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  1. #1
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    Whiskey Composition

    I am interested to learn more about the grain composition of different whiskeys. I feel this will help me better understand what I am tasting.

    Is there a good resource that tells the various grain components of whiskeys?

  2. #2
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    Re: Whiskey Composition

    Quote Originally Posted by Squash View Post
    I am interested to learn more about the grain composition of different whiskeys. I feel this will help me better understand what I am tasting.

    Is there a good resource that tells the various grain components of whiskeys?
    A lot of the actual mashbill breakdown are proprietory, but there are basically 3 categories: low rye, high rye and wheat. I'm not even close to an expert on this, I'm sure someone here can provide a lot more info.
    "A person can work up a mean, mean thirst after a hard day of nothing much at all . . . "

    Andy

  3. #3
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    Re: Whiskey Composition

    Bourbon whiskey is generally comprised of the following three grains: corn, rye, and malted barley. A few bourbons substitute wheat for the rye.

    Corn is the predominant grain; by law it must comprise at least 51% of the grist, but in actual practice it usually runs between 70% and 80%.

    Rye, or wheat, is a flavor grain. Bourbon with a higher corn/lower rye ratio is perceived either as smoother and easy-drinking or weak and pallid, depending on how much rye a person likes. Bourbon with a lower corn/higher rye ratio is perceived either as muscular and flavorful or intense and overwhelming, again depending on a person's preference for rye.

    Bourbon made with wheat instead of rye usually comes off as a bit sweeter to the taste. At older ages and stronger proofs, it can have strong banana and citrus notes in the flavor profile.

    Malted barley usually makes up anywhere from 5% to 10% of the mash. Its function is to provide the enzymes that work with the yeast to convert starches to sugars, which ferment to become alcohol.

  4. #4
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    Re: Whiskey Composition

    Hey Squash, the mashbill is not the only thing to consider when trying to figure out taste.
    They say that a bourbon gets it's taste from approximately 25% of the mashbill, 25% from the yeast and 50% from the barrel.

    As far as mashbills go in the ryed bourbons, Four Roses has the highest rye to corn ratio, and Old Charter has the lowest rye to corn ratio.

    1792 has the highest barley percentage.

    Four Roses has five different yeast strains, and I think (I could be wrong) Buffalo Trace has two.
    ovh

  5. #5
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    Re: Whiskey Composition

    Quote Originally Posted by OscarV View Post
    and I think (I could be wrong) Buffalo Trace has two.
    When I was on the hard hat tour I was told they only use 1 yeast.
    Hope is subversive, for it limits the grandiose pretensions of the present by calling into existence the possibility of something better.

  6. #6
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    Re: Whiskey Composition

    Malted barley adds much of the complexity to a whisky. Too many distilliers are substituting barley for enzimes, which I don't agree with. I have tasted some of Medleys whiskies...they are teaming with barley and are supremely complex.

    BT does only have one yeast. It was changed from liquid to dry at some point in time.

    Sqaush, I believe the easiest way to wrap your brain and taste buds around different ingredient flavors is to try....a few corn whiskies...a few rye whiskies and Bernheim wheat whisky. They are more aggressivly flavored with their majority grain. Corn whisky is probably the most informative to your taste buds. It really is corny and unbarrel flavored.

  7. #7
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    Re: Whiskey Composition

    Good information in this thread on whiskey grain composition in general, but I think Squash was asking if there is a list of which bourbons are high rye, which are wheaters, etc. On the advise of member of this board I recently did a side by side with Makers(wheat) and WT101(high rye). As a newbie it was real helpful to know their composition to confirm what I was tasting.

    If there is not a resource for this, perhaps we can start our own list. I'll get it started with just a few that I know. If we get a lot of responses I will consolidate it into one list.

    High Wheat:
    Maker Mark

    High Rye:
    Wild Turkey 101
    Old Grand Dad 114

  8. #8
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    Re: Whiskey Composition

    Here is the breakdown for Buffalo Trace:

    BT Mashbill #1 [High Corn, low Rye]: Benchmark, Eagle Rare, Old Charter, Buffalo Trace and George T Stagg

    BT Mashbill #2 [High(er) Rye, still high corn]: Ancient (Ancient) Age, Rock Hill Farms, Hancock President's Reserve, Blantons, Elmer T Lee, Virginia Gentleman.

    BT Wheat: Weller, VanWinkle.

    BT Rye: Sazerac, Handy, VanWinkle Rye

    -----

    Other Wheaters: Makers Mark, Rebel Yell, Old Fitz,

    Other High Rye: Wild Turkey, Bullet, Four Roses, Fighting Cock

    ---

    Jim Beam and their products uses a high rye, high barley mashbill (if I remember correctly). Barton/Tom Moore also has higher barley mashbill.

    ---

    If I recall correctly from my tour at Heaven Hill, Evan Williams, Elijah Craig and Henry McKenna all come from the same mashbill, but I am not certain of it make up.
    Hope is subversive, for it limits the grandiose pretensions of the present by calling into existence the possibility of something better.

  9. #9
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    Re: Whiskey Composition

    Quote Originally Posted by mozilla View Post
    Malted barley adds much of the complexity to a whisky. Too many distilliers are substituting barley for enzimes, which I don't agree with. I have tasted some of Medleys whiskies...they are teaming with barley and are supremely complex.
    Oops! I wrote that backwards. Too many are subing in enzimes for barley. My bad.

  10. #10
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    Re: Whiskey Composition

    Quote Originally Posted by kickert View Post
    Here is the breakdown for Buffalo Trace:

    BT Mashbill #1 [High Corn, low Rye]: Benchmark, Eagle Rare, Old Charter, Buffalo Trace and George T Stagg

    BT Mashbill #2 [High(er) Rye, still high corn]: Ancient (Ancient) Age, Rock Hill Farms, Hancock President's Reserve, Blantons, Elmer T Lee, Virginia Gentleman.

    BT Wheat: Weller, VanWinkle.

    BT Rye: Sazerac, Handy, VanWinkle Rye

    -----

    Other Wheaters: Makers Mark, Rebel Yell, Old Fitz,

    Other High Rye: Wild Turkey, Bullet, Four Roses, Fighting Cock

    ---

    Jim Beam and their products uses a high rye, high barley mashbill (if I remember correctly). Barton/Tom Moore also has higher barley mashbill.

    ---

    If I recall correctly from my tour at Heaven Hill, Evan Williams, Elijah Craig and Henry McKenna all come from the same mashbill, but I am not certain of it make up.
    Heaven Hill only produces one type of rye mashbill. All of their ryed bourbons come from one mashbill. Unless, they are using someone elses juice.

 

 

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