90 Year Family Tradition
It’s not a science, it’s a passion
How to make Rye Spirits? Well, at Iowa Legendary Rye we don’t perceive distilling as a procedure or an occupation, it’s a Passion. A heartfelt association between “Whiskey Rich” our master distiller and nature where every component, every change in the season, and each oak rung come together to create Iowa Legendary Rye’s World Class Rye. If you’ve ever wondered about the process and how to make ryes? Here is Distilling 101, how to make straight 100% rye-mash, and how it’s processed.
Our Prohibition Era Recipe
To begin we grow our rye within our family to ensure its excellence. From sprout to finish. After the selection process of only the best “All Natural Rye” is selected. We then start with a mix of 100% rye mash. To begin what’s known as our “mash build.” feed into a 23-gallon pot-still, “not a 1000 gallon plus Industrial cooker” we are a true small-batch. A process so delicate that too much will material will ruin the flavor.
That simple molecule (H20) or plain old water that breathes life into every aspect of nature. Most rye whiskeys are made from tap water containing iron, minerals, and chemicals in your cities waterline and have a slight metallic taste—not exactly attractive. Iowa hyper filtered water, however, is the cleanest, purest water, bringing both science and nature together like it was when the molecule combined. To craft our prohibition rye recipe – the very best we can. Adding the vaguely sweet, colorless white rye we all learned to love.
Bring On the yeast
Enter the distillery. After the mash cooking process, we transfer it from the cooker to the fermenting pot, we then cool it to 60–70°F and add yeast to eat that processes sugar creating alcohol. And today, more than 90 years later, Lorine Sextro’s grandson still maintains that same tradition.
Small Batch Distilled
While staying true to our Prohibition Era recipe. We craft our ryes in Small Batch to retain that special flavor. The way our Grandmother made it in the 1920s. Although this process is more time-consuming overall to produce our craft. We maintain that it has to be done exactly like it was. Keeping with tradition and our family’s to yours.
Age in new, charred American white oak barrels
The wood rye whiskey ages with. Has a lot to do with its final essence. And not any type of wood fits the bill—whether it’s toasted, seared or charred and to what degree. At ILR we age our rye into brand-new, charred, American white oak barrels. After being fired, the inside of the barrel takes on the deeply scaled, bumpy charcoal look. Which, caramelizes the sugars within the wood fibers to craft a richer more-flavorful rye.
The Aging process
After topping off our barrels (each one holds about 15 gallons of rye), we roll them into one of our open-aired, farm styled rack houses to age. Through Spring, Winter, Fall, and Summer; Iowa’s climate expands and retracts the wood. Allowing this rye to enter into the oak wood fiber to extract the caramelized sugars, smoky oak flavor, and golden-brown hues from the charred oak. Throughout this “breathing” process, a fair amount of the 15 gallons of rye is lost to both the barrel and evaporation. Then after two years of resting and aging; while waiting patiently. We are granted from nature; a sweet succulent rye. To treat you, and your family’s with our family tradition for years to come.