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MDH

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MDH last won the day on May 7

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  1. Chocolate Liqueur

    Not sure if I'd pour dark chocolate, with all its sugar and other products, into the still. Instead, I'd put a blend of dark, medium and light grade cocoa nibs into the boiler and do a very careful run through a few plates. Cocoa is very high in fatty acids; some of the short and medium chain will make the fresh spirit smell not so good, and it'd be wise to age the resulting distillate for a while and also do a careful tails cut to avoid louching. Since Vanilla, to me, is an important part of chocolate, I would infuse the cocoa spirit with vanilla bean for a while. You'll get a little bit of straw color, though. There are a few examples to work from that already exist - Distillerie Mozart does age their chocolate distillate, though I don't know precisely how long they age it for. They don't sweeten theirs. You may want to pick up a bottle, do some nosing.
  2. In the spirit of the Brooklyn Bar Menu generator, I'm wondering if someone here would do the honors to come up with a Artisan Brand Story Generator?
  3. Resting White Spirits After Distillation & Proofing

    All spirits improved from resting, even white spirits, because there are chemicals which break down, oxidize or react with other chemicals which are distilled over from the mash. The effect is more noticeable if you are making spirits with wide cuts, such as unoaked rums or eaux de vie. It's not uncommon for French and German distilleries to age white fruit spirits for several years after distillation.
  4. Do I need to be a Mad Scientist?

    I have seen an increasing amount of fairly basic jobs, such as small-sized vineyard management, asking for specialized degrees. I would hope these positions offer flexibility to their applicants in this regard. Credentialism is a serious and real issue that is costing an entire generation much more money and time than it did to their parents and grandparents. I would not trust a highschool graduate to be my heart surgeon, but I'd certainly trust one who showed incentive and interest in learning to distill a spirit.
  5. Changing pH of wash

    You're right, yes, that would count as pasteurization. But in terms of what heating our mash does -- certain strains of bacteria can survive temperatures up to 70-80 degrees. Certain strains of clostridium can even survive boiling, which creates a challenge for large scale food preservation - canned foods are heated by pressurized steam to 120+ degrees Celsius! Since most of us are heating to only 63-67c, many strains of lactobacillus survive and will gradually take over the mash, working anaerobically on it, as the fermentation winds down and yeast autolyzes into nutrients. This is, of course, ideal - lactobacillus is essential to the character of a developing whisky as it ages. They produce lactic acid itself, and many other compounds which are desirable flavor precursors. We just don't want them metabolizing citric acid.
  6. Changing pH of wash

    If you are not pasteurizing your mash, like most don't, then citric is less than ideal. Certain strains of lactobacilli will metabolize it into diacetyl. Instead, malic acid is ideal - it does not impact the performance of fermentation like some organic acids do, and is metabolized into the very ideal lactic acid by bacteria.
  7. Chlorine impact dramatic over chloramine

    Yes. Chlorine reacts with organic matter, including some important micronutrients. This is how it prevents microbes from reproducing in your drinking water. This reacted organic matter is also well known in public pools as "disinfection byproducts". The smell and taste of them is unpleasant. My only recommendation is that you find a way to warm and vigorously aerate the water. You can also add a small amount of ascorbic acid solution to your water, then proceed to add baking soda. This reaction yields dehydroascorbic acid and salt. This is the government recommended method of removing chlorine from water. That being said, I can't speak for the effects of the new acid on your spirit... Any organic reactant open's the pandora's box with something as complicated as fermentation.
  8. Rum fermentation got strange

    Likely pediococcus damnosus. Unfortunately this is an anaerobic bacteria which does not form a discernable pellicle, so it's difficult to identify. It ruins your ferments from inside out. This is one of the worst of the infections you can have. Anything it has touched should be extremely well sanitized.
  9. 33 questions on taste rich distilling

    Just a bit of pedantic nitpicking. The dead yeast itself doesn't create off flavors. Autolysis byproducts include fatty acids that are important precursors to the aromatic profile of long-aged spirits. It also provides micronutrients to lactobacilli, which are important to the profile of many whiskies. If dead yeast were itself the cause of off flavors, distillers would be found using high flocculating yeasts and clearing their mashes completely, since all yeast are killed during the distillation process.
  10. Premature tails in distillate

    Second this. Do a run without increasing the heat as you get into the hearts.
  11. I have to say, I just saw some equipment from this company at a distillery less than twenty miles from them, and it looked very well made.
  12. Yeast strain preference for Apple Brandy

    Start a few spontaneous fermentations from separate small crushes. Ferment the juice completely with each one. Measure the S.G. and use good old "olfactory sciences" to measure the aromatic quality. In my opinion, and in the opinion of most Calvados producers, a good brandy is made through carefully controlled spontaneous fermentation. Just keep oxygen out and the pH reasonably low and you should be fine to do it that way.
  13. Vatting and Bottle Shock

    I think that depending on the product you want to vat and then bottle, you will need to let it rest longer solely based on the acidity of the most acidic product you've made which is being blended into the final product. So, if you have one product which was allowed a very extended malolactic fermentation, such as a sourmash, you will want to glass or bottle age your product for a long time before selling, versus one with a more straightforward fermentation allowing no time for extended lactic acid. Aging certainly does occur without oak. If you observe the practices of distilleries in Alsace and the neighboring Black Forest, you'll notice that they almost universally age their eaux de vie in glass "balloons" or demijons, often with a thick cotton cloth stuffed into the lid to allow permeability similar to a barrel.
  14. Whiskey and Charring Barrels

    Yes. The char level will add increasing levels of caramel and vanilla, and the porous nature of the charcoal will absorb some degree of flavor. It also produces some acids that will react with the spirit over time.
  15. Lees - in or out?

    Lees always in. You can choose to distill on or off grain, but even the scots will distill their sparged beer with lees still in after fermentation finishes. I can understand that in some "niche" scenarios, such as with honey, you may want to clear the ferment first. This will let you distill into the tails a little more without flavors that would otherwise clash with the flavor. In Whiskey, the lees are practically necessary.
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