What is Korn made of?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

Korn, also known as Kornbrand, is a traditional German grain spirit that has been enjoyed for centuries. It is made from a fermented mash of various grains such as wheat, rye, buckwheat, barley, or oats. Each grain imparts its unique characteristics to the final product, resulting in a diverse range of flavors and aromas.

The grains used in Korn production are carefully selected for their quality and suitability for distillation. Wheat is a common choice due to its neutral flavor profile, while rye adds a distinct spiciness. Buckwheat brings a nutty and earthy note, barley contributes a malty sweetness, and oats can lend a creamy texture to the spirit. The specific combination of grains used can vary depending on the distiller’s preference and regional traditions.

The production process of Korn begins with the milling of the grains to create a coarse flour-like substance. This is then mixed with water to create a mash, which is heated and fermented. During fermentation, yeast is added to convert the sugars in the mash into alcohol, resulting in a low-alcohol liquid known as the wash.

Once fermentation is complete, the wash is distilled in a still to separate the alcohol from the other components. The distillation process involves heating the wash to create steam, which is then condensed to extract the alcohol. This initial distillation produces a raw spirit with a relatively high alcohol content.

To refine the spirit and enhance its flavor, the raw distillate is typically subjected to further distillations. This helps to remove impurities and unwanted compounds, resulting in a smoother and purer final product. Each distillation further concentrates the alcohol content, and the final Korn must have a minimum alcohol by volume (ABV) of 32%. If the alcohol content exceeds 37.5% ABV, it can be labeled as Kornbrand.

It is worth noting that traditional Korn production does not involve any sweetening or flavoring agents. The focus is on showcasing the natural flavors and characteristics of the grains used. This sets Korn apart from other spirits such as flavored vodkas or liqueurs.

In terms of personal experiences, I have had the opportunity to taste various types of Korn during my visits to Germany. Each bottle had its unique character, ranging from the smooth and delicate flavors of wheat-based Korn to the robust and spicy notes of rye-based varieties. It was fascinating to explore the nuances and complexities of this traditional German spirit.

Korn is a German grain spirit made from a fermented mash of wheat, rye, buckwheat, barley, or oats. It is distilled to create a colorless and strong alcoholic beverage. The specific combination of grains used and the distillation process contribute to the diverse range of flavors and aromas found in different types of Korn. It is a spirit that is deeply rooted in German tradition and offers a unique drinking experience.