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What is Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey?

What is Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey?

Pennsylvania ‘style’ rye whiskey (also known as Monongahela Rye) has a very high proportion of rye in its mashbill, typically in the 80 to 90% range and historically was made from just two grains with the remaining 10 to 20% being malted barley.

Pennsylvania ‘style’ rye is famed for being bold, robust and spicy in comparison to the Maryland ‘style’ and Kentucky’s high corn variant.

There is no formal definition of Pennsylvania rye beyond the requirement that it be made in Pennsylvania and meet the US requirement for Rye Whiskey.

Traditionally Pennsylvania / Monongahela Rye used a ‘sweet mash technique’ as opposed to ‘sour mash’, meaning no backset of ‘mash’ is kept from the previous round of fermentation to kickstart the new process for the next round, so each batch starts anew.

Rye whiskey is a distilled spirit that meets the following criteria:

  • Produced in the United States
  • Made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% Rye 
  • Aged in new, charred oak barrels
  • Distilled to no more than 160 proof 80% ABV
  • Entered into the barrel for aging at no more than 125 proof 62.5% ABV
  • Bottled at more than 80 proof / 40% ABV
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