How to Distill Single Malt Whiskey

Written by clayton kim
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How to Distill Single Malt Whiskey
Save money by making your own single malt whiskey. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Although single-malt scotch is only made in Scotland, you can distil single malt whiskey in the convenience of your home. You make single-malt whiskey from only one type of malted grain. The alcohol content of single-malt whiskey ranges from 40 per cent to 55 per cent. The more you distil a whisky, the more expensive it becomes. The distillation process purifies the alcohol, making it cleaner to drink. You can distil a whiskey at home with the right machine and ingredients.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Oak wooden buckets
  • Fine screens
  • Yeast
  • Wash still
  • Spirit still
  • Oak wooden barrel

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  1. 1

    Soak malted barley grains with water using an oak wooden bucket for 36 hours. This starts the germination process.

  2. 2

    Dry the barley grains on a fine screen for seven days. The barley transforms into simple solutable used to make alcohol. This is called the malting process.

  3. 3

    Pour the barley grains with water into a malt mill.

  4. 4

    The water from the malt mill is used to make the whiskey. The barley and water mixture is called wort.

  5. 5

    Add yeast to the wort. Let the wort and yeast ferment for three to four days. It turns into a solution called wash.


  1. 1

    Purchase a wash still and a spirit still. The stills used for distillation of single-malt whiskey are made of copper.

  2. 2

    Pour the fermented wash in to a wash still.

  3. 3

    Boil the fermented wort to a temperature of 200F for three hours. Alcohol boils at a lower temperature than water. The alcohol vapours are trapped at the top of the pot still. After they cool, they return to liquid form.

  4. 4

    Let the wash cool for eight hours.

  5. 5

    Transfer the wash from the wash still into an oak wooden bucket. Pour the wash from the bucket into a spirit still.

  6. 6

    Boil the wash to a temperature of 200F for five hours

  7. 7

    Let the wash cool in the spirit still for 10 hours.

  8. 8

    Pour the first 15 per cent of the wash into an oak wooden bucket. This is called the heads. The heads of the wash are low in alcohol content. They can be used in a future batch of wash.

  9. 9

    Pour the next 70 per cent of the wash into an oak wooden barrel. This is called the hearts of the run. The hearts of the run contain high alcohol content and quality. They are used to make single-malt whiskey. Store the wash in the oak wooden barrel for three years.

  10. 10

    Pour the remaining 15 per cent of the wash into an oak wooden bucket. This is called the tails. The tails of the wash contain low alcohol content. They are poured into a future batch of wash.

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