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Silk that's all very interesting and makes sense, but what about the flavor of the white dog.  The sour mash white whiskeys that I have tasted, taste very different from the sweet mash white whiskeys.  It has been my understanding that the sour flavor in sour mash works better with the barrel for Bourbon.

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2 hours ago, Southernhighlander said:

Silk that's all very interesting and makes sense, but what about the flavor of the white dog.  The sour mash white whiskeys that I have tasted, taste very different from the sweet mash white whiskeys.  It has been my understanding that the sour flavor in sour mash works better with the barrel for Bourbon.

There is a prohibition story from our valley, where shiners were topping off aged whiskey in the barrel with new make, aging for a relatively short period, and then bottling. I have no idea if this is something that would even taste good or would be worth recreating beyond historical recreation, but the idea of using a sweet mash vs sour for the new make peaked my interest. I was wondering if you had insights on this that you could spare. Thanks

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Really strong thread here folks.  Thanks for the back and forth. 

I told someone that I know 1000-times more about this business than I knew 4 years ago when I started, but probably only 10% of what I need to know!   Now 10.1%

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Here is a good, easy to read primer on the impact of utilizing stillage, long term.

A little context, this was during the 1970s energy crisis, and the cost of evaporating stillage for feed was getting cost prohibitive.  So distilleries were dewatering and pushing liquid stillage reuse (sour mashing) to new levels.  In this distillery, they went from 40% backset to 70-80% backset.

Can you imagine?  80% backset?

j.2050-0416.1978.tb03851.x

Take a good look at Table 3 - It clearly illustrates the increase in fusel oil and H2S with long-term sour mashing.  You can also see the significant increase in ethanol yield, making the accountants real happy.

1457665631_ScreenShot2018-08-13at7_55_26PM.png.5c925f029484527be4fe77313ac8ef47.png

In addition, you can see the significant increase in amino acids, many of which are flavor and alcohol (good and bad) precursors.

1039130594_ScreenShot2018-08-13at7_56_26PM.png.d584a5f4c5fa6c5d4cc774b2370c1ee5.png

 

Like I said above, sweet mashes make clean whiskey.

2009008258_ScreenShot2018-08-13at7_57_29PM.png.2194d2e193f3bfc2941d19b03f9e5c32.png

 

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I mean, I've blown this thing so off topic, I'll just let it ride.

The increase in amino acids in the mash are key for higher alcohol (read: FUSEL) production.  Higher alcohols are key in ester formation.  Esters formed from Ethanol are pretty boooooring, it's the high alcohol esters that are where the flavor is at.

The metabolism of Valine by yeast results in Isobutanol, the metabolism of Leucine results in Isoamyl alcohol, Isoleucine to amyl alcohol.  Look at Table IV above.

Leucine for example, metabolized to Isoamyl Alcohol, interesting, now throw in Acetic Acid, those two as an ester is Isoamyl Acetate.  That's the big banana bomb you get with some bourbons.  Look at the low Leucine levels you get mashing with only fresh water, you'd likely never get a banana aroma without utilizing backset or finding an alternative way to increase amino acids in the mash.  Just as a hypothetical, you might need to get to the 4th generation of recycling before you hit that level.

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33 minutes ago, Silk City Distillers said:

it's the high alcohol esters that are where the flavor is at.

That's what I'm talking about. Exploring that is where the fun is.

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This is an interesting thread to which I will bring a dose of oh god the boredom of regulation.  You make a production gauge.  When you do so you have to designate the product.  Assume the production methods used meet the production procedures (19.77) you have on file for  for bourbon, corn whiskey, and whiskey distilled from bourbon mash and also meet the  the grain/proof standards (80% or more corn at not more than 160) for each.  Once produced, you must immediately make a production gauge (19.304).  The rules for production gauges state, "Spirits in each receiving tank will be gauged before any reduction in proof and both before and after each removal of spirits." (19.289).   I read this to say that you can can have more than one removal of spirits ("each removal") from a receiving tank - or more than one receiving tank ("each receiving tank").  So, let's assume, in either case, three gauges, each of which is deemed a separate production gauge (19.304).

I see nothing that prohibits you from entering two of those to the storage account,  where you put them into a stainless tank and cut them to 125 or less - this must be done after the production gauge (19.289), designating the first "bourbon designate" and the second "whiskey distilled from bourbon mash designate" (19.305).   Then, you transfer (19.324) the first to new charred and the second to used oak as "bourbon" and "whiskey distilled from bourbon mash," respectively, and proceed through a nanosecond or more to create age.  The spirits in the third gauge go directly to processing, where you bottle them as unaged corn whiskey.

I see nothing in the regulations that prohibit that and 19.304, 305, .324 and .289 seem to  authorize it.  At the least, it would be an interesting challenge to a TTB investigator or auditor who sought to challenge what you did.  I think they would lose the argument that you violated any provision of the regulations.  The caveat is that your records would have to include the gauge record (19.618 and 19.619) for each of the three production gauges, showing the quantity and designation in each case, and create the trail that would establish that the products are eligible for the designations you give them.  Note that I have not mentioned a formula once, although someone's comment above that you have to have a formula for bourbon is correct, not to show what you did to it, but to show that you did nothing to it that would change the class and type under the special rules that apply to bourbon and not to other American type whiskeys.  Now, the above discussions about the methods and procedures you use to create the spirits are a lot more interesting, but wasn't the original question :-). 

  • Thanks 3

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@dhdunbar That makes a lot of sense! Thanks for explaining that in such a clear and concise way! Do you have any light to shed on the last part concerning partial harvests and aging? I know the clock stops if you were to dump the whiskey from the barrel, but does it stop if you partially harvest an amount out?

Also, I have really been enjoying reading the different methods and procedures, do go on fellas!

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