Production Process

Industry | | View Counts (1959) |Return|

The typical grain mixture for bourbon, known as the mash bill, is a minimum of 51% corn, with the remainder being wheatrye, and/or malted barley.[1] A mash bill that contains wheat instead of rye produces what is known as a wheated bourbon. The grain is ground and mixed with water. Usually, though not always, mash from a previous distillation is added to ensure a consistent pH across batches, and a mash produced in that manner is referred to as a sour mash. Finally, yeast is added and the mash is fermented. The fermented mash, referred to as the wash, is then distilled to (typically) between 65% and 80% alcohol. Distillation was historically performed using an alembic or pot still, although in modern production, the use of a continuous still is much more common.

The resulting clear spirit is placed in newly charred American oak barrels for aging, during which it gains color and flavor from the caramelized sugars in the charred wood. Changes to the spirit also occur due to evaporation and chemical processes such as oxidation. Bourbons gain more color and flavor the longer they mature. Maturity, not a particular age, is the goal. Bourbon can age too long and become woody and unbalanced.

After maturing, bourbon is withdrawn from the barrel, usually diluted with water, and bottled to at least 80 US proof (40% abv).[4] Most bourbon whiskey is sold at 80 US proof. Other common proofs are 86, 90, 94, 100, and 107, and whiskeys of up to 125 proof can be sold. Some higher-proof bottlings are marketed as “barrel proof“, meaning that they have not been diluted or have been only lightly diluted after removal from the barrels. Bourbon whiskey may be sold at less than 80 proof but must be labeled as “diluted bourbon”.

Barrels still contain 20 pounds of bourbon within the wood.[15] They cannot be re-used for bourbon, and are sometimes sold to the Scotch whiskey industry.

From Wikipedia

Related

A Letter to Craft Distillers

A Letter to Craft Distillers

At Brooks Grain, we have been supplying high quality grain to distillers for decades. In that time, ...

Read More >
Winston Churchill: Thoughts on Whiskey

Winston Churchill: Thoughts on Whiskey

Thoughts on whiskey: “The water was not fit to drink. To make it palatable, we had to add whis...

Read More >
Wheat Production Report Overview

Wheat Production Report Overview

Overall in the United States, despite the climate change, wheat production is above previous levels....

Read More >
The Kentucky Bourbon Festival 2015

The Kentucky Bourbon Festival 2015

If you are making plans for a fall vacation, consider heading out to the Kentucky Bourbon Festi...

Read More >
The Whisky Process is What Gives Each Country It’s Own Flavor

The Whisky Process is What Gives Each Country It’s Own Flavor

The proper storage of grains is crucial in the distillery process. Without having the grain storage ...

Read More >
Celebrate World Whisky Day!

Celebrate World Whisky Day!

There is a worldwide or national day for just about everything you can imagine these days, including...

Read More >