Although the whiskey making process is similar to beer making, the nuances play an important role in producing one of the most unique spirits in the world.
Whiskey is sophisticated spirits, yet its ingredients and making stage are not complicated in whole. It is a type of distilled alcoholic drink made from barley, wheat, rye or corn and aged in oak barrels. Water, grain and yeast are essential ingredients for whiskey. Besides, pure and high-quality water its most basic element. That’s why, whiskey distilleries are built in areas that close to clean water sources. Similarly, barley is often harvested surrounding distilleries. Furthermore, the method of procuring and storing yeast is another important process for distilleries.
The first stage of whiskey making is malting. Barley harvested from the fields is steeped in clean and pure water for days; they get spread out with water for a time. The next step is drying the barley. Later on, barleys begin to sprout; thus, amylase converts into sugar. In drying process, ventilation is very important. Distillery works try to ventilate the sprouting barley with wooden shovels all day long; this stage can take about one week. After you get the barley with enough sugar degree that they are taken to a room and dried with a hot air from a kiln. As you can guess, this process is such an effective step in composing the characteristic smoky flavor.
Now it is time to grind the dried barley: Once the barley is ground in the mills, it is taken into mash tun that is filled with hot water. With mashing, maximum sugar content is getting. Wort is the liquid extracted from mashing process.
This is the stage that barley water begins to convert into alcohol. Firstly up, the hot wort is cooled and then draining to the washback, which is a huge equipment in distilling process. Here is the last stage that meeting with yeast. About one week after, a liquid is obtained contains between 7-10 percent alcohol level.
Today traditional copper pots are used for the distillation of the remaining liquid still. Alcohol and water, which must be decomposed, get distilled twice (or three times) in copper pots. Because the aim is to produce the golden liquid with 60 percent alcohol.
After the high liquid distilled, it then aged in wooden barrels. Whiskey must be aged in wooden barrels for at least three years. Sometimes it takes even 30 years. Whiskey aged in barrels are mixed with water before pouring their elegant bottles. In this way, the alcohol content of the whiskey is reduced to 40 percent.