How Irish Whiskey is Made
A Detailed Description of the Irish Whiskey Production
Irish Whiskey special? How is it produced? These questions will be answered down below.is widely popular. You may know it from the annual St. Patrick's Day. You surely have enjoyed a of Jameson or Bushmill's before. But what makes
The Origin and Types of Irish Whiskey
There is an ongoing debate whether the Irish Whiskey and Scotch started similar, but developed differently over time. The history of Irish Whiskey has ups and downs. Nowadays Irish Whiskey is recovering and becoming popular again.(uisge beatha) was first produced in Ireland or Scotland. Either way,
Types of Irish Whiskey
The 'best' Irish Whiskey is produced from only malted and is distilled on copper pot stills.is produced the same way as Scotch.
Due to the introduction of taxes on malt with other grains like , wheat and unmalted barley. This lead to the rise of Grain . Grain Whiskey is usually distilled on , because they offer a cheaper and continuous ., many distillers in Ireland started to replace some of the
Blended Irish Whiskey contains malt and Grain Whiskey. The higher the malt ratio, the better the Whiskey.
Compared to Scotland, Ireland has another type of Whiskey - Single Pot Still Whiskey. This Whiskey contains malt and Grain , but both have to be distilled on pot stills only.
Availability of Irish Whiskey
Due to the history of Ireland there are a lot of Whiskeys and only few Single Malts. Best known are Jameson, Tullamore, and Bushmills.
Single Malt Whiskeys are produced at Bushmills in Northern Ireland and at Cooleys in the Republic of Ireland. are part of the production at the New Midleton , where not only the famous Irish Blends Jameson, Power's, and Paddy are produced.
Grain Selection and Malting
Selection of the Main Ingredients
Irish Whiskey is produced from barley, wheat and corn. The amounts used depend on the type of Whiskey. Naturally the grain contains a lot of within its shell. This starch needs to be converted to which is needed for the where transforms sugar into alcohol. Most sugar can be extracted if barley is malted. If it is not malted or wheat or corn is used, the grain is cooked under pressure in order to cut the starch into sugar.
The best Whiskeys are produced from malted barley. However it is also the most expensive and laborious. In the following we describe all types of Irish .
Interesting fact: The Irish Whiskey production is so great that the whole country could never fulfill the industry's demand with its regionally grown grain. Therefore much is imported from the continent.
Whiskey production. It is needed in many steps of the production like , , cooling or reducing the Whiskey to bottle strength. In former times most of the power used in the distilleries often came from waterwheels. Below is a picture of the waterwheel of the Old Midelton distillery.is very crucial for the
Depending on the use the water can be taken from rivers or lakes. However the water quality in most rivers is not high enough for the Whiskey . Most of the distilleries thus take their water from water from local wells.
In order to produce Whiskey the has to be prepared differently then for Grain .
The Old Way
During the early ages and during the great rise of the Irish Whiskey industry, the barley was collected during the harvest season and stored in the silos at the distillery. The barley then had to be steeped and transferred to the floors. In the picture below you can see how the Midelton transported its barley to the malting floors at the higher levels.
The barley has to be steeped in to start the natural . It was then spread out on malting floors by hand with various tools. During the next five days the grain had to be turned regularly to ensure a even growth and to guard the malt from attacks of the all present mould. After enzymes inside the grain have transformed the starch into sugar the germination process needs to be stopped. Therefore the grains are dried until only 4% moisture remains.
In the old times smoky to the malt. Thus most Whiskeys back then had a smoky aroma. You can see the heritage of the peating process at almost all the distilleries. The houses with the shaped roofs used to be the kilns with the drying grid.was the cheapest source to produce the necessary heat for drying. However it added a
The Malting Process Today
After many improvements today's process differs from the traditional methods. The malting companies that produce more efficiently and supply both the Whiskey and industry. The desired peat level can be specified exactly.is malted in the big
Here we see one of the trucks from the big malters unloading the malt into the silos at the Bushmills distillery in northern Ireland.
The Process for Malt Whiskey
After the starch has been converted by enzymes into , it needs to be extracted from the corn. Malt mills grind down the into a coarse substance called . This grist is not as fine as flour and still contains all the elements of the shell.
The grist is mixed with hot water to wash out the sugar. Three times grist and water are mixed in mash tuns. Each time the temperature is increased until 95 °C. The last time the extracted sugar is least. And this last water is used for the next batch in the . The resulting sweet water is called and goes on to the fermentation. The remaining mash is used as animal feed.
