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So we have been trying unsuccessfully trying to get the TTB to respond to the question...."what do you (standards of identity) call a grain based product not aged in OAK barrels?"....apple barrels, cherry, etc., that of course calls the question what constitutes "aged in oak containers", a.k.a "the five second rule", what constitutes an "oak container" and what constitutes "new". (We got the TTB to allow us to use a modified, new, "traditional" oak barrel for use without attribution....easily, efficiently, happily, amazingly!!)

I think we (micro-distillers) will eventually drive the TTB admins. to drink....imagine the huge increase in work load they are facing....like about a 4000% increase in bi-monthly revenue reports and the like (as our new, New York Governor says, "Jobs,Jobs,Jobs")....witness TTB-2011-0010-0001!!! (Comment period is soon to close, BTW)

Let alone trying to define and adapt to the huge innovation and entrepreneurial force that WE, as micro-distillers represent.

I have come to the opinion that WE (micro-distillers) are not competitors and that WE (micro-distillers) can easily take market share from the big boys via home turf relationships, neighbors and barkeeps and the like that adopt us as "local boys and girls make good" stories and brands.

So the internet folks (IETF) have successfully out innovated the (read TTB regulatory and BIG alcohol) inertia and retained control of security, additional features, IM protocols and the like....maybe the ADI should be an self policing organization that defines new aspects of micro-distilling and interfaces with the TTB to help them/us through his watershed change....cause we are just now getting wheels under this bus....

The BIG alcohol folks are asleep at the wheel and yes though they have the cash to innovate, really can't, based on need to keep the monster brands producing results every 3 months.

So has anyone got a product out there that has been sanctioned by the TTB via some "standard of identity" for grain spirits NOT aged in oak?

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'Sorghum spirits colored and flavored with apple, cherry and chestnut wood'. A specialty spirit.

Which doesn't work well away from the tasting room, where we can explain it. So I reformulated to include (used) oak barrel aging before the other woods, and the product is now simply 'whiskey' with no sub-type. Still have to disclose the use of non-oak woods on the label.

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I think it depends wether you ask for permission before applying for label approval as opposed to just applying and hope they aren't motivated to dig deeper.

I completely agree that we need to stick together as micro/craft/botique distilleries. I often remind visitors just how large the chasm is between us and the big boys. KY has over 3 million barrels of whiskey in storage and the craft trail represents (on a very generous note) a woping 1% of that.

That being said, I've found a cooperage here in KY that is willing to make barrels/casks out of pretty much whatever wood we want. Still working on MOQ/pricing. PM if you want details.

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[...]

That being said, I've found a cooperage here in KY that is willing to make barrels/casks out of pretty much whatever wood we want. Still working on MOQ/pricing. PM if you want details.

I think you'll be pleased w/ the fruitwood flavors, BUT they won't hold liquids. Even red oak will leak and seep. So for actual barrel construction - it's white oak (incl euro varieties), some palm and Asian cedars have been used. I chatted w/a winemaker once who was experimenting with chestnut (but American chestnut is expensive & rare) but given the pore size I expect chestnut will leak worse than red oak. So I think you'd be better with fruitwood inserts inside of oak (or stainless) barrels.

Keep in mind that MANY woods are poisonous, irritants and/or cause allergies or cancer. Some woodworkers have died from dust off some woods (tropical/exotic hardwoods can be very toxic), but any evergreeen, juniper, ash is highly suspect. Black walnut & some hickory contain toxic juglone. Many of the wood components are meant as bio-cides - to kill fungi, bacteria, and insects, and some like juglone are herbicides - some of these can harm you too.

Natural != safe .

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I would like to taste something in palo santo that Sam uses at dogfish for beer...

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/11/24/081124fa_fact_bilger

FYI, most oak is poisonous too, not just poison oak... partial body rash from cutting up a neighbors tree after a hurricane knocked it over in '04... went out in the sun before it was 100% gone and it turned into full body rash... Not pretty... and to top that, once as a very young child used scrub oak as TP in the woods...

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Funny, I asked him a few years back how he thinks palo santo would do in a spirit maturation. He said, "I don't know. How do you think it would do?" I walked away wondering if I had just been jedi mind tricked.

