PDA

View Full Version : Wheat and Rye.



JR1968
07-08-2012, 17:58
Being new to Bourbon, could some of you guy's tell me the difference in taste between wheat and rye Bourbon?





Thanks,
JR1968

Clavius
07-08-2012, 18:08
In a nutshell wheaters tend to be softer and sweeter while ryes are a little spicier. That's in my experience. Others here can definitely elaborate (or correct me!).

jburlowski
07-08-2012, 18:13
I would add that wheaters seem (in general) to handle additionanal age better then rye bourbons.

OscarV
07-08-2012, 18:17
And the reason the wheaters are sweeter is not because of the taste of the wheat, it is because the wheat is mild and allows the sweetness of the corn to come thru.

Bourbon Boiler
07-08-2012, 18:33
The posts above pretty much tell the story. Rye to me has a peppery flavor, whereas the wheat can be considered smooth or boring, depending on point of view. There is a taste to the wheat content (unlike rice), but it is very light and allows the remaining mashbill to be easily noticed. Even a small amount of rye can overpower the corn.

At 3-4 years old, rye produces a flavor that I dare say a majority of drinkers prefer. I like ryes in general more than wheaters, but the exception is in the top of the line comparisons. After 12+ years, wheaters have a very good flavor whereas ryes tend to have already plateaued. \

While there is undoubtedly a lot of personal taste in my paragraphs above, I don't think any of this is outside the mainstream of most tasters here. If you're new, try a few of each and drink what you like. Don't let anyone tell you that "real" whiskey contains a lot or a little of either complementary ingreedient.

KYPayne
07-08-2012, 21:11
If you want to do Rye and Wheat comparison you could start with Old Grand Dad and Maker's side by side. Personally, I don't like Maker's. There's a certain...astringency to it that turns me off. I myself prefer higher rye bourbons, but Old Weller Antique is a fine wheater, perhaps made more interesting because of the higher proof. Most of your more common bourbons are going to be rye based.

LongBeachScott
07-09-2012, 17:32
You could also try something like Rittenhouse Rye versus Bernheim Wheat Whiskey.

Scott

soonami
07-09-2012, 18:01
You could also try something like Rittenhouse Rye versus Bernheim Wheat Whiskey.

Scott
Neither of these are bourbons, which are 51% Corn by definition, but these are very good whiskies to start parsing out the differences in flavor. Not sure what the percentage of the mash bill is rye in Rittenhouse, but I think Bulleit Rye is 90+% rye.

Bernheim is around 51% wheat, from what I've read, but there are a lot of the flavors that people associate with wheaters in it. Old Weller Antique, though is also another good wheater option and usually cheaper too.

White Dog
07-10-2012, 07:21
Neither of these are bourbons, which are 51% Corn by definition, but these are very good whiskies to start parsing out the differences in flavor. Not sure what the percentage of the mash bill is rye in Rittenhouse, but I think Bulleit Rye is 90+% rye.

Bernheim is around 51% wheat, from what I've read, but there are a lot of the flavors that people associate with wheaters in it. Old Weller Antique, though is also another good wheater option and usually cheaper too.

IMHO, Bernheim Wheat Whiskey tastes nothing like a Wheater, as I don't get much of the sweet, fat corn flavor that Oscar referenced. I would assume it's because there's too much wheat, and not enough corn involved.

p_elliott
07-10-2012, 10:25
Neither of these are bourbons, which are 51% Corn by definition, but these are very good whiskies to start parsing out the differences in flavor. Not sure what the percentage of the mash bill is rye in Rittenhouse, but I think Bulleit Rye is 90+% rye.

Bernheim is around 51% wheat, from what I've read, but there are a lot of the flavors that people associate with wheaters in it. Old Weller Antique, though is also another good wheater option and usually cheaper too.

I don't think Bernheim taste anything like a wheated bourbon. That's why I always suggest that people who like wheaters buy a Bernheim so they understand the difference I.E. It's not the wheat they are tasting in a wheater bourbon it's the corn.