The Process for Grain Whiskey
Milling and Mashing
Grain that is not malted still contains fermentation to work, it needs to be transformed without the help of natural enzymes into sugar. Thus the grain is milled and then pressure cooked. Two things happen together. The starch solutes out of the husks and the long molecules of the starch are cut into shorter sugars. The resulting sugar solution is called wort, the same as with Malt Whiskey.. For the alcoholic
The Chemical Process
The wort is cooled down to about 20 °C. Then yeast can be added. The solution is left in for 48-96 hours. In this time the yeast works and produces alcohol from . The yeast cultures also create a lot of and excess heat. If wash backs are placed in a cold environment the fermentation process is slower and the Whiskey is said to taste better. In big distilleries CO2 is collected and sold in pressurized steel bottles for industrial purposes.
The Wash Backs Today
Wash backs were used to be made from pine wood, because the containing resin made it highly resistant to bacteria
Today the wash backs are made most often of stainless steel and are sometimes equipped with cooling systems to precisely control the speed of the fermentation.
During the CO2 rising. Watch out if you look into one of these manholes. The alcoholic fumes rising are very sharp. The floors of the Washroom are always made of grids and the rooms are well ventilated to prevent the CO2 from building up and suffocating the workers.you see bubbles of
Irish Whiskey Distillation
Pot Still Distillation
The Early Start
The distillation. In order to satisfy the high demand most of the built huge pot stills like the ones you see in the museum of the Old Midelton distillery. These pot stills were large pieces of sheet metal copper riveted together. They were mostly fired by coal. Cleaning them was a long and hard job.industry was the first to produce in large quantities. Back in the days the only method was the
There was a separate room below the pot stills used to fire the pot. The workers had a bell and a string to communicate with theabove in this very loud and busy environment.
The big stills of the distilleries needed cooling after the . This could be either done by a steady flow of cold or by providing a large enough heat sink in the form of a big tub.
The process starts by filling the wash into the first pot still called . It is then heated and produces an alcohol solution called with about 20 to 25 vol %.
By heating the wash to a certain temperature the lighter alcohol evaporates rise up in the of the pot still. The rest of the wash remains in the pot. The vapor is then cooled down and gathered in spirit receivers.
In order to get Whiskey the process needs to be repeated. The first low wines is then filled into the second pot still. Usually a smaller one that produces alcohol with 60 to 70 vol %. At Bushmills and New Midleton the classic way of triple distillation is still performed. The new spirit (Raw Whiskey) still does not nearly taste as much as Whiskey. However the form of the pot still determines the later taste. To make it Whiskey the spirit needs to be aged in for at least three years.
If you want to learn more about distillation read this article.
Distillation in Column Stills (Coffey Stills)
The first fall of Irish Whiskey began with the invention of the column still distillation in Scotland. This process allowed a continuous and more efficient of cheap . The invention came from a man named Aeneas Coffey, who made it possible to distil unmalted grain in the distillation columns. This allowed a continuous and more efficient distillation of cheap Whiskey and the Column Still was given the nickname Coffey Still.
Nowadays Irish Whiskey, mainly Grain and Blended Whiskey, is also produced on column stills. High quality Malt Whiskey is still produced on pot stills only.
The distillation to separate the spirit from the . The way it works is that the wash is inserted high and flows down through the still. At the bottom steam is inserted and rises against the stream of wash. The alcohol is more likely to evaporate and rise in the still. In the end the different elements in the wash are distributed through the whole still. The lighter alcohols are at the top and the water and residue are collected at the bottom. Most distilleries have more than one coloumn still to have a better separation.uses fractional
A column still is made of many sections that are bolted together. Inside these sections you have even more layers that slow down the flow of the liquid downwards, but lets the steam rise through from below.
Cask Selection and Maturation
The Irish mature the majority of their Whiskey in Ex- from the US. The makes the Whiskey smooth and a bit mellow. Some of the special bottlings are stored in the more expensive Ex-Sherry or other Wine casks. The Wine casks are usually made of . The flavours are more intense and sometimes bitter from the tannins but also more fruity from the residue of the Wine in the porous .
During theperiod some of the liquid evaporates. This is called the . As the matures the spirit becomes darker and smother.
The modern warehouse
In the historic days of the Irish Whiskey production the spirit was matured in flat dunnage . The casks were rolled into the warehouses and stored in lying positions up to three layers high.
Today the demand is higher and the process is a bit more streamlined. The casks are put upright onto pallets and stored in higher warehouses. A new bunghole has to be drilled on the upper end of the barrel and enables to fill, probe, and empty the .
The casks is very important and leads to the blending process.of the individual
After the Whiskey has matured long enough it is vatted in large steel tanks for . Right before bottling the Irish Whiskey is filtered. Most of the brands choose to chill the Whiskey before filtering. This is done to prevent the Whiskey from becoming cloudy when ice is added to the drinking glass.
After filtering the Whiskey is bottled and shipped internationally for you to enjoy your dram of .