A GMO Argument

A GMO Argument

I’ve been seeing a lot of articles lately about the use of GMO and non-GMO corn a lot lately.  I believe the conversation is usually a bit off the mark. (one example- https://daily.sevenfifty.com/bourbon-producers-consider-the-pros-and-cons-of-non-gmo-corn/) The vast majority of corn and soybeans grown in the US are genetically modified organisms, or GMO’s.  This means that the genes/traits of another organism (in most cases, genes from bacteria) have been inserted into that of the corn or soybeans to improve the plant’s ability to survive and prosper. This, in itself, is a great leap forward for science and its ability to improve sustainability of corn and soy crops. When you admire those corn and soy fields that are weed free, identically green, very close...

Meadow Brook Farms in Lehigh County

Meadow Brook Farms in Lehigh County

“To be interested in food and not food production is clearly absurd.” -Wendell Berry I believe the same can be said of whiskey and grain production. I had an opportunity to meet with Nevada Mease, a young, entrepreneurial Lehigh Valley farmer back in September, 2016.  I was incredibly impressed with the farm and all the efforts on behalf of Meadow Brook Farms to embrace new, organic practices in their farming. The farm itself is beautiful and nestled into wooded acreage along the outskirts of the property. It’s built into the side of a hill with the barn and storage facilities higher up above the stone farm house.  Animals were grazing in the fields, and Nevada was making plans to get his winter crops laid down in the fields. Meadow Brook Farm is one...

White Corn is in the Mashbill

Did you know that the original recipe for Old Taylor called for an heirloom white corn, not yellow corn? Generally bourbon made today uses feed corn in their recipes because it’s the least expensive and can be bought in large quantities. White corn, for distilling, has been described as having less taste than yellow corn, but that is debatable. When tests were done to discover the original composition of pre-Prohibition Old Taylor bourbon, they found that white corn was used. Distilling is an art as well as a science, and master distiller/chemical engineer, Marianne Barnes, will be working with these original recipes to create her whiskeys at her new home, the distillery once known as Old Taylor. She was the lead blender for the special release Old Forester...

What is Corn Whiskey?

What is corn whiskey? With bourbon booming in America, I wanted to discuss the difference. Bourbon needs to be made from at least 51% corn, but can, of course, have a good deal more corn in the mix. The fact is that a bourbon could be made with 100% corn, but it’s not likely. The taste profile of bourbon is created with flavoring grains like rye or wheat. Malted barley is necessary to create the enzymatic breakdown of starches to sugars in the corn. One of the largest corn heavy mash bills in the bourbon world is Old Charter (Buffalo Trace) with 80% corn. In order to be called corn whiskey, the mash must be composed of at least 80% corn. The big difference between corn whiskey and bourbon, aside from the mashbill, is the aging process. Bourbon must be aged in...

Mash Bills in America

Did you know that mash bills are really only used in American whiskey production? American distilleries refer to the proportions of grains used as their “mash bill”. There are quite a few distinct styles of traditional American Whiskeys. Pennsylvania style ryes traditionally carry over 80% rye in their mash bills. Traditional Maryland style ryes are closer to 60% rye, balancing the mash bill with corn and a small amount of malted barley. (George Washington’s original rye whiskey from Mt. Vernon was 60% rye, 35% corn and 5% malted barley.) Bourbon, called “America’a spirit”, is at least 51% corn and is flavored with either rye or wheat grains and a small amount of malted barley. Corn whiskey is at least 80% corn, usually more. These traditional mash bills grew...