Though there is a step-by-step process for every product we create, DogMaster Distillery is no assembly line. Each spirit we make requires the type of time, effort, and attention to detail that you simply will not find in many other places. It’s that hard work and dedication that not only makes our products taste great but makes us proud to have worked on them in the first place.
The production of distilled spirits is a fusion of nature, science, craftsmanship, and artistry. At DogMaster we mash, ferment, distill, age, filter, bottle, and pour. Mashing is the process of “cooking” a large amount of grain and a small amount of enzymes at their proper temperatures to transform starches into sugars. This gives us a sweet mixture called wort that is full of sugars just begging to be turned into alcohol. It also leaves us with a large amount of “spent” grains. Spent grains are far from useless though as we have left nearly all of the protein and nutrients behind. A Northeast Missouri farmer picks these grains up and delivers them to his herd of beef cows as fast as we can produce them.
Rum starts out a little differently as it is not a grain based fermentation. Instead of converting starch into sugar, we begin with sugar from sugar cane by dissolving 600 pounds of dark brown sugar in our mash tun before moving on to fermentation.
For the next extremely important step, we rely on another natural process called fermentation. For this part we use a heat exchanger to cool the wort and add yeast, nurturing the two at the proper temperature for a few days so the yeast can do its favorite thing; eat sugar. The yeast we use turns sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. At the end of the process we have what is often referred to as beer at 8% to 9% alcohol content; not very tasty for drinking, but great for distilling.
Distillation uses heat to concentrate the low alcohol content beer into a high alcohol content spirit. With our high-efficiency boiler and our combination pot and column still we boil off most of the alcohol and some of the water to concentrate the low alcohol content beer into a high alcohol content spirit. This is followed immediately by a condenser to cool the vapor into a clear and colorless liquid ranging from 110 to 190 proof (55% – 95%) depending on what product we are making. Heads and tails are separated out with the heart of the run (simply called hearts) used to create our final products. Heads have various other non-consumption uses in the distillery while tails go into the next distillation to extract more of their goodness.
At DogMaster Distillery we mash, ferment, and distill all of our white Whiskey and white Rum products. Dark Rum, Whiskey, and Bourbon still require time in a barrel to reach their full potential. So this is the where the processes for creating the clear spirits and dark spirits diverges.
After distillation the “white” products, White Whiskey and Light Rum, are filtered through coconut carbon to draw out the flavor of the pure product, adjusted to the proper proof with spring water, bottled, and labeled. Bottling and labeling are usually done by our wonderful, dedicated, volunteer staff of DogMaster regulars. Our “brown” products, Whiskey, Bourbon Whiskey, and Rum, are enhanced by the added step of aging in Missouri Oak barrels to get to the final desired flavor and color. Our Rum enjoys one more step of further time with an assortment of toasted wood chips to get its rich and unique flavor. When the aging steps are complete these products are adjusted for proof, filtered, bottled, and labeled.
Vodka can be fermented from basically anything that contains sugar or starch that can be converted into sugar (corn, potatoes, etc.) and distilled to greater than 190 proof to remove virtually all of the flavors remaining from the base material. It is as close to pure ethanol as you can get through distillation. DogMaster Vodka actually begins at a contract distilling location in Missouri where it is mashed and fermented from corn and distilled to 192 proof. From there it is shipped to our location where we filter it over 15 times through our activated carbon filtration system. It is then adjusted to 80 proof with spring water and filtered once more before bottling and labeling.
Please visit the individual pages for each of our spirits to learn more about the specific ingredients and other variations from spirit to spirit.