PDA

View Full Version : Grain Whiskey VS. Malt Whiskey



whiskeyme
05-01-2008, 20:22
Sorry if this is the wrong forum, and sorry if this is a dumb question.

What's the difference between grain whiskey and malt whiskey?

I'm assuming that grain whiskey simply is not malted. Correct?
Can you use any grain? Rye, Barley, Corn, Wheat, etc.?

Does it have anything to do with how it is distilled, in a continuous column still or copper port still?

boss302
05-01-2008, 20:33
Sorry if this is the wrong forum, and sorry if this is a dumb question.

What's the difference between grain whiskey and malt whiskey?

I'm assuming that grain whiskey simply is not malted. Correct?
Can you use any grain? Rye, Barley, Corn, Wheat, etc.?

Does it have anything to do with how it is distilled, in a continuous column still or copper port still?


Hi Whiskeyme,

Malt whisky, at least in the conventional sense, is made of exclusively malted barley, and almost always distilled in a copper pot still.

Grain whiskey can be just about anything. It can be a blend of malted and un-malted barley. It can be both of those with malted rye, un-malted rye, wheat, corn, you name it. While most grain whiskeys are distilled in a Patent still, they can be pot-stilled as well, as per Woodford Reserve bourbon...

barturtle
05-01-2008, 21:41
27cfr5 (the BATF regs) has categories for both Malt Whisky and Rye Malt whiskey. There is no legal definition of Grain Whisky. However if you consider it to be just Whisky then it can be distilled to no more than 190 proof, whereas the named types (Bourbon, Rye, Wheat, Corn, Malt, Rye Malt) are limited to 160 proof off the still.

However if you're only speaking of the kinds of malt/grain that exist in Scotch...I don't have a clue.

mgilbertva
05-01-2008, 22:29
The term isn't used much in the U.S.; it's more common in Scotland, England and Ireland, being used to refer to whiskeys other than Malt Whiskey. So, grain whisky (no "e") is made from other cereal grains: corn (or maize), wheat, whatever. I think unmalted barley may be so designated too, but I'm not sure. Second, it's unmalted. (Keep in mind, at least a small amount of malted grain has to be added to provide the necessary enzyme for converting the starch.) And third, it's distilled in a continuous still (as is bourbon), not a pot still like malt whisky. The result is a milder, more neutral flavored whisky.

Grain whisky is combined with malt whisky to make blended scotches. However, there are a few producers who bottle straight grain whiskys in Scotland and Ireland, some of whom have received favorable reviews.

Vange
05-02-2008, 08:14
As far as a 100% single grain whisky I have and love is the Scotts Selection North of Scotland 1964. It is a 41 year old single grain whisky matured ENTIRELY in portwood. If you did a blind taste ttest you might mistaken it for bourbon! I love it, but cant find it anymore for a fair price. I think I paid $130 now it seems it jumped to $170+.

sku
05-02-2008, 09:10
I think unmalted barley may be so designated too, but I'm not sure.

Yes, unmalted barley is also a grain in Scotch terms.

I recently reviewed Compass Box Hedonism, a vatted grain whiskey, which is probably the most popular Scotch grain whiskey (see link below). It tastes somewhat like Bourbon, which makes sense, since if you made Bourbon in Scotland, they would call it grain whiskey. Overall, though I was not as enthused about it as some.

http://recenteats.blogspot.com/2008/04/whiskey-wednesday-grainy-hedonism.html

mier
05-02-2008, 10:43
North British has a good grainwhisky also Greenore an Irish grainwhiskey and even a German and a Belgian are quite nice to drink.See it as a good development for the industry.The scottish law is clear that it has to be single malted barley but Potrero showed us that single malted rye is good too!
Eric.

Gillman
05-02-2008, 10:47
Scots and Irish grain whisk(e)y tastes more like Canadian whisky than Bourbon since, like the former but unlike the latter, they are essentially a neutral (circa-195 proof) distillate aged in re-used or non-heavy charred wood.

Canadian whisky will generally have more taste than a Scots grain since a small percentage of it consists of a Bourbon-type or straight rye-type whiskey, i.e., one distilled at under 160 proof which may be aged in new charred wood. Of course, real (i.e., U.S.-originated) Bourbon or straight rye is sometimes added to Canadian whisky to lend the added touch of flavour. Malt whisky is sometimes added too for this purpose, or it used to be.

While Canadian and Scots grain whiskies are made (or most Canadian whisky anyway) in a continuous still, this type of apparatus can be adjusted to produce a distillate with marked flavor characteristics, as in Bourbon production, essentially through ensuring distilling out at under 160 proof. Scots grain whiskies come roaring out the still at about 194 proof albeit in a way I understand to ensure some taste contribution to the blend.

Grain whiskies are blending material but they do contribute some flavor, not all of which derives from oak aging. Still, this will be a subtle contribution at best.

Gary

Gillman
05-02-2008, 10:53
And therefore, while any or all grains mentioned for use in grain whisky production (e.g., raw corn or wheat, unmalted barley) might inform any particular grain whisky mash bill, this fact is less important than might first appear, since the high distilling-out proof ensures a near neutral taste result. Essentially, one would want to use the cheapest grain available.

Gary

MikeK
05-02-2008, 12:21
I recently reviewed Compass Box Hedonism, a vatted grain whiskey, which is probably the most popular Scotch grain whiskey (see link below). It tastes somewhat like Bourbon, which makes sense, since if you made Bourbon in Scotland, they would call it grain whiskey. Overall, though I was not as enthused about it as some.

http://recenteats.blogspot.com/2008/04/whiskey-wednesday-grainy-hedonism.html

I really like almost all the Compass Box products, which are mostly vattings. I do not like Hedonism at all. It is amusing to taste for the oddity, but I found very little pleasant about it. I recommend all their other products though.