Weather: Sunny, low 70s
Location: LAT: 37.5547, LONG: -85.3910
What a beautiful day! And what better way to enjoy it than to visit the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont KY. After all, I’ve been drinking Jim Beam now for close to 40 years, it was great to see how it’s made (not to mention have a little taste)
By law, bourbon must be:
- Made of a grain mix of at least 51% corn
- Produced in the United States
- Free of additives (other than water to bring down the proof)
- Must be aged in new oak barrels.
- Aged a minimum of two years to be called “straight bourbon”
- Distilled at no more than 160 proof
I learned a lot about the process, and it starts off with water. There are quite a few distilleries in the area, and that’s because the water is naturally filtered through limestone, so it doesn’t have any metals (iron) in it.
Then there’s the mix – Corn, Rye, and Barley. Again, for Bourbon, it has to be at least 51% corn. And for Rye, it has to be 51% Rye. Once the grain is mixed and cooked it’s called sour mash. Then it’s off to the fermenters, and after three days you ave “distiller’s beer” It’s called that because basically it looks, smells, and tastes like beer. After that, it’s distilled twice. The first round is called the “low wine” and is about 125 proof, the second pass is called the “high wine” and is about 160 proof.
Then the high wine is put into a newly charred white oak barrel. It’s clear when it goes in and gets its color during the aging process. Each barrel is approximately 53 gallons, and each barrel warehouse stores approximately 16,000 barrels. That’s a whole lot of bourbon (848,000 gallons)
On our way back, we detoured a little west to see Fort Knox. Of course, we really couldn’t get close to it, and they do not give tours of the building, but it was great to actually see it and just by looking at the amount of fencing around it, you know it’s heavily guarded.
It was a great day, and we wouldn’t have been able to visit these places if we weren’t traveling full time, which is why I love our lifestyle.
There’s still a lot more to see here in Kentucky.
So, until next time.