An interesting haul

Check in here for reviews of whiskey related books and other materials

Moderators: Brewer, brendaj

Unread postby bunghole » Wed Nov 30, 2005 5:17 pm

Any mention of barrels of whiskey on that flatboat, or would that have been such a common practice by that time as to be unremarkable?
User avatar
bunghole
Registered User
 
Posts: 2158
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 10:42 am
Location: Stuart's Draft, Virginia

Unread postby bourbonv » Wed Nov 30, 2005 5:52 pm

Linn,
John Taylor was not dealing in whiskey but was dealing with hogs. There is a great letter where his father describes a trip John and Tony took to New Orleans with a load of hogs, sells them and makes some purchases and boards a steamboat (Missouri Belle) to return home to have the boat struck by another boat in the night, sinking the boat forcing John to swim for it with nothing but his pants, shirt and money belt. Tony also survives by getting in a boat, but needless to say they lost everything else they purchased in New Orleans and their clothes.

Mike Veach
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
User avatar
bourbonv
Registered User
 
Posts: 4086
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: Louisville, Ky.

Unread postby bourbonv » Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:17 am

I am getting into letters from the 1860's and 70's now. The letters I have so far have dealt with Taylor's involvement with Gaines, Berry and Co. and the Hermitage Distillery (Old Crow distillery near Frankfort). Someone left a cock open and let 700 gallons of whiskey pour onto the floor one night. Taylor's sister Eugenia writes that she heard about the fire fire at the warehouse but does not say whether this is Hermitage or Old Oscar Pepper. E H Taylor, Jr. was given a gift from a New York friend of a "red setter" dog valued at $500 but it was stolen the same day.

This collection is a great collection with letters from other branches of the family. There are several letters from John J Crittenden including one written in 1863 from U S Treasurer S P Chase granting Taylor the right to ship Arkansas cotten with J J Crittenden's note to Taylor on the back. Another branch of the family includes material dealing with land grants in Texas to the Lewis family because William Irvine Lewis died at the battle of the Alamo. There is a partial letter from circa 1869-70 dealing with a military wagon train in northern Utah and Wyoming describing the countryside and native Americans of the area.

Mike Veach
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
User avatar
bourbonv
Registered User
 
Posts: 4086
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: Louisville, Ky.

Unread postby bourbonv » Wed Jan 11, 2006 12:24 pm

I am working on the letters of the late 1870's now. Some great material for a historian. There is the bank scare and depression of 1873. There is the election problems of 1876. Most of these subject are reflected in the 100 or more letters from Gregory and Stagg to E H Taylor, Jr. in 1876-77. There are many letters from Geo T Stagg but most are signed as "Gregory & Stagg" but there are few signed with his name. Their multiple letterheads are interesting as well. This will be a great collection for scholars to research for many centuries to come.

Mike Veach
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
User avatar
bourbonv
Registered User
 
Posts: 4086
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: Louisville, Ky.

Unread postby bourbonv » Wed Jan 11, 2006 4:58 pm

Just found a letter of introduction for Taylor to some Americans in Peru. It states that the whiskey manufacture has not been good to Taylor and he is thinking of starting over in Peru! Luckily he decided otherwise.

Mike Veach
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
User avatar
bourbonv
Registered User
 
Posts: 4086
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: Louisville, Ky.

Unread postby bourbonv » Tue Jan 24, 2006 1:38 pm

Today I found an 1882 letter from Distiller, John Atherton stating that his views on the extension of the bonding period has changed since he left Washington where he testified before Congress. He now believes that a five year bonding period and a reduction of the tax to 50 cents would be the best for the industry.

Mike Veach
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
User avatar
bourbonv
Registered User
 
Posts: 4086
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: Louisville, Ky.

Unread postby bourbonv » Wed Jan 25, 2006 11:37 am

THE year 1885 was an interesting year. There is a rough draft of an "open letter" that Taylor wrote to promote his whiskey. In it he describes the fact that all of the leading brands with national reputation (OFC, Old Crow, Old Oscar Pepper, McBrayer and Bond) are located within a few miles of Frankfort and share the same water basin (OFC, OOP and Hermitage on the right bank of the Kentucky River and McBrayer and Bond on the left bank) and they all make old fashioned sour mash whiskey. He then describes the sour mash process he uses which he states that he does not use hot water to cook his mash, but instead uses backset from a previous distillation. He lets the mash "cook" in this backset in small tubs for 24 hours before placing it in a fermenter.

The next interesting item is a copy of Taylor's letter of resignation to George T Stagg. He is quite insulted by Mr. Gregory and since he will have paid his obligations to Gregory and Stagg by the first of December, he is resigning at that date. He has already made arrangements to distill at the J Swigert Taylor distillery.

Mike Veach
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
User avatar
bourbonv
Registered User
 
Posts: 4086
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: Louisville, Ky.

Unread postby gillmang » Wed Jan 25, 2006 12:16 pm

I find it interesting that he doesn't need to cook the corn, can that be right? Or did he mean he heated backset instead of water?

But interesting that he used 100% backset. This alone is an important find, Mike.

