Kentucky Common, or Kentucky Sour Mash Beer, as its name implies, came out of Kentucky, and is one of only two American beer styles.
To make whiskey, the distillers mash grains with with hops and allow it to ferment. The distillers then distill the beer into whiskey. I suspect that Sour Mash Beer was made from this mash.
Fred Eckhard, in The Essentials of Beer Style, described the style as being very dark, almost a dark as Guinness stout. It had an original gravity of 1040-1050, and an average bitterness of 27 IBUs and brewed with 2% lactobacillum in the yeast. He also listed a Pennsyvania Swankey, which I assume is a variation of Kentucky common, that was brewed with anise seed boiled for 30 minutes.
To create this recipe, I started with a BYO recipe for a golden age pilsner. Since most whiskeys are made with corn and rye, I thought their presence in the BYO recipe made sense if I were to recreate a Kentucky Common Beer.
Here's my Prototype recipe (10 gallons):
Kentucky Common Beer
- Flaked maize – 2 lb
Flaked Rye – 1 lb
CaraPils – 1 lb
chocolate malt – 4 oz
Dark DME – 9 lb
Tettnager 4.5% AA/60 minutes
Hallertauer 4% AA/30 minutes
Belgian Ale yeast
Steep the carapils, chocolate malt, flaked rye, and flaked maize in 5 gal. heated to 150° F for 30 min. Remove the grains, bring to a boil, and add the DME. After boiling for 60 minutes, cool and pitch yeast.