LongBeachScott
07-10-2012, 14:27
Neither of these are bourbons, which are 51% Corn by definition, but these are very good whiskies to start parsing out the differences in flavor. Not sure what the percentage of the mash bill is rye in Rittenhouse, but I think Bulleit Rye is 90+% rye.

Bernheim is around 51% wheat, from what I've read, but there are a lot of the flavors that people associate with wheaters in it. Old Weller Antique, though is also another good wheater option and usually cheaper too.

I understand neither is a bourbon, I was suggesting getting to know the flavor of wheat and rye. The reason I suggested Bernheim is that I think it does have the flavor of wheat, as opposed to wheated bourbons which are dominated by corn.

I think Rittenhouse is around 95% rye. A lot of ryes would work. I suggested Rittenhouse is because it is pretty cheap and generally well-regarded.

AaronWF
07-10-2012, 14:58
I think Rittenhouse is around 95% rye. A lot of ryes would work. I suggested Rittenhouse is because it is pretty cheap and generally well-regarded.

Rittenhouse is said to be probably in the 51% rye range, hence the corny bourbon likeness. Bulleit is an LDI product, and their ryes are 95% rye, 5% barley malt, so no corn whatsoever.

callmeox
07-10-2012, 14:59
Ritt is a barely legal 51% rye. The LDI ryes including Bulleit are the 95% rye mash expressions.

cowdery
07-10-2012, 15:12
JR1968 is interested in wheated and rye recipe bourbon and not the straight versions of each. Since the proper study of bourbon-kind is bourbon, the straights are not pertinent. I love wheaters but, to throw in another literary reference, wheaters are like happy families, all pretty similar, whereas every bourbon that contains rye reveals rye in its own way. Wheaters are easier to love, but rye recipe bourbons are more interesting.

cigarnv
07-10-2012, 16:10
JR1968 is interested in wheated and rye recipe bourbon and not the straight versions of each. Since the proper study of bourbon-kind is bourbon, the straights are not pertinent. I love wheaters but, to throw in another literary reference, wheaters are like happy families, all pretty similar, whereas every bourbon that contains rye reveals rye in its own way. Wheaters are easier to love, but rye recipe bourbons are more interesting.

I am not sure I would agree that all wheaters are similar nor less interesting than rye recipe bourbons. We have had a wider range of rye offerings on the shelf which provides a larger number of profiles, yet not all are different or even interesting. As of late we we have seen a number of interesting wheaters including the Parker, WLW, a selection of 17/18 years Willett offerings ( Bernheim I suspect), some very " different" OWA single barrel selections as well as a number of "stray" cask strength SB offerings in the 8 year range from KBD. VW offerings bring in another profile range as do the older dusties that seem to be plentiful in bunkers. Even the Makers 46 adds an expression that is a bit different and from what I gather several other providers may be offering up some new wheaters in the near future.

We each bring our personal perspective and palate to the whiskey table which makes speaking in absolutes difficult if not impossible. But then again differences of perspective and palate provide a good deal of fodder for on line forums.

SMOWK
07-10-2012, 17:37
Questions like JR1968's are best answered by grabbing a few bottles of wheaters and a few bottles of ryers and drinking them promptly.

We can discuss flavors, aromas, and other nuances all day, but he won't know what we're talking about unless he catches up to us.

Drink up buddy! :cool:

soonami
07-10-2012, 20:25
I don't think Bernheim taste anything like a wheated bourbon. That's why I always suggest that people who like wheaters buy a Bernheim so they understand the difference I.E. It's not the wheat they are tasting in a wheater bourbon it's the corn.


IMHO, Bernheim Wheat Whiskey tastes nothing like a Wheater, as I don't get much of the sweet, fat corn flavor that Oscar referenced. I would assume it's because there's too much wheat, and not enough corn involved.

I'm new to this so maybe I haven't developed my palate enough to pick out the same flavors as you guys. I thought of Bernheim as having flavors of light caramel, honey, subtle vanilla, and a sweet, round smoothness I get from most wheaters. I'm interested in what you guys think is specifically different in the flavor profile. I'll revisit the Bernheim and see if I can't pick it up.

