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Mashing Off Site

Red Pine

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I'm looking into the possibility of having a local brewery mash my whiskey and then transfer it to my DSP. Has anyone done this? In my reading I don't recall anything baring this but I might have missed something. It's only going to be a handful of times until I get my mash tun and heating system setup. I also would do the yeast pitching. Any input is welcome.

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I've heard of others doing this.  As long as you pitch the yeast I don't believe there is a problem.  I would imagine you'll have to get the weights of grains used in the mash as they are required in your monthly TTB Production Reports.

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If you mean they will make you the beer, you can do that. You will have to do a transfer of the alcohol as beer from the brewery to the distillery, with appropriate paperwork for both the TTB and the state. I have no idea what ND requires, you will have to discuss that with them. TTB has you enter it as "beer (from malt)" or whatever grains, on the second page of 5110.40, in gallons. This is different than how wines are handled, and reflects difference in bonding requirements.

If you are just having them mash for you, and then moving to your location to ferment, keep in mind the easy possibility of spoilage. I would minimize that by transporting the fermentation vessel to the brewery, having them fill it there, and transporting back sealed as well as you can. Then pitch yeast. Again, it would be recorded in 5110.40, not sure if in gallons or by weight, to be sure you could include both pieces of information (gallons mash, weight of constituent grains).

I have done the former regularly, no experience with the latter.

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You do not need to pitch the yeast.  Section 19.296 authorizes you to receive beer from persons who are qualified as brewers.  Let's assume you get beer.  

As Bluestar says, there is a difference between the requirements for beer and wine and it has to do with when tax attaches and thus, as he says, to the bonding requirement. 

You won't find any guidance on receipts of beer under the provisions covering receipts in bond.  The reason is simple enough.  Wine is in bond, but beer is not.  It is not in bond because the tax does not attach - and this is for beer only, not wine or spirits - until it is removed for consumption and sale.  A removal for consumption or sale is any removal that is made except those made without payment of tax.  Removals to a distillery for use as DM are removals without payment of tax.  All of that comes from part 25, which also requires that the brewer make a record of removals without payment of tax that show the date of the removal, the quantity removed, and the person to whom it was delivered.  That is all the regulations say the brewer's record must show.  Let's close that book and turn to part 19.

Since the beer is not in bond, you will not find any guidelines in the provisions of part 19 related transfers and receipts in bond.  Look instead for the term "fermented material." That leads you to 19.296, which simple says you can receive beer from a brewery.   [If you receive unfermented grains that have been cooked, it is treated as a receipt of fermenting material, like corn, and reported in gallons, not pounds.  But let's go on assuming it is beer.]

The DSP production record requirement is in 19.584.  It requires only that you make a record of fermented material (beer or wine) that you receive.  it provides no detail of what the record must show.  It is easy to assume it means gallons, especially in the light of the daily record requirement at 19.581.  That section requires a daily record showing, for materials intended for use in the production of spirits, the kind and the quantity, with liquids recorded in gallons, as Bluestar says. 

Next, 19.571 includes, as records you must keep,  "all supplemental, auxiliary, and source data that a proprietor uses to compile required forms, records, and summaries, and to prepare reports ..."  Part 25, the beer regulations(25.291), requires that the brewer to make a record of  removed without payment of tax. The record must show  the date of removal, the person to whom it was shipped, and the quantity.  That is all.  So this seems to be a very simple sort of accounting.  Who sent it to you, when did you receive it, and how much was it.  

So much for what the regulations say explicitly about what the records must show.  Now let's get wonky.

What is not said is probably more important.  The records you must keep as a distiller must show the kind of spirits you produce, as do the operating reports, and, oh yea, the labels on the bottles.  Compliance requires that you must know what materials were fermented to make the beer.  If you did not ferment the materials, then the brewer must tell you the materials from which it fermented the beer (yes, this is also true of wine).  For example, we all know that the class whiskey = all grain, and that the type bourbon must be 51% or more corn.  You cannot know if you have bourbon unless you know the mash was produced from 100% grain, of which 51% or more was corn.  You can assume 100% grain because it came from a brewery, which must use only grain.  But what about the grain bill?   Make sure the record you receive from the brewer contains more than the minimal information required.  Make sure it is sufficient to demonstrate that the product is indeed bourbon or rye or malt whiskey, is you are going to show a class and type.  Think about the possible consequences of not being able to prove that the spirits in the bottle labeled as bourbon meet the standard of identity for bourbon.   Remember, you may loving age it for three years or more, i.e,, beyond the period for which a brewer must maintain records covering the beer he sent you as DM. Write him to ask, after the three years has expired, and he might reply, I don't have those records any longer.  Where are you then?   I went wonky, but end up with a potentially knee breaker.  


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