How Is Whiskey Aged
Even though it doesnt take long to distill a barrel of whiskey, it does take time to achieve that peaty, golden whiskey profile that whiskey connoisseurs typically relish. The high wine when first distilled is clear, and tastes more like the grain its made from.
But things start to get interesting when the high wine goes into the wooden barrel. Most whiskies are aged in wood barrels, but corn whiskey can be aged or unaged. There are two major factors that dictate how each batch of whiskey will taste like decades into the future.
First is the type of barrel used in the aging process, and second is the environment the barrel is stored in. Water is added to the high wine to reduce the alcohol content down to 65 percent or more for Scotch whiskies, and 50 percent to 60 percent for American whiskies.
For Scotch whiskies to become less alcoholic, they are aged in warmer drier conditions, whereas American whiskies are aged in drier, warmer conditions to lose water, and boost their alcohol content.
It takes approximately between two to four years for whiskies to mature, but many premium whiskies are aged much longer, some more than 15 years. Each year of the aging process takes away two percent of the spirit due to natural evaporation.
The fact that theres less whiskey in the cask to bottle explains why older whiskies are a treasure, and much more expensive. Whiskey is always bottled in glass bottles, because the golden liquid doesnt react to glass to alter its flavor.
How To: Make Gin At Home
Fancy making your own gin? Its not as difficult as you may think
You have three options, as far as I can see:
- if you live in London book yourself into a session to distill your own gin
- buy a box of sacred gin distillates to blend together
- buy a compound gin kit
OR , you can follow the guide below to make a compound gin at home. Without having to fork out loads of money for stuff you already have. YES!
What Is The Difference Between Gin And Vodka
Well, the ingredients and distilling processes are different. You can make Vodka from more or less anything – wheat, rice, corn, barley, rye, sorghum, grapes the list goes on.Whether its made from grains or potatoes, once its all been mashed up, its the enzymes that get to work and create the fermentation and sugars needed for it to become Vodka.Multiple distillations, filtration, and search for the purest water to use in Vodka contribute to the neutral character of the little water. Usually, Vodka has an alcohol content of 40-55% and is less flavorful than other Spirits – which is why some dont care for it, and for others, its their go-to cocktail buddy.
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Fermentation Mash To Make Whiskey
After youve cooked the grain and its transformed into mash, its time to get yeasting! Add some yeast to your cooked corn mash, and fire up the fermentation process in any type of sealed container or repurpose the home brewing beer kit to ease the process.
It is indeed better to ferment in a home brewing beer kit, as you can regulate the temperature, which helps because you dont want the yeast to get too hot or else it will die. It may take several days for the fermentation process, so you just have to be patient.
Fermented home whiskey will start of as tasting fairly sweet to a fairly sour taste, which simply means that its working, and your sugar is being converted into alcohol.
Once the home made whiskey is fermented, you will need to strain the mash into a still, and since you dont have an industrial grade appliance, a small scale home whiskey making still should do the trick.
Fire up the mash until its a piping hot 80 degrees Celsius, and let the mash convert into vapor. The vapor that rises from the still is basically converted back into liquid, which is voila your homemade whiskey.
Word of caution: You should probably not use the first 100 milliliters or so from the batch of homemade whiskey, as it might not taste great, and can be potentially dangerous to drink. To transform your raw whiskey into a finished product, you will have to let it age in a barrel.
Marketing Analysis Of The Spirit Market & Metrics
The market for craft distilled spirits has grown dramatically over the last few years however, you will need to conduct a careful analysis of the geographical and niche opportunities in the craft spirits market. ;Latest research shows that gin sales rose 12% in the 12 months to June 2017 according to the Wine & Spirit Trade Association ; The UK exports gin to 139 countries and since 2000 exports have risen by 166% invalue.Running a distillery even a small craft distillery there are certain key financial concepts that are paramount. ;Cashflow is king. You make be making a profit, but if you have no cash to pay your overheads you will very quickly be at the mercy of banks or creditors. ;Make sure you get paid promptly for your craft spirits or gin and dont let pubs, bars or off licences run up lines of credit.. Remember the old adage that turnover is vanity but profit is sanity. ;You may think that you are selling lots of your craft gin but if you are not making any or enough profit on each bottle then its only a matter of time before your distillery goes bust. Our expert tutors will show you how to price your spirits to account for all the costs including beer duty and VAT.
