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Thread: Rye Conundrum

  1. #41
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    Re: Rye Conundrum

    Koval distillery in Chicago makes a 100% rye whiskey. I'm not sure how their current line of whiskeys differs from the stuff they put out previously; when I tasted it, it was under the Lion's Pride label and it was called Dark Rye, being aged longer (?) and in more heavily charred barrels (??) than their Rye. I think their current rye whiskey is more similar to what they used to call their Dark Rye, but I could be wrong on that.

    Anyway, I think the vegetal thing is right on, and another flavor I find in rye and in Koval's rye whiskey particularly, is violet, like the way the flower smells. I find a bubblegum taffy sort of sap thing in more aged ryes like VWFRR, which could be a progression of the grassy, flowery characteristics, though on the other hand, it could be all barrel as far as I know.
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  2. #42
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    Re: Rye Conundrum

    As I recall they used to be dark and light or something to that effect but it wasn't age related. The dark had more char but was younger than the light. Not sure what they are doing these days though.

    not that either were very old!
    That yella whiskey runnin' down my throat like honey dew vine water and I took another slash…

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  3. #43
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    Re: Rye Conundrum

    To paraphrase some advice given to me by Dick Stoll (If you're into rye whiskey, that name should be familiar!)- He said that most modern ryes only contain the minimum 51% rye because rye is expensive and most people want an easy to drink whiskey. The average current-day drinker doesn't want a strong rye. He went on to say that he felt that many of the very high rye content rye whiskies are not only more expensive/difficult to distill, but if not done right, they could be very imbalanced and many people wouldn't care for them due to the bitterness or unsmooth flavors. He said he felt the best balanced ryes that Pennco/Michter's made was when they assumed the Sam Thompson label in the 70's. He said all of their ryes were the usual 51% rye except for the Sam Thompson, which was 65% rye. He said that percentage was enough to give the Sam Thompson more complexity and depth without a risk of most drinkers thinking it is imbalanced in profile. While I thought about this, I realized that may be the issue. We only really have 2 types of ryes on the market anymore- the mass-produced 51% ryes and the craft or smaller-batch 80% or higher ryes. And it's not to say either are wrong as there are plenty of ryes on the market that are fantastic. But there are no ryes in the 60-70% rye content range right now that I know of. Is that what we're missing? Did we lose our balance because we're either going cheap or creative?
    If you have anything Michter's or Pennco and would like to sell it or share it with me, please let me know.

  4. #44
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    Re: Rye Conundrum

    Quote Originally Posted by ethangsmith View Post
    We only really have 2 types of ryes on the market anymore- the mass-produced 51% ryes and the craft or smaller-batch 80% or higher ryes
    There is quite a bit of the mass produced 95% rye stuff too by way of LDI. But I guess a lot of people using that try work the craft angle.

  5. #45
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    Re: Rye Conundrum

    That's the way I see it. It's used by every upstart NDP out there these days that wants to look little and crafty.
    If you have anything Michter's or Pennco and would like to sell it or share it with me, please let me know.

  6. #46
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    Re: Rye Conundrum

    I certainly agree with the crafty part. Ethan what was the rest of the Thompson mash bill?
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

  7. #47
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    Re: Rye Conundrum

    65% rye, 12% barley malt, the rest is corn.
    If you have anything Michter's or Pennco and would like to sell it or share it with me, please let me know.

  8. #48
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    Re: Rye Conundrum

    The other part of the equation is if course the yeast. Did Thompson mention anything about the yeast that was used? Any chance anyone is still using the same strain? Hopefully the small guys experimenting with very high Rye mash bills are also experimenting with different yeast and someone will hit upon a combo that really works well.

    While aging location and mash bills are a significant part of it I'm beginning to think that the signature house characteristics of most of the majors is largely because of the yeast they use. When corn overtook rye as the predominant grain in american whiskey after prohibition the yeast that the producers chose to use naturally favored a balanced taste with corn. Seems little thought was given to finding a yeast that was more sympathetic to Rye.

  9. #49
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    Re: Rye Conundrum

    Mr. Stoll told me that Pennco used Beam yeast until Everett Beam retired there in the mid-70's. After that, Dick would make a lactic sour yeast from Red Star.
    If you have anything Michter's or Pennco and would like to sell it or share it with me, please let me know.

  10. #50
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    Re: Rye Conundrum

    And the Beam yeast was The Beam Yeast whose other sibling went to Heaven Hill.
    We're Bourbon Geeks, it's who we are, it's what we do.

 

 

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