Colorado’s Old Elk Releases Sour Mash Reserve

By Hannah Kanik / March 22, 2021

Old Elk is heading into 2021 with the recent launch of its limited release, small-batch Sour Mash Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey. 

The Old Elk’s Sour Mash Reserve is a throwback to the brand’s start-up roots, the distillers said. The founders a number of years back reached out to industry veteran Greg Metze, who is now their master distiller, to create a custom mash bill to craft a smooth, innovative whiskey.  The result? A unique, high-malted barley content bourbon of 51% corn, 34% malted barley and 15% rye. 

Some barrels with variations were set aside — including the Sour Mash Reserve. 

Old Elk Sour Mash Reserve

Old Elk Sour Mash Reserve (image via Old Elk)

“As distillers, we know the magic is in the fermentation. The beauty of this expression is the contrast in the flavor profile resulting from a change in yeast strain as well as the geographic location of the distillery. It is not well known, but it’s virtually impossible to replicate fermentation from one geographic location to another due to indigenous flora and fauna,” says Kate Douglas, Head Distiller at Old Elk Distillery, in a prepared statement. “Our distillers worked together to create a small-batch product extension that upholds the same standard our other award-winning whiskeys achieved. We promise the Old Elk herd that this product is an extension of our innovative whiskeys with all the world-class quality aspects.”

The Sour Mash Reserve is the latest in the lineup of whiskeys from Old Elk. 

“When we first decided to create Old Elk with our signature custom high-malt mash bill, we wanted to do something special, and as Kate says, ‘The magic is in the fermentation.’ We’re constantly exploring new expressions and knew that this is something extraordinary that will cause a stir among the whiskey community, especially those looking for variations in a small batch product. Each batch release contains only thirty barrels at a time, and the taste profile will vary slightly from batch to batch, making it exciting to search for each new release,” Old Elk’s CEO, Luis Gonzalez, added.

The sour mash technique promotes what’s described as ideal conditions for yeast to produce the best flavor. It is a lot-oriented expression using the familiar technique of sour mash. The first batch was distilled in New York with a proprietary yeast blend. 

The Sour Mash Reserve will be distributed by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits and will be a limited release with just over 5,000 bottles in the first batch.