True Single Malt Whiskey

Single malt whisky is defined as a malt whisky from a single distillery, that is, whisky distilled from fermented mash made exclusively with malted barley. It is important to note that the whiskey is not the product of a single batch or a single barrel, but a single distillery.

4kg Peated Malt
1kg Marris Otter Malt
3Kg white Sugar or 4.5kg of Dextrose (Optional)
Whiskey Distillers Yeast
Distilling Conditioner
Large cooking pot (15L or greater)

1) Bring 15 litres of water to 73-74°C and pour into an insulated container*
2) Add cracked grains and stir well to ensure it is well mixed.
3) Check temperature of mash (should be around 64-65°C). If needed, correct with hot or cool water to achieve this temperature.
4) Leave the mash for 90 to 120 minutes, stirring frequently to maintain an even temperature throughout the mash.
5) While the first mash is taking place, heat another 12 litres of water to 78-79°C.
6) After the first mash is complete, drain the wort (liquid) off the grains and place liquid in a fermenter or pot. Put the grain to one side. This is called the ‘first runnings’.
7) After draining the first runnings, add the 12 litres of hot water to the grain and stir it well. Temperature should now be in the low to mid 70’s. Leave this second mash for another 90-120 minutes, stirring frequently.
8) Heat another 5 litres of water to 80°C
9) After the second mash is complete, drain off the hot wort liquid and add it to the first runnings.
10) Slowly pour the last 5 litres over the grain and drain it into the fermenter, to rinse the grains of any remaining goodness. Final volume should be around 25-26 litres.
11) If you are after extra alcohol, add 3 kg of white sugar and mix well to dissolve. Note this will reduce the flavour of the whisky.
12) Allow to cool to 20°C and pitch yeast, fermentation should take 4-5 days only.
*Use an eski or insulated water cooler for the mashing to ensure good, stable heat retention.

Procedure – Distillation
Note: This recipe is designed for use with a pot still.
1. After fermentation has ceased and yeast has settled out, decant wash from the fermenter into the boiler and add 3 caps of Distilling Conditioner.

The “Stripping Run”
2. Turn on the still and allow it to heat up to 55°C. Turn on the water flow and place your collection vessel under the outlet.
3. Collect and discard the first 50ml
4. You may need to increase the water flow slightly throughout this run – if you notice steam coming from your outlet, you will need to increase the flow.
5. After collecting and discarding the first 50ml, begin collecting all of the flow until the temperature reaches around 98°C (Alcohol percentage will be quite low by this stage around 18%). The yield should be around 6-7 litres (More if you added the sugar or dextrose)
6. Turn off still.

The “Spirit Run”
7. There are two ways of doing the next step: a) Do a number of stripping runs (usually 3 runs producing 6L each = 18L) and add them together. Pour into the still and dilute to 40% – this percentage is important for the spirit run to be effective and gives you a full boiler. b) Alternatively you can do one stripping run and use it straight away (watered down to 40%), giving you about 8-10L in the boiler. (Your yield will vary from run to run. There are no hard and fast amounts that you will collect, but as an estimate, 1⁄4 of your initial volume (around 6-6.5L from a full still run, will be good stuff)
8) Add Distilling Conditioner the boiler and commence the boil as normal.
9) When the temperature reaches 55°C, start the water flow.
10) Once the distillate begins to run, you will need to collect and discard significantly more ‘foreshots’ than in the stripping run (250-300mL is not unusual) and discard.
11) After collecting the fore shots, begin to collect small quantities (200-300mL) of the HEADS separately and put aside until you reach an approximate temperature of 82-83°C.
12) Once you’ve reached 82-83°C, place a large vessel under the outlet and collect the HEART (the “Good bit”) (from around 75% to 58% alcohol). This is generally between 83 and 90°C.
13) At 89°C, begin collecting the TAILS (Feints) in small separate containers, until the temperature reaches around 92-93°C.
14) At 93°C, collect the remainder in another large vessel up to about 98°C and put aside for later.

Sorting your Product
The next step is to determine how much of the distillate you want to use, this part can be quite tough and it come down to personal taste and experience.
15) Smell and taste (only a couple of drops) the first jar of HEADS you collected. It will probably be quite sharp smelling and tasting. If you do not like it, add this to your big vessel of TAILS.
16) Continue tasting the second and third jars of heads. They improve in both flavour and smell but if you are unhappy with either, add them to your TAILS vessel. If the third jar tastes and smells ok, add it to your HEARTS vessel.
17) The fourth and any subsequent jars should be good to add straight into the HEARTS.
18) Repeat the process with the small containers collected at the end of the HEARTS run. Smell and taste each one and add to the HEARTS or TAILS vessel.
19) Once you have sorted all your jars, put the TAILS vessel aside for use in your next stripping run (There is still good alcohol in this but it needs to be re-distilled)
20) Water your HEARTS distillate down to around 50% using filtered or distilled water and add it to a soaker jar containing some bourbon staves (12-15 staves per 5 litres). Leave for around a month, it will colour quite quickly but don’t worry too much about the colour as yet.
21) After the first month, water down the oaked spirit to around 45% and leave for another month.
22) After another month, water down again to 40% and leave for as long as you can, a minimum of a month but 3-4 is better!