Copy of `Whiskies of Scotland - Water of life glossary`

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Whiskies of Scotland - Water of life glossary
Category: Food and Drink > Scotch whisky
Date & country: 26/01/2011, UK
Words: 93


ABV
Abv is the shortened term for Alcohol By Volume. Abv is the alcohol strength of the whisky measured as a percentage in relation to the liquid as a whole. 40% abv is equal to 40% alcohol and 60% water.

Age
For blended or vatted malt the age stated on the label refers to the youngest whisky in the bottle. For single malt, the age refers to the years the whisky has been maturing in the cask. By law in Scotland, Ireland, Canada and Japan whisky must be mature in a cask for three years. In the USA it is two years.

Ageing
Whisky ages in oak casks; once it is bottled no further ageing takes place.

Amylase
The enzyme that converts starch into maltose in the Mash Tun.

Angel`s Share
About 2% of alcohol evaporates from the casks stored in warehouses each year, but it will alter depending on the warehouse conditions. The name given to this is the Angel's Share.

Ball of malt
An Irish name for a glass of whisky.

Beading
A rough method used to tell the alcoholic strength of a whisky. When you shake a bottle of whisky bubbles or beads appear. The longer lasting the bubbles, the greater the alcohol content of the whisky.

Blending
The mixing together of malt and grain whisky.

Bothie
A small building in the Scottish Highlands, where illicit distilling was practiced.

Bourbon
A whisky produced in the United States made from a mash of at least 51% corn, distilled to a strength of no more than 80% abv (160 proof) and filled into newly charred oak barrels at a strength of no more than 62.5% abv.

Brewing
The process of mashing grain in hot water and fermenting the result to produce wash.

Cask Strength
This is the natural strength at which the whisky comes out of the cask after maturation. This can vary with the age of the whisky or the type of cask.

Charcoal Mellowing
Used for Tennessee whisky. The new spirit is filtered through charcoal before going into the barrel.

Charring
As part of the cask making process the insides of the new American barrels are exposed to flames. This chars the inside of the barrel and adds to the flavour of the whisky as sweet sediment is released from the wood.

Chill Filtration
Filtration and removal of congeners by chilling the whisky. This is used to prevent hazing when the bottled whisky is stored at low temperatures or diluted with water.

Congeners
Chemical compounds produced during fermentation and maturation. Congeners include esters, aldehydes, acids and higher alcohols. These are impurities in the whisky, but they give its flavour. Too much or too little of these congeners would make it un-drinkable.

Couch
A tank in which wet barley is taken to dry.

Cytase
Enzyme in the barley that breaks down the cell walls making the starch accessible.

DCL
The Distillers Company Ltd. Originally formed out of a trade agreement made between six Lowland Grain distillers in 1857.

Distillation
Distillation is the process of extracting alcohol from a liquid with the application of heat. Because alcohol vaporises quicker than water it can be collected during condensation.

Doubler
The pot still used for second distillation, where batch distillation is used.

Draff
The Scottish term for what is left of the used grain after fermentation. It is used for animal food.

Dram
A Scottish name for a glass of whisky.

Drum Maltings
Where malting is carried out in large drums that turn the grain mechanically.

Enzymes
Carried in grain. They convert large molecules of starch into smaller, fermentable ones.

Feints
The term in Scotland and Ireland for the end part of the distillation run. The feints are low strength and contain undesirable and unusable substances; they are separated from the middle cut by the stillman in the spirit safe and re-distilled. Also know as tails.

Fermentation
The process by which a liquid containing sugar is converted into alcohol. After malting or boiling has initiated the extraction of fermentation sugars in the barley, rye or corn and after mashing of the grist has flushed the sugar out of the malted or boiled grain the resultant liquid called the wort has yeast added to it in the washbacks. This induces fermentation by splitting the sugar into carb...

Fillings
The term used for newly distilled spirit that has been put into casks, and cannot be called whisky as the law prescribes a three-year maturation period.

Finishing
The term for taking a malt whisky that has matured in a bourbon cask and putting it in a second cask usually ex-wine or port. Thus giving the whisky more complexity, depth and a broader array of aromas.

Floor Maltings
Term for the process in which barley is spread out on to a large floor and turned by hand and allowed to germinate. This has largely been replaced with drum maltings.

Foreshots
The spirit that flows out of the spirit still at the beginning of the last distillation. The foreshots are high in alcohol and contain many volatile compounds. These go back into the vessel where the feints and low wines are kept, and then they are re-distilled with them.

Green malt
The term used for barley that has started to germinate and has not yet been dried in the kiln.

Grist
The ground up grain, which is then steeped in water to form the mash. The finer the grist the more can be obtained.

Guager
The old name for an exciseman whose job was to close down illicit stills.

Heads
A term which has two meanings in the production of malt; firstly it is the upper part of the pot stills where the lyne arm is attached, and secondly it is another name for the foreshots.

Heart of the run
Also known as cut

High wines
The product of the first distillation in a batch or pot still process. These high wines are distilled for a second time in the spirit still or doubler.

Jigger
The name for an illicit distillery. An American spirit of measure, of 1.5 fl. oz.

Kieve
Irish name for a mash tun.

Kiln
Both the oven and the buildings which house the oven are called the kiln. The word is devised from the Latin culina, meaning burning place. Kilns are topped with pagoda chimneys.

Kilning
The process of arresting the growth of the germinating barley before the starch can be used up.

Leaching
Another name for charcoal mellowing.

Lomond Still
A small, cylindrical pot still developed by Alistair Cunningham. It produced a heavy, oilier spirit. It is no longer in production.

