Four Roses by Mash Bill

Distillery Breakdown by Mash Bill – Four Roses

This is the fourth  distillery breakdown by mash bill (see Buffalo Trace, Heaven Hill and Jim Beam) I’ve done on the Bourbonr Blog. Initially, I thought Four Roses would be a simple breakdown. Four Roses has only 2 mash bills whereas, most distilleries have 2-5 bourbon mash bills plus a rye whiskey mash bill. The difficult (and interesting) part of Four Roses is while they only have 2 mash bills they incorporate 5 proprietary strands of yeast to create a total of 10 unique recipes.

Decoding Four Roses  Four Letter Recipes:

The first letter for every recipe is “O”. The “O” indicates that it was produced at the Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg, KY.

Four Roses mash bill is the second letter.

E = The mash bill that is 75% corn, 20% rye, 5% malted barley. B = The mash bill that is 60% corn, 35% rye, 5% malted barley.

The third letter will always be “S”, which designates straight whiskey distillation. That means every recipe will be “O_S_”. The recipes become a lot clearer when you realize there are only two variables in each recipe, the mash bill and the yeast.

One of the five unique strands of yeast is the fourth letter

K = Yeast K: rich in spiciness, full bodied

O = Yeast O: is floral (rose petal), spicy, medium bodied 

Q = Yeast Q: slightly fruity, spicy, medium bodied

F = Yeast F: is more herbal

V = Yeast V: is delicate fruit, spicy and creamy

Final note: I’ve heard rumors of a Four Roses 10 recipe sampler pack. In my opinion, this needs to happen! Until then I will continue to try to collect all 10 recipes from private barrels.

Break Down:

Four Roses Mash Bills

Break Down of Four Roses Limited Editions:

Four Roses Mash Bills - LE's

What are your favorites from Four Roses?


    Your graphics are great. Thanks for the work on them as its way easier to visualize than try to remember all of it.

    I started a pool on the SB forum asking which recipe was the favorite among the voters. Here are the majority results so far after 66 votes:
    OBSK: 32%
    OESO: 18%
    OBSV: 16%

    Guess those into FR like more rye than corn?

    Three of us picked up two recipes of the 2014 release, both were excellent but the OESQ warehouse RN barrel 85-3v was the hands down favorite over the OESO.

    I am researching to try and find out more about a bottle of whiskey I found in the closet of a house I purchased. It is Four Roses Rye. Black label, bottled in Louisville, KY. The bottle is beyond old but still sealed and the liquid clear. Think I found something special. Please let me know if you can give me any info on what I have found.
    Thank you,
    Jeff Nelson

    Very nice page!

    Niggling detail: your characterizations for “O” and “Q” yeasts are reversed, i.e., the description for yeast “O” is paired with the letter “Q” in the list (and vice versa.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *