Scottish Whisky Basic – Malt & Grain Whiskies
There are many types of scottish whisky in the market- blended, single malts, pure malts & etc.
Basically, all these whiskies are sourced from one and/or two basic whiskies, namely malt whisky and grain whisky respectively.
Obviously, it is made from the malt. Barley, under appropriate humidity and temperature, sprouts that called malt.
Dry and grind up the malt. Mix the malt powder with hot water that starch saccharifies to sugar. Yeast is added to the mash and fermentation then starts. A series of chemical reactions take place that turn sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Oh man, is it beer? Yes, this solution is quit similiar to beer, alcohol 5-7% by volume, so-called wash.
The wash is then pumped into a pot still, normally made from copper which is called wash still. First distillation produces spirit known as new wine with alcohol at about 20-40% by volume. The new wine is then processed second distillation at spirit still and final solution, the new spirit with alcohol at 60-70% by volume is output for next process – maturation.
Normally Scottish malt whiskies process double distillations while some distillatories do process the third distillation. However, there is only one distillatory doing true triple distillations in Scotland, Auchentoshan of Lowland. The rest mix triple distilled whiskies with standard double distilled whiskies for bottling.
The new spirit matures in barrel for not less than 3 years being claimed as “Whisky" in accordance with UK law. The whisky will then be directly bottled or blended with other malts and/or grain whisky (noramally diulted by water to alcohol by volume not less than 40% before bottling).
The raw materials include all kinds of grain, such as barley, rye, corn, wheat & etc. Malted barley may also be added but it plays only as a minor actor in this act. The making of grain whisky is similiar to malt whisky but no malting and drying are required. Distillation makes use of column still to process continuous distillation which is more efficient and therefore inexpensive than pot still distillation.