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A Spontaneous Libation for your Consideration

From the Knowledge Vault

Making Bourbon

This is the fourth in a series on Bourbon by Zach Pearson. Read them all: Bourbon, Bourbon After the Act, Bourbon: What it is ... and isn't, Making Bourbon, Who Makes My Bourbon, Producer Capsules., Finding the Good Stuff, Tasting the Good Stuff, Neat, Mashbills, Geeky Information and Resources.

This is really pretty simple. A distiller buys grains off the commodity market: corn, wheat, rye, whatever their recipe demands. They also buy malted barley from a supplier; none of the large Bourbon distillers grow their own grains or malt their own barley. Each grain is milled into meal, which takes specialized equipment for each grain, then everything is cooked together, with the addition of each grain happening at a different temperature. Starch to sugar conversion is allowed to take place (due to the enzymes in the malted barley), then fermentation is started, typically with a secret yeast strain. After this, everything is dumped into a column still, where a first distillation happens. This liquid (at about 80 proof) is pumped into a doubler still where a second distillation takes it to between 110 and 150 proof. The spent grain, historically fed to pigs is removed from the still and a portion of it is used to “sour” the next batch of grain, ensuring proper pH for yeast growth.

Recent Additions

  • Monkey Business — Gin, Sweet vermouth, Crème de Banane, Fernet Branca, Orange peel
  • (the) UNREP — Brandy, Crème de Violette, Lemon bitters, Dragonfruit
  • Sassburger — Blanco tequila, Strega, Ginger liqueur, Meyer lemon juice
  • Japanese reviver — Shochu, Aromatized wine, Lemon juice, Bergamot liqueur, Agave syrup
  • NoiseMaker — Brandy, Licor 43, Dry sherry, Grapefruit juice, Balsamic Vinegar, Salt

Recent Discussion

  • Re The Smoked 45, 5 hours ago Biff Malibu commented:

    Quite sweet - dropped Cointreau to 0.5 oz

  • Re Tolkien, 22 hours 49 minutes ago lesliec commented:

    It's good you guys aren't just Tolkien in your sleep.

  • Re Gathering Storm, 1 day 2 hours ago subspot commented:

    Might need a little more sweetness, very dry as is with my pineapple gomme syrup from Cocktail Codex which is a 1-1 sugar to pineapple juice (with added acid and gum powder). Almost a bit too christmasy, but very good.

  • Re Champs Elysées, 1 day 9 hours ago yarm commented:

    Note: the drink was first published as Green Chartreuse but it is far superior with Yellow to my palate, so that's how I (and most folks) make it.

  • Re The Beast, 2 days 21 hours ago stirred commented:

    Like a complex cola. Made with Fever Tree Elderflower tonic.