New Riff Distilling has announced its Sour Mash Single Malt project, an exploration of the intersection of malted barley and the sour mash Kentucky whiskey making regimen. New Riff began distilling batches of malt whiskey back in 2014, with the first batch set to debut this fall.
The distillery has six different malt whiskey mash bills which co-founder Jay Erisman says will be blended into a range of New Riff malt whiskeys. The mash bills include whiskeys made with 100% Golden Promise, Maris Otter and Chevallier Heirloom malted barleys as well as mash bills inspired by a peated Scottish barley and two beer-inspired mash bills based on classic Barleywine and Belgian Quadruple recipes.
Erisman said on the project: “Even before the distillery opened, we were talking about the possibilities of malted barley distillation using the Kentucky regimen — that is, sour mashing, open fermentation, copper column still and using a continuous doubler for the second distillation. Malt whiskeys are made in Kentucky today on a modest basis — and they have a historical basis as well — but they are rarely mentioned and even more rarely bottled.”
“Our first malt whiskey came off the still before we’d even been distilling for six months. After that, one malt whiskey led to another, and another, and many types of casks … and all that led to a full-fledged malt whiskey program. Our Single Malt program represents a level of complexity and exploration in malted barley not seen before in Kentucky’s whiskey history.”
The malt whiskeys have matured in barrels ranging from new charred oak, de-charred toasted oak, red wine casks, Portuguese casks and classic sherried oak casks.
The core offering will be released in the fall of 2023 and bottled at cask strength and without chill filtration. More information will be revealed in the coming months.