cowdery Posted February 4, 2011 Share Posted February 4, 2011 Back before Prohibition, before the rise of the "master distiller" as we know them today, the people who made whiskey were often referred to as "distiller and yeast maker." Booker Noe used to tell the story about his grandfather, Jim Beam, making yeast on the back porch of his house in Bardstown. That yeast is still used to make Jim Beam bourbon. If your intention is to be a craft distiller, making your own yeast would seem like something you would want to do, yet I have not heard of anyone attempting it. You don't 'make' yeast, of course, you capture and propagate it. In the old days, before there were commercial yeast manufacturers, every distiller had his own secret yeast mash recipe and yeast-making technique. Sour mash, which most mircrodistillers also do not use, was developed as a way to control yeast and make it perform consistently from batch to batch. Most of the old timers who are still around will tell you that handling yeast is one of a distiller's most important skills, the first thing you are taught, because if you can't master that you shouldn't bother with the rest. They're mostly talking about propagating an existing jug yeast for production, not making it from scratch, but few if any microdistillers do either. I ask bourbon distillers about this from time to time. I once asked a member of the Beam family if he thought there was anyone still living who knew how to do it. He thought for a long time and said "maybe." So, who is up for a challenge? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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