Corn whiskey

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A Mason jar of Georgia Moon corn whiskey

Corn whiskey (sometimes called corn liquor or white lightning) is an American liquor made from a mash made of at least 80 percent corn and distilled to a maximum strength of 160 proof (80 % abv)[1][2] Distinct from the stereotypical American moonshine, corn whiskey uses a traditional mash process[3] and is subject to the tax and identity laws for alcohol under federal law.[1] Several commercial distillers such as Heaven Hill produce unaged corn whiskeys for retail sale.

Unlike other American whiskey styles, corn whiskey needs no wood aging at all. [1] If aged, it must be in uncharred or previously used oak barrels, and must be barreled at lower than 125 proof (62.5% abv).[4][1] Aging usually is brief, six months or less, during which time the whiskey absorbs color and flavor from the barrel while the off-flavors and fusel alcohols are reduced. A variant called Straight Corn Whiskey is also produced, in which the whiskey is stored in used or uncharred new oak containers for 2 years or more. Whiskeys produced in this manner and aged for at least 4 years can be designated bottled in bond if they meet further requirements.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Class and Type Designation, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
  2. ^ “Corn whisky” is whisky produced at not exceeding 160° proof from a fermented mash of not less than 80 percent corn grain, and if stored in oak containers stored at not more than 125° proof in used or uncharred new oak containers and not subjected in any manner to treatment with charred wood; and also includes mixtures of such whisky.
  3. ^ Smiley, Ian. Making Pure Corn Whiskey: A Professional Guide for Amateur and Micro Distillers. December 2003
  4. ^ Glossary of Bourbon & Whiskey terms page, Kentucky Distillers Association