How and what is whiskey made from on an industrial scale
Few people have ever tried a drink called Scottish or Irish moonshine. But everyone will be interested in knowing what whiskey is made of and how different brands are created.

Also, this drink was admired by Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill, Nikita Khrushchev and Nixon, not for nothing is it called the drink of politicians.

So why is he so loved? The inimitable aroma, flavor and aftertaste are conveyed by Churchill's famous words: "Whiskey is a mystery, a secret covered in darkness." The secret should mean admiration for how a delicious drink arises from a single grain. Let's solve this mystery.
What is the base of whiskey?

The base of whiskey is always malt (germinated grain). The main "whiskey" cereal is barley. Malt is added to almost all types and brands of beverages produced in Europe and America. The most elitist is the single malt (made exclusively with barley).

Which, however, does not mean that they took a barley distillation and after aging were "rolled" into bottles. In this case, the coupage is also carried out: they take alcohol from different aging periods, from different types of malt, and mix it in the last stage, before bottling.

In the Americas, bourbon is a popular corn variety, but it is not made from corn alone.

Reference. Corn is difficult to malting (malting).

Therefore, the technology was adopted: cornmeal is malted with barley malt.

Also suitable cereals for this type of alcohol:

Rye. Even straight rye whiskey is made in the US and Canada. The drink is "for an amateur", too strong.
Wheat. It is seldom used as the sole cereal, as the drink is too soft and sweet. As a rule, it is included in the mix.
Buckwheat. The buckwheat whiskey is produced in small batches, as the drink is specific, for connoisseurs.
Figure: Used primarily in Asia.

As part of the Natural Elite Whiskey:

barley malt and other cereals;
Water;
special yeast;
cornmeal is allowed in bourbon.

For cheaper varieties, in addition to the specified ingredients (malt required), it is allowed:

unmalted grain (i.e. grain alcohol);
candy;
sweeteners: sugar or honey;
colorants, aromas, etc., which must be indicated on the label and indicate that this whiskey brand does not belong to elite varieties.
Versatile production technology

The technology for making whiskey has been perfected for centuries and today, despite an abundance of innovations that can speed up and simplify the process, respected producers are strictly observed.

Consider the major stages of a universal technology that is used around the world, regardless of what grain they work with.
Malposition

Malting is the germination process of the grain. By creating a sprout, the grain is awakened and saturated with sugars, which become the grain's natural starch. But so far they are in a form inaccessible to yeast. From the malt, in the future, the masters get the available sugars that, in the fermentation process, will give alcohol.

Malting is carried out in several stages:

The malt master (there is such a respected profession in distiller circles) first determines the suitability of the grain for malt. For example, certain varieties of barley are used to create whiskey. Additionally, grains are evaluated for weight, purity, and harvest time. Freshly collected they are not suitable for germination, they have not yet awakened the "natural urge to germinate". It occurs when at least four months have passed. After a year of rest of the grain, its germination decreases.

Important. Therefore, malt is usually created in late autumn, when the grain has the maximum germination power. And ready-made dry malt can be stored for a long time in the right conditions without losing its properties.

The grain is tested for germination. For this, 100 grains of the total mass are counted (they are not specially selected). They are washed, the floating ones are removed, but they are taken into account in the total germination percentage. And they germinate in the same conditions as the bulk in the future. Only if the percentage of germination (hatched grains) exceeds 90 grains of the total, this batch of grains can be malt. Less than 90% germination is not adequate, a good malt will not work.
Processing of most of the grain. It should be understood that on an industrial scale, it is not kilograms that are evil, but tons:
the first stage is cleaning. The grain is soaked in huge vats, mixed and everything that floats is removed from the surface. The water is drained. Washing is carried out 3-4 times;
Disinfection is carried out so that foreign microorganisms do not spoil the malting. This is done with iodine or potassium permanganate;
then, during the day, the soaking and drying is done twice, which takes 6 hours. With the help of these manipulations, oxygen and moisture saturation occurs;
the grain ready for germination is spread in a thin layer (3-7 cm) and sprouts are expected to appear. At the same time, two or three times a day it is stirred and moistened.
Dry the malt and make the wort

Don't overstretch the bud, as the sugars feed the bud and are lost, and this also loses the possible amount of distillate for the whiskey. The sprout is generally the same length as the seed. After that, excess moisture is removed, dried in the sun under natural conditions and turned over.

