10 Things Every Bourbon Lover Needs To Know - SIPN

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10 Things Every Bourbon Lover Needs To Know

10 Things Bourbon Lover Need to Know


How many of us can say that Bourbon is our favorite drink? When you're a spirit enthusiast, merely saying that you are fond of it is not quite enough. Knowing some basics and keeping certain terminologies at the tip of your tongue is important. Sipn is a community of like-minded individuals who cherish and appreciate the finer things and know all there is to know about this great drink. As a Bourbon lover, here are a few things you need to know no matter what.

Classification of Bourbon

By law, in order to be classified as Bourbon, liquor must be made from a grain mixture that is at least 51 % corn. It must always be aged in new charred oak barrels and distilled to no more than 80 percent ABV. When the raw spirit is pumped into the barrels for aging, it must be no more than 62.5 percent ABV. Later, when it is bottled, bourbon has to be at least 40 percent ABV.

Age Statement

Some Bourbons come with a year marked on the bottle. This indicates the bourbon's age statement, which is the age of the youngest bourbon in the bottle. For example, a bourbon with an age statement of 10 years is made up entirely of bourbons that are at least 10 years old.

Bottling Proof

The Proof is meant to give you an indication of the level of strength and alcohol that is present in the bottle. According to legend, the concept of “proof” came from soldiers in the British Royal Navy, who (back in the 18th century) had to douse their gunpowder in rum as a test of its potency. If the wet gunpowder still ignited, it was “proof” the alcohol content was high enough, 57% ABV. In the case of Bourbon, before most of it is bottled, the bourbon is diluted to 80 proof (40 percent ABV), which is the lowest the whiskey can be diluted to while still qualifying as a bourbon. This is done by bourbon producers to reduce costs and to make bourbon more palatable, without dilution, to a larger market.

Cask Strength

For a bourbon to be considered cask strength, it cannot have been diluted before being bottled. Cask strengths vary greatly from barrel to barrel, depending on warehouse placement and weather conditions. It is safe to say that the strength of a bourbon depends primarily on how much it evaporates while aging, the more it evaporates, the lower proof the bourbon will have. Conversely, if more water evaporates, the final product will be higher proof.

Straight Bourbon

This term carries additional legal requirements beyond those of regular bourbon. Straight bourbon must be at least two years old, and if it is younger than four years, the bottle must carry an age statement that reflects the youngest bourbon in the bottle. Additionally, straight bourbon cannot contain any added colors or flavors.

Mash Bill

Mash ingredients, mash bills, or grain bills are the materials that brewers use to produce the wort (the liquid extracted from the mashing process during the brewing.) that they then ferment into alcohol. While all bourbon must contain at least 51 percent corn, the other 49 percent will vary depending on the distiller. Most bourbons, though, contain a mix of wheat, rye, and barley. The more you drink bourbon, you will be able to note the differences in taste between different mash bills.

High Rye

This denotes a bourbon that contains rye as its second main ingredient behind corn. High-rye bourbon is known for having a spicier and richer flavor than other bourbons.

Wheater

A wheater refers to a bourbon that contains wheat as its second main ingredient. Wheated bourbons usually taste sweeter than high-rye versions.

Sour Mash

Sour mash is made by adding a portion of previously used mash to a fresh batch, similar to using a sourdough starter for bread. This gives the mash a slightly sour aroma, but it doesn't affect the flavor of the finished product. This is done for two reasons: it helps with consistency from batch to batch, and this process lowers the batch's pH, which makes the fermentation process more efficient.

Sweet Mash

The very rare sweet mash bourbon occurs when only fresh yeast is added to a batch. This leads to a higher pH and produces flavors you wouldn't find in sour mashes.

Now that you have all your basics in place, you’re ready to partake in any serious level conversations about your favorite drink. If you are already looking forward to joining a group of like-minded individuals and getting started with your love for the drink, you can Get Sipn with us soon! We have something exciting coming your way that will change the way you think about this fabulous drink. While you wait, we’d love for you to sit back and enjoy a drink with your crew, and pat yourself on the back for knowing what every Bourbon lover needs to know to be taken seriously.  Cheers!

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