podcast

121 – The Science Behind Bourbon and Yeast with Dr. Pat Heist




Many of us understand Bourbon 101 and 102 knowledge, but what about level 400? Dr. Pat Heist of Ferm Solutions joins the show to explain what is chemically happening when you’re producing bourbon and gives an in-depth look at yeast and how it becomes one of the most critical components of the process. You will learn all about the breakdowns of enzymes during mash cooking and species of yeast for distilling. If you’re a science buff, this episode is for you.

 

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  • What does Ferm Solutions do as well as how big Wilderness Trail Distillery?
  • What was your first real job out of college and how did that get you into spirits?
  • Are you tailoring yourself to craft whiskey or do you help with big names on the market as well?
  • Talk about the science behind corn
  • Is there really a difference between red corn or blue corn vs the traditional white/yellow corn? Difference in flavor? Economical?
  • Talk about pesticides and GMO for the grains
  • What about barley, rye, or wheat? Is the breakdown of the pathogens different or the enzymes?
  • Go a bit more in depth about what the scientific differences between sour vs sweet mash
  • How does yeast compete? What about the sanitary levels and how that contributes?
  • What are the differences in the species of yeast and which ones are typically used in beer and spirits production?
  • True or False. Does yeast contribute 15% to the flavor of a bourbon?
  • What are the differences between low-gravity and high-gravity fermenters?
  • What is the cause of a mutated yeast? Jim Rutledge discovered it at one time when it was a part of some limited edition offerings at Four Roses
  • When you’re monitoring the yeast during fermentation, what are you looking for?
  • When I was at Castle and Key they talked about doing yeast forensics to find a closely resembled strain. Is this actually possible or just marketing hype?
  • Gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. What does this even mean?
  • When does the yeast stop playing a roll? When it’s in the barrel? out of the barrel? in the bottle?
  • Is yeast like a fungi where it can reproduce when it get puts back into a normalized environment?
  • What about beers that go bad?
  • One last question about corn, how long do you age corn in a silo to dehydrate corn and remove moisture?

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