Reuters Brief: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUS35884135920100819
More info at MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38786688/ns ... nnovation/
The process of making whiskey begins with making a hop-less beer from a mash of Golden Promise barley which comprises up to 90% of the grain bill of the majority of Scotch. It is an awesome-flavored grain to use in real beer, an example of which is Caledonian Golden Promise imported from Scotland
As stated, the brew for Scotch is made without hops and open-fermented to about 8% ABV where it is distilled at least twice, and up to four times to create the whiskey. The size, shape, and length of the top hat which collects the distillate are all factors affecting the flavor profile as much as the recipe, the water chemistry, the location, the cellaring, and the maturation period.
The interesting part about this article is that it implies that they are either using the residue (called Ã¢â‚¬Å“fusel oilsÃ¢â‚¬Â) or other factors of the distillation process Ã¢â‚¬â€œ such as capturing the output that is above or below the ethanol-producing temperatures. Both the waste and the extremes carry exotic aromatic chemical cocktails that absolutely could be combined and blended with existing hydrocarbon supplies.
This is fascinating to me on another dimension: About a decade ago one of the clients was the Chevron Asphalt Refinery in Edmonds, Washington. I was contracted to architect a structured workflow management system for their production operations which organized and tracked tasks in a manner similar to how we track bugs in software. The environment was challenging: Chevron remotely enforces managed-pc which means that there is no individual customization; everyone runs the same applications. Therefore to facilitate the solution I had them install a server where my custom app lived and the users of the system connected to it through the web browser as a web application. This arrangement had me onsite at the refinery pretty frequently and I got an up close personal view of how asphalt is created:
We understand that oil is processed through cracking: Using heat to break down and extract various products which can be used for gasoline, kerosene, fuel oil, and whatever. The residue from this cracking is a thick tarry-based substance that is pretty nasty to living creatures; this is the stuff they ship to the Asphalt Refinery and it comes from all over different parts of the region; ours serviced the west coast of North America. At the refinery, the residue is again heated to different extremes where more exotic aromatic products can be distilled, extracted and condensed into ultrapure forms. What is left is true asphalt that is chemically stable and difficult to break down. The exotics are packaged up and sent back to the refineries as additives, or they are marketed as a base for other compounds in chemical engineering. They get rid of the asphalt by blending with rock, sand, gravel - and then pave our streets with it. Are you getting the big picture here?
Therefore it comes as no surprise to find the exotic residues of Scotch Whiskey - or any other distilled product for that matter - making it into our fuel chain, and I endorse that endeavor whole-heartedly.
PS Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Have you ever seen a Scotsman in a kilt riding his bike? Hmmm, maybe they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t use a seatÃ¢â‚¬Â¦