Numerous books have been written on homebrewing and home winemaking, and some have even been written on home distillation to produce pure ethanol for making: gin; vodka; and essence-based spirits, but very few have been written on distillation for making whiskey on the small scale required by hobbyists. This book has been written in an attempt to rectify this situation, and to accommodate the recent advent of micro-distilleries and distillery pubs that are reintroducing the art of making corn whiskey and other grain whiskies made famous by the early frontier folk.
This book should appeal to readers who have no experience with brewing or fermentation, as well as readers who do. A basic knowledge of the simplest forms of all-grain brewing is definitely an asset, but not a necessity. All the mashing, fermentation, and distillation principles are explained in sufficient detail for the novice to learn everything they need to know to produce the finest pure corn whiskey.
Also, this book gives a brief history of corn whiskey and how it was the pivotal industry that sustained the early settlers who opened up the American frontier. The history not only serves to remind the reader of corn whiskey, but of the rich culture, strong principles, and self reliance that are at the foundation of American society, of which corn whiskey was such an important part.
A chapter will be devoted to the question of legality since it is highly important for everyone to know exactly where they stand and to be comfortable with what they are doing. It is hoped that legislators and law enforcement agencies will read this chapter and, with its perspective, be prepared to be receptive when law reformers come knocking at their doors.
The temperatures in this text are quoted in oC followed by oF in brackets (e.g. 65.5oC (150°F)). Often the oC temperature will be expressed to one place of decimal. This is not done as a matter of precision but because most of the oC temperatures quoted are translated from oF, so in order to remain equivalent to the oF temperatures some will need to be expressed to one place of decimal.
Also, the temperatures quoted in the procedures are the optimum temperatures and every effort should be made to adhere to them. However, variations of a degree or two either way would not result in failure of a process, but rather a slower reaction, or the production of more unfermentable sugars and less fermentable ones, etc. In other words, a slightly less than optimum result, but otherwise perfectly workable.
Before getting down to the details of mashing, fermentation, and distillation a few general observations will be made in the next chapter on the subject of what pure corn whiskey is and of alcoholic beverages in general.
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