I've since tried some experiments with palo santo wood. A little goes a really long way! It can add a nice floral spice but to heavy of an addition will have your spirit smelling like a perfume factory. Had some interesting results with a brandy.

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We ended up going with barrel inserts - less risky and you can produce nuanced flavors. thanks for the comments.

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Keep in mind that MANY woods are poisonous, irritants and/or cause allergies or cancer. Some woodworkers have died from dust off some woods (tropical/exotic hardwoods can be very toxic), but any evergreeen, juniper, ash is highly suspect. Black walnut & some hickory contain toxic juglone. Many of the wood components are meant as bio-cides - to kill fungi, bacteria, and insects, and some like juglone are herbicides - some of these can harm you too.

Natural != safe .

Can you please link me to a reference about anyone dying or getting cancer from any particular species or wood. I can't seem to find any reference

Thanks

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Can you please link me to a reference about anyone dying or getting cancer from any particular species or wood. I can't seem to find any reference

Thanks

From what I have read, most of the hazzards with wood is in the dust. I don't know if ethanol extracts carcinogens from some woods.

http://www.tastimber...erialSafety.pdf See list of timber species at end of article.I know of local woodworkers who got lung cancer from Blackwood dust, but that is not mentioned on the list

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My dad, a woodworker, almost died from western red cedar but then again he was highly allergic to it. There are some that I'd be careful with, american Cherry trees (I've read this but never tried it) can be used to make cyanide when boiled and dried. thats the only thing I can think of. Walnut I wouldn't use regardless because it's incredibly bitter, but you also can't use it as fertiliizer bc it'll kill the plants so it's probably not good for us either.

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Thats fair. I'd imagine there are some exotic woods that could be potentially harmful but, as the DEA says, if you can smoke it, it must be good ;) or was that willy nelson??

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Keep in mind that MANY woods are poisonous, irritants and/or cause allergies or cancer. Some woodworkers have died from dust off some woods (tropical/exotic hardwoods can be very toxic), but any evergreeen, juniper, ash is highly suspect. Black walnut & some hickory contain toxic juglone. Many of the wood components are meant as bio-cides - to kill fungi, bacteria, and insects, and some like juglone are herbicides - some of these can harm you too.

Juglone? The stuff that makes nocino so tasty? As far as I can tell it's harmless to humans. Sure you'll find plenty of references talking about "juglone toxicity", but those typically all refer to toxicity to insects or to other plants - something that's been known since ancient times. And I saw one mention of husks of fallen walnuts being toxic to livestock, due to a toxin produced by a Penicillium mould - but that doesn't have anything to do with juglone per se.

Most phenolic aroma or flavor compounds in plants (like vanilla, or methol) serve to protect the plant from insects or fungi. But there's little or no correlation between toxicity of plant compounds to insects and fungi, and their toxicity to humans.

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This is a pretty old topic, but this is pretty relevant information. In experimentations with homemade stave inserts, black walnut turned out some pretty fine whiskey. I just took a sample from one of my 59 gallon barrels that we put a 10x28x1.5 inch charred black walnut stave in and was pleasantly surprised. There are a lot of warnings of the dangers of Juglone, but not a lot of research to back it up. Juglone is most present in limbs, leaves, roots, and hulls of the nuts. It is considerably less in the trunk and shaft, and even less so outside of the heartwood. Juglone degrades in the presence of oxygen and water, so as a precaution we cured the wood sheets for six months before charring it. The taste thus far is very complex and pleasant. The whiskey carries all of the traits associated with whiskey, though is sweeter with a very mild botanical flavor. All I have to say is don't be afraid to try something new. Worst case scenario is you'll have to throw it back in the still.

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On 7/31/2013 at 0:57 PM, brantoken said:

I would say that if you could smoke bbQ with it , it is most probably safe. A lot of knowledge is out there on this subject.

That's very poor reasoning.  The quantity and quality of an ethanol extract can't directly relate to smoke from pyrolysis.

