2 glasses of whiskey with ice on a wooden table
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Smoky Rye Whiskey Recipe

This is the most common proportion used in rye whiskey. You can change it once you have mastery of the process.

Ingredients

  • 6 lb rye malt
  • 3.5 lb flaked corn
  • 0.5 lb malted barley
  • 1 tsp acid blend
  • 1 tsp gypsum
  • 1 tbsp distiller's yeast
  • 5 gallons water

Instructions

  • Put all the rye, corn, barley, acid blend, and gypsum in a large mesh bag and mix them using a large wooden spoon or ladle
  • Heat the water up to 165ºF and pour it into a large insulated container. The container should be big enough to hold the water as well as the soaked grain mix. 
  • Tie the top of the mesh bag and immerse it in the hot water. Make sure the container has a tight-fitting lid. Let the grains steep for 60 to 90 minutes. You can stir it every 20 minutes. 
  • Let the temperature cool to 70ºF. This liquid is the wort. 
  • Now comes the fermentation of the wort. Transfer it to a fermenter and add the yeast. You can opt for open fermentation or closed. 
  • The wort will typically take a week to ferment. It may take less time under warm temperatures. You will know the wort has completed fermenting when it stops bubbling.
  • Filter the liquid using cheesecloth to take out any solid particles. The liquid is now known as wash. 
  • Put the wash in a still and heat it slowly till it reaches 140ºF. This may take up to an hour.
  • Once the temperature reaches 140ºF, turn on the condenser. The alcohol will vaporize and collect in the condenser. 
  • Make sure to discard the first still you will get. It is toxic. It is the first quarter cup you will get from the distiller. 
  • Keep the temperature at 175º to 185ºF and collect small batches from the condenser. 
  • When the temperature reaches 205ºF, discard the remaining liquid. You should be able to get 1 to 2 gallons of liquid.
  • Store the whiskey in wooden oak barrels for aging. Let it age for 1-3 years and then enjoy it!
    Whiskey being poured into a glass

Notes

Aging of the whiskey is important and it is this process that makes it different from moonshine or white whiskey. It also gives the whiskey its unique character. Choose charred oak barrels for a smoky flavor.