1) Why doesn't it matter what grain is used? What does NGA taste like?
2) What can be appreciated in the taste of NGA?
3) What is Maze / Maize? How is different than corn (or what is used in bourbon)?
4) In an age stated expression (e.g. Johnnie Walker Gold 18 Year). Does the age only refere to the Single Malts or does it also refere to the NGA ?
5) If NGA is aged...how? Oak casks?
I was just surprised to hear that it was primarily made from Barley like single malt, but not malted!
Hmmm....not quite correct.
A small percentage of malted barley is used, but this is chiefly to assist with kickstarting the fermentation process. Very little unmalted barley is used, except for in Ireland, where unmalted barley is the basis of Potstill.
The rest of the mashbill in grain whisky is chiefly either maize (corn) or wheat.
Now up until recently, maize was the more common (and certainly preferred) ingredient of the two, however, I understand that certain economic pressures now apply with the EU. Subsidies & concessions now make wheat the cheaper (and therefore more common) ingredient for grain whisky.
One distiller recently told me that he much preferred to use maize - it gave a cleaner, sweeter, flavour, and was also apparently much cleaner to use (i.e. less residue, bulk, and easier fermentation), but that he was resigned to using wheat because of the EU pressures.
Grain whisky is often unfairly described as being 'neutral', but of course it has flavour. Grain whisky is quite uncommon in bottled form. Some of the independent bottlers have bottled some delicious grain whisky (I'm thinking specifically of Duncan Taylor's 39yo Invergordon), but Diageo do actually bottle their single grain whisky from the Cameron Bridge distillery (it's branded as Cameron Brig). I've tried this, and it's very smooth & sweet.
the difference between grain whisky and neutral grain alcohol is the abv with which both come out of the column still. The NGA is allowed to go to the limit you can reach with distillation at 96.8% abv.
Grain whisky has to stop at the 94.8% abv the law and whisky regulations allow in order to be called whisky.
Like malt whisky the grain whisky has to be aged in oak barrels for at least three years. For the age of a bottling the same rules aply as with malt. If a blend carries an age statement the youngest malt or grain used defines the age of the blend.
Aged grains can be wonderful. If you can find opportunity to try a really old grain whisky by all means do try it.
The NGA is called "Neutral Sprit" in German (there is no i missing) and is used for industrial and medicinal purposes. NGA tastes of nothing but alcohol and sometimes you find an estery fruitiness.
Wheat is used most of the times nowadays because EC subsidies make it the cheapest bulk grain avalable in Europe.
I would tend to think the Smirnoff thing be more brand specific than a general thing. Conversations with Distillers hasn't brought up the subject of charcoal filtering but also that doesn't mean I am correct either.
As they say " every day is a school day" so maybe I have just learned something and not realised it.
The Fachan wrote:To get spirit for gin and vodka you would pass it through the rectifier side of the continous still and take off the liquid the which will be around 98% alcohol, can be known as rectified spirit.
As a lad, I used to get rectified every Saturday night.
C_I wrote:Absolut is distilled "hundreds of times" and not over charcoal....
Expliquez, s'il vous plaît....
C_I wrote:Smirnoff was mere an example of how "pure" companies try to make their vodka. Absolut is distilled "hundreds of times" and not over charcoal, but with the same result, NGA.
Ah, thanks for the answer C_I - and Fachan!
So, new make can be both whisky or vodka - depending on if it goes into a bottle or a cask - and the same with bourbon I guess?
Isn't one of the sources for income of newly established distilleries often "vodka" ?
vodka or gin which means any white spirit that does not require aging and can be sold of imediately to pay the bills. In this way you can put your expensive new stills to a good use and earn some money. If you had sugar cane at hand you could make rum or you can make aquvavit.
The reason for the difference is that this whisky is lighter in flavour and allows the blender more options when composing his products.
Of course due to the continuous process, cheaper raw material and large volumes produced it is also much lower cost to produce grain whisky, about 1/3rd of the cost. The grain whisky spirit is produced at 96.4%
Neutral Spirit is made in a slightly different still which produces spirit at an even higher strength, normally about 98.5%, and can be made from any starch source including molasses, potatoes, rice etc. Enzymes can be added to help in the extraction process, if required and also at the conversion stage. Really very little legislation is applicable. This spirit can then be bottled, as Vodka, or cleaned up aka Charcoal filters or used as a basis for gin or other alcholic drinks.
