What type of corn is used in bourbon?
Corn and Bourbon, an American Love Story When you’re talking about bourbon, you can make a list of what matters —, fermentation,, water. But there’s one more important thing that has to be on the list: corn. Without corn, bourbon cannot exist. Corn is so basic to bourbon, it’s a federal law: In order to be called bourbon, at least 51% of the grain used to make it must be corn.
- Other such as barley, rye, and wheat all come in second.) America has a thing for corn, going back to the first Thanksgiving in 1621, a meal the Pilgrims organized specifically to celebrate their first successful corn harvest.
- That’s how big a deal corn was.
- If you’re thinking right now about corn on the cob, grilled over hot coals, then slathered with butter and maybe even a squeeze of fresh lime — yeah, so are we.
But that’s sweet corn, which is not the same corn used to make bourbon. There are half a dozen types of corn, including one dedicated entirely to making popcorn. How cool is that? Bourbon uses “dent corn,” so called because each kernel has a little dent in it.
Dent corn is matured longer, until it turns hard and dry, just like a grain. The first step in the is milling the corn kernels. They are crushed into a powder to unlock the sugars vital to great bourbon. The corn joins other grains in a magical mix called the mash bill, which gets cooked, fermented, and aged.
The payoff for bourbon drinkers is that the more corn in the whiskey, the sweeter it is. But it’s about more than just sweet: Corn gives bourbon its mellowed personality, rich body, and syrupy flavors such as butterscotch, caramel, and vanilla.
Corn is one of the major crops in Kentucky, so it’s destiny that distillers in the use what’s on hand — the whole “going local” thing, before going local was cool.It earned Kentucky bragging rights as the bourbon capital of the world — and it all boils down to corn.Category: Whiskey Education
: Corn and Bourbon, an American Love Story
Can bourbon be made from 100% corn?
Frey Ranch 100% Malted Corn Bourbon Whiskey Review Malting barley is the most common form of malting and is used in most American whiskeys because of the enzymes it creates. These enzymes are used to convert starches from grain into fermentable sugars.
Barley is typically the grain choice by distillers to malt because of its diastatic power (i.e. its ability to break down starches into fermentable sugars during mashing). Although modern day distillers don’t have to use malted barley and can add other active ingredients like liquid or powdered enzymes to facilitate conversion, it is typically still used for its historical sense and the added flavor malted barley adds to a spirit.Malting corn is an extremely uncommon practice for whiskey distilleries to convert whole kernel corn into malt.
This process is done by soaking the corn in water, draining and germinating it. After the corn has germinated, it is then dried and heated (kilned). Malting corn requires more processing time to facilitate sufficient steeping and germination. Malted corn also has less power to convert starches than malted barley and is another reason why it isn’t adopted by more distilleries.
- 100% corn-based bourbon can be confusing since corn whiskey, light whiskey, and bourbon can all have this same mashbill.
- The most notable point of confusion is between bourbon and corn whiskey.
- To be labeled a corn whiskey in the United States, a whiskey must contain no less than 80% corn in its mashbill, it must be distilled to a maximum strength of 160 proof, and while it does not have to be aged, if it is, if it is aged it must be aged in uncharred or used oak containers, and must be barreled at no more than 125 proof.
Corn whiskey differs from bourbon in two specific ways, the first being that bourbon’s mashbill must be at least 51% corn, and the other being that bourbon must be aged in new charred oak containers. Notably, a bourbon can have a mashbill that contains as much as 100% corn with no other grains as long as it meets the other requirements set forth to be classified as bourbon.
Furthermore, light whiskey distinguishes itself from bourbon in that it does not require a specific mashbill, it must be aged either in used or uncharred new oak containers, and must be distilled to between 160 and 190 proof. The majority of light whiskey currently on the market is 99% corn, 1% malted barley.
Frey Ranch co-founder Colby Frey malts his estate grown corn in a custom-made steep tank and germination/kilning drum before they’re milled and distilled on-site.100% Malted Corn Bourbon and Quad Malt Bourbon Whiskey are part of the company’s Malted Grains Series and were both released as distillery exclusives.
- For more information on how Frey Ranch makes their 100% Malted Corn Bourbon and malted corn’s future outlook, check out our,
- A light cinnamon apple scent floats out of the glass.
- It’s followed by spicy cinnamon, cedar, and melted caramel.
- Though it leans sweet, there’s a slightly spicy scent that cuts through creating an engaging dynamic with the sweetness.
It’s not overly complex, but much more interesting than you’d expect from a bourbon distilled from only corn. It follows the route of pleasant over challenging, making for a satisfying aroma overall. Its medium bodied palate is the definition of such, as it sways ever so slightly between light sweet milky corn and roasted spice-filled corn.
- Lying in the middle are notes of nougat and honey, along with summer squash and toast.