The dry malt is re-soaked (for a day or more, depending on the desired effect). Then the moisture is removed and, in addition, it is fried in special ovens. For the base malt (in whiskey it is 80-100%), the roast is not strong. When frying, peat is added, which gives the whiskey a unique aroma.

Specialty malt varieties, which are added at 5 to 20% depending on the alcohol brand, are created by special roasting.

Attention. Before preparing the wort, the finished malt is aged for a month, also "ripening".

To create the wort, you need to follow several more steps:

Cleaning. A special vibrating device removes dry root shoots as well as other impurities. All of this serves to feed livestock.
And the remaining pure malt undergoes the following operation. It is tested for moisture, purity, and contamination with microorganisms. When this stage is successfully completed, the malt is allowed to further process.

Grinding. Here, special malt mills are used to grind grains. The requirements are strict: 70% - spent grain, 20% - grain, 10% - flour.
Congestion. The resulting grind is mixed with water, kept for a day, and then placed in a tub, which is called a Masb tun. It is made of cast iron or stainless steel and is coated with copper to keep it warm. It has a special agitator. Capacity - 15 tons. This is where the mashing takes place: heating, aging and transforming the malt sugars into simple forms available to yeast. The malted milk is drained from the vat, which will turn into a fermented product ready for distillation.

Fermentation of the must

Under industrial conditions, water closures and similar small "accessories" of moonshine are not used. Fermentation (fermentation) takes place in barrels per ton of capacity.

They are made of larch or pine. They prefer to ferment the wort for future elite whiskey in barrels made from Oregon pine, which has a high density of wood.

Today stainless steel barrels are also used. So:

The keg is filled about 2/3 of its volume with malted milk.
Yeast is introduced according to the recipe. The first stage of fermentation lasts a couple of hours: the yeast assimilates into a new environment and begins to multiply. The barrel is still ajar.
The second stage: the barrel is hermetically closed and left for fermentation, during which you can literally "walk with a shake", and the temperature inside rises to 35 ° C.
The third final stage is the final ripening, which lasts 12 hours. Specialists control it, accurately determining the distillation time (distillation).

How and what is whiskey made on an industrial scale? Manufacturing characteristics in different countries
Distillation process

The distillation is carried out exclusively in copper stills. This is an apparatus consisting of a distillation cube (in industrial conditions, not several tons, or even tens of tons), with an onion-shaped pommel and a narrow tube extending from it - a gooseneck.

Whiskey lends itself to double distillation.

The heated mash, ready for distillation, is fed from the vats to the first alembic, where the first distillation takes place.

Thanks to the interaction with copper, the distillate, freed from sulfur compounds (an indispensable companion of mashed grain raw materials) and cooled by special devices, has a strength of 28 ° after the first distillation.

It goes into the second alembic and from there it comes out with a graduation of 82-83 °, this is whiskey alcohol.

Characteristics. It is the copper that gives the whiskey of the future tones of nuts, chocolate, caramel.

If you drive a properly prepared wort through a glass or stainless steel apparatus, these flavor and aromatic nuances will not appear.
Barrel aging

For such a strong distillate to become whiskey, it is aged in oak barrels for 3 years or more. Elite varieties are aged exclusively in barrels supplied from Spain, in which sherry was previously aged.

Attention. There is whiskey aged up to 100 years.

But these are elite specialty varieties and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a bottle.
Mix and bottle

The whiskey is poured after the waiting time has expired. As for single malt, before bottling it is tasted, evaluated, filtered and then has the opportunity to salt
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