PDA

View Full Version : A unique Wisconsin whiskey - Queen Jennie Sorghum Whiskey



Jono
12-12-2012, 09:09
http://www.madisondistillery.com/Queen_Jennie.html

Has anyone in Madison or WI sampled this? "Less sour than a bourbon and less harsh than a rye..."
It is only available at the distillery.

Brisko
12-12-2012, 09:27
According to the website, they're making it from sorghum syrup, so I would guess it tastes more like rum than anything else. Although the small barrels might screw with that profile. After looking at the website again, it appears that they have a cane-rum that they age in small barrels as well. I'd be marginally curious to compare the two, but not to the point of spending money on it.

Jono
12-12-2012, 09:39
Closer to you is the 45th Parallel Spirits distillery....have you sampled their Border Bourbon?

http://heavytable.com/border-bourbon-from-45th-parallel-spirits/

Brisko
12-12-2012, 10:03
No, I generally avoid craft distillers. Nothing personal, I just don't care for whiskey that's underaged and overpriced. But I will look for the Border Bourbon. I wonder whether they're using 53 gallon barrels or smaller-- they claim the stave are air dried for 3 years. That a good thing. I wonder what their proof off the still and entry proof is. I think I'll send them an e-mail.

Jono
12-12-2012, 10:19
My son goes to the U of Minn and I will have to swing by their distillery on my way up sometime for a sampling.

Brisko
12-12-2012, 11:14
Wow, I emailed the guys at 45th parallel and I already got a response. Without going into too much detail, here is what I learned: all matured in 53 gallon barrels, relatively high proof off the still, moderately low entry proof. Could be decent.

cowdery
12-12-2012, 12:32
Another note to the TTB, because sorghum spirit is not whiskey, since it uses the stalks of the sorghum plant, not the seeds (grain).

Jono
12-12-2012, 13:02
Strange looking still ...http://www.madisondistillery.com/Contacts.html

Chuck, on an old thread you commented:

""Sorghum Whiskey" is a misnomer, and a subject of a major international trade dispute with the European Union (EU) on one side and India on the other. The United States agrees with the EU.

There is a product made in India which producers and consumers there call whiskey. It is, however, made from sorghum or sugar cane, not cereals. Therefore the EU (and U.S.) won't allow it to be called whiskey in those markets. In the U.S., spirits made from sugar cane can be called rum. There is no specific designation for spirits made from sorghum, so they get stuck under some catch-all like "spirit specialty."

Corn (maize), wheat, barley, rye, sugar cane, and sorghum are all grasses, so what's the distinction? The U.S. regs use the term "grain" in the definition of whiskey. The EU uses "cereal."

Any botanists out there?

I assume the distinction is in what part of the plant is used. Whiskey uses the seeds. Rum and sorghum spirit use the stalk.

There is such a thing as grain sorghum. It is the third most important cereal crop grown in the United States and the fifth most important cereal crop grown in the world. It's primarily used as animal feed.

It's a sub-species known as sweet sorghum that is used to make spirits. It is processed much like sugar cane into a sweet syrup that can be fermented.

Sorghum is interesting because it was once widely cultivated and used in the American South, as it grows reliably in areas too far north for cane. Sorghum is an annual. Sugarcane is a perennial.

Sorghum syrup was to the southern states what maple syrup was to the North. Until the 1950s it was more popular there than sugar. Sorghum syrup was often marketed as sorghum molasses and since many of the people who used it weren't familiar with any other kind of molasses, they often just call it molasses, which confuses other people who think they mean the byproduct of white sugar production.

Sorghum molasses isn't as popular as it used to be but it still is made in the southern highlands. Using "molasses" is also confusing because true molasses is a by-product and comes in different grades, depending on how much of the sugar processing residue it contains. Sorghum molasses is the only product of sorghum processing and there is only one grade.

Since sorghum molasses was widely known and used throughout the South, one wonders if it was ever distilled? It very probably was on a small scale but I've never seen any indications that it was ever produced on a commercial scale."

