Scotch whisky demands a boat load of time to produce. It can be a tedious process that takes many years. However, when it is crafted in the right way, the product is one that is worth the long wait.
To begin with, the barley is submerged in deep tanks of water for roughly 72 hrs. The dampness causes the barley to get started with the germination process. Once germinated, the barley will be transferred to the malting area of the distillery where it’ll be put into drums also known as the malting floor.
The purpose of the germination process is to convert the starch in the grains into fermentable sugar. The yeast will process the sugars creating alcohol in the fermentation phase. Turning the barley regularly makes sure the temperature will remain consistent. Wooden spades called sheils are used to turn the grains on a traditional malting floor. The grains will die if the temperature gets above 71 degrees F. This would consequently stop the whole process since the starch won’t be converted to fermentable sugars.
The grain is then kiln dried to end the germination process and the continuation of sugar consumption. Typically, a traditional kiln is often a building standing 2 levels tall with the top perforated to allow for all heat to escape. The ground floor contains peat bricks that are burned. Throughout this process the grain is dried and absorbs the peat aroma and flavour. The pagoda roof style on a distillery is a very distinct characteristic. Today, almost all of the distilleries purchase malt from a malting company. On the other hand, there remain a select few that remain traditional and do everything by themselves.
The grain is milled into grist and mixed with water in mash tubs. The mixture is heated to 60 degrees. During the mashing period the water is changed a minimum of four times to clear away sediment. The byproduct of the mashing is named wort. The wort has to be cooled prior to mixing with yeast. This large container is never filled completely as the wort froths a good deal as a result of carbon dioxide. By the time a few days have passed, all of the yeast is killed because of the alcohol it made. The final product of the cycle is termed wash. It has 5 – 8 percent alcohol.
The stills where wash is placed are made of copper and are regulated to a particular shape which allows for proper distillation to take place. Distillation is generally performed twice, however, some distillers do it three times or more. Immediately after the entire process is complete the distillate will be put into barrels made usually of oak, for a at least 36 months. On the other hand, many Scotch whiskies are aged for a lot longer.
Author: Mark PaineThis author has published 1 articles so far.