Friday, June 11, 2010

The JD Project

I had an idea.
A couple weeks ago, I came across Copper Fox Distillery's Website. In addition to making and selling Wasmund's whiskey, the Sperryville, Va., distillery produces whiskey barrels for enthusists who want to age their own bourbon at home. I wasn't all that interested in aging my own bourbon, but the bourbon barrel gave me an idea.
JD Hembree, my step-father, passed away last year. After fighting in the Pacific and Korea as a Marine Corps pilot, JD came home, raised a family and went into the building business. Well, that's not quite right. JD was an entrepreneur who spent most of his years in the building and land development business. He and my mother met, both divorcees, and at an age when most people begin looking at retirement, JD helped my mother raise me. Maj. JD Hembree, USMC (Ret.), was a tough man, a complicated man, but a good man.
To know JD was to know the man loved Early Times bourbon. Born and raised in North Alabama, his service in the military and his various business ventures took him around the world. Yet, his tastes never strayed from that simple Kentucy whiskey he grew up drinking. When he passed away last year, his son Stephen sent a note to the folks at the Brown-Forman Distillery to let them know their sales would be down from then on out.
So when I discovered that Copper Fox sold newly charred white oak barrels in sizes ranging from 2 liters to 194 liters, I decided to produce a tribute beer: a bourbon-barrel-aged American Scotch Ale.
I'm calling it the JD Project.
Fittingly, the 10 liter barrel I got for the project was my first Father's Day gift from Trish and Savannah. I plan to fill it with Early Times and let it age for seven months. During that time, I'll work on crafting an American Scotch Ale, a nod to the Hembree clan's roots.
When the beer is ready and the bourbon aged, I'll replace the whiskey with ale for a month or so (still figuring that out). With any luck, I'll have a finished product by next March.
We can never repay our parents for what they do for us, but we can take time to remember them when they're gone.

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