313 – Dos and Don’ts of Barrel Picks with Macaulay Minton of Wilderness Trail and John Wadell of Peerless
We talk about barrel picks all the time on the show and we do 40-50 barrels selections per year with our private barrel program. But instead of hearing us talk about it, let’s hear some stories from the people that live and breathe it every day. We’re joined by Macaulay Minton of Wilderness Trail and John Wadell of Peerless Distilling. Both of these guys run the barrel select programs for each distillery. We get to know more about the programs and the dos and don’ts of going on a barrel pick.
- This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about his dental routine.
- How did you get into bourbon and working on single barrel programs?
- Is there a certain percentage you are allowed to allocate to private barrels?
- What do you like and not like about other barrel picks?
- How do remote picks work?
- Are remote picks harder than in person?
- Are there some people that are hard to please with picks?
- What gets you blacklisted?
- What are things you shouldn’t do on a pick?
- What do you think of stickers?
- What is the most positive thing that has happened for you working in a private barrel program?
- @thebourbonswami, @wildernesstraildistillery, @sir_jwadell, @kentuckypeerless
Dr. Pat Heist blew our minds back on episode 121 going deep on yeast. If you haven’t listened to that episode yet, go listen to that one first before starting this, I promise it will be worth your time. Pat has one of the most unique backgrounds in bourbon and has even had the opportunity to do a TED Talk which is amazing for our industry. We discuss the crazy growth at Wilderness Trail.
- This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about blind tastings.
- What’s your title?
- Would you rather travel back in time to meet your ancestors or the future to meet your descendants?
- Any new products in the pipeline?
- How do you forecast?
- How much are you producing per day?
- Who’s idea was it to invest so much in the business?
- Tell us about your TedX talk.
- What’s your next milestone?
- Where can people buy Wilderness Trail?
- How have you and your bourbon been received across the country?
- How do you chose a yeast variety for your product?
- How does your process compare to other distilleries?
- What happens when people dip their finger in the fermentation tanks?
- Can you recreate whiskey from the 70s?
You may remember of Dr. Pat Heist of Ferm-Solutions back on episode 121 talking about the science of yeast. This episode feature his counterpart Shane Baker, Master Distiller of Wilderness Trail Distillery, as he answers all the questions you ever wanted to know from a Master Distiller. These guys are very well known in the bourbon world amongst distillers who know what they are doing. We take a deeper dive into grains and how this distillery has been aging product for almost 4 years and still hasn’t released a bourbon yet.
- Tell us a bit about Wilderness Trail?
- Where are you located?
- Do you use the same yeast strain in all your different mash bills?
- Adam Kessell I’d like the hear about all crop yield, and the agricultural footprint of bourbon/whiskey and what safe guards we take for the long term success of the product.
- Can you continue to keep it local?
- How often do you turn away grains?
- What do you think about the bourbon boom from a craft standpoint. what needs to be done to maintain this momentum?
- Aged stock vs making money. where’s that balance?
- What advice to give to other craft distillers?
- What in your opinion is the biggest factor in distilling/aging? Mash?,distillation temperature?, entry proof?, barrel type or aging location?
- Chris Scott I want to hear more about sourcing grains. We already heard Jimmy Russell say he must source rye from Europe. That blew my mind.
- Dustin Charles Herr Discuss year to year variation of crops affect on flavors.
- Steven Granger Discuss how sourcing grains from different parts of the world makes a difference in the finished product.
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.
- 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?