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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Community > General Chit Chat > "Brown coloured liquid?" Gimme a break!
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Old 04-11-2008, 06:40 PM   #1
McCall St. Brewer
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Default "Brown coloured liquid?" Gimme a break!

I was reading this website about how Irish whiskey is made:

http://www.classicwhiskey.com/making/mashing.htm

and I found a part that really cracked me up. Apparently Irish whiskey is made from water, barley and yeast. So... it's basically beer, less the hops, which is then distilled. So I get to this passage here where they say this:

"The wort containing the dissolved sugars from the barleycorn is now pumped into a set of vessels commonly known as "washbacks" into the wort is added yeast. This causes the a reaction with the sugars to produce a brown coloured liquid (my emphasis). When the fermentation process has run its course the liquid ceases to foam and bubble at which point it is ready to be pumped to the stills for distillation."

Brown coloured liquid!? Gimme a break. Are they embarrassed that their product starts out as beer?

Frankly, if that site is accurate about Irish whiskey, I'm impressed at the simplicity of the stuff. No wonder it's so expensive (and that I like it as much as I do).

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Old 04-11-2008, 08:27 PM   #2
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That reminds me, the other day, there was a PBS program on Ireland, and some shots of the original Jameson whiskey factory -now a showroom.
One room had big vats and a big sign "Mash Tun", which surprised me..!
(and also shows what I know about whiskey.. zero!)

Yeast? Who knew!

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Old 04-11-2008, 08:48 PM   #3
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I'm curious as to how you guys thought whiskey was produced without a mash and ferment?

Just for gits and shiggles

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Old 04-11-2008, 08:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McCall St. Brewer
I was reading this website about how Irish whiskey is made:

http://www.classicwhiskey.com/making/mashing.htm

and I found a part that really cracked me up. Apparently Irish whiskey is made from water, barley and yeast. So... it's basically beer, less the hops, which is then distilled. So I get to this passage here where they say this:

"The wort containing the dissolved sugars from the barleycorn is now pumped into a set of vessels commonly known as "washbacks" into the wort is added yeast. This causes the a reaction with the sugars to produce a brown coloured liquid (my emphasis). When the fermentation process has run its course the liquid ceases to foam and bubble at which point it is ready to be pumped to the stills for distillation."

Brown coloured liquid!? Gimme a break. Are they embarrassed that their product starts out as beer?

Frankly, if that site is accurate about Irish whiskey, I'm impressed at the simplicity of the stuff. No wonder it's so expensive (and that I like it as much as I do).
Except it's not beer. There's no bittering agent, like hops, and beer is fermented wort. Irish whiskey is fermented wort, not fermented from beer.
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Old 04-11-2008, 08:54 PM   #5
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You think we're particular about our malt and yeast strains?

THe single malt distillers of Scotland guard their floor malting techinques closely. They are also keenly aware of the slight differences between yeast strains and the end product results.

Distillers are basically brewers, who take what we call a finished product and further refine it.

Of course...thank goodness they have no use for hops.

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Old 04-11-2008, 08:55 PM   #6
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Unless I'm missing something...it doesn't have to be bitter to be beer...

In case you didn't know it, ethanol plants ferment a 10% beer from corn then distill it before it's mixed with gas. Another legal still...

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Old 04-11-2008, 08:58 PM   #7
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Technically unbittered beer was known as "Ale". The introduction of hops into Ale caused quite a stir in England many moons ago. The King at the time tried to outlaw them even.

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Old 04-11-2008, 09:10 PM   #8
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whiskey is made from malted, mashed, and fermented barley but there are no hop additions and it is not sparged. A sparge is unnecessary because tannins will not distill like ethanol and other flavor components so the grain is mashed, cooled, and fermented then distilled with the grains and all. I think the mash is a little different as well since complex carbs that give beer body add nothing to the whiskey I assume the mash is designed for max fermentables. The cost of good whiskey comes from the aging, a good scotch whiskey (made with peat smoked malt) can be aged for 40 years!

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Old 04-11-2008, 09:17 PM   #9
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no hops...meh. it's still beer.

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Old 04-11-2008, 09:27 PM   #10
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"Beer" or not, I believe for whiskey production in the UK and Ireland, it is referred to as "the wash".

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