Grain Whisky is made from grain..... it does not have to contain any Malted Barley it can contain one or a mixture of grains such a corn(maize), barley, malted barley, Wheat etc or even rice . It is usually distilled around the 63.5% mark to have even the slightest flavour profile and for optimum aging. The most common grain used is corn as it is the cheapest and at the end of the day that is the bottlom line.
However to be called Grain Whiskey it of course has to be aged in Oak casks for a minium of 3 years.
Further Grain whisky is usually distilled in a Column Still, which is also known as the Patent Still, Continuous Still or Coffey Still (Named after Aeneas Coffey the Irish man that invented it). However it can just as easily be distilled in a pot still which would give it an even better flavour profile but is usually deemed too expensive of a method for grain whisky.
NGA is very similar as it can use the same ingredients and same production methods as Grain Whisky's but it is distilled at a higher abv which leads to it being odourless and having very little taste. This is usually used for clear spirits such as Vodka and Gin.
I don't like to point out the errors but see my previous posting on this topic.
In particular where you say,
Grain Whisky is made from grain..... it does not have to contain any Malted Barley it can contain one or a mixture of grains such a corn(maize), barley, malted barley, Wheat etc or even rice . It is usually distilled around the 63.5% mark to have even the slightest flavour profile and for optimum aging
Scotch Whisky can only be made from water, malted barley plus any other whole grain and yeast, as per The Scotch Whisky Order which is referred to in The Scotch Whisky Act.
Both grain and malt whisky must therefore both contain malted barley and must not contain rice as this is not a cereal.Neither is it allowed to contain modified cereal where for instance parts of the grain have been used for gluten manufacture.
As I said previously the strength of grain whisky is normally 94.5% off the still before being reduced for filling into cask
You see Grain Whisky CAN be made from anything that I mentioned. And when I refered to Corn as the most common I'm talking worldwide consumption(but I may be wrong) and rice is hardly ever used and probably for a good reason . Whether or not it can be used in the Scottish distilling industry is a totally different and seperate matter. Maybe if I said theoretically any grain can be used.
However you could well be right about the ABV as I'm not 100% sure
No hard feeling though
I'll take a double any time wandering pict
Well as we continue to disagree I would defend my corner by saying that you may be correct if you are saying grain whiskey (I.e. Irish. American, Canadian etc)can be made from any grain but whisky i.e. Scottish can only be made as I stated.
Anyway having visited Midleton a few times and having a tried a number of their blends then I am happy to swap you doubles.
irishwhiskeychaser wrote:Grain Whisky is made from grain..... it does not have to contain any Malted Barley it can contain one or a mixture of grains such a corn(maize), barley, malted barley, Wheat etc or even rice . It is usually distilled around the 63.5% mark to have even the slightest flavour profile and for optimum aging. The most common grain used is corn as it is the cheapest and at the end of the day that is the bottlom line.
Hey, this rang a bell. I've started reading "RUM" by Dave Broom and he describes that most of the available rum is actually made in columns, single columns and some in pot stills. Apparently, what is made in a single column - or even two-columns wouldn't fit the description of NGA spirit but rather as typically flavourful rum. Pot still rum is rarely available bottled but is usually used as adding flavour to rum blends. I think the rum made in the "french" areas such as Haiti and Martinique is required by law to make the rum in single column stills and distilled not under 65% and not over 75% to ensure a flavourful product. A column still - single or two column - doesn't automatically imply little or less flavour. The deciding factor for adding flavour or not is among other things (if I got this right) the temperature the stills are run at and the number of plates (these can be individually reconfigured) inside the column stills.
I for one at least have prior to to reading this book always fooled myself with believing that column stills nessecarily meant a flavourless product.
MrTattieHeid wrote:Rum is made from molasses or sugar, and thus couldn't be considered grain alcohol, anyway. (qv Indian "whisky")
It's not important but rum is made from molasses, syrup (sugar & water) or fermented fresh cane juice.....
If I got this right the point is that the principle behind distillation is the same irrespective of what you are distilling. Temperature and internal plates are deciding factor for the level of flavour you get in the finish product. Higher temperatures means higher esters - lower temperature means more pungent and heavy esters. Potatoes, molasses, rice, barley - it doesn't matter. Surely they taste different but the the amount of flavours is dependent on among other things; temperature during distillation, the configuration of the internal plates inside the column stills, amount of copper etc.
What I said above might seem like obvious knowledge but to me it was an eyeopener to read Dave Broom's book. I previously wrote off spirit distilled in column stills as "just flavourless vodka-like spirit" ......
But as far as I understand, nothing - including the single column still - can quite replicate spirit made in a pot still.
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