The answer to the question, how to make scotch whisky lies deep rooted in history. The method is fairly simple and unique, and starts with making of scotch malt, derived from barley, yeast and water.
Malting of barley is the first and foremost step in how to make scotch whisky. Germination of barley takes place by soaking it in huge tanks of water for two to three days, and then distributing it on the malting house floors. Drying of barley in a kiln marks the end of the germination process. The huge pagoda shaped chimney identifies a kiln, which is the heart of any distillery.
A smoke, which moves upwards, via a wire mesh floor, then dries the barley. This smoke emanates by firing the kilns with peat, a natural fuel, cut from the moors of Scotland. Scottish whiskey derives its characteristic odor and flavor from the smoke.
The starch in the barley converts to sugary liquid called wort, by roughly grounding the malted barley and mixing with hot water. Yeast added to the wort in a fermenting vat, converting it to wash. Wash is a crude alcohol, and tastes a bit sour like beer.
The critical and important step in how to make scotch whisky marks the distillation process using the popular swan necked copper stills. This process repeats twice and separates the alcohol from the wash.
An essential feature in how to make scotch whisky is the expertise of the stillman. The fine art of distilling, involves collection of Scotch Malt and grain spirit at the right time. The stillman does this part efficiently.
Alcohol vaporizes once the stillman, slowly increases the temperature of the wash still to heat the fermented liquid. The vapors are condensed back to liquid as they pass through the first swan necked copper still. The liquid generated collects in a receiver.
The distillation process repeats in the second still but the spirit is collected only from the middle part. The expertise and experience of the stillman is critical, as he collects only the best and the rest repeats through the collection process.
Whisky produced from wheat or maize constitutes American and Canadian grain whisky. The wort made by cooking the cereals under pressure to break down the starches to fermentable sugars and then mixed with malted barley and hot water. The fermentation of wort produces wash which is the distilled through the two columned and patented Coffey still. The standard quality of malt and grain spirit is collected.
The next step in how to make scotch whisky is the process of maturation. Special oak casks filled with the spirit and, kept for long periods in cool, dark warehouses.
The master blender chooses the casks or barrels, depending on the taste, odor and flavor of whiskey required. Many of the oak casks or barrels contain bourbon or have previously used to mature sherries.
The period of maturation for a good Scotch whisky is between five and excess of twenty five years. Three years of maturation or more certifies a whisky to be a Scotch whisky. Scotland’s cool temperature, pollution free air is an important factor contributing to the taste, flavor and character of the whiskey.
The final process of completion in how to make scotch whisky depends on the type, specification, blend and malt required.