Of The Distiller Of Whiskey

Whiskey is made either with rye, barley, or Indian corn. One, or all

those kinds of grains is used, as they are more or less abundant in the

country. I do not know how far they are mixed in Kentucky; but Indian

corn is here in general the basis of whiskey, and more often employed


I have ascertained, in the different distilleries which I have visited

in the United States--

1stly. That, in general, the grain is not sprouted. I have, however,

seen some distillers who put 10lbs. of malt into a hogshead of

fermentation containing 100 gallons, which reduces it to almost nothing.

2dly. That they put two bushels of ground grain into a hogshead of

fermentation containing 100 gallons, filled up with water.

3dly. They had a ferment to determine the fermentation, which, when

finished, yields two gallons of whiskey per bushel of grain, and

sometimes ten quarts, but very seldom. I do not know whether those

results are exact; but, supposing them to be so, they must be subject to

great variations, according to the quality of the grain, the season, the

degree of heat, of the atmosphere, and the manner of conducting the

fermentation. From my analysing the different sorts of grains, I know

that Indian corn must yield the most spirit.

From the above proportions, it results, that 100 gallons of the vinous

liquor of distillers yield only 4 gallons of whiskey, and very seldom 5;

that is, from a 25th to a 20th. It is easy to conceive how weak a

mixture, 25 parts of water to one of whiskey, must be; thus the produce

of the first distillation is only at 11 deg. or 12 deg. by the areometer, the

water being at 10 deg.. It is only by several subsequent distillations, that

the necessary concentration is obtained, to make saleable whiskey. These

repeated operations are attended with an increased expense of fuel,

labor, and time.

Such are the usual methods of the whiskey distillers. Before we compare

them with those of the brewer, let us examine the nature of

fermentation, and what are the elements the most proper to form a good

vinous liquor: thence we shall judge with certainty, of those two ways

of operating.