Lab-Scale Methodology for New-Make Bourbon Whiskey Production

Virginia L. Verges, Jarrad W. Gollihue, Glenna E. Joyce, Seth DeBolt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Whiskey production originated in Scotland in the 15th century and was based on malted barley. As Scotch-Irish settlers came into the Ohio river valley, they began fermenting and distilling the primary grain of North America, maize. These earlier settlers started a heritage; they created American Whiskey. The bourbon industry in Kentucky had tremendous growth in the last 20 years, and currently, distilleries have a broad increase in product innovation, new raw materials, improved sustainability, efficient processes, and product diversification. Our study presents a new lab-scale method for new-make bourbon whiskey production. It was developed to mimic distilleries’ processes; therefore, results can be extrapolated and adopted by commercial distilleries. The method focused on reproducibility with consistency from batch to batch when handled by an operator or small crew in a university lab. The method consisted of a first cooking step to make a “mash”, a fermentation phase of 96 h, a first distillation accomplished with a copper pot still to obtain the “low wines” and a second distillation carried out with an air still to collect the “hearts”. The method produced a final distillate of 500–700 mL for further sensory analysis and tasting. This lab-scale method showed consistency between samples in the different parameters quantified and will be also used to train students in fermentation and distillation studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number457
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • bourbon
  • cereals
  • distillation
  • fermentation
  • maize
  • new-make whiskey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Microbiology
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Plant Science


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