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  1. #41
    Taster
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    May 2011
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    Wisconsin
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    99

    Re: 100% Wheat Whiskey - Dry Fly

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    Unfortunately, under U.S. rules you can't call spirit made from sorghum cane juice "rum," which the rules state must be from sugar cane. Phil Prichard in Tennessee has complained about this. He makes rum from molasses and would like to make it from Tennessee sorghum too, but would have to call it a 'spirit specialty,' as there is no specific category for spirits made from sorghum.

    I know the Chinese make something they call whiskey from sorghum but I don't know if they use the grain or the juice. If fact, I don't know if I've ever heard about sorghum grain being used, although sorghum is considered a potential feedstock for fuel ethanol production.
    I live in Madison, WI, and a local distiller who has been operating for about a year has made a spirit that he is calling whiskey. Sorghum whiskey, actually. When he first told me this, I thought back to what I'd read in the U.S. TTB regulations and thought that his spirit wouldn't be allowed to be called whiskey. I didn't tell him this, since causing a stir doesn't really do anyone much good.

    Take a look at his webpage that hints at his upcoming sorghum whiskey. Anyone think he's going to get in trouble if he labels it as whiskey? Or do you think that his label just won't get approved? I've heard from local beer brewers that getting a label approved can be rough, so I figured the same may be true for distillers bottling spirits.

    http://www.madisondistillery.com/Limited_Release.html

    And, this is my first post on these forums.

  2. #42
    Connoisseur
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    Jan 2010
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    927

    Re: 100% Wheat Whiskey - Dry Fly

    sorghum is a grain, so he can call it whiskey.

  3. #43
    Disciple
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    Apr 2010
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    Wisconsin
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    1,534

    Re: 100% Wheat Whiskey - Dry Fly

    Interesting. Aeppletreow of Wisconsin already makes a Sorghum distillate that it calls "Brown Dog," but the word "Whiskey" is not used on the label. The owner of Aeppletreow has said that Sorghum is not considered a cereal grain by the feds, so he could not use the term "Whiskey."

    Looks like Old Sugar is lifting his idea.

  4. #44
    Taster
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    May 2011
    Location
    Wisconsin
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    99

    Re: 100% Wheat Whiskey - Dry Fly

    Here is an update on the sorghum whiskey from Madison, WI. The word "whiskey" does appear on the label. I've uploaded the label so you guys can have a look.

    From the discussion here, this seems to go against what the law allows. Are there exceptions that would allow something to be labeled "sorghum whiskey?"

    Jon
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #45
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    12,605

    Re: 100% Wheat Whiskey - Dry Fly

    Sorghum is a grain, so what's the problem? Pritchard, in Tennessee, wanted to make spirit from sorghum and call it rum, which wasn't allowed. Since sorghum is a grain, if a sorghum spirit isn't whiskey, what is it?

    More to the point, how is it?

    There is a fair amount of chatter among micro-distilleries about TTB giving conflicting guidance and it's not to surprising, since they're getting a volume of COLA requests like never before, and for things they've never had to deal with before. It could be that after some people had requests for sorghum whiskey rejected, somebody asked the same question I did above. TTB didn't have a good answer so they decided it was whiskey after all.

    For the record, the SOI says "grain," not "cereal grain," though that could certainly be interpreted to mean from grain, i.e., seeds, and not from some other part of the plant.
    Last edited by cowdery; 08-06-2011 at 11:45.

  6. #46
    Taster
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    May 2011
    Location
    Wisconsin
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    99

    Re: 100% Wheat Whiskey - Dry Fly

    Edit: Looks like I was typing this as Chuck was writing his response.

    I stopped by the Old Sugar Distillery last night to try the new sorghum spirit. It was the first time I have been there. The distillery location doubles as a bar that serves up the distillery's products, and drinks mixed with those products. I was surprised to see that the outdoor patio was full, and the indoor area was, too. All told, probably about 50 to 60 patrons.

    My surprise was from an expectation that a small distillery wouldn't attract so much attention, but after seeing and speaking with some people there, I understood. The patrons are extremely supportive of local product, and this being Wisconsin, people also love their liquor. That combined with the location being remote enough from the Capitol and the traditional downtown bars, this Madison distillery regularly attracts a large crowd when the weather is nice.

    I digress. The reason for my visit, tasting the new spirit, had me asking about it immediately after sitting down. The bar lady poured me a sample, gratis. It had a sweet and very alcoholic nose, and didn't smell at all like any whiskey, bourbon, or whisky I've ever had. It was very light on the tongue, with no oil, cream, or heaviness at all. The flavor was more like a spiced, or over-charred (but not smoky or peaty) rum.

    I asked Nathan, the owner and distiller, how he makes this spirit. He said it was made from the syrup-like juice that comes from pressed sorghum. He puts that juice into the still, along with some other fermented liquid. The hearts come off the still at either 120 or 140 proof, depending on whether he has the extra diamond on the still (see the still he uses, here: http://www.coppermoonshinestills.com/id51.html). He didn't say to which proof this spirit was distilled. It is then aged in 5 gallon, heavily charred new oak barrels.

    When I asked the age, I was told more about the preparation for distillation and the barrels, but not given the age. I guessed it to be about 6 months old since the distillery has only been open about a year, and I first heard about the attempt to make this spirit about half a year back.

    Overall, I did not enjoy the new spirit. I believe my opinion is tainted by the expectations set by calling it whiskey. I'm sure that I would have been less critical had it been named something else, however, I wouldn't have made the special trip to the distillery just to try it had it not been labeled as whiskey.

    Jon

    P.S. I actually had a flight of all of their spirits, including another glass of sorghum spirit, after tasting the first sample. I didn't find any to be stellar, but the ouzo was my favorite. I've never had ouzo, and I don't expect this is too similar to the traditional Greek. I did enjoy the very licorice-y taste. Nathan told it was made with lots and lots of star anise.
    Last edited by Jonny.Applebury; 08-06-2011 at 11:50.

 

 

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