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Making Pure Corn Whiskey

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Making Pure Corn Whiskey

Author: Ian Smiley. This book was written by a science graduate with many years experience adapting commercial distillation processes to small-scale, inexpensive home operations. It details all the steps involved in making whiskey, from making corn mash, to fermentation, to distilling the finished spirit. The book explains exactly what to buy, how to assemble the equipment, how and why everything works, and how to operate it. The book is 186 pages and is complete with diagrams and photographs of finished equipment and close-ups of key components.

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Making Pure Corn Whiskey

Making Pure Corn Whiskey
A Professional Guide for Amateur and Micro Distillers
Properly distilled corn whiskey is as excellent and respectable a spirit as the finest whiskies and brandies.

Topics Covered
Pure Corn Whiskey
A high-level description of how all alcoholic beverages are made.
A brief overview of what distillation is.
An explanation of the difference between simple distillation and fractional distillation.
An overview of distilled spirits in general.
The definition of “Pure Corn Whiskey”.
The History of Corn Whiskey
This chapter is summarized from Mountain Spirits, Joseph E. Dabney’s authoritative book on Appalachian moonshine culture, published by Bright Mountain Books, Asheville, NC.
How corn whiskey evoleved from the medieval discovery of distillation, to the Scotch-Irish migration to North America, to the fist bourbon distilleries in Kentucky.
How corn whiskey sustained the American frontier economically for over a century.
How corn whiskey was once such a pervasive part of Americana and yet is all but completely lost on modern society.
Lists all the equipment required and where to buy it or how to make it.
Describes how to make a beer stripper (optional) and a high-separation fractional distillation apparatus which fully emulates the most sophisticated commercial and scientific distillation equipment.
List of every component required.
How all components can be purchased inexpensively from home building supply centres, and easily assembled by the average handyman (e.g. soldering, wrenches, screwdrivers).
The instructions are complete and diagrams and photographs of finished equipment and close-ups of key components.
The equipment can be operated one way to produce pharmaceutically pure alcohol, and another to produce whiskey and other flavour-positive spirits.
Lists the natural all-grain ingredients.
Describes them, and tells where they can be purchased easily and inexpensively.
Describes the principles of mashing (i.e. the conversion of grain starches to fermentable sugars).
Gives straightforward methods of performing the chemical processes such as measuring pH, adjusting mineral content of mash water, and testing for completion of starch conversion.
How to make a batch of corn mash using an easy yet thoroughly modern and scientific mashing process modeled after commercial procedures using inexpensive, readily available equipment and ingredients.
Describes the principles of fermentation and yeast activity.
How to ferment the corn mash made in the mashing chapter in three or four days using authentic distillery yeast, or using pure liquid brewers’ yeasts.
Distillation Principles & Practices
Explains in detail the scientific principles of distillation.
All instructions are given with a thorough explanation of the science behind them.
A description of distilling terminology.
The different attributes that affect whiskey flavour.
Explains the phases of a distillation run.
Describes the procedures requied to operate the still and its ancillary equipment such as:
Systematic methods of transferring the mash and the low-wines to the still.
Measuring alcohol content.
How to perform a beer-stripping run
How to flush and clean the still.
Distillation Methods
Fractional-distillation method of making whiskey:
Making whiskey, and other flavour-positive spirits using a fractionating still.
A systematic process of identifying transition points (i.e. “making the cuts”) in a distillation run to give the amateur operator the means to easily produce an excellent quality of whiskey in his/her first run.
Two tables showing the outputs of actual distillation runs, logging the exact flow-rates and quantities of each phast, affording the novice distiller patterns that can easily be duplicated.
Pot-Still method of making whiskey:
Describes a pot-still mode of operation of a fractionating still.
Explains how to distill whiskey using an actual pot still.
Summary of Procedures
A high-level overview of all the steps to produce a batch of corn whiskey.
Pure-Ethanol Distillation
Gives detailed procedures on how to make pure ethanol with a fractionating still.
This can bedone to rectify excess feints or experimental batches of whiskey and other spirits, or it can be done expressly to make pure ethanol from neutral substrates such a straight sugar and water fermented with turbo yeast.
Other Whiskey-Mash Recipes
Whiskey recipes using other methods and other ingredients:
Thin-mash recipes (i.e. using sugar)
Mashing with backset
All-grain Malt Whiskey Recipe
Malt-extract recipes
Thin malt-extract recipes
Wheat malt-extract recipes
Peat-smoked malt recipes, and malt-extract recipes
Bourbon-mash recipes.
Corn Squeezins’ whiskey recipe
Traditional Sour-Mash Whiskey
Gives a detailed treatment of the principles and procedures of this ingenious, timeless, and traditional method of making whiskey.
This method is so simple and unscientific yet it produces excellent whiskey even when compared to the most modern and scientific methods of making whiskey as detailed in the earlier chapters of this book.
Learn how remarkably high efficiencies were achieved centuries ago by employing the simple processes of mashing back and using backset.
Learn how to set up a continuously sustainable sour-mash cycle.
Making Your Own Malt
Learn how to make your own malt.
Gives detailed instructions on how to make:
barley malt
corn malt
sun-dried malt
kiln-dried malt
Learn how to build a wooden kiln for making larger quantities of malt at home.
Other Mashing Methods
Methods of mashing different forms of corn (e.g. cornmeal, corn flour).
Methods of mashing other grains (e.g. rye, wheat, millet).
Temperature-Correction Table for Hydrometers
A table for determining temperature corrections to Specific Gravity (SG) readings on a regular wine or beer making hydrometer.
Temperature-Correction Table for Proof Hydrometers
A table for determining temperature corrections to percent alcohol-by-volume (abv) readings on a proof hydrometer.
Spirit Run Record
A log sheet that can be photocopied so the distiller can record the phases, flow rates, and quantities output for each run

