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Lincoln County Process

The Lincoln County Process is a process used in making Tennessee whiskeys such as Jack Daniel's and George Dickel. The whiskey is filtered through a column of charcoal chips before going into the casks for aging. The process is named for Lincoln County, Tennessee, which was the location of Daniel's distillery at the time of its establishment; subsequent redrawing of county lines means that neither distillery currently using the process is located in its namesake county.

The charcoal used by Jack Daniel's is created on site, from stacks of two by two inch sugar maple timbers called ricks. They are primed with 140 proof Jack Daniel's, and then ignited under massive hoods that help prevent sparks. Once they have reached the char state, the ricks are sprayed with water to prevent complete combustion. The resulting charcoal is then run through a grinder to reduce it to consistent bean-size pellets. These are then packed into 10 foot vats, where they are used to filter impurities from the 140 proof whiskey, after which the whiskey is reduced with water to 125 proof for aging. This process lends a darker color and "richer" taste.

The George Dickel distillery uses shallower vats, chills its whisky [sic] before it enters the vats, and allows the whisky to fill the vats instead of just trickling it through. It's said that these modifications allow more benefit to be derived from the filtering process.

The Lincoln County Process is what separates "Tennessee Whiskey" from "Bourbon". To be a "Bourbon", it is required that, among other things, the whiskey cannot be artificially flavored or colored any time after the fermenting process.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Lincoln_County_Process". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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