Making a grain based wash

Malt syrup/extract based recipe only

Malt extract is sold in both liquid (syrup) and powdered forms. The syrups are approximately 20 percent water, so 4 pounds of Dry Malt Extract (DME) is roughly equal to 5 pounds of Liquid Malt Extract (LME). DME is produced by heating the liquid extract and spraying it from an atomizer in a heated chamber. Strong air currents keep the droplets suspended until they dry and settle to the floor. DME is identical to LME except for the additional dehydration and lack of hopping. DME is not hopped because hop compounds would be lost during the final dehydration.

Materials needed

Malt extract, either dried or syrup (make sure the syrup is without hops, since we are not aiming for beer)
3 kg dextrose (check the exact amaount as indicated on the can)
Water to make up to 25 litres
25 gm Bakers yeast, ale yeast or turbo yeast
Oak flakes for flavoring

Obtain the lightest all malt non-pasturised extract possible for the best results. Mixed extract (50% wheat 50% malt) with or with out corn sugar, produce flavorful products.

Making the wash
It can not get any easier then this.

Open the can and heat the syrup au-bain-marie (in a pot of hot water) in order to make the syrup more fluid.
Nnever boil the extract just stir it into warm water. Boiling can carmelize the malt extract (which has already been boiled once) making more non-fermentable sugars.
Cool as quick as possible to 25°C - 26°C
Aerate wort
Pitch rehydrated yeast

This will give a fairly quick ferment and finish in about 3 to 4 days. Let it settle for a further 1 or 2 days after the bubbling has all-but stopped, to let the yeast re-absorb excess diacetyl and settle at the botom of the fermenter. Syphon the clear wash into the still and do the first distillation

Heat up slowly to prevent foaming - malt extract does have the tency to foam heavily upon distillation. You can add an anti foaming agent or half teaspoon of butter to break up the foaming.

First run: Stripping Run

Fill boiler to no more than ¾ to prevent boil over and turn on heater.
Collect all distillate to about 98°C. This is your low wines. (I do not make any cuts on the stripping run.)

Second run: Spirit Run

Mix 60% low wines with 40% feints (from the previous spirit run)
(If it is your first spirit run – top up boiler with water to safe alcohol level of max 45%)
Foreshots: Discard all distilate until 77°C is reached
Heads Collect all from 77°C to 75%ABV
Heart Collect from about 78% ABV to about 62% ABV
(this is not arbitary and you should trust your sense of taste and smell for the final cut points)
Run slowly - high simmer not rolling boil
Feints Increase power and collect to 98C

Ageing on Oak
Dilute Hearts to 63% abv with water
Add 50% toasted American oak flakes and 50% untoasted American oak flakes at 6gram per litre
Age 1 month at 63%
Dilute to 53%, age 1 month
Dilute to 43%, age 1 month and then bottle or leave on oak until ready

I find that it takes a couple of months on oak before the peat flavour begins to come out of hiding from behind the grain flavours.

I did a run recently where I kept 400 ml of the heart of hearts (75% to 65%ABV cut) and am aging that on second use oak chips using the same stepped dilution method. It's nearly 3 months old now and is going to be a "pearler". The peat is developing earlier and I expect will be more pronounced. This is a lot closer to some of the high end single malts. Interestingly enough, the removal of this amount from the heart collection (total of about 2.5 litres) has not made much difference to the remainder.


More recipes can be found in the section "Recipes of great Booze".