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Re: Harry (and others)- what is your current malt whisky wash recipe

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  • bordermeister
    Hi Robert, I don t have a problem with all of the work I put in for what I am making, what I was after was (if Harry or others are willing to share) his/their
    Message 1 of 10 , Aug 8, 2008
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      Hi Robert,
      I don't have a problem with all of the work I put in for what I am
      making, what I was after was (if Harry or others are willing to share)
      his/their current whisky wash recipe.

      I have followed all of Harry's earlier posts and learnt a damn huge
      amount from Harry and yourself. I have no intention of aspiring to
      swill, I am aspiring to make a nice malt whisky, I was just after some
      further insight from others.

      Harry used to make a malt extract based wash, I was interested in
      after doing the Glenmorangie clone article he had changed his recipe
      to that, kept his old, came up with a hybrid recipe etc...

      Apologies if anyone mistook my intent to make cheap swill - that is
      not my intent, the opposite in fact, but was just intereted in gaining
      the learnings from others (a sharing our collective hard earned
      knowledge).

      Cheers
      Mark



      --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Robert Hubble <zymurgybob@...> wrote:
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      > Mark,
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      > I'm sure not Harry, but I have some strong opinions about what
      > you ask, and perhaps some insight.
      >
      > First off, any grain whisk(e)y making is a lot of work, and *could*
      > be a pain in the ass if you are not either pure of heart or just
      > plain simple. By the time you mash multiple low-gravity grain
      > washes, maybe with backset, sparge, distill a bunch of those
      > washes to get enough low wines, and make cuts that exclude
      > a lot of your hard-earned ethanol, you have expended a
      > tremendous amount of effort. It seems downright wasteful.
      >
      > Commercial distillers have understood this for centuries, and
      > many have evolved methods for cheating, chiseling, and cutting
      > corners, so they can make more money per batch. Higher ABV
      > wash? Sure, hold your nose and do it. Bottle more heads and
      > tails? Why not; the Philistines can't tell the difference. (Reference
      > here to the great scene in Joseph Heller's "Catch22" where
      > the mess sargeant mashes laundry soap into the sweet potatoes,
      > and everyone loves it) And of course, if you've cut all those
      > corners, you're sure as *hell* not going to age that crap 30
      > years.
      >
      > On the other hand, as a home distiller, you're not necessarily
      > bound to making economical whisk(e)y, and you can decide
      > for yourself what kind of whisk(e)y you'll make. You can make
      > a hootch as nasty as you want, or you can aspire to ambrosia.
      > You may not quite achieve the latter, but the former's easy as
      > pie.
      >
      > For me, it just never made sense to aspire to swill.
      >
      > Last weekend, at a party of a very close friend, we were
      > sipping wine on the deck when the cry went up, "Andy's
      > bringing out the fruit jars!", and I knew it was my stuff that
      > I had given him over the years. In all those jars was a pint,
      > half full on oak chips, of a yellow plum brandy I'd made 3+
      > years earlier, that had somehow escaped the "death by a
      > thousand sips".
      >
      > Aged 3 years, I think that is the best stuff I've ever made,
      > and rivals the best brandy I've ever tasted (later batches of
      > yellow plum never quite stood up to that one). Having done
      > that with brandy, I'm sure I can do it with whisk(e)y also,
      > but I understand it'll take some effort.
      >
      > Anyway, before you start, make up your mind which you want,
      > economical whisk(e)y, simple whisk(e)y, efficient whisk(e)y,
      > or good whisk(e)y, and then your path will be clear.
      >
      > (I have this urge to end that sentence with "little
      > grasshopper", but that's just my weirdness)
      >
      > I hope this helps.
      >
      >
      > Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller
      >
      > To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
      > From: bordermeister@...
      > Date: Fri, 8 Aug 2008 14:32:21 +0000
      > Subject: [Distillers] Harry (and others)- what is your current malt
      whisky wash recipe
      >
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      > Hi Harry, I started a while ago and used your simple
      whisky wash
      >
      > recipe with good results, strayed into the realm of clean vodka and
      >
      > have come back to true artisan spirits.
      >
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      > I have made several 'Glenmorangie' clone runs - the latest needs its
      >
      > spirit run hopefully this weekend. The latest are getting better but
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      > are a fair bit of effort/cost compared to your (Harry's) original
      recipe.
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      > I now have a nice flavourful feints collection and am wondering if the
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      > effort of the 'Glenmorangie' clone recipe is worth the cost/effort.
      >
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      > I realise this all comes down to personal preference, however I hold a
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      > great deal of respect for your hard earned knowledge, and was just
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      > curious to know how your current whisky wash is comprised - if you do
      >
      > not mind sharing your hard earned knowledge on this.
      >
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      > Many Thanks
      >
      > Mark
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      > PS - I am a convert into trying to make a true quality homemade whisky
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      > after all of my forays.
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      > _________________________________________________________________
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    • duds2u
      Don t you hate it when you have a great reply ready to send and you hit the wrong key and lose it. Here goes on the second edition. I hpoe it is as erudite as
      Message 2 of 10 , Aug 10, 2008
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        Don't you hate it when you have a great reply ready to send and you
        hit the wrong key and lose it.
        Here goes on the second edition. I hpoe it is as erudite as the first.

