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Single Malt Whisky

Hey everyone, I'm just begin having fun with my new pot still. I would like to make a single malt whisky, scotch style. Do you have any recipes?



  • Not sure about where you're from and how much you know about mashing. Basically you make beer with peated barley and distill.

  • +1, but smoking with different things or not even smoking it makes great whiskey too...

  • Actually, to be a proper single malt, you don't really need peat or smoke. Irish whiskey can also be a single malt. Building on Unsensibel's comment, if you're an allgrain brewer, a single malt's easy to do. Although many just use one base malt, some of the flavors in specialty grains can come through nicely in a well-made whiskey. Think crystal or honey malts.

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

  • use pale brewing malted barley about 3.5kg crushed to make 20L a wash of 6/7% . mash in at 62/63C rest for 1hour then sparge at 80/82C

  • Hey there, I've been making Whisky for a while now, best results have been from straight Manuka smoked grain, and also red X caramalt came out pretty special, even an apple wood smoked malt one I made a few weeks ago is pretty good without aging in the barrel. I usually do a twenty or twenty five kilo bag of grain, and a twenty five kilo bag of Dex! Will give me around the 120 litres at six or seven percent! I also sparge the shit out of the grain cos the tannins aren't a problem, sometimes I even mash the spent grain again if the flavours are fragile and still in grain. Ferment with modiferm and a yeast with am. glucosidae. Just be warned it will froth right up through the your column if you're not careful!

  • edited June 2017

    @Craigarino, have you tried boiling the wort before fermentation? I had the same problem with frothing the first try at scotch. I've been an all grain beer brewer for some time and thought the froth maybe proteins that are seen during the hot break wort boil when brewing beer..... I just ran another 50 lb bag of scot malt last night this time boiling the wort past the hot break hoping to reduce the frothing during distillation. Pitched my first run with Nottingham/DADY yeast bomb that did ok on efficiency.

  • An onld friend who worked in the trade used a pack of glass marbles in the boiler. Swore it was the best thing for frothing. However, as a brewer myself, your observation makes perfect sense Matchstick.

  • I will post my findings next week when I make the run with the boiled wort.

  • I do 100% malted 2-Row Barley for 95% of my spirits. I have local breweries mash if for me and typically they boil , whirlpool, and cool it to 68 for me to transport to my shop and ferment and add a little UltraFerm.

    A few months ago, I had a brewery call me in an emergency, their steam boiler had flooded the control panel which killed it and filled up the steam lines with water, they did not know it until they had mashed out 30+ bbls or wort (4000L+)and transferred to their boil kettle... they sealed it off, I picked it up the next day, they ran it through the chiller when filling the totes, and I treated it normally... wort and beer tasted similar... not much difference that I could tell in the hearts of the spirit run.... yeast health and fermentation temp are far more influential...

    As far as foaming, Fermcap S all the way... I get 20% more boiler capacity with it....

    Regarding recipes, buy the book "Alt Whiskey" from Derek Bell from Corsair... worth every penny...

  • @cothermandistilling I agree on the book Alt whiskey. I have read it about 20 times. That and trying some different whiskeys recently I have my idea of what I want to make. Great book. Just buy it.

  • +1 on Alt Whiskey & FireWater for smoking malts / grain

  • I could tell some improvement with frothing from boiling the wort. Ill try Fermcap S next go-round. Thanks CothermanDisilling for the info!

  • Fermcap is great . Can be used in the boil , the fermenter , and In the still boiler .

    Brewers use whirfloc to coagulate protiens for beer and helps with clarity . Distillers often say the boil is a waste of time and ferment right after mashing . Any thoughts on the advantage or dis of the protiens in the fermenter and continuing to the still boiler ?