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What Is Gin Made Out Of
Gin in its most basic form is actually pretty straightforward. Its simply a neutral spirit as the base which is then flavored with botanicals.
Botanicals are any plant material used as a way to add flavor; they release their flavors upon infusing them into the raw spirit.
You can say its pretty much like special flavored vodka. When you say gin, it means that juniper berries are the most dominant among the botanicals, and it is at least 37.5% alcohol by volume .
Most industrial and commercial gin makers extract the flavors from botanicals via a distillation process.
However, it is possible to make gin simply by steeping plants, herbs, or spices in the base spirit.
Yes, you can very much make your own gin at home using vodka. Its easy! Just like making vodka at home.
Beyond the vodka and the juniper berries, you can feel free to experiment with whatevers in your spice cabinet, fruit you like, plus botanicals from your herb garden.
Some of the most commonly used gin botanicals are coriander seeds, angelica root, citrus peel, and cinnamon. But this is just to list a few! Again, feel free to include any spices and herbs.
Maybe you can try bay leaves, rosemary, licorice powder, lavender, cardamom, cumin, fennel seeds, or lemongrass. If youre not sure where to start, check whats in your favorite commercial gins and use those for inspiration.
Legal Definition Of Gin
You might be surprised to discover that there are quite tight laws that control not only what gin is made of, but also how it is made and even what it tastes like!
Heres what the current legal definition of gin in the E.U. states :
- Gin must be a neutral spirit distilled from something natural like wheat, barley, potatoes, or grapes
- The flavours of a gin come from its botanicals , and, crucially, all gins must contain juniper. Otherwise, the drink cant be defined as gin by law
- There must be at least 37.5% of pure alcohol in the total volume of liquid
- There are 3 traditional types of gin: London Dry, Plymouth, and Old Tom see below for the differences between each of these. However, some modern, innovative gins no longer fall into any of these categories!
- Flavoured gin, gin liqueurs, and sloe gin are all different from traditional gin in a few significant ways
Compound gins, or bathtub gin if you may, are rarely labeled as such due to negative connotations with the term, but many of the budget gins are made this way.
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Contacting Distilleries & Fulfilment Partners
You may have noticed from the above table that I have no desire to store and fulfil orders myself. I want the business to be completely scalable, with the same amount of work needed to sell 10 bottles a week as 100.
I go a lot more into the logistics of setting up an outsourced business in this post. But for the purposes of this article understand that I need two important pieces to slot together.
Once we find them, the other suppliers should all come together quite easily.
Distill Your Own Gin Amazing Experience
I had an amazing time learning how to distill gin, the course was very informative and fun, the delivery was enthusiastic and entertaining, you get to taste some of the great gins they produce, then work out how to distill gin to your taste preferences. Highly recommended
Attended the distil your own gin on a Saturday afternoon. The session lasted approx 2.5 hours and was thoroughly enjoyed by both of us. The afternoon started with a double gin and tonic made from their signature Woden gin – delicious, and a talk about what gin is and how it is made from Matt. We then tried a taster of 3 different gins to compare and contrast before embarking on making our own gin recipes with the wide array of different botanicals on offer. The team were wonderful and on hand with helpful tips and advice as to how to come up with a tasty bottle of gin to suit our own individual wishes! Whilst waiting for our gin to distil in its very own mini copper still we tried a second double gin and tonic, this time their summer gin Hathor – even more delicious . At the end we took home our very own 70cl bottle of gin which tastes fantastic! I would 100% recommend this gin making experience to any gin lover! I cant wait to come back for more gin at Psychopomp! Its a lovely little distillery with a great atmosphere and friendly team.
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Funding Your Craft Distillery
There have been many craft distilling businesses that have been able to access funding to set up their own craft distilling brand. ;It is all about creating a following on social media and getting people excited about your craft gins or bourbons or what ever you decide to distill. ;If you are going down the craft distilling route to remember that it may not be as expensive as you first think to start producing gin or any other scraft spirit on a small scale. ;There are a number of options of launching your distilling brand without having to make significant investment. Firstly, there is cuckoo distilling where you utilise somebody elses craft distillery equipment ;You can also get an existing distillery to distill your spirit under licence and to your recipe. If you do want to distill your own product on a small scale then rectification of of spirits is not as expensive and as complex to carry out as full scale distilling of grain or other raw materials. ;You can purchase your own craft sitill probably cheaper than you might think. Volumes may be relatively small but you will be able to distill on a commercial scale providing you have the the requisite licences.
