Bourbon Reviews, Distillery News and Information
Tuesday Tidbit: Bourbon Distilling: Low Wine
What is Low Wine?
Whether distilling a bourbon mash in a pot still or column still, the product of the first distillation is generally called “low wine”. The alcohol content and composition of low wine is significantly different whether using a pot still or a column still. In a pot still, the low wine will generally be around 40-50 proof. However in a column still, as seen here, the proof is usually substantially higher. In this case, for Jim Beam Bourbon, it is 125 proof.
What happens to Low Wine?
Low wine is generally going to be distilled a second or third time, in one way or another. The resultant distillate is then called “high wine”. When making bourbon, the high wine is often then “proofed down” (diluted with water) to a lower proof prior to barreling. Remember, bourbon distillate can not enter the barrel at higher than 125 proof, and some bourbon distilleries put it into the barrel at a significantly lower proof. This is done for a variety of reasons, one of which is that the proof affects the types of flavors extracted from the barrel.
This particular future Jim Beam Bourbon low wine is headed next to a “doubler”. The low wine will be distilled in the doubler a second time, raising its proof to 135. (Now it is high wine) For Jim Beam Bourbon, distillation ends here. However, some bourbons and other whiskeys are distilled yet again, creating a triple distilled product. Triple distillation is fairly common in Irish Whiskeys.
Now you know!
So there you have it. Some facts about low wine in bourbon distillation. The most important fact about low wine is yet to be mentioned however; it is really cool to watch as it enters the spirit safe! I could watch the low and high wines flow all day! I hope you enjoyed this #TuesdayTidbit about Bourbon Distilling: Low Wine ! Cheers!🥃
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