Could grain sorghum have been used?

http://www.proof66.com/exotics/queen-jennie-sorghum-whiskey.html

"Most "whiskey" is made from grain, which makes Queen Jennie another of the category-defying spirits from the iconoclastic distillery. We have no category for sorghum--this is the only sorghum whiskey we're aware of anywhere in the world--and rather than classify it as some kind of blended whiskey (which it isn't) or put it with wheat whiskey (which it really isn't), we have gone with "exotic" (which it kind of is)."

http://www.sandhillfarm.org/sorghum_FAQs.php

"Sorghum Syrup is made by cooking the juice from the stalk of the Sorghum plant."

Spirit is the most accurate term.

Possible...."BriesSweet™ White Sorghum Syrup 45DE High Maltose is a gluten free, 100% concentrated wort made from the unmalted grain, not the cane, of the white sorghum plant....BriesSweet™ White Sorghum Sorghum Syrup 45DE High Maltose is the only gluten-free syrup with the necessary color, flavor, FAN and fermentability to produce a beer that closely mimics beer made from malted barley. "


http://www.brewingwithbriess.com/Malting101/Gluten_Free_Brewing.htm

smokinjoe
12-12-2012, 13:10
Another note to the TTB, because sorghum spirit is not whiskey, since it uses the stalks of the sorghum plant, not the seeds (grain).

In far-away JoeyWorld, like with Rum, I find it perfectly acceptable to call this "Juice". Whiskey, should not... :D

An inconsequential Pet Peeve... ;)

Jono
12-12-2012, 13:44
Here is an official response: "Since the sorghum plant is a grain, the TTB allowed us to call it whiskey."

However, the juice does come from the stalks. Odd.

I guess the TTB takes a liberal approach to classification. I could see it if the syrup came from the seed as
I noted above in the variety actually used for that purpose. This is more like a rum to me.

http://www.ttb.gov/spirits/bam/chapter4.pdf

It could have qualified as a "Spirit whisky" if it had 5% whisky plus the neutral spirit but this is 100% sorghum.

squire
12-12-2012, 16:54
Okay, so it's rum, at least they're actually distilling rather than buying.

JB64
12-13-2012, 11:09
Maybe they will come out with an Agave whiskey in the future.

cowdery
12-13-2012, 11:13
Can't call it rum either because rum has to be from sugar cane. 'Sorghum specialty' is what they're stuck with.

Jono
12-13-2012, 12:51
Maybe they will come out with an Agave whiskey in the future.

The way they describe the TTB approval....if the plant has grain it might qualify...no Agave "whiskey".

JB64
12-13-2012, 13:17
The way they describe the TTB approval....if the plant has grain it might qualify...no Agave "whiskey".

I would think to be considered a whiskey it would need to be distilled from the grain and not from the juices extracted from the stalks and stems of a grain producing plant. I am assuming that the Queen Jennie Sorghum Whiskey is distilled from sorghum molasses and not the grain.

Sugarcane has seeds that I guess could be considered a grain. From Wikipedia, " Sugarcane belongs to the grass family (Poaceae), an economically important seed plant family that includes maize, wheat, rice, and sorghum (http://www.straightbourbon.com/wiki/Sorghum) and many forage (http://www.straightbourbon.com/wiki/Forage) crops." Could rum be a subset of whiskey? I have a tune stuck in my head that just wouldn't sound right if I was yelling out "agave whiskey" at the appropriate times.

Jono
12-13-2012, 13:21
I agree, the actual reg states grain....not stalks, etc. How they got the ok is beyond me....the only other way would be if they
had used the grain produced syrup I noted above. That was not indicated.

squire
12-13-2012, 23:29
Oh, whatever . . . I know what sorghum molasses is so they can call it what they like, I'm gonna call it rum.

squire
12-13-2012, 23:48
Okay, I've got it . . . Sorghum Eau de Vie.

cas
12-14-2012, 04:41
Suppose both the grain and other parts of the plant, like the stalks, were included?
Craig

Jono
12-14-2012, 09:23
That certainly would complicate the reg definition of "whisky": The Class definition states:
"Spirits distilled from a fermented mash of grain at less than 95% alcohol by volume (190 proof) having
the taste, aroma and characteristics generally attributed to whisky and bottled at not less than 40% alcohol
by volume (80 proof).

