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Is vodka UNIVERSALLY made from nuetral alcohol

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I understand that US regulations decree the use of neutral alcohol of 95% purity.  So do EU regulations

But I am curious to know whether this is a UNIVERSAL custom?

And do you mean to tell me that, that 5% water + congeners can actually be the difference in body and palate between different brands of Vodka?  (difficult to believe)

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Yes, there are a lot of flavour compounds in that remaining 5%. You can continue to get rid of them through charcoal filtration if you want something completely neutral. The quality of your mash is of great importance if you are making your own base alcohol because that's where the individual character of your product comes from. The better the mash, the better the finished product, 'cuz is hard to get rid of off flavours once you've created 'em.

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By definition Vodka must be neutral of flavor and smell and as far as I know that is universal, however there are subtle differences that can be detected by Vodka drinkers.

I am a whiskey bourbon guy but I like rum and brandy as well. I like to drink my spirits strait so I don't care for Vodka. Vodka to me it is a neutral spirit that is used to mix with things and I don't drink mixed drinks. 

 However many people love vodka and there are some great vodkas out there if you are a vodka lover.  Keep in mind that filtering makes a huge difference in vodka flavor as well.

 

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Yeah, but neutral of flavor and smell is not formally defined, so if you make an effort even after the 95%+ distillation to remove additional flavors by filtering, for example, even if some flavor is detectible, you probably meet the requirements. There are countries where vodka can be made to lower proof and with more flavor, but they usually can not export that product anywhere as vodka.

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On 8/18/2019 at 11:42 AM, Southernhighlander said:

By definition Vodka must be neutral of flavor and smell and as far as I know that is universal, however there are subtle differences that can be detected by Vodka drinkers.

I am a whiskey bourbon guy but I like rum and brandy as well. I like to drink my spirits strait so I don't care for Vodka. Vodka to me it is a neutral spirit that is used to mix with things and I don't drink mixed drinks. 

 However many people love vodka and there are some great vodkas out there if you are a vodka lover.  Keep in mind that filtering makes a huge difference in vodka flavor as well.

 

You should taste our vodka, Paul. We make it in a still that uses your pot! We distill to 192, then 5x charcoal filter, and the result still has a distinctive flavor from the whiskey base we use. We describe it as the vodka whiskey drinkers can enjoy...

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That sounds like an interesting vodka.  I love tasting lots of different spirits and judging them according to the merits of their identity.  My favorite Vodka is Grey Goose  and I like it neat but I rarely drink it because I personally like whiskey and bourbon and almost everything else better.  I have tried many different vodkas with  hints of flavors such as vanilla  from certain types of wheat etc, but i like the more neutral, very fresh and crisp ones best. 

 I like tasting light whiskeys and Canadian blended whiskeys and I have my favorites among them but I prefer more flavor and body then they impart.  I enjoy 18 year Glenfiddich or Blanton's Single Barrel a great deal more.

  It sounds like your vodka with the whiskey highlights would be like an ultra light whiskey.  I would love to try it.  I'm one of those people that is crazy about trying new spirits of any type and new foods.  Can I buy your products on line?

 

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22 hours ago, Southernhighlander said:

That sounds like an interesting vodka.  I love tasting lots of different spirits and judging them according to the merits of their identity.  My favorite Vodka is Grey Goose  and I like it neat but I rarely drink it because I personally like whiskey and bourbon and almost everything else better.  I have tried many different vodkas with  hints of flavors such as vanilla  from certain types of wheat etc, but i like the more neutral, very fresh and crisp ones best. 

 I like tasting light whiskeys and Canadian blended whiskeys and I have my favorites among them but I prefer more flavor and body then they impart.  I enjoy 18 year Glenfiddich or Blanton's Single Barrel a great deal more.

  It sounds like your vodka with the whiskey highlights would be like an ultra light whiskey.  I would love to try it.  I'm one of those people that is crazy about trying new spirits of any type and new foods.  Can I buy your products on line?

 

Actually, you can, at shotsbox.com, although I am not sure if they ship to MO. Of course, if you are ever near Chicago, stop in at the distillery, and we will let you taste everything we make (and you can visit your still pot)...

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We ferment the vodka we distill from grapes, differently than the vodka we distill from soft wheat. We then filter each differently as well. Both hit the "numbers" to be classified as "vodka" but they are completely different. We also do not use antibiotics, which are standard in the bulk NGS industry.

 

 

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26 minutes ago, Roger said:

We also do not use antibiotics, which are standard in the bulk NGS industry.

Can you provide a source on that? I was unsuccessful in googling anything where antibiotics were used in the production of neutral spirits (other than lowering of the pH to prevent bacterial growth in the short ~30 hours of ferment).  Really the only thing that popped up was:

adiforums.com/topic/8274-gns-quality/

On 4/30/2017 at 9:38 AM, Roger said:

Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could buy some piece of magic equipment that would make commercial bio-ethanol into something other than what it is, but unfortunately it's just not so.  it will always be warmed up fuel, made from mash more than likely treated with mass doses of antibiotics, delivered to your door with the faint odor of a PVC Tote.

