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Do you want to know how to make bourbon?

By The Bourbon Flight

According to US Trade Legislation, a “bourbon” is a type of whiskey where the “mashbill”—which is the recipe of grains used to produce the whiskey—consists of 51% – 80% corn. Typically, distillers use approximately 70% corn content and are free to choose other grains for the remainder of the mashbill. The type of grain used will affect the style and flavors of the bourbon.

*Disclaimer* This is for informational purposes only. Home distilling is illegal in the United States. 

So where do you start?

  1. Start with the mash primarily consisting of corn, which is necessary for it to be classified as bourbon, as described above.
  2. The corn mixture needs to be put through a hammer mill to be ground to a fine powder.
  3. That powder is then put into a mash tun, along with water, to make the slurry, which cooks approximately eight hours and ferments another five to seven days.
  4. The fermenting slurry builds its alcohol content during this stage.
  5. Once the mixture is finished fermenting, the actual distilling begins.
  6. The first run through the still is called a stripping run, which takes about 10 to 12 hours.
  7. At this point, the 13 percent alcohol by volume, 26-proof mash rises to 80 or 90 proof, which is then cut down to 65 proof.
  8. In the finishing still’s run, the whiskey is separated into three cuts: heads, hearts, and tails.
  9. The hearts, which, “contain all the ‘good’ alcohol and flavors within the spirit,” are kept for aging. The “bad alcohol,” like trace amounts of methanol, are removed in the distilling process, leaving you with 160-proof alcohol in the end.
  10. About 10 days after the grains were milled to a powder, the whiskey is finally ready for aging.
  11. Depending on the barrels used and the desired flavor of the end product, bourbon must be aged at least two years.

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