Over the weekend, some friends and I visited the Makers Mark Distillery in Kentucky. It was a lot of fun and the tour was very cool. The best part was dipping our own bottles in the red wax!
These images are clickable and will take you to my Photobucket album.
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1. As you go on the tour, they lead you through the grounds. It is very nice and the smell of bourbon is in the air!
2. After they grind up the corn, barley, and winter wheat, they add the limestone filtered water and 150 pounds of yeast. Each of these tanks hold 10,000 gallons and they ferment for 3 days.
3. They have many tanks. You can actually stick your finger in a taste it! I actually liked the taste. It was sweet, light, and not bad at all.
4. After the 3 days of fermenting, they filter the 10,000 gallons while allowing heat to evaporate the alcohol. The alcohol is collected and condensed into the copper tank on the right. It holds 1,000 gallons. The 9,000 gallons of mash is sold off to farmers as feed for livestock. The alcohol is filtered again into the tank on the left. It is completely clear and about 130 proof. They call it the white dog. From here, it is put into the barrels.
5. Makers Mark has a number of warehouses. They put the clear alcohol (now cut to about 90 proof) into the white oak barrels that have been charred inside. They sit for 3 years in the top of a ware house and then get transferred down to the lower area for another 2-3 years. During this time, the alcohol expands and contracts according to the seasons, drawing in the flavors of the oak barrels.
6. Finally, they are bottled and dipped in the red wax. Here, my friends and I got to dip our own!
It was a great trip. Best part of the story: I don't really like bourbon!