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  1. #1
    Apprentice
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    Maximum corn percentage in bourbon?

    I have a history question for the board.

    I just spent some time with my brother-in-law and he was trying to find something to prove me wrong on bourbon requirements (he did a tour of Jack Daniels 2 years ago and is now an expert). He found a statement that the maximum percent of corn allowed in bourbon is 80. He was gloating some about me not knowing about the maximum.

    I have done some further research and found that to be a common misconception and that there is no federally mandated maximum under the current definition of bourbon.

    Was there an 80% maximum on corn in the federal law sometime in the past?

  2. #2
    Connoisseur
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    Re: Maximum corn percentage in bourbon?

    "This is the real article. It is double-rectified busthead from Madison County, aged in the keg. A little spoonful would do you a power of good."

    -True Grit by Charles Portis

  3. #3
    Apprentice
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    Re: Maximum corn percentage in bourbon?

    Thanks for the quick reply!

    I had already found that thread and as interesting as it is, I didn't see where the misconception came from. That's why I asked the question about it being law sometime in the past.

  4. #4
    Guru
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    Re: Maximum corn percentage in bourbon?

    I don't know the history of it but the basis of the misconception is, I believe, the rules for corn whiskey. Corn whiskey is required to be made with at least 80% corn, so some people assume that more than 80% turns bourbon into corn whiskey. A few micros even make 100% corn bourbons. I don't think they're very good, but they're still technically bourbons.

    The bigger difference between the two is cooperage not mashbill. Bourbon must be aged in new charred oak barrels but corn whiskey must not be aged in new charred oak, if it is aged at all. In other words, corn whiskey must be aged in used cooperage or none at all.
    bibamus, moriendum est
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  5. #5
    Guru
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    Sep 2004
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    Jackson, MS
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    12,067

    Re: Maximum corn percentage in bourbon?

    The source of the misconception is the same guy who said it can't be labeled Bourbon 'les it's made in Kentucky.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  6. #6
    Apprentice
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    Re: Maximum corn percentage in bourbon?

    [QUOTE=Josh;430416]I don't know the history of it but the basis of the misconception is, I believe, the rules for corn whiskey. Corn whiskey is required to be made with at least 80% corn, so some people assume that more than 80% turns bourbon into corn whiskey.

    Thanks Josh. That makes perfect sense and was an ah-ha moment for me when I read it. I knew it had to come from somewhere.

  7. #7
    Disciple
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    NWGA
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    Re: Maximum corn percentage in bourbon?

    Quote Originally Posted by squire View Post
    The source of the misconception is the same guy who said it can't be labeled Bourbon 'les it's made in Kentucky.
    He should have said the only "good" Bourbon is made in Kentucky.

 

 

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