Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Processing of corn whiskey

Corn whiskey, a type of whiskey produced by mashing corn and utilizing malt enzymes to convert its starches into sugars, can be made using various forms of corn, including cornmeal, corn flour, and flaked maize. It is crucial to use high-quality corn that meets food-grade standards.

To initiate the process of creating corn whiskey, the initial step involves grinding the corn into coarse meal. This meal is then combined with water in a large container called a mash tun, along with additional grains and enzymes. The purpose is to break down the starches in the grains and convert them into sugars.

For example, bourbon must be made from a mash containing at least 51% corn. Typically, a bourbon mash consists of approximately 70% corn, 15% rye, and 15% malted barley. On the other hand, a rye whiskey mash may contain 51% rye, 39% corn, and 10% malted barley.

The fermentation process commences by introducing yeast to the corn mash. In the whiskey-making process, fermentation involves adding distiller's yeast to the wort, which is the sugary liquid obtained from the mashing stage. This initiates the fermentation process, where sugar gradually converts into alcohol.

With the addition of yeast to the mash, the sugars undergo transformation into alcohol, resulting in the highest alcohol content during this stage.

The primary fermentation refers to the vigorous fermentation occurring in the initial days after yeast is added. Subsequently, a lengthy and slow secondary fermentation follows. While the primary fermentation lasts only a few days, the secondary fermentation can persist for weeks or even months, resembling the fermentation process involved in winemaking.

Next comes the distillation of the fermented mash. All corn whiskeys are distilled to a minimum alcohol content of 40% (80 proof), although bourbon production adheres to a legal maximum for alcohol and proof.

The mashed corn produces a distinct combination of congeners that contribute to the characteristic flavor of corn whiskey.

Aging typically occurs for a relatively short period, lasting six months or less. During this time, the whiskey absorbs color and flavor from the barrel while unwanted flavors and fusel alcohols are reduced.
Processing of corn whiskey

Most Popular Articles

Food Science Avenue