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Alt Whiskeys: Alternative Whiskey Recipes and Distilling Techniques for the Adventurous Craft Distiller Paperback – January 11, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Darek Bell is the owner of the Corsair Distillery. He started Corsair with his wife Amy Lee Bell, and childhood friend Andrew Webber in 2007. Darek’s innovative and adventurous spirits have won 21 medals at international spirits competitions. His whiskeys have been praised in publications like Food and Wine, Saveur, Imbibe, Whisky Magazine, Time Out NY York, and Maxim.com. Darek was trained at the Siebel Brewing Institute and is a graduate of the Bruichladdich Distilling Academy in Islay, Scotland.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Corsair Artisan Distillery; 1St Edition edition (January 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983350000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983350002
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #420,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Andy on February 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From the blurbs I'd seen and descriptions I was VERY excited for this book. Unfortunately, it really didn't live up to my expectations.

I'm not sure who the book is targeted at - People without much experience in distilling & brewing will be completely lost (building a distillery is given ~4 pages of description, distilling process is skipped, grains are a bulleted list of options with a couple given poorly-written descriptions with vague, unactionable advice...) People WITH experience will find not much of value, as the majority of the book is simple homebrew beer recipes set alongside photos of decanters and/or whiskey glasses.

The sections on hop usage and smoke are interesting and give a taste of what I wish the other 85% of the pages were like.
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Format: Paperback
Darek Bell's Alt Whiskeys is like a breath of fresh air (or, better yet, like a glass of fine sippin' whiskey). This is precisely the book that American craft distilling has been waiting for. On the one hand, the writing is engaging, the editing flawless, and the photography brilliant. Bell provides fascinating recipes, with lucid instructions and notes. He also covers essential and interesting historical information and includes a tantalizing section on cocktails - again with clear instructions and notes.

On the other hand, there's more; What I like best about the book is Bell's enthusiasm for his topic. He has grasped the larger picture of American craft distilling - both where it is today, and where it's going. He conveys the excitement of an authentic artisan business created "by real passionate people." Bell urges craft distillers to "broaden whiskey's horizons [and] stay creative, authentic, and addicted to quality." His book will be an important factor in assuring that this is the case.

I have no doubt that Darek Bell's Alt Whiskeys will become an American artisan distillery classic.

~ Isaac Ersoff
President of Spirits
Rogue Ales and Spirits
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Lots of pretty pictures and makes a nice coffee table book. There are recipes and information about some pretty interesting variations but many use some pretty exotic ingredients and are based on 100s of gallons so need a lot of adjustment for experimental use.
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Darek has a great perspective on what good drink is, how to go about things and in general, providing a very enjoyable read. This is definately on my list of the three or four books everyone should own who is either interested in understanding good whiskey, what's in combed in crafting good whiskey or even the experementalist. I say buy it.
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This is a great book! The pictures are fantastic. The writing is very good. The recipes seem to be great too. This is a great book for all the aspiring artisan distillers out there. It will get you inspired to test the recipes and to create your own. If you live in another country, one not so backwards as the US when it comes to distilling laws, you will love this book even more as you may be able to distill without jumping through legal hurdles.

I really get the feeling that the author loves what he does. And loves sharing it too. Inspiring book.
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Very well explained book I would recommend this to anyone getting into distilling it has very well explained recipes and more oversight into how to build your own experimental distillery( with licensing of course )
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Format: Paperback
America’s two major whiskey states are Kentucky and Tennessee, and only one distillery straddles them: Corsair. With stills in Nashville and Bowling Green, Corsair is a micro-distillery surrounded by the majors. If that weren’t enough of a bold statement, Corsair’s innovative approach to whiskey-making has earned it a place in the forefront of the craft whiskey movement. It’s that innovation that is on full display in Alt Whiskeys, penned by Corsair owner Darek Bell.

After spending substantial time working on the American craft whiskey movement, one of the things I took away from that was just how many micro-distilleries sprang from the craft brewing and home brewing scene. Time and again and in operations great and small, I have heard about how this distiller was tinkering with beer in his basement for years while working his white collar job, but his real love was whiskey, or shaken hands with a guy who worked in breweries for a dozen years before making the jump to distilling. That connection between beer and whiskey is strongly made by Bell, as he draws a line in both his thinking on the craft distilling movement itself and in his own recipes for whiskey.

It’s the latter that serves as the bread and butter of Alt Whiskeys, with dozens of mashbills, yeast choices and procedures for making some very wild spins on whiskey taking up most of the 200 pages. It reads very much like a cookbook, but for a distillery rather than a kitchen. For that reason, this is a technical work and therefore has only three natural audiences: diehard whiskey nerds; those who are newly entered into or thinking of entering craft whiskey-making; and devoted fans of Corsair Artisan.
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