Some claim that whiskey (sometimes spelled whisky) is the world’s most popular distilled spirit. It is consumed worldwide and produced on every continent. But how exactly is whiskey made? In this essay, we’ll show you, step by step, how to produce whiskey with the help of a master distiller. We’ve also made a two-part how-to video series.
Step By Step Guide To Making Whiskey
Here are the individual steps for making whiskey. It is important to note that manufacturing whiskey at home is no different than making moonshine at home. For further information, follow the link or watch the video.
What is Whiskey?
Whiskey is produced all over the world, and the definition varies by area. However, whiskey is typically defined as a distilled spirit manufactured from fermented cereal grains. Here’s some background on what whiskey is and how it’s manufactured.
The answer to the issue of what is whiskey made of is dependent on the sort of whiskey in question. Single Malt Scotch Whisky (note the absence of the “e” in “Scotch Whisky”), for example, is manufactured entirely of malted barley and contains no other grains. Most other forms of whiskey (and whisky) do, however, contain extra cereal grains. Water, malted barley, and yeast are the three major ingredients in most whiskey, but whiskey also incorporates corn, rye, wheat, oats, and other grains.
Whiskey is usually bottled at 40% ABV (80 proof) or above, according to Chapter 4 of the United States TTB’s Beverage Alcohol Manual (BAM). Whiskey is frequently matured in white oak barrels before bottling.
Whiskey often tastes like the grain that was used to manufacture it. Bourbon, which is officially whiskey, is made mostly from corn and has a sweet corn flavor. matured whiskey frequently tastes like the oak barrels it was matured in, with notes of honey, vanilla, smoke, caramel, and even cherry fruit.
The high alcohol content of whiskey causes a “warm” sensation in the mouth, and the aftertaste is frequently peppery or spicy, especially when rye is used in the mash mix. A whiskey recipe that includes what will tend to be a little more mellow.
Although excessive whiskey use is often considered unhealthy due to its high alcohol level, 1.5 ounces of 86 proof whiskey contains approximately 105 calories, which is approximately half the calories of 12 ounces of IPA beer.
As a result, for those watching their weight, it may be a better option than beer. However, drink sensibly and limit your alcohol consumption to two drinks per day for males and one drink per day for women.
Food coloring and artificial flavoring can be added to whiskey, according to Chapter 7 of the TTB’s Alcohol Beverage Manual. In reality, except Bourbon, practically every variety of American whiskey allows for artificial flavoring and food coloring in levels of up to 2.5% of the total volume.
The only other form of whiskey produced in the United States that cannot have additional color or flavoring is whiskey designated “straight.” Such additions cannot be found in “straight whiskey” or “straight rye whiskey,” for example.
Although whisky was invented in Ireland and Scotland, it also has a long history in America. In reality, in an August 1777 letter to John Hancock, George Washington urged that the newly created American Government establish public distilleries because importing whiskey from Europe had become practically impossible owing to British Navy raids. What was the significance of this? Of course, because the soldiers required it.
“In like manner, since our Imports of Spirit have become so precarious—nay impracticable on account of the Enemy’s Fleet, which infests our Whole Coast, I would beg leave to suggest the propriety of erecting public Distilleries in different States. The benefits arising from the moderate use of strong Liquor have been experienced in All Armies, and are not to be disputed.”
There are numerous varieties of whiskey. Bourbon is a favorite of ours. We also enjoy Scotch and Irish whisky. We enjoy Japanese whiskey as well. Hmm, I guess it’s safe to say that I enjoy all varieties of whiskey. That’s why coming up with a whiskey formula for this project was so challenging. However, after much thought, we chose to brew something more akin to Tennessee whiskey.
Tennessee whiskey is mostly manufactured from grain. Malted barley is used to add body and starch conversion. And rye and wheat are frequently used to either spice up or smooth things out. The following are the specifics of our recipe.
This whiskey is created with traditional whiskey ingredients (corn, barley, and rye), but it is additionally “charcoal mellowed,” which necessitates the use of some additional elements. The mash bill for Jack Daniel’s, one of the world’s most popular whiskies, is composed of 80% maize, 12% barley, and 8% rye.
Keep in mind that the finished product will only taste as wonderful as the elements that went into it in the first place. As a result, our whiskey formula calls for an “all-grain” mash bill.
Here’s what we put into our whiskey mash:
- water 9 gallons
- 1 pound 11 ounces rye
- 2 lbs. malted barley 9 oz.
- 16 pounds 15 ounces flaked corn
- Yeast from distilleries
Our recipe almost closely matches the proportional amounts of Jack Daniels. Use the following formula to compute the relative percentage of a mash bill: Convert all weights to a common unit of measurement (in this case, ounces). Then tally everything up to get the overall weight. Then, divide the overall weight by the individual ingredient weights and multiply by 100.
Crushing grain and combining it with hot water is the first step in making a whiskey mash. The goal of preparing a whiskey mash is to convert complex carbohydrates into simple sugars that can be eaten by yeast and converted into alcohol during the fermentation process.
The ingredients listed above are portioned to allow for comfortable mashing in a 20 gallon kettle and represent roughly one-third of the total ingredient amounts required to generate 15 full gallons of wash for a stripping run and subsequent spirit run in an 8 gallon still.
To use the 8 gallon still we used for this method, you’ll need to either triple the mash recipe or scale it up and brew it in a larger brewing system.
We’ll make our mash in the same way that Jack Daniel’s prepares theirs. However, Jack first gelatinizes the corn at 212F, then cools it to 170F before adding the rye, and finally to 148F before adding the malted barley. We don’t need to cook the grains at 212 degrees because we’re using pre-gelatinized flakes of maize.
