Welcome to the Straightbourbon.com Forums.
Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1

    Grain Whiskey VS. Malt Whiskey

    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?

  2. #2
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Hershey, PA
    Posts
    364

    Re: Grain Whiskey VS. Malt Whiskey

    Quote Originally Posted by whiskeyme View Post
    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...
    "Suppose he's got a pointed stick!?!"

    - Eric Idle, Monty Python's Flying Circus

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Kentucky!
    Posts
    4,749

    Re: Grain Whiskey VS. Malt Whiskey

    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.
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

    As long as you have good whiskey you're not "unemployed", you're "Funemployed!!!"

    I'm no Pappyophile

  4. #4
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    618

    Re: Grain Whiskey VS. Malt Whiskey

    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.

    Mark

    I love him whose soul squanders itself, who wants no thanks...for he always gives away and does not want to preserve himself.
    -Nietzsche


  5. #5
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    862

    Re: Grain Whiskey VS. Malt Whiskey

    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+.

  6. #6
    Virtuoso
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    1,176

    Re: Grain Whiskey VS. Malt Whiskey

    Quote Originally Posted by mgilbertva View Post
    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/...-hedonism.html

  7. #7
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    374

    Re: Grain Whiskey VS. Malt Whiskey

    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.
    Netherlands

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    9,096

    Re: Grain Whiskey VS. Malt Whiskey

    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
    Last edited by Gillman; 05-02-2008 at 10:55.

  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    9,096

    Re: Grain Whiskey VS. Malt Whiskey

    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

  10. #10
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Eastern MA
    Posts
    409

    Re: Grain Whiskey VS. Malt Whiskey

    Quote Originally Posted by sku View Post
    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/...-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.
    Mike

    "You're the best bourbon drinkers ever!" - Margo (waitress at Bourbon's Bistro in Louisville)

 

 

Similar Threads

  1. McCarthey Single Malt Whiskey
    By drrich1965 in forum Other American Whiskey
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 02-20-2008, 14:04
  2. Heaven Hill Malt Whiskey
    By cowdery in forum Other American Whiskey
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 10-15-2007, 16:55
  3. American malt whiskey distilleries?
    By lexkraai in forum History
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 11-17-2004, 05:11
  4. Grain whiskey (was Re: Gin isn't aged?)
    By OneCubeOnly in forum Non-Whiskey Alcohol
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 10-18-2004, 09:20

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Back to top