  • not sure re proteins, they might contribute to foaming / puking

    the only reason i'd give whisky wash a boil - or at lease heat to 85C and hold for a bit is to pasteurise / sanitise it ie get rid of organisms that might spoil the wash / compete with the yeast & introduce off flavours

  • edited January 2019

    It's arguable whether there is any benefit to boiling for distillers. We don't care about head retention, body, or clarity. Think of your favorite whiskey, think of the best whiskey you can imagine, there is about a 99.9% chance they don't boil. Hell, not only that, but there is a long history of using wooden fermenters in European and American whiskies. Wooden fermenters are impossible to sanitize, let alone sterilize, and are specifically used to harbor microbiology. Temperatures associated with whiskey mashing are not high enough to pasteurize, and most grain/malt is absolutely filthy from a bacterial perspective (lactobacillus being the predominant strains). There are tons of studies in academic journals looking at the contribution of bacterial fermentation as one of the factors driving the distinctiveness of certain spirits. Why do Japanese whiskies taste different from European whiskies, despite a nearly identical process? Turns out that Japanese distilleries harbor different lactobacillus strains from European distilleries, which have an impact on the resultant distillate.

    In American whiskey, because mash is fermented on the grain, and not lautered, there is a specific desire to keep enzymes active throughout fermentation process, ensuring maximal conversion and yield, boiling would denature enzymes in this case, and they would lose the benefit of active enzyme through fermentation.

    We wholeheartedly embrace terroir when it comes to wines, we now embrace it when it comes to beer - saison, farmhouse styles, sours, etc. In rum, it's becoming near impossible to not acknowledge it. It's arguable that it's been a huge part of the tradition of whiskey, even though they never formally recognized it's impact. The marketing guys will go on, and on, and on, and on, about the impact of water, where late stage bacterial fermentation has a significantly higher impact on the flavor of their spirits. Guess marketing guys don't think it sexy to talk bugs.

    Let's just say, it's not so clear cut.

  • In Derek bells book if you want to do scotch you need 80% straight barley and then 20% smoked for a medium smoke. He says and i beleive it over 40% smoked the smoke flavor becomes overwhelming. Which some people like but not me. I have done most of my runs using 20%smoked malt and it comes out like a nice light highland scotch as a white dog. I dont think i really want to go any heavier than 20%. If i had different smoked woods and had the time and money to experiment then i would do so but for now its the 80/20 split for me.

  • I've done 20% smoked and I thought it was too smokey initially, but 2 years later on oak it softened by 75% or more to something very nice. It could have used more smoke IMHO. Time changes everything, including the impact of peat.

  • Hey, the big reason for not boiling with whisky washes is to maximise attenuation.
    The boil will denature and deactivate all you enzymes but a whisky wash with no boil will continue to convert all you unfermentables (dextrins and maltriose etc.) in the wash back over the next day or so.
    We go from 1.060+ down to 0.996.
    You wont get that if you boil, you'll be sending potential LaLs down the drain with every run.

  • @jacksonbrown That's right about where we finish, too, with unboiled barley malt wort., typically after about 3.5-4 days fermentation. Hot wort typically runs about 17 Brix going into the fermenter.

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

  • @jacksonbrown said: Hey, the big reason for not boiling with whisky washes .......

    Sorry I am being a little stupid, in reading this. Are we saying we still heat the mash through our conversion steps say up to 75 deg C or whatever it is. But we do not heat up to the boil at 100 deg C ??

  • Correct @richard the boiling step and the multi step mashing temps are reserved for brewers. We have no need for it.

  • Why would you still do a mash out at 75C though? Just mash at your normal 66C and lauter (or not).

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • I have 4x 1000L fermenters of boiled, whirlpooled, and cooled 2-row that is at 1.00 and still dropping a bit from OG of 17.3Brix... From a local brewery that just got a grain silo, which lowered their grain cost about 25%.. and they passed of off to me... next batch I am having them not boil it and will compare...


    TBBC batch 84chart.jpg
    562 x 329 - 24K
  • edited February 2019

    @CothermanDistilling good stuff, 2 questions:

    1. What yeast are you using?
    2. is that a "Tilt" you're using to track the ferment?
  • I use various yeasts still experimenting, red star DADY, and USW-6 yeast from Fermentis, and have a bunch of white-star 500g bottles of various flavors of whiskey and rum... no real consensus on which one I like the best... heck, you can make pretty darn good stuff with the red-star baker's bricks and use it as a reference to gauge others on..

    yep that is one of four Tilt hydrometers I have, and love them...

  • cool thanks. been wondering how the tilt's perform. they certainly give a great indication of progress

  • cotherman does the tilt hydrometer work in an all grain , grain in fermentation . tim

  • Would get trapped by floating grain until the cap fell.

  • I bought two of them last year sometime. Yet to put them to the test, but I understand them to be great.

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