Friday, January 20, 2012

Distilling Whiskey

Whiskey is made either with rye, barley, or Indian corn. One, or all those kinds of grains is used, as they are more or less abundant in the country. I do not know how far they are mixed in Kentucky; but Indian corn is here in general the basis of whiskey, and more often employed alone.

I have ascertained, in the different distilleries which I have visited in the United States—

1stly. That, in general, the grain is not sprouted. I have, however, seen some distillers who put 10lbs. of malt into a hogshead of fermentation containing 100 gallons, which reduces it to almost nothing.

2dly. That they put two bushels of ground grain into a hogshead of fermentation containing 100 gallons, filled up with water.

3dly. They had a ferment to determine the fermentation, which, when finished, yields two gallons of whiskey per bushel of grain, and sometimes ten quarts, but very seldom. I do not know whether those results are exact; but, supposing them to be so, they must be subject to great variations, according to the quality of the grain, the season, the degree of heat, of the atmosphere, and the manner of conducting the fermentation. From my analyzing the different sorts of grains, I know that Indian corn must yield the most spirit.

From the above proportions, it results, that 100 gallons of the vinous liquor of distillers yield only 4 gallons of whiskey, and very seldom 5; that is, from a 25th to a 20th. It is easy to conceive how weak a mixture, 25 parts of water to one of whiskey, must be; thus the produce of the first distillation is only at 11° or 12° by the areometer, the water being at 10°. It is only by several subsequent distillations, that the necessary concentration is obtained, to make sale-able whiskey. These repeated operations are attended with an increased expense of fuel, labor, and time.

Such are the usual methods of the whiskey distillers. Before we compare them with those of the brewer, let us examine the nature of fermentation, and what are the elements the most proper to form a good vinous liquor: thence we shall judge with certainty, of those two ways of operating.

1 comment:

  1. I bought my still from this site a few days ago, I can't wait to use it! I've just harvested a number of banana stalks (that's like 300lbs). They're a lot so I obviously can't eat them all. I'm wondering if I can make something out of this fruit.