Is whisky matured in a sherry cask Kosher? I know there is a Machlokes about this. Who holds what?
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There's a good article that summarzies the opinions here: http://doseofhalacha.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/kashrus-of-scotch.html Read through the comments, too:
Essentially Rabbi Moshe Feinstein does not seem to have a problem with whisky matured in sherry casks. However he is reported to say that a "Ba’al Nefesh" should be stringent.
There is a very full discussion here where you can find all the sources.
Amongst Kashrus authorities, a search showed
2) cRc - Liquor List - Chicago Rabbinical Council Similar to 1
My personal experience is that most people including our LOR are not worried about whisky matured in sherry casks.
Rabbi Moshe Feinstein was addressing blended whiskey, but the issues are basically the same with regards to a sherry-cask scotch as far as I know.
Rabbi Feinstein said it was allowable, but not preferable; he personally made reasonable attempts to avoid such a product (as a chumrah) , and gave his blessing to those who would make a product certified as free of non-kosher wine. So authorities such as the cRc and Star-K who don't recommend "sherry-finished scotches" are following Rabbi Feinstein. They're not necessarily saying they're certifiably not kosher, just that they're not endorsed.
The Star-K's position, for instance, is if it says on the label "this contains sherry" (in one language or another), then they don't recommend it. If you don't know, then you can rely on its permissibility if it happens to be there.
Well, I'm the new Jewish boy around here. Please note that I´m also frum. Recently, I started to try beers more "pro" like, since I completely HATE vodka (what kind of Chabad am I, I don´t know, but smirnoff is definetly NOT my style), whiskey, many kinds of wine and, specially, gin and rum. But in beer I really found my spot, and started doing a "world tour" on different types, having a different one for every Shabbos. Last year though, when my mother, my father and I went into vacations for Sukkos, we decided to go to an empty pub the night before. There, she asked for a "beer that looks like wine" of course WITHOUT wine (there are some beers that mimic that taste without grapes, only the usual kosher stuff- yeast, malt, hops, sugar and water); the waiter came back with a Flanders Red Ale, at the time I had never heard of that type (there´s only like 5 or 6 brands that do that style, being the two most famous Verhaeghe-which is the best one and only does that- and Rodenbach). It tasted EXACLTY like balsamic vinegar and sour cherries, so my mom, apart from HATING balsamic, spewed it out thinking there were real grapes in the beer. Of course, this wans´t the fact. That beer had NOTHING of grape inside, but it had been matured in casks for months (between eight and eighteen months). Later I would learn from the brewery owner (without him knowing that i was asking for halachic purposes) that those casks (or tanks, since they are REALLY bigger), besides NO grape adding or wine (I told him I was allergic), hasn´t seen real wine for MANY years. Of course, I went directly to my rabbis concerned about the fact, specially because I know that Yeyn Nessech Eino Batel, and two of them permitted whilst one didn´t want to answer. I´m at the moment finishing my Smicha and the good thing is that I had a contact with the Shulchan Aruch in a closer way than bochur yeshives normally get. In Siman 137 of Yoreh Deah says that if the cask spent 12 months without wine, its ok. Even if in the meantime you put there beer or water (and some sustain even other liquids), the clock does not stops (although some maintain that that is only when there is a Sheish to batel the wine in the walls of the tank or cask)! Plus, there are many opinions that beer, more than ANY other liquids, POGEM the wine (see the Taz on Yoreh Deah 99, and Avodah Zarah where, I believe, Rav permits Ravina to store beer in a Kli that has been previously used for wine). I also heard, on the other hand, that Rabbi Landau Shlit´´a from Bnei Brak DEFINETELY prohibits ANYTHING that had been placed on those barrels, although many other poskim suggest that that´s just a stringency. I won´t say that Lechatchila it´s ok, but maybe bedieved there is where to Somech since it is not only one or two poskim, but MANY that maintain that beer Pogem the Wine (and even for a good Cheilek of people, the beer I just mentioned has a VERY PAGOM taste - specially those that aren´t in the "sour" type of beers). I would like to ask you guys opinions on this. Also, the first thing to mention is that this specific beer is matured on oaken casks that is about almost ten times the size of a Sherry normal cask, and has probably about a hundred years.