The Barrel Blog

The Barrel

Test Run...

Tuesday, May 06, 2014
by Peter Nomm

Well our corn whiskey mash finished fermenting over the weekend and it is time to make our first run.  We will make our whiskey in two runs, the "stripping run" and the "spirit run."

This image is from the stripping run, which we did today. 

Basically it allows us to take our batches of mash and "strip out" all of the alcohol from the mash.  From there we combine the stripped alcohol together and re-distill the finished product.  When making the "spirit run" we need to take our time and pay particular attention to the temperature, proof, and taste of the product.  Only the sweet "hearts" of the run are collected for the whiskey, and the rest of the run is saved for re-distillation with future batches.

Green Light!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
by Peter Nomm

Well we now have both our Federal and State permits, so it is go time!  This week we began our first batch of corn whiskey mash - this mash will be the base for our moonshine and our bourbon.  The cuts we take straight off the still will be bottled directly as our Lakeside Moonshine, and the rest will be barrel aged to become our signature bourbon.  It is our hope that we can have our first bourbon release in about a year from now, which means I need to be patient!  Bummer...but it will be worth the wait!

So here are a few pics from the process:

Getting the yeast ready to pitch...

Corn Whiskey Mash Fermenting Away

Barrels

Friday, April 25, 2014
by Peter Nomm

Got a nice surprise today - our barrels arrived!  I didn't expect to get them for several weeks and they look great!

Shaping up the Tasting Room

Wednesday, April 09, 2014
by Peter Nomm

As we were working on the production area, we also were getting the tasting room prepped.  We painted the walls and cleaned it from top to bottom, but we needed to add a sales counter, the tasting bar, and some other fixtures.

We had a supply of rough-cut oak which I had used for our basement walls and a bar, and wanted to create that same look in the tasting room.  These two images are of the wood we began with - rough-cut oak in 4" - 12" widths.  The second image is the 13" planer - I put every board through that planer many, many times.  They cleaned up great once we got them down to a 3/4" thickness.

Next I started to frame and finish the sales counter.  This oak became the siding on it, and I made the counter top and bar top our of regular lumber.  Here is the top being made for the counter.

A week later it was finished!

We also completed the bar with the same look.  Special thanks for Steel Innovations for creating the perfect rustic bar rail to add to the look!

And to top it all off, there was even enough wood left to make a matching shelf!

There is still plenty of "décor" left to be added to the Tasting Room, but the only way to see it is to come visit us!

Preparing the Still Room

Wednesday, April 09, 2014
by Peter Nomm

The first priority was to get the production area ready to go.  We ripped out the old floor tile, added a floor drain, and replaced that tile with a water-tight simulated wood appearance.

Here is a look at the floor with the tile ripped out and the trench cut for the drain

This view is from the other side after we installed the new flooring.

Now we were ready to finish the trim, set up the desk and counters, and bring in the equipment!  This view is from the tasting room looking into the production area.  Very happy with how it all turned out!

In the beginning...

Tuesday, April 08, 2014
by Peter Nomm

"Honey, I think I am going to open a distillery!"

"OK, sounds great." 

That was her reaction.  But let's be clear - this was not the first wild idea that I tossed her direction.  Over the next few weeks and months, I would mention something or another pertaining to the idea, but still, I am sure she thought I wouldn't really follow-through on this one.

Until we did...

I was never a Bud Light guy - I have always enjoyed beer with unique and rich flavors.  Single Malt Scotch, Bourbon, Irish, and other varieties of whiskey were also favorites of mine.  I enjoyed learning about the processes, touring facilities, and, of course, sampling any new products I could.  We were taking a trip to Florida with the family, and on the drive home we planned to stop in Gatlinburg, TN.  I visited the Ole' Smokey Distillery, which was located right on the "main drag" in town, and the entire scene reminded my of our home, Minocqua.  Casually I made the comment that it would really be neat if we had a distillery up here, and the idea never left.

After months of considering the possibilities and searching for potential locations, we found this old building in downtown.  The quirky layout and unique design seemed to be just what we wanted and in a great spot.

Northern Waters Distillery was born, and we hope you get the chance to come see us!

Links list

The Barrel

  1. The Tough Part of the Job! Peter Nomm 16-Jun-2015
  2. Stacking Barrels Peter Nomm 03-Apr-2015
  3. Vodka is In The House! Peter Nomm 07-Mar-2015
  4. Lakeside Apple Pie Moonshine Peter Nomm 22-Dec-2014
  5. Bourbon - Day 70 Peter Nomm 20-Aug-2014