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  1. #1
    Connoisseur
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    Question A couple general distilling questions.

    I have a few general distilling/bourbon questions for those with the knowledge.

    1. What is alcohol concentration of a fermented mash / how much mash equals how much distilled alcohol?

    2. Where do the big distillers get their barrels from? Are they made in-house, or outsourced? Perhaps BettyJo can help me out here.

    3. If they are outsourced, how much do the distilleries buy them for? The price that I am coming up with is $250, just seems expensive to me.

    I know I am going to come up with a few more questions, so plan on seeing this thread referenced in the future again. Thanks a lot guys and gals.

  2. #2
    Disciple
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    I think some barrels are outsourced and some are more-or-less inhouse. Brown-Forman owns Blue Grass Cooperage, for example.
    -Dan

    Who stole the cork from my breakfast?

  3. #3
    Guru
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    Here's a relevant site I bookmarked for some reason.

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield
    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

    Dog Lover, Euphonium Player, Campfire Guitarist, Marksman,

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2003 and Super Moderator
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    What is alcohol concentration of a fermented mash / how much mash equals how much distilled alcohol?
    For some reason I'm thinking 8-14 proof at the fermenter. I have no idea where that piece of info comes from........ Fire away.
    ___Bobby Cox___
    ____________

    May you have wonderful things thought of to do...

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlashPuppy
    1. What is alcohol concentration of a fermented mash / how much mash equals how much distilled alcohol?
    The limit for any fermentation process is about 14%. The answer to the second part of your question is just math, in that if the mash is 14% absolute alcohol and the end product is 80% absolute alcohol, then x volume of mash yields y volume of distillate. (I'm sure there's someone here who can actually complete the equation much more easily than I can.)

    Quote Originally Posted by FlashPuppy
    2. Where do the big distillers get their barrels from? Are they made in-house, or outsourced? Perhaps BettyJo can help me out here.
    There are two major cooperages and several small ones. The majors are Blue Grass and Independent Stave. Brown-Forman owns Blue Grass and is its main customer, although some of the others buy from it as well. Most of the others use Independent Stave. The barrels arrive at the distillery charred, fully assembled and ready to be filled.

    Quote Originally Posted by FlashPuppy
    3. If they are outsourced, how much do the distilleries buy them for? The price that I am coming up with is $250, just seems expensive to me.
    About $130 each but, of course, they are buying in quantity on long-term contracts. You would expect the price to be much higher for a one-off.
    Last edited by cowdery; 07-18-2006 at 11:56.

  6. #6
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
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    As Chuck stated Bluegrass Cooperage and Independent Stave provide most of the barrels...There is a small but growing competior...Zak LTD located in Athertonville, Ky.

    You will learn more about Zak in this thread http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbth...hlight=zak+ltd

    I live not far from this place. They "stay" busy ...

    I bought a brand new barrel about 4 years ago...The cost then was $125.00 each.

    Bettye Jo
    Colonel Bettye Jo Boone
    Industrial Maintenance
    Technician/Journeyperson
    Heaven Hill Distilleries
    Bardstown, Kentucky

  7. #7
    Enthusiast
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    A new barrel is around $135. As an FYI, if you can get 5 proof gallons of spirit from a bushel of grain, you are hitting right around the industry average.

    Ken

  8. #8
    Connoisseur
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    Revise:
    A few more questions.

    1. What are the dimensions of a whiskey barrel? (length, diameter, weight)

    2. What type of corn is used in a mashbill? I mean, is just like regular cattle feed corn, or like the sweet corn one would buy at the supermarket? (if this is some type of priveleged information, please ignore the question)

    3. Where do the bottles come from? Who manufactures them? How much do they cost/affect the price of sale?

    Thanks a lot, again.

    -Jeremy
    Last edited by FlashPuppy; 07-18-2006 at 19:35.

  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlashPuppy
    1. What are the dimensions of a whiskey barrel? (length, diameter, weight)
    I don't know the dimensions, but they hold 55 gallons. A full barrel weighs about 500 pounds.

    Quote Originally Posted by FlashPuppy
    2. What type of corn is used in a mashbill? I mean, is just like regular cattle feed corn, or like the sweet corn one would buy at the supermarket? (if this is some type of priveleged information, please ignore the question)
    Although marketing types will sometimes wax rhapsodic about "the finest grains," the corn is, in fact, U.S. No. 2 grade field corn, and it's a commodity, in that all of the distilleries pretty much buy from the same silos. The grade is a function of things like moisture content, broken kernals and there are lower grades, but No. 2 is pretty much "standard issue" corn, i.e., nothing special. It's definitely not sweet corn, which is a whole 'nuther thing. In addition to the grade, the distilleries check their corn shipments very carefully for mold. That's about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by FlashPuppy
    3. Where do the bottles come from? Who manufactures them? How much do they cost/affect the price of sale?
    The usual bottle makers. Owens-Illinois (O-I) probably is the biggest one.

    Glass is pretty cheap, especially when you stick to standard molds. A few bourbons are in custom bottles, which adds a little more to the cost. The fancy etched bottles of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, for example.

    One thing that's cool about bottles is that they arrive at the bottling plant empty, of course, but already in the printed cases for the product they are going to contain. In other words, the case shippers are made and printed near the bottle-making plants and shipped to the bottle-makers, who use them to ship the empty bottles. At the bottling plant, the bottles are removed from the cases and placed on the bottling line. The now-empty cases go onto a separate, overhead conveyor. At the other end they are reunited with the now full bottles. Pretty cool.

  10. #10
    Connoisseur
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    Got another one.

    1. How does the yeast affect the fermentation process? I mean, how big of a difference is there between the distilleries yeast? If all the yeast does the same thing, how does it make a difference taste?

 

 

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