 

On 1/23/2014 at 5:35 PM, PatrikD said:

Juglone? The stuff that makes nocino so tasty? As far as I can tell it's harmless to humans. Sure you'll find plenty of references talking about "juglone toxicity", but those typically all refer to toxicity to insects or to other plants - something that's been known since ancient times. And I saw one mention of husks of fallen walnuts being toxic to livestock, due to a toxin produced by a Penicillium mould - but that doesn't have anything to do with juglone per se.

Most phenolic aroma or flavor compounds in plants (like vanilla, or methol) serve to protect the plant from insects or fungi. But there's little or no correlation between toxicity of plant compounds to insects and fungi, and their toxicity to humans.

Juglone is a minor aroma component in Nocino, but they use  green italian walnut nuts (Juglans regia), not american black walnut (Juglans nigra) staves.   You are comparing apples to baseballs.  Further juglone may not be the only toxic agent.

Despite your claim, juglone is lethal to mammals in quantity, as the FDA website clearly shows.

http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/plantox/detail.cfm?id=27515

links to nih, see the "toxicity" tab.

https://chem.nlm.nih.gov/chemidplus/rn/481-39-0

.

 

On 12/18/2016 at 1:51 AM, whitemule said:

 All I have to say is don't be afraid to try something new. Worst case scenario is you'll have to throw it back in the still.

No - the worst case scenario is that your customers (or you) end up with fatal allergic reaction, neurological problems or cancer.

And all I have to say is that when you fail to understand the toxicity of things you add to any beverage - you are creating a huge liability for yourself as well as the craft distilling industry.  There was a case in Canada ~50yrs ago where some brewery killed several dozen customers with such unschooled attempts to improve their beer.  You don't get to experiment on your customers, and as we aren't controlled by FDA, there is no shelter that we were following rules.

Your attempts to remove juglone (is that the only agent?) with water are unlikely to be effective.  Juglone is only slightly soluble in water but very soluble in ethanol, and the ethanol clearly penetrates the wood far better than water.   When we are talking about consumables, there is no room for such errors.  If it's use is not approved by the FDA and not traditional with your exact materials and use-pattern, you are walking on thin ice.

==

I've just read some claims that Elias Staley 'whiskey' was stored briefly in toasted hickory barrels  pre-prohibition.   I say "whiskey" with the exception that current TTB rules require charred oak.    So I wouldn't hang my hat on the notion that a pre-prohibition beverage wouldn't contain toxic extracts, but at least it shows some traditional use pattern.

Nuff said - but please disclose the product name so reasonable people can avoid it.

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You know, Black walnut trees also make great table syrup too- tap them/cook into syrup like you would maple. My 81 year old grandma would give it to us kids on our pancakes....dangerous stuff. Alcohol is lethal to mammals in quantity too. Good thing the TTB ensures that we put it on the labels so people can avoid it. Just kidding, but I'm having a hard time finding any scientific backing of why walnut staves are a bad choice for use as a flavoring compound.  I don't believe people will be inserting it into their intraperitoneal cavities, or injecting it intravenously. The only findings are an indication of somnolence. The FDA surprisingly finds alcohol to cause somnolence (drowsiness) also. Lucky for you and me, there is probably no way we will get laminitis and founder. All scientific arguments aside, it's important to test, to look for something unique, tasty, and different, to find old traditions and make new ones. That is what craft distilling is all about. Traditional bourbon was being made (and made well) long before you or I ever fired up our stills and although there is always room for improvement, there is also room for finding the new. The TTB requires charred oak to give the predominant flavor that is consistent with "whisky". As it is, I'm not making black walnut barrels, but using oak barrels with a black walnut inserts and it is a test, not a shelf ready product. Exactly what are you making anyways that probably can't be made better and more consistently in Kentucky? Are you up and running? Do you have anything on the shelf? Is it selling? 

Nuff said- You should go to work for Budweiser. That should be within your comfort zone of tradition.

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On 12/21/2016 at 4:15 AM, whitemule said:

Just kidding, but I'm having a hard time finding any scientific backing of why walnut staves are a bad choice for use as a flavoring compound.

Why you are willing to risk other's health and our industries credibility over your inability to find a source ?  "Didn't know it was bad" isn't an excuse for adding something to the food supply of others.  You need to show us your "scientific" source that shows it's safe - not he other way around.

 

 

 

 

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