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Jun 08, 2022 View:

Grain Bill for Whiskey

Does anyone know some good proportions of grains to use in developing whiskey, bourbon, rye, etc.? Lets say a bourbon: corn 51%+, wheat %, barley, %, rye%, etc.

When do or don't you need to add malt? Can you use pure un-malted grains if you add b-amylase for the starch conversions?

I heard that un-malted rye has the enzyme and you can make a 100% pure rye whiskey without adding amylase, is this so?

How do I figure how much grains to water to get the right SG in my wash? What is a good SG for a grain wash? I have heard 1080


Reply:Does anyone know some good proportions of grains to use in developing whiskey, bourbon, rye, etc.? Lets say a bourbon: corn 51%+, wheat %, barley, %, rye%, etc.
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Where do I find those grain bills you mention? I have over 100 whiskeys in my 'spirits library' so if I can find the grain bills I can quickly figure out what I would like to achieve.

I think proportions are a matter of personal taste- think about past experience- what do you like? Find a bar with a great selection of Whiskey, spend a few evenings trying a bunch of different styles, see what you like and what you don't like and go from there. You can find the grainbills for many of the big boy's products, or after tasting a lot of them you'll start to get a pretty good idea of what they are likely using.

We currently have several different batches- some more wheat some more rye- we're aging these test batches in small barrels trying to simulate effects of aging. We frequently extract some from a barrel or two and taste the. Once we have narrowed down the styles that we enjoy and work with our "terroir" we will increase production.


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...sorry, couldn't resist.


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Thanks... I saw that a split second after I took a sip of my gin. Now my monitor is soaked.

...sorry, couldn't resist.


Reply:Where do I find those grain bills you mention? I have over 100 whiskeys in my 'spirits library' so if I can find the grain bills I can quickly figure out what I would like to achieve.
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I'll do some research and see what I can find. i appreciate all the help.

I have around 300-400 bottles currently in my spirits library. I always try new things plus get samoples sent to me to review. It's a tough job (for my liver) but I guess someone has to do it. Why shouldn't it be me? If any of y'all are in mid-coast Maine you're more than welcome to stop by.

Yikes 100 whiskeys and no invite yet!?

Not sure where I had seen it, but I think it may have been on one of the yahoo distilling groups- if I get some time this weekend I'll see if I can find it. A google of "whiskey grain bills" yields some interesting links that explain some of the proportions commonly used for various products.

grain Guy.


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A typical Bourbon "mash bill", as they call it, would be something like 60% corn, 30% rye or wheat, and 10% malt.


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Jonathan,

Per CFR 27, Bourbon does not allow the addition of enzymes , so only the natural ones' in the grains may be used. You can still use the enzymes, but if you do you must call it something else.

The Alcohol Text Book, The Pracital Distiller and Whiskey all contain classical Bourbon formulae.

I have found that the commercial malts tastes like the company that made it as well as the genus and species. There are plenty of malts and grains yet to discovered for distilling. The reason the companies can't tell you is because they don't know.

Best regards,

Don


Reply:Jonathan,

Per CFR 27, Bourbon does not allow the addition of enzymes , so only the natural ones' in the grains may be used. You can still use the enzymes, but if you do you must call it something else.

The Alcohol Text Book, The Pracital Distiller and Whiskey all contain classical Bourbon formulae.

I have found that the commercial malts tastes like the company that made it as well as the genus and species. There are plenty of malts and grains yet to discovered for distilling. The reason the companies can't tell you is because they don't know.

Best regards,

Don


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On a related note, Misako Udo in his book The Scottish Whisky Distilleries does list extremely detailed information on the production techniques from your favorite Scotch distilleries (past and present). Grain ratios don't apply to Scotch mashes, so you wouldn't find this info in here. But you will find for some of the distilleries, infusion temperatures and cut points. The entire book is simply lists of these details (if available) for each distillery.

Glenn