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IanMcCarthy

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About IanMcCarthy

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  1. High Acid or Low Acid?

    Nat - on that subject of Calvados producers using old oak for distillates - they also do the same thing for their ciders, for up to a full year. As I understand it, it is a question of necessity: Fill your tank with cider, and let it sit (ferment) until you have more cider to put in next season. Otherwise, they cask dries out and you get problems with leaking. The effect of leaving low-alcohol, un-sulphured cider around for a full year is a big increase in volatile acidity. Whenever I hear folks comparing American and French apple brandy, they are always quick to talk about terroir and varieties - All true, of course. What is being overlooked, as I see it, is the difference in VA between American and French ciders right before they go into the still. Americans have a distilling culture - ultra-hygienic, selected yeast + acids + enzymes, ferment and distill as quickly as possible - that is very different indeed from the good traditional Calvados producers. The only time I have made something that even faintly reminded me of Calvados, it was cider gifted to be by a winemaker that had sat around for nearly two years. Total nail-polish bomb.
  2. Farm distillery, California

    Here is the plan: Farm distillery. Grow fruit, and distill it there. It would happen to be the farm that I live on. Does anyone have advice on the specific legal hurtles involved with this? Is it even in the realm of possibility? Thanks for your help Californios.
  3. Stripping run speed

    Hello all, Last year I started chasing my dream of distilling eau de vie on a commercial scale - currently I am operating out of a friends distillery - he makes vodka from grain and whiskey, primarily. The whole fruit distillate thing is new to him, (he gets a chuckle out of my "efficiency", and the fermentation times for spontaneous yeasts... you might get the picture). Every bit of knowledge I glean from eau de vie distillers I admire includes something along the lines of "the mash but be heated as slowly and evenly as possible". All the whiskey distillers I have rubbed shoulders with have a different take on things. Perhaps there is something cultural here. This distiller tells me there is no difference in running a fast versus slow stripping run - that there are no chemical changes taking place. The little science knowledge I have tells me that heat+time+alcohol+copper might very well be the basis for some chemical changes, and that changing any of those factors - including time - might have a different outcome. Just to be sure, we are talking about duration of heating being here - not speed being a factor in making cuts. It is also worth noting that I pay this friend by the gallon, not by the hour. Hoping some experienced voices can chime in and give some validation to this second and third hand knowledge. Thanks for your time.
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