Whiskey is one among the most preferred element in the cocktail and beverage cart. Conventionally speaking, whiskey is an amber colored distilled spirit mainly made from fermented grains. The potential process of making whiskey is complex and requires highly crafted hands. The store bought whiskey typically offers a bittersweet taste. But making whiskey at home allows one to instill the desired amount of flavor and taste.
Making your own cup of whiskey might be a prolonged process but it is definitely worth it. You will need the following ingredients –
- Suitable grain for malting
- Appropriate amount of water
Furthermore you would need several equipments-
- Grain grinder
- Kettle Pot (Electric or Stovetop)
- Fermentation container
- Air lockers
- Oak Barrels
First things first, you must choose the base for your beverage. Single malted high quality whiskey is generally made from barley but you can choose any other grain like rye, corn, wheat according to the availability. Corn yields more sugar and hence we will proceed with it because it is also least expensive.
Step 1- Sprouting/Malting
Sprouting simply means soaking the corn in warm water and letting it grow. Put 4.5 kg of untreated kernel corn in a sack and place the sack in container. Then, add warm water in the sack so that the corn gets immersed completely.
Keep the bag in the warm, dry and dark environment for about a week and a half (8-10 days). During this time, make sure the temperature of corn stays between 62⁰ and 82⁰ F (17⁰ and 30⁰ C).
After the sprouts grow 0.6cm long, rinse the corn with clean water. Try to remove the sprouted roots and discard them. Malting allows the enzymes in the corn to convert starch into sugar which eventually take the shape of alcohol.
Step 2: Mashing
It’s time for crushing the corn using a rolling pin or any other large implement like grain grinder. This is known as Mashing. Once all the kernels have been broken apart. It’s time for the yeast. Some online whiskey shops also furnish the ingredients and ways for whiskey making.
Step 3: Fermentation
Add 5 gallons (18.9L) of boiling hot water to the pile of mashed corn. Allow the mash to cool down to 30⁰C. The mash must be considerably warm for yeasting to happen. Once the required temperature is reached, add the yeast to the top of the mash and close the lid on the fermented.
Vent your fermenter with an airlock. Air lockers allow the carbon dioxide to escape but no air to get into the mash. If any air gets into the mash, the yeast wouldn’t work.
Now let your mash ferment in a warm environment. The very process will take somewhat 5-10 days. It’s important to use hydrometer to constantly track the temperature. It is ready for distillation if the temperature is same for consecutively 2-3 days.
Step 4: Distilling
Now strain the mash using cheesecloth into a still. Try to keep the transferred mash solid free. The clean mash not containing any particulate solids is called the wash or sour mash. At this point 15% of alcohol is already achieved.
Now heat the wash in the container slowly until it starts boiling. You don’t want to rush the process or else the wash will burn and the flavors will wash off. Take a good about 30 minutes to 1 hr until it begins to boil.
The temperature zone must be between 78⁰C – 100⁰C. When the alcohol inside the mash will turn into vapor, use a condenser to convert the vapor back into liquid. The formed liquid gets poured into a new container via the condenser. That is your liquor. The first 100ml should be discarded because they are a mixture of volatile compounds and are not advised to be consumed. It can be compared to pure methanol.
After 100ml the actual good alcohol that must be collected in batches. When the condenser hits 80-85⁰ C, you will see the valuable matter. It is referred to as the body of distillate. Collect the body until thermometer hits 96⁰C. Turn off the heat source and let the pot still cool down completely.
Step 5: Maturing/Ageing
At this point you have high AVB whiskey so now you need to dilute it down to 40-50% ABV (Alcohol by Volume). You can use the proof and tralle hydrometer to test the ABV.
Ageing makes it smoother and gives it a distinctive taste. Generally the whiskey is aged in oak barrels. When bottled, they stop aging. Barrels must be carefully charred and toasted first. After your whiskey is aged dilute it before you bottle it for a comfortable drinking experience.
Cheerio! Check – Whiskey Price in Delhi