Making an easy grain based Single malt whiskey

Grain syrup/malt extract based and some malted barley recipe for single malt whisky

Is it complicated? No, with basic ingredients and some patience, you can make a very nice single malt whisky. Just follow the steps and you will suprise yourself!


2 kg/4.4 lb cracked (peated) malt barley
2 kg/4.4 lb pale liquid malt extract (a.k.a. DME)
3 kg/6.6 lb dextrose
25 g/0.06 lb regular baking yeast
15 g/0.03 lb good quality ale yeast
Oak flakes for flavoring

Water to make up to 25 litres/6.6 gallon

This will give an initial S.G. of about 1.080 and normally finishes at about 1.005.


Making the wash
Heat 15 ltr/4 gallon water to 70°C, add peated malt and wrap in a blanket to keep the temperature stable.
Let sit 1 hour to allow the enzymes to convert the starch into fermentable sugars
Rinse grains in 4 ltr/1 gallon hot water 77°C/158F to a total of 19 ltr/ 5 gallon
Add pale malt extract and dextrose to hot water and stir til dissolved
Top up with cool water to total 25 ltr/6.6 gallon
Cool as quick as possible to 25°C - 26°C/77F
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. Do not try to rush it - just give it the time it needs.
Syphon the clear wash into the still and do the first distillation

Heat up slowly to prevent foaming ( I add a half teaspoon of butter or a teaspoon of vegetable oil, as it has a better flavour profile, 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/208F. 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/170F is reached
Heads Collect all from 77°C/170F to 75%ABV
Heart Collect from about 78% ABV to about 62% ABV (this is a rule of thumb 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/208F

Ageing on Oak
Dilute Hearts to 63% abv with water
Add 50% toasted American oak flakes and 50% untoasted American oak flakes at 6 gram per liter
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/0.1 gallon 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/0.7 gallon) has not made much difference to the remainder.


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