Archive for the ‘Mashing’ Category
Posted October 23, 2012 by your friendly neighborhood distillers
The original idea regarding whiskey was a simple four-step process, as follows:
1. make a batch of whiskey
2. fill barrels with said whiskey
3. whatever doesn’t fit in barrels gets bottled as Coal Yard
4. total global domination
I mean three steps. A three-step process.
The idea behind this plan is that it would give us a little “wiggle room” in a few respects. First, it would allow us to sell something while the bourbon & rye were aging, thus keeping the lights on. Second, since the barrels would have a significant effect on the flavor of the whiskey, it would smooth over any rough edges or slight recipe variations that were otherwise present. Third, we figured we’d have a nice unaged stock of each batch, so we could take them out of storage when we harvested the barrels and do a side-by-side comparison: batch one new make vs. bourbon, batch nine* new make vs. rye, and so on.
Then, along comes October 5th. Grand opening insanity.
As I mentioned here, it was a bit of a scramble just to get the bottles in order – and on top of that, the printing company made a slight error (for those of you with the early bottles, the black ink on the “coal” detail isn’t glossy like it is now), so they just sent over a little roll of 200 to get us through the week. The company anticipated some rips and printing errors, so 200 actually meant closer to 225, and we were pretty careful (aside from the wasted labels on the original bottles). All told, we had about 18 cases ready to sell.
Our goal was to sell 8 cases. Instead, we completely sold out in a matter of hours.
Fortunately, we had another couple hundred bottles all ready to go for when the remaining labels showed up a few days later – but they, too, went pretty quickly. In about a week, pretty much everything from batches 1-4 that wasn’t in a barrel was gone.
Needless to say, we had not anticipated this demand. Not that we’re complaining; we’re thrilled that we’ve had such a positive reception. However, it’s interfered with step 2 of our master plan – we don’t have enough to put in barrels and still supply everybody. So, we started batch five knowing full well that our poor, lonely barrels would have to wait. So they are. The only barrel getting any action is our used one, being constantly filled and emptied every 30 minutes.
Still, it hasn’t slowed us down, nor prevented us from trying new things.
Batch five is the first run (to be followed by batch six, which is identical to batch five) that we are putting exclusively into bottles. We bottled it a week ago, and we have about five cases left – so it turns out exclusively bottling was a good idea. We used a different variety of corn (though still organic, and still New York State) to give a slightly more mellow flavor and allow the rye to come through a little more. We really like rye, and this is the same grain that we’ll be milling next week to turn into rye whiskey. But that’s a different post.
*this does not exist yet.