Making a grain based wash is like brewing beer

Preparing a grain based wash is very similar to brewing beer. I will describe several recipies ranking from very basic, for which you will no additional equipment besides regular kitchenware, to the "all the way" method where you will start wil basic grains or malted grains.

Using grains vs. sugar

Producing alcohol from grain is a more complex process and requires several intermediary steps. These steps are needed as grain itself is a non-fermentable material. Certain elements of the cereal will have to be transformed into a fermentable solution and some elements will remain "as is". These elements are considered as by products and are fed to animals.

Although producing alcohol from grain is more complicated than from sugar, there is a significant benefit to the usage of grain as a base component. Grain based alcohol has a higher content of esters, which are responsible for the pronounced smell and flavor of grain based drinks such as Whiskey / Whisky / Bourbon / Gin / Jenever / etc. and - not to forget - it is much more fun to start with great smelling grain and slowly transform it into a nice drink.


What the big distillers use

There is a large variety of barleys available in the market. Each varaiety has it specif characteristics which make it suitable for a specific use.

The two major types are Two-rows and Six-rows.

The majority of the Scottish whiskey manufacurers are using predominantly the Optic barley variety. Optic barley was developed during the 1990s and accounts for between 50 and 60 percent of the barley market. Optic barley boasts better resilience, resistance to disease and stronger, shorter straw. It is later to mature than other strains of barley and is harvested in August.