Gallery: Camden's Cooper River Distillery bottles first rye whiskey
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Some of the first bottles of the 86 proof rye whiskey that Cooper River Distillery has produced.
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Founder and chief distiller James Yoakum fills a small tasting bottle of their 86 proof rye whiskey last Friday morning.
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James Yoakum smiles with excitement that, for the first time in the two years since opening, Cooper River Distillery is bottling rye whiskey.
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Cooper River Distillery's Spanish-made, hand-hammered copper still.
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The first run of bottles of 86 proof rye whiskey come off the line at the Cooper River Distillery last Friday.
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Distillerymen TJ Kaplan and Dennis Petrakis explain how different qualities and proofs come out of the still at different stages: The first to come out is referred to as the "Head," which has a proof upward of 130, has very little desirable flavor and is potentially dangerous to consume; the "heart" is considered the best quality based on flavor and proof (usually ranging from high 80s to 90s), and the "tail" has a very low proof (around 20) and an undesirable flavor.
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Bourbon gets a lot of its color and flavor from the barrels it's aged in. These barrels are made of charred American Oak.
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In preparation for next year's batch of bourbon, Distilleryman Dennis Petrakis stirs the sour mash over a large screen, separating the solids from the mixture.
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Distilleryman Dennis Petrakis stirs the sour mash over a large screen, separating the solids from the mixture to be used in next year's batch of bourbon.
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Liquid from the fermented sour mash passes through a screen which separates the corn solids from the usable liquid, just before it's sent to the still.