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Thread: Sour Mash Bill

  1. #1
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    Sour Mash Bill

    About a year ago I purchased a bottle of Baker's and wasn't very impressed with it, especially for the price...$40. It sat on my bar and every couple of months I would go back to it. Each time I would find myself enjoying it more and more. Whether it was me or the bourbon or both, I'm not sure. But this got me thinking more about mash bills as I never really gave much more of a thought other than percentages of corn, rye and wheat. I know it's far more complex. I say all of this to ask, what exactly is a sour mash bill like the one in Bakers?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Re: Sour Mash Bill

    Beam only has two mashbills for Bourbon, the Old Grand Dad/Basil Hayden recipe and a second mashbill for the other brands.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  3. #3
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    Re: Sour Mash Bill

    A great resource...the Whiskey Tree from our very own Josh.

    http://www.straightbourbon.com/forum...ey-Tree/page19

  4. #4
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    Re: Sour Mash Bill

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    Beam only has two mashbills for Bourbon, the Old Grand Dad/Basil Hayden recipe and a second mashbill for the other brands.

    while i can taste the family resemblance between KCSB and Booker's, I have the hardest time believing (though i know its true) that JBW/JBB share the same recipe as these.

    This alone proves to me what age and selection can do for a bourbon/whiskey

  5. #5
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    Re: Sour Mash Bill

    When you make 1500 barrels a day there's alot to choose from.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  6. #6
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    Re: Sour Mash Bill

    Quote Originally Posted by The Good Sir View Post
    what exactly is a sour mash bill like the one in Bakers?
    The other fellas answered you pretty well about mashbills, but you seem to also be asking about the sour mash process, which is a separate thing than mashbill. Mashbill refers to the grains used, while sour mash refers to the way the mash is started. Sour mash means that some backset from the prior batch is used to start the current batch, and there are numerous reasons for doing so, which are explained pretty well here by Denver Distiller: http://adiforums.com/index.php?showtopic=1550&page=2. The alternative is sweet mash, which I think just means that each batch begins anew without the aid of byproducts from prior mashes/distillations

  7. #7
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    Re: Sour Mash Bill

    To build upon squire and 393foureyedfox's points - mashbill is only one factor, and I'm always amazed at the differences between bourbons that are of the same mashbill (and even a similar age!) Where it is aged in the warehouse will make a huge difference. I think Beam had an illustration on their tour that showed where they pull certain brands from the rickhouse. And as squire mentioned, when you've got that much stock to select from, you can find enough to fit the profile of several brands.
    Gary
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    "Too much of anything is bad, but too much of good whiskey is barely enough." - Mark Twain
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  8. #8
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    Re: Sour Mash Bill

    Kpiz explained the main difference between 'sour' and 'sweet' mash processes. He used the term "backset". That just means some of the fermented, but 'not-yet-distilled' mash from a previous batch... in case you didn't understand that term. Almost all major brands of Bourbon use the "sour mash" process. It allows more consistency from batch to batch, thus making it easier to keep the preferred taste profile for the brand being produced.

  9. #9
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    Re: Sour Mash Bill

    There are numerous variables that account for the differences in bourbons from the same mash bill. The chief variable is still probably you. The Baker's may have evolved slightly in the course of a year (though probably not very much) but it is quite possible that your palate evolved more after a year than the Baker's did. That's why I try to withhold judgment until I have sampled at least a half bottle. Experience tells me that it is quite likely that I will like it better and better as I go along so I try to be patient.
    If God made anything better than bourbon he must have kept it for Hisself.

  10. #10
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    Re: Sour Mash Bill

    One of the members of this forum told me about a local retailer, who selected two barrels of the same bourbon for a private selection that had aged for the same period of time, side-by-side in the same rickhouse, yet ended up with significantly different profiles. It wasn't like one was bad because they ended up purchasing both barrels.

    It is fun trying bourbons produced with the same mash bill but stored or aged differently. I recently did this with BT mashbill #2. I found many similarities in taste but also some noticeable differences.

 

 

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