The General Type Definition just states "fermented mash of 51%...corn or rye or wheat etc....and does not say "grain."
http://www.ttb.gov/spirits/bam/chapter4.pdf

RUMı Spirits distilled from the fermented juice of sugar cane, sugar cane syrup, sugar cane molasses or other
sugar cane by-products
(Sorghum is not listed because it is not a sugar cane).

DISTILLED SPIRITS
SPECIALTY
· Distilled spirits not defined under
any other class
· Generally, any class and/or type
of distilled spirits that contain or
are treated with flavoring and/or
coloring materials and/or
nonstandard blending or treating
materials or processes
· NO DEFINED TYPE(S)
UNDER THIS CLASS
· PRODUCT DEFINITION IS
UNIQUE TO COMPOSITION
AND PRODUCTION OF THE
DISTILLED SPIRITS
PRODUCTı

cowdery
12-14-2012, 15:17
Whiskey has to be made entirely from grain, not from grain and other things. Sorghum spirits are not rare. Most of what the Chinese call 'whiskey' is made from sorghum. And all sorghum spirits are made from sorghum juice, not sorghum grain.

The more I deal with this subject area, the more I understand that TTB pretty much takes what the COLA submitter says except for a few things that are 'red flag' rejections, such as the words 'unaged whiskey.' Otherwise they take the producer at its word and wait for someone to object. Which is why I've gotten into the habit of objecting. Unfortunately, TTB policy prevents them from giving me substantive feedback, but I'm convinced they do follow through on my inquiries.

Jono
12-14-2012, 15:42
Chuck, do you think they could qualify if they used the above mentioned syrup from the sorghum grain as their sole product? It seems that it would fit the description of "whisky" IF that was the source.

squire
12-14-2012, 18:40
The old guys with a portable still would've called it 'sugar whisky'.

RickWrightson
12-15-2012, 15:35
Also, sorghum whiskey could be called gluten free.

squire
12-15-2012, 16:03
Sorghum Squeezins has a ring to it.

White Dog
12-18-2012, 08:34
Also, sorghum whiskey could be called gluten free.

Distillation makes it all gluten free, whether from rye or winter wheat.

White Dog
12-18-2012, 08:37
Chuck, do you think they could qualify if they used the above mentioned syrup from the sorghum grain as their sole product? It seems that it would fit the description of "whisky" IF that was the source.

I can tell you that Aeppletreow, another Wisconsin micro who is also a cider maker, distills from sorghum syrup, ages it, and calls it Brown Dog Whiskey. He did a cask strength release, and it was the base of an amazing Manhattan I had at a restaurant.

oknazevad
02-01-2013, 15:04
Whiskey has to be made entirely from grain, not from grain and other things. Sorghum spirits are not rare. Most of what the Chinese call 'whiskey' is made from sorghum. And all sorghum spirits are made from sorghum juice, not sorghum grain.

Not exactly; Baijiu, 3hich translates as "white spirit", is an unaged Chinese spirit usually made from sorghum grain (and indeed the Taiwanese version is called Kaoling or Gaoling, after the Mandarin word for sorghum). Some varieties are made from rice instead. It's definitely grain-based, though, as the grain is treated with starter culture called Jiuqu which has moldsto break the starches down to sugars for the yeasts to ferment. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baijiu

That said, sweet sorghum syrup-based neutral spirits (like sugar cane-based neutral spirits) are often used in poorer countries as the base of imitation whiskey or blends containing only a small fraction of real whiskey. But not all sorghum spirits are use sweet sorghum juice.

cowdery
02-02-2013, 15:15
Thank you. Good to know.