Green Malt Rye Whisky
In the world of whiskies, Coppersea is kind of a departure across the board. We want to see what things people used to like to drink tasted like, what is interesting about them, and what is enjoyable about them.
The flavors that you are getting out of the Green Malt are unlike anything that you are going to get out of any whisky. It’s the wild one. It’s the one that turns heads. The grain for the Green Malt is sourced from farms in the Hudson Valley. We begin with steeping the grain in a large vessel that’s filled with the grain and water. From there it is laid on the floor of our malt-house where it is tended for about a week. Typically then the grain would go into our kiln where it would be dried down, but in the case of Green Malt we use it immediately. We bring it right up to our grinder and begin to grind it down and use it that day.
The malt that we’ve ground at the earliest stages will actually start to take on flavors like banana, pineapple, tropical fruit notes, and by the end, this entire mass of wet ground grain is already on its way to becoming whisky.
Mashing in an open wooden fermentor is a huge part of what makes this spirit and all of our spirits distinctive. These are not hermetically sealed steel vessels; these are Doug Fir — giant, open-topped fermentors. Every time a breeze comes through this distillery it’s bringing the wild yeast — the air that has been brushing across all of that flora, all of those characteristics — right into our space and right into our mash.
It then gets distilled twice: first time in the still behind us and then again in our smaller spirit stills. It is then direct-fired in the still which means that there is no steam jacket; there is literally an open flame underneath the copper pot that is heating the mash. This caramelizes some of the sugars, developing some flavors, and gets put into a barrel.
It is aged in 15-gallon new charred American oak barrels and we chose that because we wanted to use a minimal amount of oak. We want to use enough to give it a good, round, oak flavor without overpowering the things that make it really unique. In the end, we have a pretty good sense of what we’re going to get but it is always a delight to open that barrel up after almost a year in there and see what we’ve got.
When you first nose it, or taste it, you are very surprised even if you’ve tasted a lot of whiskies. When you live with it for a minute and really delve into it, I think you are going to find yourself coming back to it saying, “I want more of that thing that I tasted that time, that strange whisky from the Hudson Valley, that Green Malt Rye,” because it’s unlike anything you’ve ever had before.