Georgia Moon or Virginia Lightning differ very much from pre-bourbon white dog, other than the lack of rye (and perhaps lack of barley). They at least seem stable. I've just got a Virginia Lightning, and one whiff makes me wonder more if _I'll_ be stable after drinking it.

    Roger

  4. #4
    Well, you guys sent me on an info hunt. Here's a reference for temperature effects on distiller's yeast:
    http://www.distillery-yeast.com/yeastkillingtemp.htm

    Apparently, the higher the alcohol content, the less tolerant yeast is to temperature, but in no case will it survive sustained temps above 45 degrees Celsius, or 113 Fahrenheit.
    Last edited by TNbourbon; 03-04-2006 at 05:04.
    Tim

  5. #5
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    I once read some fermentation can occur even in the barrel, even with bourbon, despite the high ABV of the container. That some yeasts in the atmosphere are resistant to the ethanol effects and this can build up pressure in the barrel. I think Bobby may be on to something.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 03-03-2006 at 21:30.

  6. #6
    Bourbonian of the Year 2003 and Super Moderator
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    but in no case will it survived sustained temps above 45 degrees Celsius, or 113 Fahrenheit.
    Thanks Tim, That certainly does more to buttress what I'm saying than to disprove it. I remember seeing the temps of the column displayed at Beam and Barton, and it is not static. There are parts of it well under 113 F, only at the top is there the higher temps, so some could easily pass thru.

    Bobby,
    I'm pretty sure you were told a tall tale.
    Roger, If you knew who told me that I don't think you'd phrase your remark that way.
    ___Bobby Cox___
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    May you have wonderful things thought of to do...

  7. #7
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    No yeast (or very many other organisms) I've ever heard of can live at an abv above 18 or 20%
    I'm not sure what they used to get it there, but Sam Adams Utopia hit 25%

    I wonder if Georgia Moon or Virginia Lightning differ very much from pre-bourbon white dog, other than the lack of rye (and perhaps lack of barley)
    While you can, using enzymes, ferment a mash of 100% corn, it would probably be easier and cheaper(and better tasting) to just use some barley malt. Also on this note, I remember reading somewhere that the original mashbill for Harper/Charter was ~82% corn-leave that unaged or in reused or uncharred cooperage and BAM! you have straight corn whiskey.

    Of course none of this changes the fact that I see no reason for white dog to be unstable...matter of fact I think that, depending on the distillery practices, white dog could be more stable than aged product. This would depend on the option of distilling to higher than the 125 proof max that you can barrel at then reducing to get the most alcohol you can in the barrel- if it was distilled to 130 then reduced the lower proof would be ever so slightly less stable than bottling it at the 130 it came off the still.

    Of course the market for white dog would be so small as to make it impractical to the extreme, and the few people who wanted it would want it at the proof it came off the still at too. Of course with no annual taxes to be paid out and no barrel to pay for it would be almost all profit for the distilleries, hell I'd even want to get a complete set ..(BT 1, BT 2, BT wheat, BT rye, HH?, HHwheat, HH rye, HH wheat whiskey, WT Wt rye, and so on and so forth.
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  8. #8
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    Any fermentable sugars anywhere are liable to attract wild yeast, but what can live at 62.5 abv?

    Since unaged corn whiskey like Georgia Moon is, essentially, bourbon white dog, and may actually be bourbon white dog, I think this explanation fails on its face. The only difference between a typical bourbon mash and a corn whiskey mash is about 5 percent corn, either way.

    They don't sell bourbon white dog, except as corn whiskey, because they wouldn't know what to call it other than straight corn whiskey and, based on the paltry sales of corn whiskey, because there wouldn't be much market for it. I think it could be positioned, perhaps in export only initially (in cultures where low proof raw spirits are enjoyed) as an American grappa or slivovitz, but I can see the point of people who say it just would not be worth the trouble.

    In America especially, consumers are used to clear spirits being relatively flavorless, whether you're talking about vodka, white rum or even white tequila. I'm not persuaded there is any technical reason why bourbon white dog couldn't be sold, although I can imagine people using that as an excuse and maybe even believing it's true.

    You know for a long time how all the distilleries said they "couldn't" make four grain bourbon because they only had three grain paths to the mash tubs, not four? Well when someone (Woodford) finally did it, they said "bullshit." You can just put the wheat and rye in together.
    Last edited by cowdery; 03-03-2006 at 21:58.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery
    Any fermentable sugars anywhere are liable to attract wild yeast, but what can live at 62.5 abv?
    I think that any yeast present would have to drift in, as you suggest, and would not come over the still, as I had implied. IOW, the heat of the still wouldn't play a part.

    But, as you say, what could survive in that level of alcohol, or even diluted to 40% for packaging?

    Timpthy (Barturtle) wrote

    While you can, using enzymes, ferment a mash of 100% corn, it would probably be easier and cheaper(and better tasting) to just use some barley malt.
    The enzymes you are speaking of convert the starch of the corn to fermentable sugars, rather than actually ferment the sugars. That may have been what you meant.

    What I had meant in my previous post was the remote possibility that active enzymes from yeast that convert the sugars to alcohol might somehow be present without the actual yeast. (That is where the first enzyme was discovered, BTW, in the 19th Century. The word comes from the Greek, meaning "in yeast.")

    It still doesn't add up. I can't imagine white dog not being biologically or enzymatically stable.

    Bobby - can you check with your original source for details?

    Jeff
    "One never knows, do one?" Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943

  10. #10
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    I guess my question is, as is posed in part later in this thread, even if they could bottle it would it sell? For us white dog is an obsession. Why? The forbidden fruit? Because the rare occasion where we get a taste usually coincides with a group function where we enjoy it as a group and accompanied by that "we're not really supposed to let you do this" statement. If it were readily available would we find it as desirable?
    Dane
    I don't drink to excess. But I'll drink to most anything else.

 

 

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