Low Wines
Term for the distilled spirit, which has a strength of about 22-25% abv and is produced in the pot stills after the wash, has been distilled in the wash still. The `low' refers to the strength of the alcohol.

Lyne arm
This is the pipe that connects the head of the pot still to the condenser. The angle of the pipe is believed to influence the character of the whisky and contributes to giving it a light or heavy body.

Malt
Barley that has been allowed to germinate and then had the process stopped by drying.

Malt whisky
Whisky made purely from malted barley.

Maltings
The buildings in which the barley needed for whisky is made into malt.

Marrying
The bringing together of whiskies in a large vatting tank in which they blend in to each other before bottling.

Mash
Porridge-like mixture of grist and hot water which is created in the mash tun.

Mash bill
The term used to describe the types of grain used to make up the mash, and the relative proportions. For example straight bourbon must have at least 51% corn and a straight rye at least 51% rye.

Mash tun
The large, circular vessels in which the process of mashing takes place. Also know as the mash tub.

Maturation
The process of ageing whisky in casks. It is one of the last stages of production and the most decisive as the character is influenced to such an extent.

Middle Cut
The middle proportion of the spirit coming off the spirit still. The middle cut is the best part of the distillate and is saved and put into casks.

New make
Freshly distilled spirit, which is of high strength and clear in colour. It is then filled into casks and aged.

Nose
The aroma of a whisky.

Nosing
The process of judging a whisky by smelling it. This allows you to appreciate the wealth of aromas and to categorize the whisky. A special glass is used for nosing, it is tulip shaped, being narrower at the top so the fragrance is concentrated in the nostrils.

Organic whisky
Made from grain grown without chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.

Pagodas
Pagodas are familiar symmetrical and triangular shaped chimneys that sit above the kiln. Designed by the Elgin-based architect Charles Doig in the late 1800s. His designs can be seen at many distilleries around Scotland.

Patent still
Also known as a column still because of its shape. It was invented in the 1820s to enable the production of new types of whisky. The still allows continuous distillation, which makes production cheaper and gives larger amounts of spirit.

Peat
Compressed, decaying vegetable matter which is cut from bogs and used for fuel in the kilns. It gives off a pungent smoke when burnt which is very influential in the aroma of a whisky. In particular Islay whiskies use a large amount in the process of making their whiskies.

Phenols
The aromatic chemical substances that whisky absorbs from the peat, which is burnt when drying the malt in a traditional kiln or in the modern maltings. Phenols are measured in ppm, parts per million, and in particular Islay whiskies have a high level of phenols with Ardbeg containing 50ppm.

Pot still
A form of distilling equipment made of copper and is onion or pear-shaped. Used for producing pure malt and the bigger the still the lighter the whisky will be.

Proof
A standardised measurement of the strength of alcoholic drinks, which is used in North America. Proof strength is double the abv strength for example 40% abv is equal to 80° proof.

Quaich
A two-handled Celtic-drinking vessel. The name derives from the Gaelic `cuach'

Reflux
Vapour high in alcohol that returns to the still for further distillation.

Rummager
Found in coal fire pot stills, a mechanism that stirs the liquid to prevent solids from sticking to the bottom.

Run
The clear spirit that comes off a still.

Rye whisky
Whisky made from at least 51% rye.

Saladin box
An early form of mechanised maltings. Invented by the French engineer Charles Saladin in the late 1800s. It is far less labour intensive than the traditional for of floor maltings. The germinating barley is placed in concrete trenches where revolving forks turn and aerate it. Have now been replaced with drum maltings.

Single cask
Whisky that comes from one particular cask from one particular distillery.

Single malt
Malt whisky, which comes from a single specific distillery.

Sour mash
Bourbon or Tennessee made using at least 25% backset, soured yeast mash. Which goes through a fermentation period of at least 72 hours.

Spirit safe
The spirit safe is a box shaped object with a copper frame and glass windows. It has several glass vessels that are receptacles for the distillate, as well as instruments such as a thermometer and hydrometer. It is padlocked by Customs and Excise.

Spirit still
A still where the low wines from the wash still are brought up to the desired strength. The spirit still is a lot smaller then the wash still.

Steep
A vessel where barley is soaked in cold water and allowed to germinate.

Still / Stills
A distilling vessel made out of copper in which the alcohol is created. The name derives from the Latin stillare and means to drip.

Still house
The building where distilling takes place.

Stillage
A term used in the USA for what the Scots call burnt or pot ale. This is the remains in the wash still or beer still after the first distillation.

Straight whiskey
An American term for whiskies, which are not blended.

SWA
Scotch Whisky Association.

Tails
Also known as feints.

Tennessee whiskey
Bourbon that has been filtered through a minimum of 10 feet of sugar-maple charcoal. A method by which Tennessee whiskies are currently produced.

Thin stillage
Term for the sour mash that has had all the solids removed from it.

UDV
United Distillers and Vinters

Usige beatha
Gaelic for the "water of life" which in time was abbreviated and corrupted to whisky.

Vatted malt
Type of Scotch whisky that contains malt whiskies from at least two, usually several, distilleries. Now known as blended malt.

Warehouse
Buildings in which casks of whisky are stored and left to mature.

Wash
Liquid containing alcohol which is formed when the sugary wort is fermented with the yeast in the washbacks.

Wash still
In pot still distillation, the first still. The products of this still go to the spirit still.

Washback
Term used in Scotland for the vessel where the conversion of the wort into an alcoholic liquid takes place.

Worm
The coiled copper tube in the still that condenses the alcohol vapours and leads the resultant liquid to the spirit safe.

Wort
Liquid that is high in fermentable starches and sugars, left after mashing. The draff is then separated and the wort is pumped into the washbacks to ferment.