Filson Friday Talk - Craft distillers & Historical documents

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Filson Friday Talk - Craft distillers & Historical documents

Unread postby bourbonv » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:32 pm

Tomorrow, Friday July 30, at noon, at the Filson Historical Society, I am doing my turn in the series of free lectures given by staff members. It has been a good year and I do hope to continue this standard. My talk will be on Craft distillers and what they can learn from the historical records. I will discuss the many products and production methods of the early 19th century and how modern small distillers can learn from these historic lessons. I do hope some of the members that live in Louisville or nearby will come to this free lecture.
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
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Re: Filson Friday Talk - Craft distillers & Historical documents

Unread postby delaware_phoenix » Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:08 pm

One thing I hope you get to look into over time is the kind of corn grown in the different whiskey production eras. There's a lot more than "white" and "yellow" as nomenclature characterizing the kinds of corn. And there are many varieties that are no longer grown (on any kind of large commercial scale, either too inefficient in production, or yield, or changing consumer tastes for corn). But these varieties are still available, though they may not be exactly the same as originally as open pollinated corn will vary depending on how you select your seed corn.
Cheryl Lins - Proprietor and distiller, Delaware Phoenix Distillery, Walton, NY
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Re: Filson Friday Talk - Craft distillers & Historical documents

Unread postby bourbonv » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:40 pm

The talk went well and yes Cheryl I talked a little about old fashioned grains. I also discussed the fact that the yield were lower then and how that may lead to a more flavorful product and it is something that should be experimented with by small craft distillers. I wish you could have been here for the talk. There were a few craft distillers in the audience, including the Altech guys, but I would have liked to have heard your comments on the subject.
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
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Re: Filson Friday Talk - Craft distillers & Historical documents

Unread postby delaware_phoenix » Fri Jul 30, 2010 7:50 pm

There's a lot to be rediscovered about the agricultural aspect of whiskey production. I myself have only begun looking at it. There are a number of heirloom corn varieties, some still grown. Pre-1900 there seems to have been different kinds of corn for different uses. Some corns were considered "roasting corn", others were "creamer corn", etc. The field handling was quite a bit different then too. A lot of the corn grown today to geared towards that modern sweet palate as well has corn that can be handled by a combine, and who knows how those different handling characters effected the product. I just had this thought: how did these different varieties work in the mash? My guess is they break up more easily than modern corn which might have been why the old timers could get those high grain to water ratios. (I also suspect that a good amount of their corn naturally sprouted, and gave extra enzymes to help with the breakdown and starch conversion. Needs to be tested with practice, however.)

Interestingly, much of the rye around here is all just "cover crop rye". The farmers don't even know if it has a variety name; it's just rye. Maybe rye wasn't differentiated so much.

So many experiments....
Cheryl Lins - Proprietor and distiller, Delaware Phoenix Distillery, Walton, NY
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