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Irish style Whiskey


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I have been making a 100% rye whisky, but I am just harvesting (in Tasmania) my crop of barley.

I would like to use it to make a traditional "triple pot distilled" Irish (style) whiskey. Obviously I can't call it Irish Whiskey because my distillery is not in Ireland.

Does anyone have any good information, mainly on the mash bill and mashing procedure.

The type of mash bill info I am after is the ratio of malted to unmalted barley.

Also, is the unmalted barley cooked before the malt is added.

I assume the Irish use a lauter tun similar to the traditional Scots, and that the barley is only crushed, not ground to flour.

Thanks in advance for any help

Pete Bignell

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My understanding (which mostly comes from a friend of mine who is an Irish Whisky fanatic, certified) is that the grist bill varies considerably, but generally contains about 25% malted barley, and the balance unmalted. Also, most of the malt used is fairly dark, as the process was invented before the advent of "pale" malts. I think that the key is how much diastatic power is needed. And yes, the malt and barley is cracked, not turned to flour. Although it is finer than your typical brewer crush. I've no idea if the unmalted barley is cooked or pre-gelatinized before mashing...you'll have to try it both ways!

Irish whisky is definitely lautered, and not fermented on the grain. I've seen photos of a "trough lauter" instead of a tun. The finished mash is let out of the mash tun and flows via gravity into a trough made by two boards making a "V" shape...there are holes bored in them, or a very small leaky crack at the point of the "V." Then a worker hoses the mash in the trough with water until no more "sweetness" is tasted.

Me, I'd just go with a false bottom and probably sparge parti-gyle technique.

Sounds fun!

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Thanks Guys.

Firstly I can't distil on the grain as I have a direct fired pot.

When I say "Irish Style" I really mean "Irish Technique" with the hope it will turn out similar to a real Irish Whisky

Boognish, what is it about your whisky that makes it Irish style, do you triple pot distil with an alembic pot, or did your different technique end up with a similar product?

Thanks Natrat. I was thinking along similar lines, but did not know about the dark malt. I hope I might get away with a lighter malt because it should have more DP and requires less energy to kiln it.( I make my own malt )

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The basic description of Irish whiskey as "triple distilled" doesn't really do justice to the apparent complexity of the process, which involves recycling the feints and using three separate stills, rather than simply running it through three times. I've seen several interesting diagrams of the process, here is one that shows one variation.


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That is a great diagram thanks Jedd, and it is pretty well how I imagined it would work. And I repeat - imagined- because I had never had the process fully described before.

One variation I could envisage is the output from the spirit still could be split 3 ways, first to Spirit Receiver, then to Feints Receiver, then when it gets to 20% it could divert to the Feints Receiver.

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Missing from that diagram appears to be the Foreshot cuts

I think they may be done on both Intermediate and the Spirit still, but not certain.

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