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  1. #21
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    Re: Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey

    Had a pour of the Manhattan rye tonight. I enjoyed it a lot. Definitely the better of the two, no question.

    Now to your question Chuck. My first gut answer is yes, I do care. Tradition is important. If you do it totally different, is it still bourbon? Or whiskey? My second thought is who cares? If you get your enzymes via natural process or chemicals, what does it matter? However, I do recall a discussion on one of the forums a while back that decided that malted barley gave a superiour flavor and body when compared to purely chemically introduced enzymes.

    Distilleries (and most businesses) have altered their traditional processes over the years and generally to save time/money, and not always to improve quality. I would not want to see this practice find its way into main stream bourbon distillation and further reduce the flavor of our fine beverage.

    Mike

    "You're the best bourbon drinkers ever!" - Margo (waitress at Bourbon's Bistro in Louisville)

  2. #22
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    Re: Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey

    For my part again, just to clarify, I meant to say old-time distillers could get a mash without use of malted cereals, if they had to: not an ideal situation, but if necessary they could. (They could get a ferment without adding yeast, too).

    Just to clarify, I found the palate of the bourbon more interesting than it was good. It is a young product, a little feisty and raw. I agree with Mike the rye is better.

    I view the first bottlings of the bourbon as experimental. This smalll operation is trying different things and still finding its way. In time it has the potential to release some excellent craft bourbon. This will occur I think if it is able to age bourbon for omeyears rather than months (and rye too).

    Gary

  3. #23
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    Re: Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillman View Post
    For my part again, just to clarify, I meant to say old-time distillers could get a mash without use of malted cereals, if they had to: not an ideal situation, but if necessary they could. (They could get a ferment without adding yeast, too).
    The second statement is true, because yeast are always in the enviornment and if you set out a mash, it will ferment.

    The first statement, however, is false. A tub of ground cereal and water will not mash and will not ferment, not in a million years.

    And the use of industrial enzymes instead of malt is not inefficient, just the opposite. It is extremely efficient. The enzymes used were developed for the paper pulp industry.

  4. #24
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    Re: Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey

    I was saying that mashing without the use of malted cereals was (no doubt) inefficient, not mashing with the addition of enzyme.

    For the statement that a mash can be made without use of malt, I had in mind Byrn's Complete Practical Distiller. At p. 77:

    "It often happens that distillers are in want of malt; they are then forced to distill their raw grain without it. To obviate a little the inconveniences of this way of working, they add, during the mashing, a quantity of chaff. They attribute to this chaff a property analagous to that of malt - that of giving lightness to their matter. It has been ascertained that chaff has this property, if not of saccharifying fecula converted into paste, at least to render it fluid, and make it more attackable by the saccharifying agents".

    Byrn goes on to state that chaff is sometimes even used with malt.

    Gary

  5. #25
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    Re: Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey

    Mashing without the use of malted cereals is not inefficient, it is impossible.

    More to the point, saccharification of grain starch does not occur except through enzymes and prior to the development of industrial enzymes, the only source of the necessary enzymes was malt in some form. Or human saliva.

    Chaff means husks, insoluble solids that are introduced to help the starches dissolve, which is a necessary first step in mashing, since only starches that have been dissolved can be converted. Chaff cannot aid saccharification unless Byrn's chaff also mysteriously contains enzymes.

    "For want of" may mean "not enough," in which case saccharification would be inefficient, but no enzymes, no saccharification and no fermentation. Yeast is powerless on starch.

    Cytase breaks down starch cells. Diastase works on starch to sugar conversion. Diastase is two enzymes, Amylase, which converts starch to dextrine, and Dextrinase, which converts dextrine to sugar.

    Again, I fear I'm doing a poor job of explaining myself.

  6. #26
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    Re: Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey

    I am no expert, I am just taking what Byrn says at face value, he says distillers if necessary can distill "raw grain" without malt. More than this I cannot say except it is my understanding that raw grains (especially rye) do contain some enzyme, perhaps the fluidification assisted by the chaff allows this small amount of enzyme to do its work. I assumed this was an old distiller's trick, something to be done in a pinch.

    Gary

  7. #27
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    Re: Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey

    What you do in a pinch is try to make some malt. Any grain will germinate and that creates the enzymes. The enzymes in malted barley work best but malted rye will work. It's theoretically possible to malt corn but I don't know anyone who has done it.

    Even in Byrn's day, most distillers depended on commercially prepared malt and had to scramble if that wasn't available. If you don't have enough enzymes, the conversion won't be complete. If you have no enzymes you won't have any conversion and you won't have any fermentation.

