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Making Peated Scotch

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  • jnhaller@sbcglobal.net
    I believe I have made a major mistake while trying to make a peated scotch. I am wanting to make an Islay-type scotch with the high phenol flavor. Although the
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 22, 2012
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      I believe I have made a major mistake while trying to make a peated scotch. I am wanting to make an Islay-type scotch with the high phenol flavor. Although the local homebrew shop suggested I use peat smoked malt very sparingly, I figured they were referring to smoked beer requirements and not spirit requirements. So I decided to combine 80% Golden Promise with 20% peat smoked malt for my grain bill. I have already made 2/3 of the low wines for this run but have not begun any final spirit run. Now I have just read about a possible difference between "peat smoked flavor" and "peat flavor", the first being produced by the smoked grain and the second being caused by the use of peat flavored water.

      My questions: Did I use way too much peat smoked barley and will this cause an overpowering aroma to my scotch? If so, is dilution the only way to correct this? Also, I've been doing some searching through the Group's past postings and found a reference to "essence of peat reek". Is this a good alternative to using natural peat filtered water to gain the phenol characteristic. Any other suggestions for making an Islay-style scotch would be much appreciated.

      Happy Holidays to all!

      Jim
    • Alex Netherton
      Islay Scotch uses barley actually dried over a peat fire, giving the liquor a taste of smoke, some say, like a house that burned. Some of the Islay Scotches
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 22, 2012
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        Islay Scotch uses barley actually dried over a peat fire, giving the liquor a taste of smoke, some say, like a house that burned. Some of the Islay Scotches are very strong in this way. If you buy even a "reasonably" priced Scotch like Glenfiddich, you can taste this; many others like Famous Grouse, Laphroaig, and others. I have always wondered why some Bourbon maker didn't dry the malted corn, rye, or whatever with hickory wood for an interesting taste. See: http://www.whisky.de/archiv/experts/peat.htm

        This sprouting of the grain is called malting, and is a very important part of making high end whiskey. Low end whiskey is made with corn meal, and in the moonshine trade, with meal and sugar. High end whiskey uses malted corn, rye, barley, and even oats, and the sprouted grain gives out an enzyme called maltase which helps break down the sugars so the yeasts can use them, but also gives off flavor agents, which, incidentally, will be completely stripped out with a column still unless you are v-e-r-y careful, which is why, by law, all distilling in Scotland is done with pot stills. Most distilling in the US, however, is done with column stills.
        On 12/22/2012 8:46 AM, jnhaller@... wrote:
         

        I believe I have made a major mistake while trying to make a peated scotch. I am wanting to make an Islay-type scotch with the high phenol flavor. Although the local homebrew shop suggested I use peat smoked malt very sparingly, I figured they were referring to smoked beer requirements and not spirit requirements. So I decided to combine 80% Golden Promise with 20% peat smoked malt for my grain bill. I have already made 2/3 of the low wines for this run but have not begun any final spirit run. Now I have just read about a possible difference between "peat smoked flavor" and "peat flavor", the first being produced by the smoked grain and the second being caused by the use of peat flavored water.

        My questions: Did I use way too much peat smoked barley and will this cause an overpowering aroma to my scotch? If so, is dilution the only way to correct this? Also, I've been doing some searching through the Group's past postings and found a reference to "essence of peat reek". Is this a good alternative to using natural peat filtered water to gain the phenol characteristic. Any other suggestions for making an Islay-style scotch would be much appreciated.

        Happy Holidays to all!

        Jim


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