How Whiskey Is Made
It is not easy for whiskey to be embraced as a drink. This is because its alcohol concentration is much higher than wines or beers, and some names can be difficult to pronounce like the Gaelic rooted Scotch whiskies. However, whiskeys have diverse and rich flavors, more than any spirit on the market. Some whiskeys can be downright challenging like the smoky, peat infused Scotch whiskeys.
Fortunately, many pleasures in life are acquired tastes, so this may be worth the pursuit. For some people, whiskey is more of an adventure than it is a drink. It invites enthusiasts to indulge and explore its diversity. Every country has its own version of traditional whiskeys and different methods of making whiskey.
The Definition of Whiskey
Whiskey is an alcoholic beverage that is made from grain. It is different from brandy and calvados, which are made from grapes and apples respectively.
The same process that is used to make beer is used in making whiskey. The sugars obtained from malted barley is fermented to produce alcohol, as is the case with beer brewing. The sugars are derived from the grain by steeping in hot water. The hot sugary water, commonly referred to as wort, is cooled down. Yeast is added to the wort and the mixture is allowed to ferment, creating beer in the process.
The main difference between wash, the beer used in making whiskey, and the beer that beer-brewers make is that brewers add hops to the beverage. Hops are bitter, and they are used to balance the sweetness of beer. They are also used to stabilize the flavor of beer. Distillers do not add hops when making whiskey. Oak barrels are used in the process of making whiskey to balance the flavors, distillation is done to increase the alcohol concentration which helps to preserve the whiskey.
When making whiskey from beer, distillation must be done. Distilling the wash captures and concentrates alcohol content. Distillers can either use copper pot stills or continuous column stills when making whiskey to distill wash. The spirit obtained from distillation is put in oak barrels for aging, and becomes whiskey after maturing. When making whiskey with different tastes, different types of casks, distillation processes and grains are used.