- It makes for an unusual collection of flavors, yet their overall gentleness allows them to come together in sync.
- It’s the whiskey’s sweetness more than its spice that makes the most impact.
- Despite the flavor profile being focused in one direction, it makes for an unexpectedly charming sip nevertheless.
A layer of seasoned oak overtakes the sip leaving a mild boiled peanut shell aftertaste. There’s a ramp up of heat and some gentle spice during the finish that amplifies the whiskey’s nougat and honey notes from the palate. It’s a short finish overall, saying what it has to say before quickly dissipating; though the memory of its pleasantness will stay with you, leaving a positive impression.
- Malting corn is a time intensive process, and most American distilleries don’t have the capability to do it on their own.
- Also, many malthouses are likely not malting corn in any large capacity, so purchasing it isn’t a viable option either.
- With the relatively limited appeal of bourbon (and whiskey for that matter) made with 100% corn, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for most distilleries to go to the trouble of releasing a 100% corn product, let alone one that features 100% malted cornThe reason why many bourbons include malted barley in their mashbill is because the malting process creates enzymes that are needed for distillation.
Though producers have the option of directly adding enzymes during distillation, there is still something more genuine and a bit more romantic about doing it the old fashioned way – and of course, bourbon is always about the old fashioned. That doesn’t mean no one is trying though.
- Bourbon distilled from 100% corn (or close) is slowly growing out of its niche and coming into its own.
- Thanks to the likes of, Reservoir Distillery, Tuthilltown Distillery, Yellow Rose Distilling, High Wire Distilling, and FEW Spirits, more 100% corn bourbons are coming to market than ever before.
- Yet none have been distilled with 100% malted corn until now.
In the general sense, 100% corn mash bourbons with their single grain mashbills often have the reputation of being hot and simple in their complexity. This is one reason producers often add other grains to mellow the heat, add spice, or increase a bourbon’s complexity.
- Malting tends to result in a product that delivers a more earthy flavor, and with malted corn, can result in an even sweeter whiskey than one made with non-malted corn.
- Frey Ranch’s 100% Malted Corn Bourbon shows how malting can enhance the 100% corn bourbon experience.
- Much like the mellowing effect malting rye has on rye grains’ typical spiciness, Frey Ranch’s corn malting helps round out the typical high corn bourbon flavor profile, enhances its sweetness, and adds a much needed layer of complexity (however minor it may be).
However, Frey Ranch’s 100% Malted Corn Bourbon also isn’t without spice. Whether that is due to the particular corn used, climate, distilling style, or Frey Ranch’s malting process, it’s a layer not typically found in many high corn bourbons. At the end of the day, a 100% malted corn bourbon is incredibly unique in its own right, but its flavor profile will still be recognizable by any bourbon drinker with minor differences that easily stand out.
As a product that is the result of a very rare and hands-on labor intensive process, a high price tag is to be expected. It’s also a product that currently has limited mass market appeal, so it makes sense for this to be a distillery-only release and for it to be released in 375mL bottles. I will always applaud any distillery that offers their product in half-sized bottles, and while $59 does seem reasonable, if this was $118 for a 750mL bottle, it would be a harder pill to swallow.
That said, Woodford Reserve tends to be the most adventurous mass market distillery and their highly unique Master’s Collection releases are now trending in the $130 price range, though they are also releasing experimental distillery-only releases for $60.
- Yet, even if Woodford released a 100% malted corn product (which don’t count them out doing so just yet), $130 would be equally hard to fully justify unless it came with a double-digit age statement.
- But given the choice, $59 for a 375mL of a new(ish) style of bourbon that I’m sure plenty of whiskey geeks will be curious about versus not having the option to purchase it at all, I’d pick the $59 option every time.
Yes, it’s more than I’d like to see it priced at, but my curiosity is piqued, and when that happens, I’m game. Frey Ranch attempts to answer the question few have probably asked: “What would a 100% malted corn bourbon taste like? The answer: pretty darn good.
- Perhaps in a moment of serendipity, I was recently wondering why we don’t see a malted corn bourbon on the market, and it just so happened that Frey Ranch a 100% Malted Corn Bourbon to my delight.
- With the sudden popularity of malted rye and the slightly less common malted wheat, I wondered: where is the malted corn love?With the rise in malted cereal grains in American whiskey, it makes sense that someone finally tried their hand at a 100% malted corn bourbon.
It’s likely Frey Ranch isn’t the first to attempt it, but they likely are in the immediate product-for-purchase sense. With 100% corn whiskey typically seen as overly sweet or hot, making a bourbon with malted corn keeps the sweetness, but adds complexity along with a creamy mouthfeel to the mix.
- It’s not a revolutionary transformation, but more of a small evolutionary one.
