Hard Truth Distilling Co. - First Barrel Strength Rye Whiskey

The calendar may call it Black Friday but for Hard Truth Distilling Co. in Nashville, Indiana the day after Thanksgiving this year should be called ‘Amber Friday’ as they get set to release their first barrel strength straight rye whiskey.

Hard Truth Distilling’s roots began with making craft beer in 2009. Six years later they took some of their old brewing equipment and converted it to a small distillery operation. Three years later they were all in on becoming the largest craft spirits maker in the state when they completed their new distillery on 325 acres on the outskirts of Nashville, Brown County, Indiana. Since then, they have been distilling gin, rum, vodka and bourbon & rye whiskey non-stop. Slide the arrows below to compare the before and after equipment photos below.

Hard Truth Distilling - Micro Distillery Above Restaurant, Distillation
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Hard Truth Distilling - Vendome Copper & Brass Works Distillation Equipment
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Factoid: Brown County, Indiana is a well-known tourist destination nicknamed the “Little Smokies” because of the area’s resemblance to the Great Smoky Mountains. The area encompasses nearly 16,000 acres of rugged hills, ridges, and fog-shrouded ravines. Indiana’s largest park is a traditional fall color hot spot, with nearly 20 miles of tree-lined roads and many scenic vistas overlooking miles of uninterrupted forestland. The area welcomes more than 1.3 million visitors each year.

Hard Truth Distilling to Release its First Straight Rye Whiskey

Hard Truth Distilling’s first straight rye whiskey Batch #001 will be a small batch of 30, two- to three-year-old barrels that will be bottled uncut, unfiltered and at barrel strength.

This will be the first release in what will become a series of sweet mash whiskeys. Over the next few years, Hard Truth is expected to introduce whiskeys from four unique rye mash bills and four unique bourbon mash bills, bringing a variety of flavor profiles to market.

“We’re on the forefront of a new era of whiskey-making as sweet mash pioneers here in the state of Indiana,” said Hard Truth Master Distiller Bryan Smith.

“There’s a small, but mighty group of distillers making sweet mash whiskey and celebrating this innovative way of making whiskey. I feel honored and proud to be in such great company,” Smith added, nodding to the quality whiskeys they are creating.

Most whiskeys are produced using a sour mash method — a process that uses leftover mash from previous distillations in each new batch of whiskey. Historically, this was done out of necessity because the high acidity of the leftover mash helps ensure no bacterial contamination or other infection in the new batches.

Advances in distilling systems and sanitization processes, however, have made sweet mash — a process where each new batch starts entirely fresh — not only a possibility, but an exciting way to create whiskeys with characteristics unique to the method.  

“The standard sour mash process can mute some amazingly complex and pleasant grain flavors that the sweet mash process tends to highlight. It’s a more expensive and labor-intensive process to make whiskey this way, but the final product speaks for itself,” explained Smith.

Hard Truth Sweet Mash Rye Whiskey Tasting Notes

“Our sweet mash rye whiskey has a layered and complex flavor profile and the sweetness of the grain features more prominently on the palate,” said Smith. “Most people expect savory and spicy only from a rye whiskey, but with our sweet mash, expect bright fruit, complex brown sugar and mocha with baking spice in the finish.”

Hard Truth Sweet Mash Rye is a deep, clear mahogany color with an aroma featuring bright notes of mocha, nutmeg, and ripe orchard fruit. It offers rich toffee, brown sugar, and peach flavors that envelop the palate, and the finish is smooth with lingering notes of chocolate, oak, and pepper.

“Authenticity is at the core of our whiskey making which is why we are bottling our sweet mash rye whiskey at barrel strength, uncut and unfiltered — a true expression of our whiskey making,” Smith explained.

“Our Hard Truth Sweet Mash Rye wasn’t dreamt up in a boardroom or around a corporate table — it was made from dream to bottle, right here on these 325 acres. You can come visit us, meet the makers, see it being made, taste it, and experience Hard Truth in a very real and up-close way. We are hardworking, real people, making incredibly innovative, high-quality whiskey, and that passion for hard work and making a quality product resonates with people.”

Available Starting Black Friday, Nov. 26, 2021

Hard Truth Sweet Mash Rye Whiskey Batch #001 is bottled at barrel strength — 115.2 proof (57.6% ABV). Bottles will be available for purchase on the Hard Truth campus and in select retailers throughout Hard Truth’s distribution area with a suggested retail price of $69.95 for a 750 mL bottle.

Learn more about Hard Truth Distilling Co.
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Hard Truth Distilling Co. - Hard Truth Sweet Mash Rye Straight Whiskey Bottle
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