All About Single Malt

Single Malt Whiskey – First Release!

You’ve been asking “when?” for years. Now we have the answer!

As many of you know, Cedar Ridge has been making Single Malt Whiskey for years. We are now ready to begin releasing a few barrels.

Most of you are familiar with our Bourbon. Bourbon whiskey is whiskey that is made from at least 51% corn, and aged only in new American oak barrels. Our Bourbon grain bill generally includes 70-75% corn, with the remainder split evenly between rye and malted barley.

Single Malt whiskey, by contrast, is made from 100% malted barley. If we were in Scotland, we would call this product Single Malt Scotch. But we’re not. So we lose the “Scotch” designation. It is virtually the same otherwise. Not all Scotch, however, is Single Malt. Blended Scotch is generally a blend of both Single Malts and barley-based Whisky that is largely un-malted. Malting is the process of wetting and warming the barley, to allow germination to begin, then drying (sometimes with peat smoke) this barley at just the right moment to stop the germination right after certain enzymes have developed.

Single Malt Selection

So, while Bourbon is made from corn and aged in only NEW charred oak, Single Malt is made only from malted barley and never aged in new charred oak. In fact, most Single Malt is actually aged in used Bourbon casks (which can’t be used to make more Bourbon, because they are no longer “new”). Malted barley, in my opinion, makes a more delicate drink that requires more time in a more relaxed atmosphere. I’ve tasted Single Malt whiskey that was aged in new oak – it’s much more “upfront” or “forward” with its taste profile. Good Single Malt aged in used barrels takes more time to release all of its flavor and complexity on your tongue. You can’t rush Single Malt.

Cedar Ridge Single Malts will always be made from 100% malted barley. However, almost every barrel will be unique because we finish each cask differently. First of all, every “barrel” of our Single Malt will actually have aged in at least two different barrels. As our Single Malt matures, we dump it from the first barrel we age it in and transfer it to another barrel for “finishing”. We use a variety of different casks for this process – ex-Bourbon casks, ex-Port casks, ex-Rum casks, ex-Brandy cask, ex-Wine casks, even ex-Sherry casks we are shipping in from Europe. Secondly, we are experimenting with different styles of malts. We use two-row, peated, six-row – whatever we can get our hands on, as long as it is malted. This allows us to establish a unique “pedigree”, or history, for each finished barrel.

A couple of months ago, Kolin (our head distiller), Jon (our brewer) and I had the difficult task (haha) of tasting through our oldest 19 casks of Single Malt. (see photo above) After several hours of tasting, re-tasting and eliberation, we concluded we would have four casks worthy of release by this May. We believe we will have four more in August and four more in about November of 2013. We’re working hard to increase this production rate over time.

Over the coming weeks, please stay tuned to our emails and Facebook postings as we post more details
on the release of Iowa’s first Single Malts.

Jeff Quint, Proprietor

Cedar Ridge will be selling our first batch of Single Malt starting March 1 on this website.  Stay tuned for more information!


  1. 1-30-2013

    How exciting! I’m looking forward to it! Love Cedar Ridge bourbon.

  2. 1-30-2013

    Sounds wonderful. Will it be at stores or only at Cider Ridge? Can I reserve a bottle or two?

    Thanks, Don

    • 1-30-2013

      Stay tuned, and join our email list for updates!

  3. 1-30-2013

    I’m excited to try it!

  4. 1-30-2013

    That is a great accomplishment. Looking forward to a taste!

  5. 1-30-2013

    Barrel 1- Bottle 3- You guys rock and I can’t wait!

  6. 1-30-2013

    Each cask has a unique product. How will you present this/these? As unique, different drinks? Will they be blended together?

  7. 1-30-2013

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE save me a bottle!! Your bourbon kicks ass…and I can only imagine what your scotch will be like! Single Malts ROCK!

  8. 1-30-2013

    This is exciting, can I reserve a few bottles?

    • 1-30-2013

      Not yet, stay tuned! If you join our email list you’ll get more information in the coming months.

  9. 1-30-2013

    Been waiting, Yuummm!

  10. 1-30-2013

    Think your Bourbon is the best available! Can’t wait to try your single malt. I am enjoying a double “Old Fashion” made with your Bourbon as I write this ……. Thank you!!!!!!!

  11. 1-30-2013

    Outstanding? Will be out ASAP, save me a bottle.

    Jim Moriarty

    • 1-31-2013

      We will be preselling the bottles March 1, thorough this website. Stay tuned!

  12. 1-31-2013

    Love your bourbon. When will you have some older stock to sample?

  13. 1-31-2013

    Looking forward to the first taste!

  14. 3-2-2013

    Got my bottles ordered…happy birthday to me!

  15. 3-8-2013

    My wife just bought me bottle 307 for my 3/07 Birthday. Can’t wait to pick it up and have BD celebration in May.

  16. 3-27-2013

    Native of Iowa, born in Cedar Rapids in 57 but have not been back for years. Plan to make that long awaited return soon and will stop in for a visit and taste!

  17. 4-5-2013

    wow, from Iris ave nw, we wish you great tasting, will be there soon.

  18. 5-1-2013

    When can I pick up the bottles I have reserved?

    • 5-2-2013

      You may pick up your bottles starting this Friday, May 3.

  19. 8-24-2013

    Your bourbon is amazing! Can’t wait to try the single malt!!!

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