How to Make Sour Mash Whiskey

published by John Carter on Jan 8, 2009

Sour mash whiskey in the trade is known as bourbon and is a popular whiskey in the United States and is made from corn.

Alcohol made from corn is nothing new either legally or illegally. When it is legal it is known by highfalutin names and cost lots of money. When it is made illegally it has a lot of names like hooch, drinkin likker, moonshine, white lightning, the recipe and in parts of Canada they call it screech. The most popular way to drink moonshine is out of a Mason jar or a Savol jug. This hooch is usually transported by a car late at night and everything connected with it is illegal, so be careful!

The simplest recipe is actually just sugar and water that you allow to ferment and when the fermentation has stopped pour it into a still and distill it. A variation of this formula uses molasses instead of sugar the end product in this case is rum instead of whiskey.

There are actually several different ways of making sour mash whiskey the simplest one is the cold method where ground-up grain is added to a solution of sugar water and allowed to ferment. The fermented solution that is called “worts” is then filtered to remove the solid portion and then the wort is poured into your still for distillation. A more complicated way of producing worts is to add the ground-up grain to hot water and boil. After it is boiled you allow it to ferment until the fermentation is finished. Then you filter the worts from the solid portion of the mash and put the wort into your still for distillation.

The first alcohol that comes out of your still is the strongest and as the distillation process continues it just keeps getting weaker and weaker. Usually save the first portion of strong alcohol as drinkin likker. Periodically test the stream coming out of the still by flicking a little bit of it into your fire and if it flashes up when it hits the flames it is still drinkable. If it doesn’t flash up you can run the batch off and add this last portion to the next batch of worts for re-distillation. What is left in the bottom of the still you can pour over your next batch of mash to start the whole process over again.

The process of making sour mash whiskey uses corn as a source of starch. The corn is ground-up into a mash, is boiled, fermented, and distilled into the finished whiskey. There is no end however to the sort of grain or other starchy product that can be used for this process. Some distillers even use a mixture of different grains in making their whiskey.

Brandy is very similar to whiskey except the starting product is grape wine that is distilled the same way as whiskey to make the finished product. Just about any alcohol bearing solution can be fermented into a much stronger drink. What you’re actually making is ethyl alcohol that can also be burned in a gasoline engine as fuel.


2 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. # 1 by Bobby
    December 17th, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    \”The first alcohol that comes out of your still is the strongest and as the distillation process continues it just keeps getting weaker and weaker. Usually save the first portion of strong alcohol as drinkin likker.\”

    Uh this will blind people. The first 3 oz of a 20l wash needs to be dumped.

  2. # 2 by Chuckie
    January 17th, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

    How do I cook off fermentation wash home style?

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