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How to make scotch whisky at home

Updated March 23, 2017

Whiskey is an alcohol distilled by fermenting grain mashes. Barley is the grain primarily used in the creation of whiskey, especially Scotch whisky. In order to be dubbed "whisky," the alcohol must be fermented in a wooden cask, usually oak, for a minimum of three years. Any less than three years and the beverage cannot be called whiskey. In order to be classified as Scotch whisky, the cask-contained alcohol must remain on Scottish ground for the durations of those three years. To make Scotch whisky, you will have to move to Scotland and remain there for three years, or you can simply make your own non-Scotch whiskey.

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  1. Turn your barely into malt. You must transform your barley into malt in order to make whiskey. You can do this by spreading the barley out into the metal cake pans and covering them in water. You may use the spoon to stir the barley once or twice a day for even malting.

  2. Allow the barley to soak in the water until it begins to produce sprouts, and then drain off the water. The germination of the barley grains should take a week to three weeks. Dry out the barley and remove the sprouts. Place the dried barley in a pepper mill, and grind into a powder.

  3. Place the newly ground powder, also called grist, into the still container. Boil five gallons of water, and pour into the still while stirring. Allow the mixture to cool, and then add one cup of brewer's yeast, unless directed otherwise by the yeast packaging.

  4. Close off the still, and assemble the attachments according to the enclosed directions. The alcohol will rise into the attachments connected to the barrel while the water will remain in the barrel. This is how the whiskey is distilled.

  5. Remove the alcohol from the still when the process is complete, and place in the oak barrel. Age the whiskey inside the barrel for a minimum of three years. The ageing time and type of wood used for the barrel are only two of many factors that will affect the taste of the final product.

  6. Tip

    You may add other grains to the malted barley to give the whiskey a different flavour.


    Remember that in many countries it is illegal to distil or brew your own alcohol, regardless of the type, if you do not have a license to do so.

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Things You'll Need

  • 10-pound sack of barley
  • still and necessary attachments, approximately 20 gallons in capacity
  • 10-gallon oak barrel
  • supply of water
  • brewer's yeast
  • large wooden spoon
  • several metal cake pans
  • pepper mill
  • tea kettle
  • stove
  • rubber mallet

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