The process of making whiskey at home is pretty easy, you need to make the infusion in an oak barrel or at least with oak wood in a barrel of another material. At the same time, the infusion process implies aging for about a year.
Of course, not everyone agrees to wait so long and often just uses oak sawdust and previously prepared moonshine instead of alcohol. Of course, the resulting drink will not be called whiskey, but if you are just starting to try your hand at home distilling, that will do.
The main problem in home brewing is to germinate malt at home. This is a complicated and time-consuming process that takes the lion’s share of effort. Fortunately, many specialty stores offer to buy ready-made germinated malt.
Other ingredients are not difficult to obtain, and special attention should be paid to the quality of water. It is better to use spring water, as boiled water and a purified bottled one can spoil the taste of the homemade whiskey.
The basic manufacturing process is the same and differs only in details.
- We grind the malt we buy and soak it in boiling water. This is how the mash is made;
- We add yeast fungus to the mash and clean it from unnecessary impurities and particles;
- The mash is fermented;
- The mash is distilled and we get raw alcohol;
- This is followed by a second distillation;
- The distillate is diluted with purified water to the required strength (the standard strength for whiskey is 40%);
- We expose the diluted distillate to aging in an oak cask for at least half a year, preferably longer.
So, you have decided to make your own whiskey at home. The process assumes that you already have the necessary equipment for this: a furnace, a distillation cube, a still, and an oak barrel. The last one is the most difficult. If you don’t have one, you can buy one. If there is no possibility to buy a barrel, you can use special stakes made of oak wood with a diameter of about 5 mm. Sawdust and oak bark are not suitable for home whiskey making as they contain a lot of tannins which can spoil the taste of the whiskey. In industrial production, such a thing is not a problem, but if we do not have at hand a cleaning plant, we will do with the pegs.
To prepare the pegs, pour boiling water on them and just let them sit for 10 minutes. Then ruthlessly pour the broth obtained and subject pegs to the second stage of soaking, but this time for half an hour in cold water. After that, drain the water and dry wooden pegs in the sun until completely dry. Then we simply add the pegs to jars or canisters with distillate and leave it all to mature for at least six months.
But all this magic will be superfluous if it is possible to age in a real oak barrel. The cost of the latter is not too much, especially if you take a small barrel (3-5 liters). After all, it is aging in an oak cask that gives the whiskey its color and flavor, saturates the taste with notes of oak wood barrel, hazelnut, and spices.