10 May 2023
Yellowstone Bourbon has been produced at several different distilleries over the course of its history. The brand was first introduced by J.B. Dant in 1872, and the bourbon was originally produced at the J.B. Dant Distillery in Gethsemane, Kentucky. The brand was later acquired by Glenmore Distilleries Company, which produced the bourbon at its Owensboro, Kentucky facility.
In 2010, the Yellowstone brand was acquired by Limestone Branch Distillery, which is located in Lebanon, Kentucky. Limestone Branch Distillery is a family-owned distillery that was founded by Steve and Paul Beam, who are descendants of the famous Beam family of bourbon distillers. Today, Yellowstone Bourbon is produced exclusively at Limestone Branch Distillery, using a unique blend of four different bourbons and a proprietary finishing process to create its distinctive flavour profile.
Yellowstone is made from a mash of 75% corn, 13% rye and 12% malted barley. The mash is cooked in the old-fashioned 'open cook' way (with no pressure cooker), starting at 200-degrees-plus to break down the starches of the corn. Many larger distilleries cook all the grain at one time, but Limestone Branch take a three-stage temperature cook. After the corn they lower the temperature, add our rye, and ultimately lower the temperature again to add the malted barley.
Next it's tie for fermentation. The yeast strain used here was also used by Steve and Paul’s great grandfather and grandfather, reclaimed through DNA from a yeast jug that was on display in the Oscar Getz Whiskey Museum in Bardstown, Kentucky. The strain goes back to ancestors Guy Beam and Minor Case, and probably a lot further.
Distillation is done in pot stills, rather than the usual beer column found in most Kentucky distilleries. The 600-gallon 'stripping' pot-still turns the beer into 250 gallons of what is now called low wine, at 25 to 30% alcohol. The low wine then goes into a traditional alembic still to boil off volatile compounds. The heart of the spirit is collected, by which point 600 gallons of water and 950lbs of grain have been converted into one 53 gallon bourbon barrel of whiskey.