Actually that would be a pretty good Craft brand name: TOTE-VODKA

"I love the smell of plastic in my Martini"

Prost

If you're going to trash an entire industry, please back it up with facts.

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I have been in a beverage NGS production facility, and have seen it in use. It is NOT prohibited by FDA and TTB. Meanwhile the FDA is trying to crack down on the use due to the distillers grains being sold into the animal feed industry and its potential ability to create immunity to various strains. Everyone knows this. 

The only thing I always wondered is: Are the Bulk whiskey producers doing it as well ?

https://www.iatp.org/blog/201204/ethanol-antibiotics-and-what-we-don’t-know

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One last thing on this, I actually put "no antibiotics used" on the back of one of our vodka COLA's and it was rejected by the TTB as being "disparaging to other producers products".  Not to be confused with: "You can't use antibiotics in beverage alcohol".

Large producers do not typically clean their fermenters the way small distillers can and do. It is much easier for them to just add an antibiotic dose to each new batch, and that kills everything but the yeast. You can't buy NGS at 40 cents a bottle, if they have a person in the fermenter cleaning it with PBW every time. 

Keep in mind that it is not "disparaging" if it isn't considered a "bad thing". It is just a "thing" that appears to be brushed over. Some distillers use Hop extract as a natural alternative. I believe if you are selling the distillers grain into Europe, it can not contain the antibiotics that are acceptable here in the US. 

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5 hours ago, Roger said:

I have been in a beverage NGS production facility, and have seen it in use. It is NOT prohibited by FDA and TTB. Meanwhile the FDA is trying to crack down on the use due to the distillers grains being sold into the animal feed industry and its potential ability to create immunity to various strains. Everyone knows this. 

The only thing I always wondered is: Are the Bulk whiskey producers doing it as well ?

https://www.iatp.org/blog/201204/ethanol-antibiotics-and-what-we-don’t-know

I looked into this a little more (briefly) and it appears you are right (albeit, exaggerating). 

"In 2010 the FDA collected samples from 46 dried distillers grains sources--18 imported, 28 domestic.
4 of the 46 samples tested positive. 3 domestic, 1 foreign.
0.16PPM Virginiamycin M1 on a dry weight basis in one sample
0.58 ppm Erythromycin was detected at ~ on a dry weight basis in another sample.
The final positive domestic sample contained virginiamycin M1 at ~0.15 ppm on a dry weight basis and penicillin G at ~0.24 ppm on a dry weight basis. Although the amount of penicillin found (0.24 ppm) is lower than the LOQ for penicillin, the laboratory was able to accurately quantify this sample for penicillin below 1 ppm.

Source: https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/biological-chemical-and-physical-contaminants-animal-food/report-fy-2010-nationwide-survey-distillers-products-antibiotic-residues

At the same time, the FDA reports that many ethanol distillers are(were?) looking for alternatives to antibiotics.  All this data is pretty old, it would be nice to see some further, unbiased studies. In my brief search I also found a few articles suggesting that they had tested samples and the antibiotics found were not biologically active. However, I did not find a FDA article backing this up.

5 hours ago, Roger said:

One last thing on this, I actually put "no antibiotics used" on the back of one of our vodka COLA's and it was rejected by the TTB as being "disparaging to other producers products".  Not to be confused with: "You can't use antibiotics in beverage alcohol".

Large producers do not typically clean their fermenters the way small distillers can and do. It is much easier for them to just add an antibiotic dose to each new batch, and that kills everything but the yeast. You can't buy NGS at 40 cents a bottle, if they have a person in the fermenter cleaning it with PBW every time. 

Keep in mind that it is not "disparaging" if it isn't considered a "bad thing". It is just a "thing" that appears to be brushed over. Some distillers use Hop extract as a natural alternative. I believe if you are selling the distillers grain into Europe, it can not contain the antibiotics that are acceptable here in the US. 

Your COLA was likely rejected because the likeliness of antibiotics being present in distilled products is slim to none,  and your label was an attempt to convince consumers that antibiotics are common in everyone else's spirits but yours.

I'd imagine the TTB would give you the same rejection if you put "LEAD FREE" on your label.

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It isn't necessarily an issue of what "carries over" into the finished product, any more than what is or is not "carried over" in a spirit from organic or non GMO grains or produce. The bigger question is, what is the effect on the environment of the unnecessary antibiotics being dumped into the  food chain. 

This is being fought out in the food and alcohol industry right now, and we have simply chosen our side of this issue that will become more visible and transparent in the near future.

https://www.fda.gov/food/conversations-experts-food-dietary-supplements-and-cosmetics-topics/what-expect-next-compliance-dates-fsma-preventive-controls-animal-foods-rule

the logic that stating "no antibiotics" on a COLA insinuates that others use antibiotics is equivalent to saying that if a NGS producer uses corn and can put "Gluten free" by choice or not on their products, that all other producers are presumed to be made from products made from gluten. Even when it is universally acknowledged that the glutton can't exist in the finished product, whether it was made from it or not.  It's a double standard.

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This is very interesting topic , we have noticed alot of people are being educated about gns or gns and fuel alcohol being bottled from ethanol plants .  Hats off to the jurisdictions like British Columbia that don't allow the use of it in craft products .

Tim

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