The Process Flowchart
We start with a secret mix of corn (at least 51%), rye and barley maltor the ''mash bill.'' Grinders mill the grains into a powder, which helps cook it faster. The mash heads to a tub where we add sweet limestone-filtered, spring-fed Kentucky water, as well as ''set back''or 25% of the mash from the last distillationand cook everything. Adding set back is part of the ''sour mash'' process that helps guarantee the same great Jim Beam® Bourbon taste from batch to batch. Our yeast strain is a 75-year-old family secretso secret that Jim Beam used to take some yeast home with him on the weekends. We add a hearty mix of grains to our jug yeast to create a ''dona yeast.'' The cooled mash (now 60–70°F) and the hungry yeast meet in the fermenter, where the yeast feeds on the sugars in the mash, creating two by-products: carbon dioxide and alcohol. We pump the ''distiller’s beer''at this point, the cooked fermented mash looks, smells and tastes like a light beerinto the beerwell. The beer travels for its first distillation into our 35-foot column still, where we heat it to 205°Fhot enough to turn the alcohol to a vapor, but just cool enough so the beer won’t boil. Near the top of the still, the vapor cools and turns to liquid. We capture this 125 proof ''low wine'' and send it to our doubler pot still for a second distillation. When the vapor condensesnow called ''high wine''its a paint-peeling 135 proof. The high wine flows into a cistern, where we’ll fill a new charred American white oak barrelby hand. Then it’s off to one of our rackhouses for storage. Each 53-gallon barrel of Jim Beam rolls to rest in one of our airy hilltop rackhouses. We age our bourbon for at least four years. And we try to wait patiently. When the bourbon is ready, we drain the barrels, and then bottle, box and ship our bourbon to bars and retail stores around the world. Now you’ve got your bottle of Beam. Something for you to savor, sip, enjoy. On the rocks, cut with water, paired with a favorite mixer or straight. Here’s To The Stuff Inside. Cheers.