Winter is…over?

It was a balmy 8 degrees (C) up here in Ottawa today, and it got me thinking about a few things. First, it got me thinking about how long it’s been since I’ve enjoyed a good cigar. For a variety of reasons I don’t smoke in my home. Ottawa isn’t a tobacco friendly kind of town…mostly because the government that makes the laws is the same government that oversees the healthcare system. I don’t suppose it would make a whole lot of sense to be pro-tobacco if you knew that you’d end up paying for it in the long run.

So there. I want a cigar, but I digress. It’s time to start preparing for the spring batch. I’m hoping for a fun and more active season than 2015. Don’t get me wrong, 2015 was a pretty great year for the overall quality of the product. Working on better temperature management, understanding adjuncts and making appropriate cuts did amazing things, but I want to get better.

With that in mind, I thought perhaps it’d be nice to set a few new year’s resolutions for my favorite dubiously legal pastime. So, here they are:

  1. It’s time to break up with prepackaged yeast. Don’t get me wrong, I think that turbo yeast and the whiskey yeast that I’ve relied upon to date did a great job. The yield, especially the yield of the last rum run was really great. However, the stuff has an odd scent that I just can’t shake. Since I’m not really sure what chemicals are put in the turbo yeast (that proudly proclaims: “no urea”), I want to try to break away a bit. That means there will be some reading and probably some information coming down about how to provide yeast with the nutrients it needs to keep the little fellas producing for 2 weeks.
  2. I want to do a fruit run. I wanted to do it last year, and it never happened. I’ve washed with sugar and molasses. I’ve mashed with corn and barley. Now, it’s time to try something fruity. I’m not sure what just yet. I think I’ll try for a summer fruit run. Peaches, Nectarines or something like that.
  3. Time to check on consistency. I have not run the same product twice at this time. I kind of want to. I’m thinking of doing 2 consecutive weekends. I dare say, a Shine-a-thon. The same ingredients, the same cuts. How consistent can I get the taste of the product. What can I learn from such an amazing experience.
  4. Find some other shiners. No, not shriners…though, I’m sure that’d be fun too in a helping kids and riding motorcycles kind of way. Surely someone else in this town has some experience. There’s a small distillery in Ottawa (North of 7). I don’t know much about it, but perhaps they could get me a bit more plugged in to the community…if such a thing exists.

There are, of course, extras that I’m interested in. How does the water impact a the product. Afterall, everyone in KY proudly proclaims the limestone in the water gives their bourbon the subtle flavor that can’t be matched out of region. I’d like to try a copper still and a traditional condenser. I’d like to experiment with more ethanol recipes (though the limoncello is getting better and better).

Anyway, that’s all for now. I’m sure there will be more to come soon.


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