Gary
User avatar
gillmang
Vatman
 
Posts: 2140
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 4:44 pm

Unread postby bourbonv » Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:20 pm

Gary,
This is what he writes:
"The meal being mashed or cooked in small tubs, not by hot water, but by the sour spent beer of the last distillate, A bushel more or less of the corn meal is thourghly mashed with the sour spent beer at a lowly temperature - the mashing or stirring of the meal with the beer, as at the Old Crow and Pepper distilleries, is done by hand."

Now remember that this is a pot still distillery so the spent beer would have little if any solids in it since they would have been seperated from the mash before distilling, so this is basically hot beer without alcohol and mostly water.

Mike Veach
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
User avatar
bourbonv
Registered User
 
Posts: 4086
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: Louisville, Ky.

Unread postby gillmang » Wed Jan 25, 2006 2:16 pm

I think he is saying the mashing is done at the lower end of the temperature range that will permit solubilization of the starches in the grain. The grains need to be softened (hydrolyzed) so the starch can escape and become gelatinised so as to permit conversion to fermentable sugar (via also enzyme action from barley malt). This requires heat but there is a range of mashing techniques. I have read up on this lately and understand even atmospheric mashing (as opposed to pressurized) reaches temperatures of 212 F and over. But grain mixtures can (and some must, e.g., for the rye component) be mashed at much lower temperatures than that. Probably it took longer to solubilise the corn at the temperatures used in the late 1800's for the all-backset mashes, but they were prepared to wait and certainly you would avoid any burning of the sugars which I understand is a potential modern concern with (i.e., high temperature) pressurised mashing and maybe even atmospheric mashing to a degree. And maybe the 100% backset mixture allowed for a quicker hydrolysis with less heat than if water was used (as today) in a spent beer/water mix. I am no scientist and wonder if anyone on the board with a background in fermentation or other relevant chemistries would offer any thoughts.

Gary
User avatar
gillmang
Vatman
 
Posts: 2140
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 4:44 pm

Unread postby bourbonv » Wed Jan 25, 2006 3:39 pm

Gary,
I think you are probably right. I get the impression that when he wrote spent beer from the previous distillation, he meant right off the still which would still be, I would think, rather hot. This would start the process. I also wonder if some of the acids and such in the beer would also aid the breakdown of the starch.

Mike Veach
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
User avatar
bourbonv
Registered User
 
Posts: 4086
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: Louisville, Ky.

Unread postby gillmang » Wed Jan 25, 2006 4:08 pm

Yes, and I've done some more reading. There is a wide range of mashing temperatures for corn and the low, medium and high ends of the range correspond to varying degrees of efficiency in the process. The range I believe (based on some reading) used by bourbon distillers in the late 1800's was about 150 degrees F. At that temperature, they got a proper hydration and gelatinisation, and full conversion once barley malt was added. The cooking part of the process toook longer however than if higher temperatures were used. But there were advantages to using the lower temperature, e.g., caramelisation of sugars was reduced. But low temperature cooking - and it seems the cook and mash were one process under Taylor's letter i.e., the grains were added all at once is how I read him - risked bacterial infection. Lime added to vats in the old days to preclude this risk. Also, using an all-backset solution for the corn would provide a lightly acidic ("sour") environment which would discourage action of bacteria and wild yeasts. Today, high temperature cooks are done to sterilise the mash but perhaps in the old days sterilisation was less of an issue if, as we now know, they used all-spent beer to gelatinise the grains.

The question for us I believe is, did the traditional process improve the flavour of the distilled spirit and if so, how?


Gary
User avatar
gillmang
Vatman
 
Posts: 2140
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 4:44 pm

Unread postby bourbonv » Mon Feb 06, 2006 1:01 pm

An interesting quote from an open letter to the trade published by E H Taylor, Jr. & Sons. dealing with the over production of whiskey in 1901. The quote is:
"The Coarse Rye Whiskies of the East -- Stretchers -- almost wholly used for compounds -- are also being manufactured, and what applies to Kentucky production quite as forcibly applies to them."

This implies that Eastern Ryes, for the most part were made for blending purposes.

Mike Veach
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
User avatar
bourbonv
Registered User
 
Posts: 4086
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: Louisville, Ky.

Unread postby bourbonv » Wed Feb 15, 2006 11:01 am

I am beginning to catalog a depressing year -1923. Col. Taylor dies in January after a year where his health appeared to have improved some allowing even to make the trip to Chicago for the unveiling of his portrait, painted by Arvid Nyholm, at the Saddle and Sirloin Club.

Mike Veach
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
User avatar
bourbonv
Registered User
 
Posts: 4086
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: Louisville, Ky.

Unread postby bourbonv » Wed Feb 15, 2006 3:52 pm

Just read a letter from an old friend of Taylor's who was expressing his sympathy of the family. He remind them that Col E H Taylor, Jr. was witness to a great amount of history including 21 Presidential terms and he also attended the Lincoln-Douglas Debates.

Mike Veach
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
User avatar
bourbonv
Registered User
 
Posts: 4086
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: Louisville, Ky.

PreviousNext

Return to The Library

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron