How is Jack Daniels bourbon made?

Answered by Stephen Mosley

The production process of Jack Daniel’s bourbon is a carefully crafted and unique one. It begins with a specific blend of grains, consisting of 80% corn, 12% rye, and 8% malted barley. This blend is crucial to the flavor profile of the bourbon.

Once the grains are combined, they are mashed and cooked to extract the sugars from the corn and barley. This process involves heating the mixture and allowing the enzymes in the malted barley to convert the starches into fermentable sugars. The result is a sweet and flavorful mash.

After the mash has cooled, it is transferred to fermentation tanks where yeast is added. The yeast feeds on the sugars in the mash and converts them into alcohol, a process known as fermentation. This fermentation process typically takes around four to six days, during which the yeast produces a liquid known as the “distiller’s beer.”

The next step in the production process is distillation. Jack Daniel’s bourbon is distilled in copper stills, which help to remove impurities and enhance the flavor. The distillation process involves heating the distiller’s beer to produce steam, which is then condensed back into a liquid. This distillation process is repeated to create a high-quality and smooth spirit.

Once the bourbon has been distilled, it undergoes a unique step called “mellowing.” This is where Jack Daniel’s sets itself apart from other bourbons. The bourbon is filtered through 10-foot stacks of sugar maple charcoal, a process known as charcoal mellowing. This step helps to remove any remaining impurities and imparts a smooth and distinctive flavor to the bourbon.

After charcoal mellowing, the bourbon is aged in new, charred oak barrels. The aging process takes place in warehouses where the bourbon is exposed to the natural elements, including temperature fluctuations and the wood of the barrels. This aging process is crucial for developing the complex flavors and characteristics of Jack Daniel’s bourbon.

The length of aging varies depending on the specific product. Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7, for example, is aged for at least four years, while their Single Barrel Select bourbon is aged for a minimum of five to seven years. The aging process allows the bourbon to develop its signature caramel, vanilla, and oak flavors.

Once the bourbon has reached the desired age, it is carefully blended and bottled. Each bottle of Jack Daniel’s bourbon is a result of years of craftsmanship and attention to detail. The final product is a smooth and flavorful bourbon that has captured the hearts of whiskey enthusiasts worldwide.

The production process of Jack Daniel’s bourbon is a labor-intensive and precise one. From the careful selection of grains to the unique charcoal mellowing process, every step is aimed at creating a high-quality and distinctive bourbon. The result is a spirit that has stood the test of time and continues to be enjoyed by whiskey lovers around the globe.