Is Pot Still Whiskey? Understanding the Distillation Process and Types of Whiskey
Whiskey is a popular alcoholic beverage that is enjoyed by millions of people around the world. It is made from fermented grains and distilled to create a strong, flavorful spirit. However, not all whiskey is created equal, and there are different types of whiskey that are made using different distillation methods. One such type is pot still whiskey. But is pot still whiskey really whiskey? Let’s take a closer look.
What is Pot Still Whiskey?
Pot still whiskey is a type of whiskey that is distilled using a traditional pot still, which is a large copper vessel with a long, tapered neck. This type of still is often used to produce Irish whiskey and is known for producing a unique flavor profile that is rich, full-bodied, and spicy.
Pot still whiskey is made using a mash of malted and unmalted barley, as well as other grains such as wheat or rye. The mash is then fermented using yeast, which converts the sugars in the grains into alcohol. Once fermentation is complete, the mash is distilled in a pot still, which heats the liquid and separates the alcohol from the water and other impurities.
How is Pot Still Whiskey Distilled?
The process of distilling pot still whiskey involves several steps. First, the fermented mash is added to the pot still, and the still is heated. As the liquid heats up, the alcohol evaporates and rises up the still’s long neck. This vapor is then condensed back into a liquid form and collected in a separate container.
Pot still whiskey is distilled twice. The first distillation produces a liquid that is called “low wine,” which is around 25-30% alcohol by volume (ABV). The low wine is then distilled again, which produces a spirit that is around 70-80% ABV.
After distillation, the whiskey is aged in oak barrels for a minimum of three years. This aging process gives the whiskey its distinctive flavor and color. Pot still whiskey is known for its spicy, full-bodied flavor, which is a result of the unique distillation process used to create it.
Other Types of Whiskey
In addition to pot still whiskey, there are several other types of whiskey that are made using different distillation methods. These include:
- Single malt whiskey – This type of whiskey is made from 100% malted barley and is distilled in a pot still. It is often associated with Scotch whiskey.
- Grain whiskey – Grain whiskey is made from a combination of malted and unmalted grains and is distilled using a continuous still. It is often used as a base for blended whiskey.
- Blended whiskey – Blended whiskey is made by combining different types of whiskey, such as single malt and grain whiskey. This type of whiskey is often more affordable than single malt or pot still whiskey.
- Bourbon whiskey – Bourbon whiskey is made from a mash that contains at least 51% corn and is aged in new, charred oak barrels. It is a popular type of American whiskey.
In conclusion, pot still whiskey is indeed a type of whiskey, and it is distinguished by its unique distillation process. While there are several other types of whiskey available, each with its own distinct flavor profile, pot still whiskey remains a popular choice for whiskey lovers who appreciate its spicy, full-bodied taste. Whether you prefer pot still whiskey or another type of whiskey, there is no denying the appeal of this classic spirit.