Silly thought

So, you can distill anything that contains alcohol. Do it to wine, you get brandy. Do it to cider, calvados.

OK, so what about beer?

Hmm, not really thought about it before. And this search engine stuff, fun:

Whiskey is distilled fermented malted grain. So basically beer without the hops addition.

Suppose so, really. Whiskey is distilled ale. Discuss.

Whiskey is famously made by distilling beer, but any distiller will tell you that the “beer” that goes into the still bears little resemblance to the commercial stuff you sip on game day. While it won’t kill ya, those who drink the fermented wash before it is distilled hold little respect in the eyes of the distilling community.

The answer, it appears, is yes.

21 thoughts on “Silly thought”

  1. Yes but once beer is brewed, that’s more or less it.

    Apart from the importance of the water used (up here at least soft and often with a distinctive taste) what happens to whisky after distillation is more important than what happens before – barrel wood, what the barrel originally contained, the nature of the air and climate where the barrel is stored etc etc. All these magical influences affect the taste of each unique whisky.

    All this bullshit of course sells the product, much in the way that the Frogs have their mythical terroir and winemasters merde.

  2. Ummm… nope?

    Technically the mash produces something that may be classed as “beer” in the UK or US, but defintely not on the Mainland. We got actual laws to stop people from even trying to dub that goo “beer”.

    You actually need to distill that junk, unless you want to go silly/blind.

  3. On a similar note, there was an intriguing arms race a few years back between brewers who were distilling what we might more normally call beer to produce the world’s most alcoholic beer. Primarily they were using freeze-distilling instead, so some of the original beer taste remained.

    Never-knowingly-undermarketed Brewdog created the 32% Tactical Nuclear Penguin beer and it went from there, quickly to silly levels.

  4. Bloke in North Dorset

    Never-knowingly-undermarketed Brewdog created the 32% Tactical Nuclear Penguin beer and it went from there, quickly to silly levels.

    Bloody hell! I class anything over about 4.5% as strong and usually go with something <4% when I'm drinking beer. It not that I don't mind getting drunk, I just prefer to spend the evening doing it rather than 2 pints and fall over. Mostly though I don't like the taste of really strong beers.

  5. Oh, I dunno. Strong dark ales go down well with me, but not in session quantities though. They need some malty sweetness though rather than the OTT bitterness that a lot of craft beers have nowadays.

  6. “Tactical Nuclear Penguin”
    Giggle. And only an extra tuppence in alcohol duty, “‘cos it’s beer”. 😀

    Shows the ridiculousness of the alcohol duty system.

  7. @Bravefart – I’ve come across newer distilleries which make a lot of fuss about the quality of their barley and thus the new make spirit. There’s one in Ireland which is punting ‘single farm’ editions (not tried it). Of course, they do thus because, being new, they don’t have lots of aged whisky and so need to find something else to twat on about (or make gin). I have tasted some good young whiskies though, so maybe it’s not all hype.

  8. The brewery next door to my work makes a whisky wash for a local whisky maker. It’s not a balanced drink as it comes in around 10% and has a bit too much of an alcohol flavour, but it is properly made with high quality malt and yeast. A quality mash is needed to make quality whisky.

    They also make a gin wash. That’s just bags of sugar tossed in with the cheapest yeast going. Gin has a far lower BoM and is ready basically after 1 day’s work running it through the distiller, but sells for a similar price to whisky that costs multiples more to produce and has to be laid down for years before you can sell it.

  9. After a German brewer one-upped Brewdog’s TNP (an extremely strong beer, it should be enjoyed in small servings and with an air of aristocratic nonchalance. In exactly the same manner that you would enjoy a fine whisky, a Frank Zappa album or a visit from a friendly yet anxious ghost.) by brew/distilling a stronger “beer” Brewdog retaliated with a yet stronger concoction named Sink The Bismark.

  10. AFAIK, brewdog were competing with a German brewery for worlds strongest beer, so after Tactical Nuclear Penguin @ 32%, the germans made summat at 34%, followed by Brewdog making one at 40% called ” Sink the Bismarck”.

    They also did commerative bottles of beer tastefully stored inside roadkill, thus providing employment for taxidermists and simultaneously pissing off the Puritans and the animal right loonies.
    Win- win as they say..
    ( Personally I found Tactical to be a bit syrupy, whereas some of their stuff at around 20% was akin to a LBVP)

  11. Not for the first time, I entirely agree with BiND. I prefer beer that can be quaffed to one that must be sipped. Back in my ‘misspent’ youth, I’d have occasional forays with Owd Rodger or ESB or Hen, but I soon reverted to session ales.

  12. Apart from the importance of the water used (up here at least soft and often with a distinctive taste) what happens to whisky after distillation is more important than what happens before – barrel wood, what the barrel originally contained, the nature of the air and climate where the barrel is stored etc etc.

    That is true of many whiskies, but the peaty flavour of some whiskies is imparted during the malting process.

  13. The Teutons make it. Distilled bier, made with malt and hops. Search for bierschnaps or bier brand. See bieraria.ch/tschlin-spirituosen or hausbrauerei-altstadthof.de/whisky-destille/bier-braende/

  14. MC, I am astounded at the number of whippersnapper distilleries that have set up since I lost interest (about the time that Port Ellen became unaffordable).

    Kavalan is nice, a 3 year-old Taiwanese with the experience of a 15 year-old Scots. IF your tastes are in that direction.

  15. Must admit I don’t usually drink beer. I can get drunk faster on wine. My most pleasant drink lately was half a bottle after the dentist finished rummaging around in my broken tooth.

    Just what I needed.

  16. “a collaboration with the German brewers”

    It’s like they’ve moved on from WWII to the Cold War. The sequel to “Sink the Bismarck” should be “Nuke the Russkies”.

  17. ‘you can distill anything that contains alcohol’

    Sure. But that doesn’t mean you will necessarily get something useful. E.g., distill E10 petrol, and see if that gets you anything (other than an explosion).

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