Last Updated on August 21, 2023 by Lydia Martin
Whether you’ve watched shows on how to make bourbon or just out there wondering if you can make it at home, creating your own bottle of moonshine is a compelling idea.
Before diving right in and trying your hand at distilling, make sure you read this article to know everything there is to know about making bourbon at home.
7 Easy Ways To Make Bourbon
1. Prepare Everything You Need
Bourbon Whiskey Hardware
Aside from the ingredients for the whiskey mash bill, you have to prepare a five-gallon oak barrel. Any aged oak container will do in the absence of an oak barrel.
You will also need two five-gallon jugs to hold the liquor. In addition, you will also need a ten-gallon pot still, a mill, a funnel, and a food thermometer.
Ingredients for Mashbill
- Here are the homemade bourbon recipe ingredients for the bourbon mash:
- 7 lbs of corn maize
- 5.5 gallons of water
- 1.5 lbs of rye
- 1.5 lbs of barley malt
- Toasted oak chips
- Nut milk bags
- a small portion of distiller’s yeast
2. Mix The Raw Ingredients
According to the American Bourbon Association, a traditional bourbon mash comprises 51% corn, wheat, rye ingredients, and water.
Grab your corona corn and grain mill and add your grain into it. Run your grain mixture through the mill about three to four times, allowing the grain’s natural enzymes to break down into short-grain sugars.
Then, throw the grain’s starches into a pot of boiling water, allowing the bourbon mash to eliminate the cracked grain.
Stir in the mixture until the sugary liquid called wort appears. Remove the mash from the heat as it approaches boiling point.
3. Ferment and Strain The Mixture
Add a distiller’s yeast to your cooked mash and transfer the mixture to the jugs to begin the fermentation process.
Several factors can affect the time it takes to ferment, like the room’s temperature or the kind of yeast added.
Check the mash for bubbles 24 to 48 hours after adding the yeast, which signals that the fermentation has begun.
Wait at least two weeks until you recheck the mash.
“It [yeast] brings so much flavor, and sets the tone for what’s going to happen in the barrel.”-Jane Bowie, Head of Innovation at Maker’s Mark
Read: Sour Mash vs Bourbon
4. Distill It
Put your mash into the pot still and heat it over medium heat, allowing the alcohol to evaporate.
Then, it’s distilled into a pot. There are four stages in the distilling process: foreshots, heads, hearts or “sweet spot,” and tails. Hearts is the stage when it’s safe to drink.
Taste a small bit of the bourbon distillate and ensure it’s smooth and has a sweeter taste.
As the stage comes to the tails portion, it reaches 35% of your distillation process.
5. Age and Char In Oak Barrel
The bourbon must be aged in a new charred oak barrel for at least two years to be considered authentic.
This helps caramelize the sugars and gives the drink lots of favor and character. It can have oak flavors.
However, as you have made a homemade bourbon and if you wish to consume it faster, the ideal time to age it is three months. But does bourbon age in the bottle?
6. Dilute It
Distillers test and dilute their product with filtered water before or after aging to ensure proper alcohol content. Distillers also chill-filter bourbon before bottling.
This removes any long-chain protein molecules and impurities that may cause the spirit to become hazy. Learn how to properly drink bourbon here.
7. Bottle & Store
When the bourbon is proofed down to the chosen alcohol content, let it stand for additional two weeks until your desired flavor is obtained.
Then, place coffee filters inside your funnel and pour the spirit into the bottle through the funnel and filter.
This helps to remove sediments and wood chips from your whiskey. Fill the bottle and close it with a lid sealed tight. Store the bourbon liquor in a dark, cool room.
Is it safe to make bourbon at home?
Yes, making your own homemade bourbon is safe if you have the right materials and ingredients. However, home distilling liquor without proper licensing is illegal in the U.S. It also takes a lot of risk and trial and error to create your own spirits.
What makes whiskey into bourbon?
How long does bourbon take to make?
Fermentation takes 7 to 10 days. However, the aging process should be for a minimum of two years to be called straight bourbon. But how do you distinguish fake bourbon?
Is it legal to make bourbon at home?
No, it is not legal to make bourbon at home in the US.
The Federal Law prohibits individuals to produce distilled spirits at home without proper licensing-that includes bourbon whiskey.
Is it easy to make bourbon at home?
Yes, making bourbon at home is easy, provided that you have the right equipment, knowledge, and ingredients at home.
However, since it is illegal to make bourbon at home in the United States without proper licensing, it can be challenging.
Making bourbon at home is an interesting process that you could use to impress your friends.
Generally, you would start with a mash bill made with a ratio of 75% corn, 10% malted barley, and 15% rye for the mash.
You will also need a sour mash using leftover ingredients from a prior batch of previous distillation.
The mash bill undergoes fermentation, distillation, and aging in barrels to develop its flavor profile and character . After aging comes dilution for alcohol proof and bottling.
However, even if you have a general idea of how to make bourbons at home, know that you need proper licensing.
Yes, it can be troublesome to make bourbon at home, so why not order a bourbon and have it delivered to your home?