        I too commence the whisky journey after Harry published
        the "Glenmorangie" papers a couple of years ago. It's been a long and
        interesting journey and I must admit I have enjoyed all of the
        results, some more than others.

        Along the way it became very apparent that using the best ingredients
        and distilling skill are definitely not the only things required to
        make good whisky. Admittedly my skills have developed along the way
        but I still have a small amount of my original whisky left and it's
        not bad (Aussie slang). My notes tell me it wasn't real good at the
        time as new make but 2 years down the track it's "very interesting".

        Where am I going with this, well from my experience and research time
        and oak really do make the differnce. Certain authorites cite oak as
        contributing up to 60% of the flavours of whisky.

        Over the period I have been making whisky I have been experimenting
        with differing oak chip blends (toasted and untoasted) and have also
        used second use oak. It's been an intersting journey so far and my
        personal thoughts on the matter are that less oak for longer is
        better. It allows the complexities to develop without becoming tannic
        or woody while still allowing the malt flavours to impart their
        influence.

        I firmly believe that you have to establish a goal in what you are
        trying to achieve and to accomplish that you will need a couple of
        bottles of "quality control" handy to keep the taste buds on track.
        Just remember that you are not trying to copy someone elses product,
        you're making your own whisky to a style.

        Somewhere along the way yo are going to to do a taste test and
        say "That's getting close!". Here's where you remember Harry's advice
        and run for the notes to see what you did differently. You did take
        notes didn't you. If you didn't and your memory's like mine "What day
        was yesterday?" you have just lost 6 months of resarch.

        That being said I'll go back to your original question of what
        recipe are we using. For me I use a simple variation on Harry's LME
        recipe.
        2 kg peated malt barley (Mashed)
        3 kg LME
        2 kg Dextrose
        Water to 25 litres
        25 gm bakers yeast
        sachet Safale S-04 yeast
        (I have also used Prestige whisky yeast with AG with good results)

        This always works out to a initial SG of about 1.080 and ferments to
        about 1.004. I double ditill in a pot still using feints in the
        spirit run. The spirit run wash I dilute to 27% ABV and make cuts
        between about 77% and 62%ABV depending on the taste and nose.

        I dilute the new make to 63% and do a three month stepped dilution,
        10% per month, down to 43%.

        I am currently using a 60/40 mix of toasted and untoasted oak chip at
        rate of 5 gm per finished product and waiting at least 6 months.

        Patience, Bloody Patience

        This is my take and I'm happy with the product so far but as I said
        earlier, it's journey that I'm enjoying. If anyone has some hints on
        how to improve my method I'd be happy to hear them.

        Cheers
        Mal T.
      • Robert Hubble
        Mal, Really, *really* a good post, and I m sure glad you went to the trouble to rewrite it. We have a lot in common with our whisky journey ( I like that
        Message 3 of 10 , Aug 10, 2008
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          Mal,

          Really, *really* a good post, and I'm sure glad you went to the
          trouble to rewrite it. We have a lot in common with our "whisky
          journey" ( I like that description a lot). That said, you answered
          the original question way better than I did, and I'm saving this
          post for references.

          I've got some more replies inline.

          Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

          ________________________________
          >To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
          >From: taylormc@...
          >Date: Sun, 10 Aug 2008 07:00:22 +0000
          >Subject: [Distillers] Re: Harry (and others)- what is your current malt whisky wash recipe


          >Don't you hate it when you have a great reply ready to send and you

          >hit the wrong key and lose it.

          >Here goes on the second edition. I hpoe it is as erudite as the first.



          >I too commence the whisky journey after Harry published

          >the "Glenmorangie" papers a couple of years ago. It's been a long and

          >interesting journey and I must admit I have enjoyed all of the

          >results, some more than others.

          *** All I can say is, "Yes!"



          >Along the way it became very apparent that using the best ingredients

          >and distilling skill are definitely not the only things required to

          >make good whisky. Admittedly my skills have developed along the way

          >but I still have a small amount of my original whisky left and it's

          >not bad (Aussie slang). My notes tell me it wasn't real good at the

          *** No translation needed for Americans. We use the expression also.

          >time as new make but 2 years down the track it's "very interesting".



