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What exactly is the sour mash process? Is it only used in the production of Bourbon whiskey, or even in Irish and Scotch varieties?


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Kinnek Knowledge Team

The sour mash process uses fermented mash from a previous batch to control fermentation in the new batch. Using sour mash creates a similar tasting product from batch-to-batch and protects against the growth of bacteria and other pathogens. The reason it is called “sour” mash is because the previously fermented mash adds acidity, resulting in a mash that is literally more sour in flavor.

Virtually all bourbons and Tennessee whiskeys like Jack Daniels and George Dickel use sour mashing, as so some beers, though this is uncommon. It is also rare to see sour mashing occurring outside of the United States. Other types of liquors also use similar methods of reusing previously fermented materials. With rum, for example, this is material is called dunder.

Nov 27, 2013

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