Bourbon - Grain Selection and Mixture (Mash Bill)
Each distillery has its own recipe for the grain mixture. The law requires a Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey to have a corn content of at least 51%. However, the corn content is usually higher (between 60% and 80%).
Further components of the mash bill are rye and malted barley, which each make up between 10% and 15%. Few distilleries add wheat to their mash bill (e.g. Bernheim or Maker's Mark). Wheat makes a whiskey milder and smoother on the tongue. If wheat is added, it makes up about 10%.
The different grain types are ground separately and stored temporarily. In former times hammer mills were used until it was found out that they heat up the grain too much, which affects the taste. Today the grain is usually crushed in order to open the husk. The following grinding process leads to very fine flour.
Mashbills of different distilleries
|Heaven Hill||75||13||12||Different Brands have different Mashbills|
|Jim Beam||77||13||10||Different Brands have different Mashbills|
|Four Roses||75||20||5||Different Brands have different Mashbills|
|Buffalo Trace||90||10||Different Brands have different Mashbills|
|Koval||-||-||-||-||Secret/Single Grain Whiskey|