Grain to Glass Production
Our base materials are mostly grains. We mash, ferment and distill with corn, rye, wheat and barley. Grain to glass production is our path to world class spirits.
Selecting the Grain
We source our grain through Rusmar Farm and owner Arlen Strate. It is a six generation family farm with reputation for harvesting the most consistent high quality grains. Fortunately the farm is located only eight miles down the road from our distillery in New Richmond, Wisconsin.
The grain is milled at Arlen’s Farm to a fine consistency before mashing.
Hot water, milled grain, enzymes and some citric acid are the only ingredients used in our mashes. Grains are not separated from the resulting wash.
After “Mashing”, the contents of the mash are cooled and yeast is added.
Fermentation is usually a five day process. Cooling is required to keep a consistent temperature during this time. This also helps with the development of consistent flavor profiles and maximum productive efficiency of the conversion of sugars to alcohol.
Number of times distilled and type of distillation is determined by what we are making. “Times Distilled” is one of the great myths propagated by marketing companies to sell product. Most often “times distilled” has very little effect on the quality of the spirit. How a distiller distills is more important than quantity of distillations.
We distill two times when making whiskeys. Alembic style distilling procedures are followed. This means there is minimal reflux to allow flavor producing congeners to pass through to the condenser. These flavor producing congeners do not taste good following distillation. Whiskey distillate requires aging in oak barrels for a minimum of 2 years before it can provide a pleasant tasting experience.
We distill three times when producing clear spirits such as vodka. The use of a plate column and a lot of cooling water to achieve maximum reflux helps to produce a clean balance spirit devoid of noticeable impurities. These distillations are more time consuming and costly than the whiskey distillations. However, the result is a spirit that does not require aging and is usually of higher quality.
We do not have a romantic story to write about the source of our blending water. The water is from New Richmond and we strip it of all unwanted minerals via deionization and reverse osmosis. The objective is to not allow the water affect the flavor of the alcohol we have distilled.
“Times Filtered” is another marketing gimmick. Again quality and type is more important than quantity.
Clear spirits are often filtered three times.
- Carbon filtering is for removing impurities that make it through distillation.
- Chill filtering is for removing possible coagulating proteins in the distillate
- Polishing filtering is to remove any unsightly particles before bottling
Brown Spirits are a little trickier. Currently there is a debate over how filtering affects the flavor of an aged spirit. We are on the side of minimal filtering (polishing only). We do not want to filter out any of the flavor that took years in a barrel to develop and refine.