    I'm no expert either, but I am relying on slightly more recent sources than Byrn.

  8. #28
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    Re: Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey

    Byrn is fairly sophisticated albeit writing in 1870 and I am assuming he is, as the title of the book suggests, speaking of his actual experience performing distillation and working with distillers. He also gives a specific ratio of chaff to raw grain: 3-4 pounds of latter "per quintal of raw grain", he says.

    In thinking about this further, I was reading up on mashing techniques, and in a home distiller site written where such distilling is lawful, it is mentioned that steeping takes about 3 days. This is not all that long, really. The discussion also states that malt does not have to be dried, it can be kept entirely under water and is thus termed "green malt". Here is the discusssion:

    http://homedistiller.org/

    The statement is also made that the green malt grain can be difficult to grind but will provide enzymatic power (i.e., it will have sprouted enough to active amylase in the grain). Air greatly assists the malting process but is not strictly necessary.

    Note too the statement that green malt is not suitable for malt whisky because it can impart an off-taste but is suitable for "bourbon" since it is not the base of the mash, of course.

    I think when Byrn's distillers had no barley malt, they simply let their mash sit longer than normal (what's a couple of extra days?) so that some of the grain became green malt and this was assisted by the chaff which as he says promotes liquefication of the starch. This probably came about since the chaff separated the grains and allowed water to penetrate better the sleeve of the grains. When Byrn states that you can mash without using malt, maybe he meant "real malt", i.e., malt normally dried and processed for addition in the normal way. His unground green malt in the tun, if that is what it was, may have been sufficient to convert some of the glucose and dextrines to alcohol, even though not ground. This would have been an inefficient process, not very commercial, but done where necessary, I infer. I infer too it was (the chaff thing and long resting in water if done) a trick of the trade, something too which might stretch back to the artisan origins of whisky-making. For example, when mashing was first performed in Celtic lands, did the farmers always prepare a malt first? It would be interesting sociologically and historically to know if beverage beer was available everywhere where whisky first emerged.

    The standard recipes in Byrn to make whisky all call for barley malt, then as now the standard practice. I was simply alluding to a way I've read about which seems to produce a workable mash without using a conventionally prepared malt.

    Gary

    N.B. At pages 63-68 of Byrn's book, he describes grain mashing, which he states entails 3 steps: grinding, steeping, and mashing more narrowly understood (i.e., where boiling water is added to bring the mash temperature in the "tub" - his term - to 175-180 degrees, I think this is F.). He states as I read him that a proper mashing can be conducted without use of barley malt. He states too that while the mashing step takes some hours it should not be prolonged since this would lower the temperature in the tub and risk an "acetous fermentation". This risk would seem at odds with my theory above that he may have let his heated mash sit three days, although perhaps this did occur where temperature control could be better assured (say in winter - we are speaking of an era before mechanical refrigeration). What occurs, then, in the heated mash, sitting for some "three or four hours" as he says, to achieve a conversion of grain's long chain polymers to shorter forms which can be fermented? Does the grain sprout even over such a short period? I don't know, maybe there is some other explanation. All this said, I repeat that he stresses the importance of using barley malt and he states after an extended discussion of mashing and saccharification, that "it is scarcely ever the case that an individual uses raw (that is, unmalted) corn for the purpose of distillation". Scarcely means it can be done without malt, but almost never is, and I assume this is because an artisan technique or trade trick just isn't commercially viable in most cases - it will stand in a pinch, or for someone on a farm or working on a small scale not concerned with profit and sales, but will not do for someone in business who for competitive reasons must maintain a certain standard of technology. This will be true now as then, as applied to our current state of technology.
    Last edited by Gillman; 09-14-2008 at 05:39.

  9. #29
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    Re: Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey

    I should have said, where I said "winter", summer, i.e., a covered tub would stay warmer longer in the summer. However in cold weather one might keep a tub warm by exposing it to articifial heat. My sense is there were many ways to skin a cat (constrained however in the commercial context). E.g., maybe they made a green malt first (i.e., steeping in non-heated water) and two or three days later added enough hot water to proceed with a Byrnian 3-4 hour tub mash.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 09-14-2008 at 06:00.

  10. #30
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    Re: Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey

    A lot of words to say they made a crude, field expediency malt.

    The term "field expediency" makes me wonder what soldiers, from the Civil War to M.A.S.H., used for enzymes, especially if they were converting something like the starch in potato peels. Probably some kind of malt extract.

 

 

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