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  1. #1

    Bourbon versus rye question

    I'm sure it's on here somewhere else but if you'll indulge a newbie. I'm curious as to the differences between bourbon and rye whiskey. Not taste, I'm well aware of those. I mean the actual difference in the way each is made?

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2003 and Super Moderator
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    Re: Bourbon versus rye question

    Bourbon is primarily 51% or more of corn with the balance of small grains, and Rye is 51% or more of rye. And now looking at that I'm wondering if or why hasn't someone distilled a mash of 51% or more of wheat.

  3. #3

    Re: Bourbon versus rye question

    Well, this is why I asked. My father is a rye drinker and on the weekend as we each enjoyed our respective cordials, my mother asked the difference. I said basically what you said and my insisted that in spite of the names and common held conception, that rye actually had more corn than bourbon and bourbon was distilled mainly from rye and other grains.

  4. #4
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    Re: Bourbon versus rye question

    No, as Bobby said, bourbon is distilled from at least 51% corn and other grains.

    Canadian "rye whisky" is made mainly from corn. There are exceptions, e.g., Alberta Distillers whisky is made from rye plus barley malt. U.S. straight rye whiskey is always made mostly from rye (at least 51% of the mash must be rye).

    Canadian vs. American ryes are two different animals. Even Alberta Distillers' rye is not like American rye in material respects. There are many threads which explain this difference.

    Gary

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
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    Re: Bourbon versus rye question

    I went to my records to look at Uncle Everett's mashbill for Rye Whiskey...

    He wrote" For RYE...31% CORN, 57% RYE and 12% MALT

    Bettye Jo

  6. #6
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Bourbon versus rye question

    I'm sure Uncle Everett would do nothing to run afoul of the law, but federal law requires rye whiskey to be at least 51 percent rye. One difference, though, is that unlike bourbon, where corn is typically 70-75 percent of the mash, the share of rye in a rye whiskey mash is typically 60 percent or less.

  7. #7
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    Re: Bourbon versus rye question

    I think Betty Jo meant (added line breaks for clarity):

    For RYE...
    31% CORN
    57% RYE
    12% MALT

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Bourbon versus rye question

    Thanks. I really should open my eyes when I read.

    Even better, it supports my point that a bourbon recipe and a rye recipe usually are not parallel, with proportions of corn and rye simply reversed. A typical bourbon recipe is mostly corn with a dollup of rye, while a rye recipe stays pretty close to the legal minimum.

  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
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    Re: Bourbon versus rye question

    You are right I should have broke it apart

    I will leave my post "as is" so folks can see what I did

    Bettye Jo

  10. #10

    Re: Bourbon versus rye question

    Thanks. That helps and I should have also mentioned that it was Canadian whiskey Pops was talking about.
    As an afterthought, what would be a better quality American rye to try for comparison's sake?

 

 

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