          >Where am I going with this, well from my experience and research time

          >and oak really do make the differnce. Certain authorites cite oak as

          >contributing up to 60% of the flavours of whisky.

          ***Whatever the percent is, it's a large one, and seriously important.



          >Over the period I have been making whisky I have been experimenting

          >with differing oak chip blends (toasted and untoasted) and have also

          >used second use oak. It's been an intersting journey so far and my

          >personal thoughts on the matter are that less oak for longer is

          >better. It allows the complexities to develop without becoming tannic

          >or woody while still allowing the malt flavours to impart their

          >influence.

          *** Last week I'd have told you the used oak was better, but then
          I tasted that yellow plum brandy that had been sitting on
          toasted American oak chips for 3 years. I just found a source
          of chips that solves some of the expense; 10 pounds of
          American toasted oak chips for about 27 USD. Looks like I'll
          be doing more ship aging soon.



          >I firmly believe that you have to establish a goal in what you are

          >trying to achieve and to accomplish that you will need a couple of

          >bottles of "quality control" handy to keep the taste buds on track.

          *** Good luck in *that*! The death of a thousand sips.

          >Just remember that you are not trying to copy someone elses product,

          >you're making your own whisky to a style.

          *** To me, this is the best part of your post, and the most important
          to one on the "whisky journey" (I love that expression). With any
          care at all, *all* of your whiskys will be better than *some* of the
          commercial stuff, and it will just get better and your own favorite
          whisky will evolve.


          >Somewhere along the way yo are going to to do a taste test and

          >say "That's getting close!". Here's where you remember Harry's advice

          >and run for the notes to see what you did differently. You did take

          >notes didn't you. If you didn't and your memory's like mine "What day

          >was yesterday?" you have just lost 6 months of resarch.

          *** I'm ashamed to admit I'm kinda sloppy in this respect. I keep
          notes, but I can't always find them.



          >That being said I'll go back to your original question of what

          >recipe are we using. For me I use a simple variation on Harry's LME

          >recipe.

          >2 kg peated malt barley (Mashed)

          >3 kg LME

          >2 kg Dextrose

          >Water to 25 litres

          >25 gm bakers yeast

          >sachet Safale S-04 yeast

          >(I have also used Prestige whisky yeast with AG with good results)

          *** Looks like a good recipe; I distill allgrain just because I brew
          allgrain.



          >This always works out to a initial SG of about 1.080 and ferments to

          >about 1.004. I double ditill in a pot still using feints in the

          >spirit run. The spirit run wash I dilute to 27% ABV and make cuts

          >between about 77% and 62%ABV depending on the taste and nose.

          *** We're also pretty close here.



          >I dilute the new make to 63% and do a three month stepped dilution,

          >10% per month, down to 43%.

          *** Harry got me started doing this. It makes sense, and the end
          results have sure been good. I'll keep on doing it.



          >I am currently using a 60/40 mix of toasted and untoasted oak chip at

          >rate of 5 gm per finished product and waiting at least 6 months.

          *** Interesting. I've never tried blending them.



          >Patience, Bloody Patience



          >This is my take and I'm happy with the product so far but as I said

          >earlier, it's journey that I'm enjoying. If anyone has some hints on

          >how to improve my method I'd be happy to hear them.

          ***Nothing to add, but you've given me some insight and
          confirmation.



          >Cheers

          >Mal T.





































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        • duds2u
          ... other ... G Day Harry, Care to enlighten us on the distillers whisky yeasts that you have had good results with and maybe where you found them if that s
          Message 4 of 10 , Aug 16, 2008
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            > .........I haven't done much whisky lately. Been concentrating on
            other
            > things. But if I was in need of a quick fix, then Dry Malt Extract, a
            > good distillers whisky yeast (there's a few around) and Essence of
            > Peatreek (search it here) would probably be as easy as it gets with
            > acceptable results. Mind you, Glenmorangie it ain't. But it's better
            > than some of the cheap commercial blends.

            >
            > Slainte!
            > regards Harry
            >
            G'Day Harry,
            Care to enlighten us on the distillers whisky yeasts that you have had
            good results with and maybe where you found them if that's kosher.

            The only one that I have been able to acquire down here is the Prestige
            whisky yeast with AG. Mostly I have stuck with bakers and a good ale
            yeast. I have been getting good flavours but losing out on the yield.
            The few times I used the WD yeast I found that I picked up between 2
            and 5 SG points on the fermentation.
            Cheers
            Mal T.
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