The equipment detailed in this book, illustrated with diagrams and photographs, assumes the reader will be starting from scratch, with no equipment already available. The complete system; mash pot; fermenters; beer stripper (optional); high-separation fractionating still; and ancillary equipment; are all described with complete lists of components, where to eadily andcheaply buy them, and thorough step-by-step instructions for assembly, which can beaccomplished by the average handyman capable of: cutting copper pipes; soldering; and using wrenches and screwdrivers.
The still made in this book has been meticulously engineered to emulate commercial and scientific distillation apparatuses offering very high efficiency, safety, and precise control over separation level and flow rate. Also, a certain amount of automation using electrical timers, water solenoids, and thermostors is discussed.
Environmentals: The equipment fits very well in almost any basement. It requires:
60 cm x 90 cm (2′ x 3′) of floor space, preferably against a wall;
a height of 2.16M (7’1″ – 7’2″);
a supply of cooling water (i.e. a tiny trickle from a cold water pipe);
a drain;
a 120V wall socket to supply a 750W immersion element; and
if employing the optional beer stripper, a 240V electric clothes dryer socket.
An added bonus to building a high-separation fractionating still of the design described in this book is that it is also eminently suited to producing pure alcohol for making vodka, gin, and essence-based spirits. This process is described in the book, but an excellent companion volume is Nixon & McCaw, The Compleat Distiller.
Scale of operation: The fractionating still, as described in the book, has a 45L (12 US gallons) capacity. If filled with fermented corn mash and an adjunct of feints to the maximum operation level of 38-40L (10-10.5 US gallons), a single distillation run will yield about 6L (6.3 US quarts) of 40% abv corn whiskey and about 2L (2.1 US quarts) of 60% abv feints. Feints, and their use, are explained in the book.
Since 38-40L (10-10.5 US gallons) of mash is somewhat large and awkward for a home operation, he book centres on a volume of exactly halt that. That is, 19-20L (5-5.25 US gallons) of mash to produce 3L (3.2 US quarts) of 40% abv corn whiskey and about 1L (1 US quart) of 60% abv feints.
Methods of scaling up the operation to produce up to 20L (5.25 US gallons) of 40% abv corn whiskey per run using the exact same equipment is also discussed in the book.

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