Are there any bourbons that don't have any small grains, either rye or corn, only having enough barley for the diastatic power to convert in the mash? I read most bourbons are usually 70+% Corn, so the small grains don't contribute a lot to the overall grain bill.

mosugoji64
07-10-2012, 21:14
IIRC, Town Branch is corn and barley only.

White Dog
07-10-2012, 21:18
JR1968 is interested in wheated and rye recipe bourbon and not the straight versions of each. Since the proper study of bourbon-kind is bourbon, the straights are not pertinent. I love wheaters but, to throw in another literary reference, wheaters are like happy families, all pretty similar, whereas every bourbon that contains rye reveals rye in its own way. Wheaters are easier to love, but rye recipe bourbons are more interesting.

Hey Joe. You gonna take that jive??:lol:

LongBeachScott
07-10-2012, 21:21
I agree that there is more variation among rye recipe bourbons and that makes for more territory to explore, but if you are new to exploring then everything is new.
The thought of trying straight versions came to me because I learned from many years drinking wine that I could learn about my palate by finding single grape varietals as well as by tasting common flavor components in wine. When I taste or smell bourbons, sometimes I will open the spice cabinet and try to differentiate whether I an getting nutmeg or mace.

Incidentally, more variation among rye bourbons doesn't necessarily equate to more interesting for me. I truly can't decide whether I like wheaters more than rye bourbons. I always have examples of both available. I only wish there were more distillers making bourbon to explore.

White Dog
07-10-2012, 21:33
I'm new to this so maybe I haven't developed my palate enough to pick out the same flavors as you guys. I thought of Bernheim as having flavors of light caramel, honey, subtle vanilla, and a sweet, round smoothness I get from most wheaters. I'm interested in what you guys think is specifically different in the flavor profile. I'll revisit the Bernheim and see if I can't pick it up.

Are there any bourbons that don't have any small grains, either rye or corn, only having enough barley for the diastatic power to convert in the mash? I read most bourbons are usually 70+% Corn, so the small grains don't contribute a lot to the overall grain bill.

I need to add that my bottle of Bernheim was purchased about 3 years ago, and some members have noticed a big improvement.

Taste is subjective, and also suggestive. I'm re-tasting Bernheim, while reading your tasting notes, so I can appreciate your descriptors. If I'm looking, I can see a bit of vanilla and honey, but there's also a hay-like sharpness on the finish, which I don't get from Wheaters. But rather than flavor descriptors, another major thing that sets this apart from Wheaters is the texture/mouthfeel. Bernheim is sharp and pointed, where Weller 12 or current(not anymore) Vintage 17 coats the palate in a more voluptuous manner. Just my two cents.

jburlowski
07-11-2012, 15:50
[QUOTE=SMOWK;294849]Questions like JR1968's are best answered by grabbing a few bottles of wheaters and a few bottles of ryers and drinking them promptly. :cool:[/lLQUOTE]

... and repeat until the conversation stops.

SMOWK
07-12-2012, 08:35
... and repeat until the conversation stops.

After a bottle or two of whiskey the conversation never stops.

Flyfish
07-12-2012, 09:16
JR1968 is interested in wheated and rye recipe bourbon and not the straight versions of each. Since the proper study of bourbon-kind is bourbon, the straights are not pertinent. I love wheaters but, to throw in another literary reference, wheaters are like happy families, all pretty similar, whereas every bourbon that contains rye reveals rye in its own way. Wheaters are easier to love, but rye recipe bourbons are more interesting.

This must be some sort of SB record--Pope and Tolstoy paraphrased in the same post. And here I thought SBers only read Faulkner or maybe Hemingway.

Bourbon Boiler
07-12-2012, 20:10
“Isn’t anythin’ Ah got whiskey won’t cure.”

JR1968
07-13-2012, 00:19
Thank You Guy's,
for your help, looks like I got some taste testing to do.


Cheers,
JR1968