Welcome to the Straightbourbon.com Forums.
Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 11 to 20 of 20
  1. #11
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    9,044
    Mike that is interesting and no doubt there were different practices, but it is clear from M'Harry's descriptions (1809) that his mash was not strained. He refers to the need to grease the still (and he worked with pot stills at the time) and heat the mash to ensure it would not stick to the metal.

    He noted this was not a problem for a second distillation, which is self-evident of course.

    Backset must have been a combination of the stillages of both distillations (where there were two, he makes it clear that doubling was not always done).

    Gary

  2. #12
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Louisville, Ky.
    Posts
    720
    Gary,
    Does M'Harry describe his cooking process as small tub? I know that Taylor was a firm believer in small tub cooking where the cooking of the grains was done in 50 gallon tubs for a day before transfering the mash to a fermenter. I think that process also made the sour mash process a little different than it is today.

    Mike Veach

  3. #13
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    9,044
    Yes, and M'Harry worked small scale.

    I'll type an extract from his account tonight.

    It would be interesting to compare it to the sweet and sour mash recipes from 1818. As you pointed out earlier, even the sweet mash one seems to have a sour mash component, or can have one, since slop is indicated as a substitute for fresh yeast in that recipe.

    We discussed this earlier, where the boil residue must have been used as a kind of starter. Probably it facilitated the action of wild yeast, because how could yeast live in a boiled product? Unless the boil was not efficient, or only partial, we are talking about an artisan process of long ago...

    Gary

  4. #14
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,544
    I hadn't considered that possibility, that the distiller was simply capturing wild yeast in the mash tub. Distillers have explained sour mash to me as creating an environment in which only the yeast we want can survive. That being the case, spontaneous fermentation may have been the norm.

    I wish we could get a clear picture of this. Every piece of new information seems to raise more questions than it answers.

  5. #15
    Virtuoso
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    1,394
    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery
    I hadn't considered that possibility, that the distiller was simply capturing wild yeast in the mash tub. Distillers have explained sour mash to me as creating an environment in which only the yeast we want can survive. That being the case, spontaneous fermentation may have been the norm.
    After years of homebrewing beer in my kitchen, if I leave apple juice or even kool-aid out on the counter overnight, it'll already have a yeasty fizz going the next day.

    Once a yeast culture is ingrained into an environment it stays for some time. I bet the rafters of the old distilleries were heavily innoculated with their house yeast. I've daydreamed occasionally about trying to culture wild yeast from Old Taylor, but that's been a looooong time now.

    Roger

    PS Two old stories I've heard about Jim Beam just connected in my mind. One is that the old master distillers used to take home a jar of their yeast slurry every week, in case of fire (or perhaps new job opportunities). The other is that upon the repeal of Prohibition that Jim Beam stirred up batches of slurry and exposed them to the air on his back porch until he captured one that he wanted. If that was the same porch he stored his yeast before prohibition he may have just recaptured his own ol'trusty favorite.
    Last edited by Rughi; 11-13-2006 at 15:03.

  6. #16
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,544
    I received an "official" response from Beam today, as follows:

    ----------------------------------

    Dear Mr. Cowdery:

    We received your recent e-mail message and appreciate your interest in Jim Beam. For competitive reasons, we don't discuss the details of recipes or production techniques for any of our brands. We consider such information to be proprietary.

    Thanks again for contacting us.

    ----------------------------------

    I should add that I also had a pleasant conversation with their corporate communications person, so we are talking.
    Last edited by cowdery; 11-16-2006 at 12:59.

  7. #17
    Guru
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Northern Kentucky
    Posts
    3,417
    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery
    I received an "official" response from Beam today, as follows:

    ----------------------------------

    Dear Mr. Cowdery:

    We received your recent e-mail message and appreciate your interest in Jim Beam. For competitive reasons, we don't discuss the details of recipes or production techniques for any of our brands. We consider such information to be proprietary.

    Thanks again for contacting us.

    ----------------------------------
    A real "non-answer, answer... you think they would make at least some feeble attempt to justify their claims. I guess it's simply "We've done all this (outrageous) stuff and you have to believe us 'cus it's all a secret and we can't tell you."

    Maybe they should simply run for public office...
    John B

    "Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons… that is all there is to distinguish us from other animals."

  8. #18
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Northwest Indiana
    Posts
    693
    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery
    I received an "official" response from Beam today, as follows:

    ----------------------------------

    Dear Mr. Cowdery:

    We received your recent e-mail message and appreciate your interest in Jim Beam. For competitive reasons, we don't discuss the details of recipes or production techniques for any of our brands. We consider such information to be proprietary.

    Thanks again for contacting us.

    ----------------------------------

    I should add that I also had a pleasant conversation with their corporate communications person, so we are talking.
    I almost want to not buy anymore Beam products anymore due to this respomse. I am now saddened.

  9. #19
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,544

    Re: Jim Beam History

    As I mentioned above, on the day I received the official, written reply to my query, I also received a telephone call from a Beam executive. We had what diplomats call "a frank and friendly discussion." Really, he was very nice, but said the above is their official position. I told him, very nicely, that I found that position disingenuous. I told him I don't care about the recipe's contents (the proprietary part), I care about its historical authenticity.

    There is no 211-year-old piece of paper with a "recipe" on it, of that much I am certain. On what, then, is the claim based? The company refuses to say.

    So, the fundamental question remains. What exactly did Jacob Beam do in 1795 that is still done the same way in making the Jim Beam bourbon of today, that no other American whiskey maker does? As I told the executive, there is nothing unusual about advertisers being asked to justify ad claims. As it stands, I asked, they refused.

    We didn't even get into the subject of Beam distorting the true historical facts to keep all of their "history" in Jim Beam's direct lineage. For example, I have seen the letter in which Margaret Beam Noe asks her first cousin, Carl "Shucks" Beam (and not her brother, Jere), to teach her son, Booker, how to make whiskey.

    The saddest part of this is that the true history of Jim Beam bourbon is terrific. The company should try using it.

    There is a little bit more elaboration on all of this on my blog.

    That's where we are. If there are further developments, I'll let you know.

  10. #20
    Moderator
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
    Posts
    1,597

    Re: Jim Beam History

    Probably an expected answer, Chuck. But it's good to know you tried

    Scott
    "I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day" - Frank Sinatra

 

 

Similar Threads

  1. 7 or 8 YO Jim Beam
    By fogfrog in forum General Bourbon Discussion
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: 12-07-2005, 21:08
  2. Jim Beam Black
    By bourbonmed in forum General Bourbon Discussion
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 08-27-2001, 07:24
  3. Jim Beam TV Ad
    By cowdery in forum General Bourbon Discussion
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-15-2000, 14:01

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Back to top