Last Updated on November 26, 2023 by Lydia Martin
Whiskeys, like other alcoholic beverages and distilled spirits, can have an aggressive burning sensation when taken. And when we think about it, you might think it must be very sour, similar to lemonade or any other sour refreshment.
But is whiskey acidic?
The team spent many hours gathering all the information we can provide for you.
All About Whiskey and Acidity
Whiskey is a kind of distilled beverage that is from grains. The fermented grains are being distilled, and then it is mixed with water. The fermented grains that contain enzymes will break down into starches down to sugars when cooked.
Whiskeys are the result of the fermentation and aging process, by that it releases chemicals with some acidic properties. Also, since whiskey is composed of ethanol and water, alcohol plays a huge role in contributing acid to whiskey.
Is Whiskey Acidic or Basic?
As whiskey is primarily consisted up of water and ethanol, it does not appear to be acidic. But this is deceptive because it implies that whiskey is pure water and ethanol, which isn’t. Barley, for example, has a lower pH of roughly 5.6, while barley mash has a lower pH of 5 to 5.5.
A study states that before being matured, whiskey’s acid level ranges from 4.4 to 5.1. It only indicates that whiskey is truly acidic.
Factors That May Affect Its Acidity Level
During aging, wood barrels are extracting Carboxylic. It can also be produced by yeast during fermentation. This means that, as long as the whiskey is aging inside the barrel, it will also keep producing carboxylic acid, which triggers the ph level of the whiskey.
According to a study of Bourbon and Whiskey, before being matured, whiskey had pH levels covering from 4.4 to 5.1. After 48 months, the pH levels ranged from 4.0 to 4.45. These pH levels indicate that an old whiskey is more acidic as it ages. It has a slightly higher level than black coffee but is lower than lemon juices.
It’s usual to see a bar table with a bunch of decanters filled with other alcohols like Bourbon. Usually, decanters are used for wine to allow the liquor or beverage to breathe. This process can unleash the wine’s aromas while also altering the drink’s flavor profile.
But decanters do not affect the flavor and taste profile of the whiskey. While the whiskey may breathe slightly, it’ll not taste different than it did straight from the bottle. But, how much whiskey will it really take to get you drunk?
The wine barrels that were made from European oak give acidic notes to the liquid-like orange and lime. By this, the normal scale of acid of the drink may increase quite a bit, somehow.
In terms of whiskey flavor profiles, sweet, fruity, spicy, oaky, or smoky are used to describe the whiskey’s profile. And these flavors came from the oak casks that were used during their maturation.
When producing whiskey, the spirit is being matured in wooden barrels before bottling. Oak barrels specifically are used in Bourbon. Upon aging in barrels, the acidity may increase due to its oxidation.
However, once the whiskey is bottled, the aging process stops in the liquid, and with this, the development of acid also stops.
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Acidity of Specific Brands
Specific brands of whiskey have significant variances in acidity levels. Here’s a summary of a few famous whiskeys:
The range of pH levels does not vary dramatically between brands or ages of whisky.
Which is less acidic, beer or whiskey?
Whiskey is less acidic than beer. It is because of the fermentation process, as well as the inclusion of sugars and wheat.
Wheat is the most acidic ingredient in beer. Lagers have a pH range of 4.0 to 5.0, while the Belgian beers are 3.5. So is whiskey healthier than beer then?
Which is less acidic, whiskey or wine?
Whiskeys are less acidic than wines because they contain sugar and yeast. The sugar is what raises its acid level. White wines with a high glucose level have around 3.0. The pH of light-bodied whites is 3.1, whereas the pH of other red wines is 3.5. But what’s the best whiskey for a Whiskey Sour?
Is cider more acidic than whiskey?
Yes, ciders are more acidic compared to whiskeys. The pH level of cider juice is usually between 0.3 and 0.5. The lower a substance’s pH level is, the more acidic it is. A pH level greater than 7 renders the liquid basic or alkaline.
So, Is Whiskey Acidic?
The answer is yes. However, it is not as acidic as other alcohols or drinks such as beer and wine. Since most whiskeys are composed of ethanol (drinkable alcohol) and water, their pH scale is neutral. Although in some cases, acids react differently with other compounds, causing corrosive reactions. 
This pH level in whiskey can rise during the maturing procedure and can be affected by other factors such as coloring and flavorings.