William Maxwell Reed Seminar Series presents "Bourbon and Spacecraft"

Presented by Alexandre Martin, Ph.D., P.E.

The flavor profile of bourbon is known to originate from three different sources: The mash bill, the yeast fermentation, and the oak barrel. It is estimated that the barrel contributes to about 50-70% of a bourbon’s flavor profile. However, among these three factors, controlling the flavor obtained from the barrel is the most challenging. Bourbon barrels are legally required to be charred in order to qualify to age bourbon. The charring process is known to influence the flavor of the bourbon during the aging process. In this study, the heat treatment of White Oak bourbon barrels is modeled using a 3D advanced material response solver, originally developed to model the heat shields of spacecraft. The developed model allows for comprehensive simulations of the toasting and charring processes, and link the results to molecules of importance to the flavor profile spirits (e.g. aromatics). This increased understanding of the thermal treatment of bourbon barrels directly inform ongoing efforts to improve the barrel charring process and thus, will yield better control over the final commercial product.

To watch the presentation via Zoom, click here.


Can you use a bourbon still to produce a 190 proof product?

Presented by Brad Berron, Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Kentucky.