Clermont Steep Review

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Clermont Steep is the latest release from James B. Beam Distilling, and it is their first widely released American Single Malt. Clermont Steep is distilled and aged in Clermont, Kentucky, at the James B. Beam Distillery, just like many of their other whiskeys. It also uses their proprietary family yeast strain, and is aged in new charred oak barrels. So what is it like? Read our review to find out!

Clermont Steep
American Single Malt Whiskey
Distilled & Bottled By James B. Beam Distilling Co
Aged 60 Months
94 Proof
MSRP: $59.99 (750ml)

Please enjoy our Clermont Steep American Single Malt Whiskey Review!

A Single Malt Whiskey from James B. Beam Distilling?

When you think single malt whiskey, you’re probably not thinking about American whiskey. And if you are, then you probably aren’t thinking about Beam. Beam is all about bourbon, and maybe some rye, right? Well, yes, but now they are about American Single Malts, too. Clermont Steep American Single Malt Whiskey is distilled and aged in Clermont, Kentucky, at the James B. Beam Distillery, just like many of Beam’s other whiskeys.

Clermont Steep is Different Than Other Single Malts

Clermont Steep is different than many of the other American Single Malts. For instance, this whiskey is aged in new oak barrels that have been lightly toasted and lightly charred. How lightly charred? Well, to char level 1, to be exact. That’s the lowest level. For reference, most bourbons use char 3 and char 4 barrels and Beam uses char 4 for most of their bourbons.

While at the time of this writing, there is no actual legal standard for the American Single Malt style, the current proposal by the TTB simply states that it should be “… stored in oak barrels not exceeding 700 liters”. The proposal doesn’t mention whether the barrels must be new or used, charred or uncharred. In Scottish and Irish Single Malts, the barrels are most often previously used, and often times that first use was for bourbon. American Single Malts are a more diverse group, but Beam wanted theirs to have some of bourbon’s flavor characteristics. Using new charred oak barrels would add some similarity, and using the lighter char level would allow the softer malted barley flavors to shine through, as well.

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Clermont Steep’s Mash Bill & Yeast

According to Freddie Noe, Beam uses a mash bill consisting of 20% Vienna malt and 80% their standard distiller’s malt. That distiller’s malt is the same malted barley that they use in all their whiskeys. Beam also uses the same family yeast strain for Clermont Steep as they use for their bourbons. In fact, they still propagate that same yeast strain onsite.

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Tasting Notes – Clermont Steep American Single Malt Review

Let’s taste it:

🛌 Rested for 15 minutes in a Glencairn

👉Nose: Maltiness & graininess; toast; light smoke; mild brown sugar and light honey sweetness; subtle tart dried apricots and pears. mild to moderate alcohol
👉Taste: Brown sugar and honey sweetness; maltiness & graininess; ripe red delicious apples; light oak
👉Finish: White pepper spice, astringency and char rapidly dominate; the sweet maltiness lingers as well; long finish; moderate burn

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Malt & Grain Dominate In Clermont Steep

The graininess and maltiness are overwhelmingly the dominant flavors in Clermont Steep’s nose. It’s a bit like sniffing a handful of lightly toasted malt. There’s also a mild sweetness, and I want to find some fruit, but it is a bit of a struggle. Maybe some tart dried apricots and a touch of pear? Brown sugar and honey sweetness appear in the taste, although the graininess and maltiness are still quite noticeable. A pinch of ripe red delicious apples are tossed in, with the flavor balance overall remaining somewhat similar to the nose. However, in the finish, things get turned a bit upside down. Out of the blue, the graininess and maltiness turn more to an astringency which is joined by some barrel char and white pepper spice with a dash of black pepper, too. Pleasantly, some of the original sweet and grainy flavors linger on, as well.

Clermont Steep Is Different Than Single Malt Scotch or Irish Whiskey

The flavors are unsurprisingly completely different than a Single Malt Scotch or Irish Whiskey. They are a bit more similar to a few of the American Single Malts that I have had, but still different than many, mainly in just how grain forward Clermont Steep is. The new toasted and charred barrel is definitely playing its part, I suspect by decreasing some of the fruit and adding the light smokiness and more pronounced char in the finish.

Neck Label - Beam Clermont Steep - Review
Conclusion – Clermont Steep American Single Malt Whiskey Review

If you are a fan of grain forward whiskey, then Clermont Steep is made for you! However, if you regularly drink some of the other American Single Malts out there, you might find Clermont Steep is a little different than you might have expected. It’s still got the same general flavor profile, but you might want to give it a try before you buy. Have you tried Clermont Steep from the James B. Beam Distilling Co? What did you think? Cheers!🥃

We hope you have enjoyed our Clermont Steep American Single Malt Whiskey Next read our James B Beam Distilling Tour Review to learn all about it. Or, read our Hardin’s Creek Colonel James B Beam Bourbon Review to learn about one of the first bourbons in the Hardin’s Creek line.

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