6 steps to learn about whiskey making

Let’s take a closer look at the whiskey brewing process. Different whiskeys have different brewing processes, but the basic process is still the same: they all use malted barley as a natural saccharifying agent to saccharify the raw starch, then ferment the saccharified liquid, and then distill it to obtain a colorless and transparent “new wine” , and finally becomes an amber liquid after aging in oak barrels, and what is finally obtained is the real whiskey. The most important things that distinguish different types of whiskey are the raw materials and distillation methods, and whether they are blended after aging.

The whiskey brewing process can generally be broken down into the following processes:

1. Soaking: Soak barley in water to promote germination. Although biological enzymes can be directly used as saccharifying agents, the use of malted barley as saccharifying agents is still the mainstream.

2. Germination: Transfer the soaked barley to the germination room and spread it out to allow it to germinate evenly.

There are also professional germination machines now, which look like giant drum washing machines and can better control temperature, humidity, etc.

3. Drying: The germinated barley becomes “green wheat”, and then dried at 60-70 degrees Celsius to stop germination and retain various amylase enzymes required for saccharification. The Scottish tradition is to use peat as fuel, so the whiskey has a peat flavor.

4. Grind raw materials: Release starch granules to facilitate saccharification. The raw materials can be pure malt, that is, germinated barley. Grain whiskey is made from corn, wheat, bare wheat or unmalted barley as the main raw materials, accounting for about 80% of all raw materials, and then added with ground malt as a saccharifying agent.

5. Saccharification: Add water to the ground raw materials to form a paste. Saccharification needs to be carried out at 60-65 degrees Celsius. Water quality has a great influence on the style of whiskey, so water source is the key to the distillery. This water is called: mother water.

6. Fermentation: After saccharification is completed, cool the saccharification liquid to 20-30 degrees Celsius, add yeast and start fermentation. After about 3 days of fermentation, a puree wine of about 7 degrees is formed.

7. Distillation: Based on the principle that the boiling point of alcohol is only 80 degrees Celsius, which is lower than the boiling point of water, the puree wine is heated so that the alcohol and aroma components vaporize before the water, and then condense to form a liquid. Generally, it needs to be distilled 2-3 times, or continuously, before a new wine with an alcohol content of about 70 degrees can be obtained.

8. Aging and maturation: New wine with an alcohol content of 70 degrees when entering the barrel needs to be diluted with water to about 65 degrees. Different wineries have different standards. Oak barrels can first absorb and eliminate impurities in the wine, and give the wine color and flavor substances. It can also allow the compounds in the wine to continue oxidation reactions through a long-term micro-oxygen environment.

9. Blending/bottling: The position of each barrel is different, and the whiskey will develop different styles after maturation, so they need to be blended. Not only the barrels of the same batch will be blended, but also the wines of different years will be blended, and will be diluted with water to more than 40 degrees. The bartender will finally blend a unified winery style. Of course, some distilleries will also select certain barrels with good flavor to produce single barrel whiskey that is bottled directly without blending.

This article was originally written by Four Degrees Red Wine. Welcome to pay attention and help you gain knowledge together!

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