An Overview of Distilling

 By Tyler Grimes

For those who don’t know the distilling process, most of the local distilleries would likely be willing to give a basics 101 course. Here’s a brief overview of distilling and some of the differences between spirits, starting with single malt whiskey:

1. Malt barley is placed into a mash tun, and basically made into beer. Lenny Eckstein says whiskey starts as a “bulked-up porter.” The enzymes in the grain break down, the starch is converted to sugar, and the runoff is collected. Only a portion of the beer – “about 60 percent,” says Boathouse’s Jerry Mallett – goes on to become whiskey; what’s left over is beer and soaked barley. Many distillers keep the beer they make, but legally cannot sell it.

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