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View Full Version : How much corn goes into a bottle of bourbon?



glind
05-02-2008, 06:13
I'm just wondering how much corn, in terms of weight, goes into a bottle of bourbon. I tried checking everywhere else on the web but couldn't find anything. Perhaps one of the bourbonites here knows that factoid?

mozilla
05-02-2008, 06:21
My first thoughts are it depends on age of the bourbon(less water/ more concentration), how effecient the still and brewing methods are, and finally the size of the bottle.

I am sure there are more factors....someone else may have more insight.

barturtle
05-02-2008, 07:24
About 1.7 lb in a 4/5 quart bottle of 90 proof 5 yo (not counting grain used for the yeast mash or backset. This is based on the info on page 214 of Bourbon and Other Fine American Whiskies by Regan and Regan, an adaptation of the Maker's Mark mashbill.

mgilbertva
05-02-2008, 12:01
Great question! I had been wondering that myself.

Oh, and welcome to sb!

glind
05-04-2008, 13:21
Thanks! I was thinking about this in relation to biofuels. Apparently, the corn necessary to make enough biofuel to fill up a single 25-gallon tank of an SUV amounts to 450 pounds. That's enough to feed someone for a year. I wondered if the ratio was similar for bourbon.

Not that bourbon is a biofuel -- though it may be for some.
;-)

J.W.
05-06-2008, 08:58
Ok; I can't pass this up being the smart alec from down south. It Depends on how big your bottle is.

barturtle
05-06-2008, 15:51
Thanks! I was thinking about this in relation to biofuels. Apparently, the corn necessary to make enough biofuel to fill up a single 25-gallon tank of an SUV amounts to 450 pounds. That's enough to feed someone for a year. I wondered if the ratio was similar for bourbon.

Not that bourbon is a biofuel -- though it may be for some.
;-)

The ratio would be the same for bourbon if it was 180 proof (ethanol for fuel is usually in the 180-190 range.)

1.7 pounds at 90 proof * 2 = 3.4 pounds
3.4 * 5 (4/5 quarts)= 17 pounds to the gallon
17 * 25= 425 pounds

add in the weight of the other grains...

cowdery
05-08-2008, 14:35
America's whiskey-makers get about 5.3 gallons of spirit from a bushel of grain and that's at distillation proof, so about 70% ABV. Someone with greater math skills than my own can figure it out from there, but remember that the spirit is diluted to 62.5% ABV for barreling, and there is about 5% of volume lost per year of aging in "angel's share," and then the whiskey usually is diluted again before bottling.

The food arguments are a bit superficial. Vegetarians use the same argument, how much corn it takes to produce a pound of hamburger. But "let them eat corn" deserves some examination too. Do you know what anthropologists find when they examine the remains of early agriculturalists and compare them to the remains of hunter-gatherers? Rampant malnutrition!

Man cannot live by corn alone, unless he makes some of it into whiskey.

Maybe the question should be how many bags of Nacho Cheese Doritos could you make with the amount of corn it takes to make a bottle of whiskey?

CorvallisCracker
05-08-2008, 15:09
Do you know what anthropologists find when they examine the remains of early agriculturalists and compare them to the remains of hunter-gatherers? Rampant malnutrition!

A problem that can be partially mitigated by processing the maize with lime, which makes the niacin in the maize nutritionally available. When cultivation of maize spread from central America to areas north of the Rio Grande, for some reason the lime processing did not. As a result, the one major attempt to emulate central American civilization, the mound-building culture centered on Cahokia (near modern St. Louis) failed because of widespread malnutrition.

Although maize cultivation continued among the natives north of Mexico, it was necessary to supplement it with fruits (gathered) and meat (hunted).

glind
05-08-2008, 21:04
Maybe the question should be how many bags of Nacho Cheese Doritos could you make with the amount of corn it takes to make a bottle of whiskey?

Thanks for your answers. They've been interesting and valuable.

I'll come clean: I'm not a bourbon drinker (though after this, I'll go out and buy a bottle). I'm a cartoonist doing research for a cartoon about a guy who tries to live for a year on the biofuel that could fill up an SUV once. (The World Bank estimated that this amount of biofuel is produced from enough food to feed an African for a year; I now find that claim spurious, since it amounts to about 500 calories a day, whereas a person needs about 2100. Of course, many Africans likely do live on 500 a day.)

Anyway, I already drew a comic strip (http://www.weltschmerz.ca/blog/2008/04/biofools.php) a few weeks ago that your Doritos comment reminds me of.

And next Thursday the strip which has the character drinking bourbon will appear at weltschmerz.ca. (http://www.weltschmerz.ca)

Thanks again for your help.

OscarV
05-09-2008, 08:08
Yo glind.
Will that link to your strip take us to the new strip next Thusday?
I can't wait to see your "Canadian Geek" try living on bourbon.

cowdery
05-09-2008, 13:20
As a result, the one major attempt to emulate central American civilization, the mound-building culture centered on Cahokia (near modern St. Louis) failed because of widespread malnutrition.

Debatable. Cahokia, which lasted for 500 years, most likely collapsed due to something we'll recognize: environmental degradation. But, yes, as the population increased malnutrition became worse and more widespread. Heavy reliance on cereals will sustain life but just barely.

glind
05-12-2008, 06:40
Yo glind.
Will that link to your strip take us to the new strip next Thusday?
I can't wait to see your "Canadian Geek" try living on bourbon.

I'll post the link when the cartoon is up to remind you. Thanks for your interest.

glind
05-15-2008, 06:23
Yo glind.
Will that link to your strip take us to the new strip next Thusday?
I can't wait to see your "Canadian Geek" try living on bourbon.

Well, he doesn't live on bourbon alone. But it sure helps. The strip is now live, here (http://www.weltschmerz.ca).

bobbyc
05-15-2008, 10:27
Welcome to the board Glind, entertaining in every way. Thanks.