- Each aspect of Frey Ranch 100% Malted Corn Bourbon is a refinement over a typical 100% corn bourbon.
- Age makes a big difference when it comes to 100% corn products, and Frey Ranch did well in this department.
- They should be applauded that they had the mindset 6 years ago to lay down 100% malted corn barrels and didn’t rush them to market as malted rye (and wheat) became more popular over the last few years.While the jury is still out if 100% corn bourbon can stand toe to toe with more complex bourbon mashbills, it’s a step in the right direction.
But maybe it doesn’t have to be a direct competition and one where 100% malted corn bourbon can join alongside wheated bourbon and rye bourbon on equal terms giving whiskey drinkers even more options than they’ve ever had before. : Frey Ranch 100% Malted Corn Bourbon Whiskey Review
Is corn used to make Jack Daniels?
The original family recipe – Jack Daniel was known to be a man of refined taste. From his penchant for tailor-made suits, to the way he made his whiskey, the details mattered. And no detail was more important than his mash bill, the delicate mix of grains that help shape our whiskey’s flavor. Distillation begins by mixing these grains with the iron-free water from the Hollow. And just like a baker makes sour dough bread, by adding a little bit of starter yeast from a previous batch, we begin distillation by adding a little bit of our own starter mash for consistent, quality whiskey.
- Using a bit of starter is why Jack Daniel’s is called a sour mash.
- The mash ferments for a full six days before being single distilled in a large copper still made to our exact specifications.
- And rather than double or triple-distillation, we vaporize and condense our whiskey only once.
- There’s no doubt Jack selected his mash because of its warm, balanced flavor.
And we distill the way we do to ensure that the whiskey still retains it.
Can you eat ethanol corn?
NO. The corn used to make ethanol is not the sweet corn humans typically eat. – Some 99% of the corn grown in Nebraska is field corn, which is used primarily for livestock feed and ethanol production. Field corn is rarely used for human food, but through processing it is transformed into fuel, meat, milk, eggs and food ingredients.
Can field corn be eaten by humans?
Fresh Field Corn – You can also eat field corn just like you eat sweet corn, boiled or roasted and slathered with butter and salt. Although roasting ears are not sweet and are sometimes less tender, some people actually prefer the flavor of field corn. Since the planting and care of field corn plants is the same process as growing sweet corn, you can plant both kinds and enjoy an extended harvest.
What yeast is best for corn whiskey?
– When your selecting a yeast for your mash there are several factors that are important to consider including: Final alcohol content expected in mash, Ferment temperature and the product you are fermenting weather it be sugar, grain or fruit. By selecting the proper yeast you will ensure you get a complete fermentation and a great tasting final product.
Ale Yeast – Danstar Nottingham ferments well between 57 F to 70 F. This strain is great when your making wash at lower temperatures such as in your basement or in the winter time. I’ve had some fantastic results when making my whiskey mash recipe, The alcohol tolerance of most Ale Yeast’s are between 8% – 10% Wine Yeast – Lavlin EC-1118 is available in most home brew shops and is typically used to ferment wines but works great for sugar shines with high starting ABV. It ferments well between 50 F and 86F and has a high alcohol tolerance of 18%, EC – 1118 is also great to use when making a fruit wash. Turbo Yeast – I’ve used a number of different Turbo Yeast in the past and have had good results. The nice thing about Turbo Yeast is that it ferments faster then other strains and has a very high alcohol tolerance generally between 20 -23%. I’d suggest only use half the nutrients included in the package. If your making a whiskey or rum Turbo Yeast isn’t the best choice. I’d only recommend using Turbo Yeast for vodka because during distillation you strip all the flavor out of your product. Generic Distillers Yeast – Generic distillers yeasts such as Super Start will give you good results and when you compare the cost it’s a no brainier. You can buy this stuff by the pound at your local brew shop. The Best Yeasts For Distilling, Bread Yeast – If your making a rum or corn whiskey mash recipe Bread yeast is one of the best yeast for the job. Not to mention it’s easy to get your hands on. Just head down to your local grocery store to pick some up. Bread yeast will leave a great flavor in your final product. To learn more about using Bread yeast in Rum, Whiskey, Bourbon or Moonshine Mash recipes read our article Bourbon, Whiskey, Vodka and Moonshine – How Much Yeast ?. Yeast Nutrients – You can find these at any home brew shop or online, As mentioned earlier Nutrients give yeast the food to multiply and speed up fermentation they also keep the Yeast healthy. Nutrients are often not required with grain and fruit recipes because there are already significant nutrients present in the Mash. They are generally required in high gravity sugar washes because of the lack of nutrients white sugar recipes. Keep in mind that to much nutrients may contribute to off flavors in your final product. To determine how much sugar to add to a sugar wash when making moonshine Read our Easy Sugar Wash Recipe – For making Moonshine