Combine All The Ingredients
Gather your herbs and spices. If youre partial to one flavor, or hate another, definitely feel free to play with the ratio of ingredients, or even omit some and add others. After all, its your gin.
Sterilize a glass bottle with hot, soapy water.
Add all the solids to the bottle.
Pour in the vodka.
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What Type Of License Do You Need
There are three types of licenses. A distillers license, a rectifiers license, and a compounders license.
A distillers license s pretty much impossible to get for your home. And even if you have a commercial premise there are a lot of hoops to jump through. And even if you jump through all the hoops they might still reject your application if your still is under 1,800 litre capacity. Which, you know, is a lot of gin.
But the good news is that despite the name, you dont actually need a full distillers license to distil gin.
When we make gin we are re-distilling a neutral spirit with your botanicals. Which according to the law makes you a rectifier and not a distiller. And a rectifiers license is much easier license to get.
This guide here from HMRC is pretty good on the different licenses. A rectifiers or compounders license is much easier to get than a distillers license.
Here is a screenshot on the section explaining the differences between rectifiers and compounders.
So a rectifiers license is what I got.
What Do The Experts Say
Now, what makes GOOD gin is an entirely different questionand one that Im probably not qualified to answer. Im just a little mouse who likes to tinker with homemade infusions.
So, Ill leave the expert commentary to, well, the experts.
Luckily, the Barkeep over at SeeMyDrink.com, a free social networking site for cocktail enthusiasts, was kind enough to indulge us on the topic of gin. Heres what he had to say.
Ever since the cocktail resurgence began a few years ago, the gin landscape in the U.S. has changed. Your choices used to be limited to a London gin. Glass bottles were the good stuff; plastic bottles were nothing more than paint stripper. Today, were fortunate to have a great variety of gin styles.
A few words about London Dry. Many people think gin originated in the UK. Actually, its a product of the Netherlands.
Around the turn of the century, Londoners were cranking out gin like it was water. Because this bathtub gin wasnt regulated, it actually caused a public health crisis ranging from injury, blindness, to even death.
In response, Parliament quickly enacted the strict double distillation standards for production that exist to this day. These standards help make London Dry a favorite of gin drinkers worldwide. While Bombay and Bombay Sapphire are the most prolific of the London Drys, I feel the Plymouth Gin is the best in this category.
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How To Make Your Own Gin Without A Still
See more General
There arent many spirits that inspire such passionate opinions as gin does. I know vodka drinkers who recoil in horror when confronted with a bottle of Tanqueray, and gin drinkers who would rather abstain completely than suffer through a Grey Goose martini.
But what many people dont realize is that gin and vodka begin life in the exact same way. You could even say that gin is nothing more than infused vodka. In fact, Ive used this exact line on so many customers trying gin for the first time that Ive decided to prove it to myself! What a better way to waste a bunch of time and ingredients while getting an opportunity to learn more about my favorite mixable spirit, right?
In his book The Complete Guide to Spirits , Anthony Dias Blue describes cold compounding as a legitimate method for producing gin. ;He even provides a rough recipe for infusing a monster 2,000 liter batch. Not having access to a tanker truck of vodka or a hundred pounds of juniper, I did a little math and came up with something more workable.
That first batch was a drinkable, yet super-perfumed gin that I felt could be improved with a little trial-and-error. I wont bore you with the details of my many failures before honing in on the recipe youre about to see, but I will say that Ive now got a liquor cabinet full of funky gins that may or may not ever be consumed.
Here are some more suggestions for ingredients to add in small quantities to flavor your next batch:
Whisky Making On A Small Scale
Now that you know how whiskey is made at a manufacturer level, it will easier for you to understand how to make whiskey at home. First, you have to choose your base, for which youve got several options to choose from including rye, wheat, barley, corn or a blend of different grains.
But if youre just getting started with making whiskey, then it may be best to get started with corn the easiest ingredient to get your hands on. Corn also is one the few home making whiskey ingredients that yields the most sugar, which is something that you ideally want.
And given that you probably need roughly 10 lbs of corn to make a reasonable volume of whiskey at home. it will be less expensive to buy to make approximately five gallons of final product.
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