Mash grains in a variety of techniques, including fly sparging, batch sparging, step mashing, and the brew in a bag (or basket) method. This post will concentrate on the brew in a bag method because it is the most simple and requires the least amount of equipment.
The brew in a bag method is the most convenient method for mashing grains for an all grain mash. Crushed grain is introduced to a mash strainer basket in this procedure; the mash strainer bag works as a filter, making it very easy to separate the grains from the wort at the end of the mash.
Brewing system holding 20 gallons when the mash is finished, just remove the mash bag out of the mash tun, allowing the wort (the liquid after mashing) to drain back into the kettle. To make our whiskey mash, we employed Clawhammer’s 20 gallon brewing apparatus. Make sure to add enough water, and your mash will be delicious.
Whiskey Mash Steps
Here’s how to make a whiskey mash step by step.
- Grain crushing
- In a kettle, heat 9 liters of water to 147 degrees F.
- While stirring, add the grains to the water.
- Check the consistency of the mashed potatoes to ensure that they are soupy and not lumpy or dry.
- Maintain 147 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 to 90 minutes while recirculating liquid or stirring intermittently.
- Elevate the basket once mashing is finished to allow liquid to drain from the grains.
- Once the liquid has been drained, cool the wort to 70°F.
- Making a Whiskey Mash
Before fermentation, clean and disinfect everything that will come into contact with the cold wort (this does not include the brewing gear). Cleaning and sanitizing all equipment is the greatest way to prevent an infection from contaminating the mash. Using a cleanser like PBW plus a sanitizer like star-san reduces the possibility of a contaminated batch of wash.
Clean the fermentation equipment.
Pour the mash liquor into the fermenter.
Mix in the distiller’s yeast.
Aerate with a lid.
Set up an airlock.
Allow 10-14 days for fermentation.
How to Distill Whiskey
Here’s a video that walks you through the whiskey distilling process step by step. The complete procedure is also described in detail below, step by step.
If you don’t want to spend time watching the video, here are the steps:
- Set the still outside or in a well-ventilated environment.
- Fill the still with 6.5 gallons of wash and an anti-foaming agent.
- Place the still cover, column, cooling hoses, and drain hose in place.
- Heat the still to at least 174F to ensure that the liquid completely covers the heating element at all times.
- Check for vapor leaks while the still is heating.
- Fill a strong container with the stripping distillate.
- Always check that the distillate coming out of the still is cool to the touch and that no vapor is
- escaping through the still output pipe.
- Collect all distillate till the final product has a 5-10% ABV or below.
- Finish one more stripping run with the new, undistilled wash.
- Still empty and rinse.
- Fill a small jar halfway with whiskey.
- Fill the container with charred white oak.
- Allow up to 6-8 months to sit.
Whiskey is blended by tasting each whiskey in each aging vessel and mixing the vessels that produce the optimum scent and flavor combinations.
Whiskey is frequently packaged in empty store-bought bottles. If the bottle was previously corked, a corking tool can be used to re-cork it.
Additional Whiskey Recipes
There are numerous types of whiskey produced around the world. Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular whiskeys, along with some information on how they’re made:
Rye whiskey mash must be mostly composed of, you guessed it, rye. Here’s an example of rye whiskey mash: The grain bill is 60% malted rye, 35% corn, and 5% malted barley. This is an extremely unique recipe. This is the recipe that George Washington used to make the rye whiskey at his estate, according to historical distillery ledgers dating back to the late 1700s.
Bourbon whiskey is primarily made from corn, with malted barley used to convert starch to sugar. It’s then finished with either rye for a more vibrant drinking experience and a peppery finish, or wheat to smooth things out. We prefer to keep things mellower with Bourbon because it’s already fairly powerful due to the amount of corn in the mash bill and the fresh white oak barrels used to age it. 70% corn, 16% wheat, and 14% malted barley is our favourite recipe. It should be noted that this recipe may require the addition of enzymes to accomplish complete saccharification.
Scotch whisky – As one might expect, Scotch whiskey is created in Scottland. Scotch whiskey must be “…distilled at a distillery in Scotland from water and malted barley (to which only whole grains of other cereals may be added).” We interpret this to suggest that Scotch is predominantly malted barley with very little “other cereals.” Our recommended malt bill is 85% malted barley and 15% maize.
Tennessee whiskey – Despite the fact that it is featured above, here is our recommended Tennessee whiskey recipe: Contains 80% corn, 12% malted barley, and 8% rye.
Corn whiskey is made from 80% corn and 20% malted barley.
Wheat whiskey is one of our favorites, and a wheat whiskey recipe looks somewhat like this: 51% wheat, 80% wheat, 15% malted barley, and 15% corn are used.
51% malted barley, 40% corn, and 9% wheat make up malt whiskey.
Moonshine – Moonshine, like Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey, is primarily created from corn and malted barley. One of the more typical moonshine recipes we’ve heard includes 82% corn and 18% malted barley.
In conclusion, making homemade whiskey can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for those willing to put in the time and effort. However, it is important to remember that the process requires careful attention to detail and adherence to safety protocols. It is also essential to obtain the necessary permits and licenses if planning to sell or distribute the whiskey.
With the right ingredients, equipment, and knowledge, anyone can produce a quality whiskey that is uniquely their own. But it is important to remember that whiskey making is an art form, and success often comes with practice and experimentation. So, whether you are a seasoned distiller or a first-time whiskey maker, take the time to perfect your craft and enjoy the fruits of your labor responsibly.
Thank you for visiting Monopole Wine, we hope that the information provided is helpful to you.