Bourbon: what is it, types + recipe at home
Bourbon is a whiskey originally from America, fermented mostly (over 51%) from corn.
The quality of the drink, color, and flavor gradation largely depend on the manufacturer's technological processes and the water it uses.
American classification of bourbon
Produced exclusively in the United States.
Corn content in raw materials - from 51%.
No chemical additives.
The strength of the distillate at the end of distillation is up to 80 degrees.
Alcohol content during aging - up to 62.5%.
Aging in new burnt American white oak barrels (for aging up to 4 years, the bottles should have a corresponding mark).
Ethanol content during bottling - from 40%.
There are also a number of unwritten rules:
The most authentic bourbon is produced in Kentucky, thanks to the most favorable chemical composition of local water (minimum iron, maximum limestone).
The main raw material for bourbon: unmalted corn.
Each new batch of brew is added to a certain amount of cake left over from the previous fermentation.
In fact, all these rules are met by the production of the so-called Tennessee whiskey, headed by the famous Jack Daniels.
Types of bourbon
There are several criteria for dividing American corn into varieties.
By the composition of raw materials
Pure or straight, made from 100% corn and aged for at least 2 years.
Corn whiskey - 80% of corn and rather low quality.
Wheat takes the 2nd place in the composition of unsweetened raw materials.
Rye bourbon (not to be confused with rye whiskey)
Rye takes the 2nd place in the composition of unsweetened raw materials.
By the term of aging
Aging for several months - low-grade white bourbon.
Aged for 2-4 years - a conditionally aged drink that is not much different from the first one.
Aging 4-6 years - an unripe, but relatively decent option.
Aging 6-10 years - classic mature digestif.
Aged for 15 years or more, this premium drink, according to some experts, suffers from oversaturation of tannins.
By the nature of the product being bottled
Single barrel bourbon
A single barrel drink with a long aging period that is bottled from a single barrel.
Small batch bourbon
A small-batch blend of multi-year straight distillates aged on "gentle" middle warehouse levels, produced in limited batches.
Barrel proof bourbon
A strong single-barrel version with a decent aging period and a strength of 50-60 degrees.
Blended bourbon, as a rule, consists of 51% pure bourbon and 49% of any grain alcohols (mainly rectifiers).
In addition, there are inexpensive blends that contain corn distillate with different aging periods, and there is also honey bourbon with the addition of the appropriate bee product.
Bourbon recipe at home
First of all, you need to deal with the ingredients. To make a drink a la bourbon, corn and other grain flour or cereals are best suited as a base, and any dry, light, unfermented malt is a good choice as a sweetener.
Then, you should decide on the ratio of grains. To do this, you need to familiarize yourself with the following proportions:
Corn - 80%, corn malt - 20%.
Corn whiskey 1
Corn - 80%, wheat or barley malt - 20%.
Corn whiskey 2
Corn - 80%, rye - 8%, barley malt - 12%.
Corn - 51%, rye - 24%, barley or wheat malt - 25%.
Corn - 51%, wheat - 24%, wheat or barley malt - 25%.
Next, the water. It should be 80% of the total of the base and malt.
And finally, the yeast. You need to add 20 g of dry yeast or 100 g of pressed yeast for every 10 liters of the substance prepared for fermentation.
Method of preparation
Pour corn and other flour or cereals (except wheat) into a cauldron and cover with water heated to a temperature of 50-55°C (keep in mind that the vessel should not be more than three quarters full).
At the same time, pour water slowly, constantly stirring the contents of the container to avoid the formation of lumps.
Increase the temperature of the mixture to 70°C and add 10% of the crushed malt to the brew.
During further heating of the substance, add wheat flour or cereal, if available, and mix everything again.
Then, after complete saccharification of the wort (after all thermal pauses), bring the contents of the cauldron to a boil and boil for 2 hours to obtain a completely homogeneous mushy mass.
Then, remove the cauldron from the heat, wait until the future mash for brag cools down to a temperature of 65-67°C and add all the remaining crushed malt, stirring everything again.
Wrap the container with the resulting mass, whose temperature should be 63-65°C, tightly in several layers of heat-resistant fabric and place in a warm place for 2 hours.
At the same time, during the first hour, the jam must be stirred intensively every 15 minutes.
It is also very important to prevent the mixture from cooling to a temperature of less than 55°C.
After the above two hours, the mash should be transferred to the fermentation container in a hurry (so as not to sour), cooled to a temperature of 25-28°C and add yeast (if it is pressed yeast, it should be fermented in a small amount of water beforehand).
A vessel with wort, equipped with a lid with a water seal, should be placed in a dark, warm and quiet place for the duration of fermentation (from 2 to 6 days).
At the same time, the temperature of the substance should not exceed the same 25-28 ° C.
Preparation of the fermented wort depends on the distiller. If your unit is equipped with a steam generator, you can load it directly from the tank.
If you have a simpler apparatus, the liquid component of the wort should be filtered or squeezed through cheesecloth.
For example, the wort is poured into a gauze bag, previously placed in a metal bucket, then the contents of the bag are carefully and rigidly squeezed into the mentioned container, from which the liquid component of the wort is sent directly to the distillation still.
Traditionally, part of the spent cake should be saved for adding as an additional starter to a new batch of future brew.
The raw material loaded into the distiller is subjected to double distillation.
Primary distillation takes place without separation into fractions.
In the case of repeated distillation, there is a need for cutting off "heads" and "tails".
At the same time, to avoid the risk of spoiling the final product, the head and tail fractions should contain 10% of the total distillate volume.
The resulting corn moonshine, also known as "white dog", must be diluted to a strength of 62.5 degrees according to American canons.
Next, the future drink should be aged in a burnt oak barrel or on well-roasted oak chips.
This is done not in special cellars, but in ground premises at natural temperature.
It is believed that the optimal container for aging small batches of corn a la bourbon is small-sized oak barrels with a volume of 10 to 50 liters.
Given the small volumes of containers in which your drink will be aged, it is enough to wait 8-10 months for a good result (however, some, especially impatient subjects, argue that it is quite acceptable to divide this period in two).
At the same time, we would advise you to show your character and keep your drink for 2 years, and even better - 4 or all 6 years.
Category: Whiskey and Bourbon