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This one was developed from Harry's recipe by a local guy I built a pot still for.
Fine Scotch Whisky (produced at home - adopted from Harry's Glenmorangie clone recipe)
Be sure to consult Harry's posting.
At its outset, coming off a base of continual disappointment distilling neutral spirit from dextrose washes and flavoring with essences, all of which resulted in flavors comparable with cough medicine, I admit to once being hesitant when considering producing this (Harry's) whiskey. The cost and effort involved here exceed that of the dismal essence experience however, to end any hesitation, the result is replication of authentic scotch whiskey.
My whiskey, now entering its 2nd year is at 52% ABV and developing rich malt with beautiful, warm amber color and medium to strong peat smokiness, not unlike an Islay malt, it is already higher end quality.
From Harry's invaluable information, the following is the outcome of my interpretation of this and how I implemented his method (less the famous Glenmorangie 1/5 cut) to produce, as it is titled, Fine Scotch Whiskey.
Plus the usual home brewing essentials - stainless spoon, Pyrex measures, wine thief, auto syphon, appropriate hydrometers and sampling / measuring vessel.
(per fermenter x 2) the eventual total wort of 40L well matches the 50l still boiler, filling the boiler beyond this may cause foaming still contents to spoil the spirit....
These yeasts are vital in producing authentic scotch Whiskey flavor. (see Harry's posting) Prepare the wort - remember amounts are for 1 fermenter, you're making 2 batches.
Begin by mashing the grain, place dry grain (2kg per bucket - rough cut) add 6L tap water (hot as you can get it) wrap a good quilt tightly around the buckets to hold heat in. Leave 1 hour.
Alternatively, use slow cookers or large boiler to more efficiently mash your grain, hold temp at 65°C for 30 minutes.
Next strain liquid from the grain into a sterilized (new) garbage bin. With a couple of liters of very hot to boiling water, do a final rinse over the grain. Keep water usage to a minimum as your final fermenter level should not exceed 20L based on a 50L still boiler.
I squeeze dry mine, collecting nearly all moisture. This grain is now spent but you have (in your liquid) the all important peat smoke and some barley malt. In lieu of preparing an all grain ferment, the full maltiness, call it cheating, comes by adding light malt extract.
The temperature of the strained malt liquid is sufficient to fully liquefy the extract, add 6kg per fermenter. I used Coopers Light Malt Extract. Your level may now be around the 12L mark.
Aiming for a final fermenter temperature of around 25-30°C. (these years are temp forgiving, however, extremes will compromise quality) other than in mid winter, top up to 20L using cold tap water. In cold weather, wrapping Fermenters with a quilt over an electric blanket will maintain good temperature to complete the fermentation. Aim for an initial gravity of around 1070 and a final gravity of 1000 or less. Be aware that initial fermentation is quite aggressive, for this period it is unlikely that the electric blanket will be turned on.
Always, pitching yeast takes precedent over perfect wort temp. Your valuable wort is a t risk of wild yeast infection the longer it stands un-inoculated, don't become consumed with exacting temps. Into a clean jar, extract some wort using the wine thief and add both yeasts, shake well to hydrate, stir the hydrated yeast blend into the wort. Repeat this process for the 2nd 20L of wort.
With a hydrometer reading of 1000 or less, the fermented wort is ready for the still, charge the still with no more than 40L and bring to the boil. Once the condenser began to flow, I found strip runs ran smoother when the burners were kept below high, this prevented foam reaching the condenser and entering the collected strip. For final spirit quality, discard the initial 200ml of flow, then collect all strip down to an alcohol level of 20% or even slightly below, you can expect to collect up to 8 liters. Note the already scotch like taste and aroma of the strip or low wines, I stored this in a 50L beer keg.
Malt strip runs leave plenty of deposits within still components so be sure to clean equipment thoroughly following this procedure.
Repeat the fermentation and stripping process until you have collected at least 40L of strip.
Charge the still with 40L of collected strip and bring to the boil, once flowing, again, I collect and discard the initial 200ml of spirit however, in the name of clean spirit this may be overkill anyhow, beginning at 85% ABV or higher, direct all flow to the strip collector.
Approaching 82% ABV, you are soon to be collecting the hearts of your spirit run. Reduce the burners to medium to avoid getting flecks in the final spirit. At 80% ABV down to possibly 60% are, as a guide the hearts, collect these separately. Below here down to maybe 40%, flavors may change from good to bad and good again, at 500ml collection intervals for me if it smelled and tasted good, it was kept as hearts, the bad was collected as feints to return to the strip collector. From 40% down to 20% it is probably fair to say - direct all flow to the strip collector, these are flavorsome additions to future strip run collections.
Collected hearts were adjusted to 65% ABV using demineralized water then placed in large jars containing charred white oak. Jars served the purpose of storage with aging capabilities until several spirit runs were collected. I had a new charred L barrel on hand but I'm told these don't like to be less than half filled when new. Other than a few sample bottles which were adjusted from 65 to% ABV after being in a charred barrel only a matter of a few months, a few bottles taken later responded best when the ABV % was reduced in stages over time of small increments, my cuts were kept below 10% at around 8 week intervals. Use only demineralized water when making your cuts.
I kept the barrel contents at 65% for nearly 2 years before beginning the cutting process, I've not yet produced the final product.
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