How to Make Whisky

making whisky

Scottish/Irish national pride issues aside, the basics of making whisky are pretty similar the world over. You will need a few items of equipment and ingredients for the process, which takes a few weeks to accomplish.

Ingredients and tools for making whisky

First of all you will need a whisky still. These are usually made of stainless steel or copper and can be found in speciality whisky shops or online. In addition you will need 4.5kg of maize, 19 litres of boiling water, 237g of yeast, a can of malt, 2.25kg sugar, one cake of yeast, a burlap sack, a piece of cheesecloth and a pillow case. These again can all be found is speciality whisky shops or online.

Method for making whisky

Place the maize into the burlap sack and soak well with warm water – the sack needs to be well saturated. Store the sack of maize in a warm, dark place for about 10 days, making sure it stays damp. You need to maintain a temperature of between 17-30 degrees C.

The maize will begin sprouting. When the sprouts reach about half a centimetre in length, rinse the maize in clean water, removing the roots and sprouts. These can be discarded while you retain the kernels of corn. It’s important to use sprouting grains in the whisky making process as they contain enzymes that facilitate the conversion of starch to sugar. The sugar forms the alcoholic part of the whisky and the maize provides the flavour.

The maize kernels should be placed in your fermenter and mashed up thoroughly so that none are left intact. Add the 18.9 litres of boiling water to the fermenter and allow to cool, then the 237g of yeast. Vent your fermenter according to instructions and then seal. Fermentation takes about a week.

Strain the liquid contents of the fermenter through a pillow case into your still after 7-10 days of fermentation. Add the can of malt and 18.9 litres of warm water to the still then stir in the sugar until it has dissolved. Finally, add the yeast cake.

Give the solution a good mix in your still and cover with the cheesecloth. Allow to ferment in a warm spot, again between 17-30 degrees C.

Cook the mixture off in the still into bottles of your choice.

This recipe shows how to make whisky with grain, North American style, like a bourbon. Malted barley is usually used for Scottish or Irish style whisky.

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