The Production Process – Mashing
Mashing begins by mixing malted barley with heated process water to produce a gruel-like liquid called mash. Diastatic enzymes in the malt then act on the starch, converting it to sugar. Once this mash is filtered, the resulting liquid, or wort, is then ready for fermentation. Before mashing can occur, however, the malt must first be milled. The malted barley is milled in the malt mill. Milled malt, or grist is grouped according to its fineness, in descending order of fineness, they are flour, grits, and husks.
Wort is a sweet barley juice that is produced as enzymes in the malt act on its starch, converting them into sugars. The key is to produce a wort that is high in fermentable sugars (e.g. glucose and maltose) that can be converted by yeast during fermentation process in order to produce wash, which has an alcohol content of 7-10% abv.
A mash tun is used for the mashing process, where the grist is steeped or infused in heated water, allowing sugar and nutrients to be extracted. Finally the mash tun also filters, or separates the liquid from the solid.
The resulting wort can be either clear (semi-cloudy) or cloudy, depending on the style and character required by the distillery. In Scotland, cloudy wort is normally used, which gives a more grainy character to the Scotch. Japanese distillers prefer to use clear wort, which results in more aromatic and fruity characters.
麥芽汁可以是半混濁的或混濁的，這取決於個別蒸餾廠所需的風格和特性。 在蘇格蘭，通常使用較為混濁的麥芽汁，賦予其威士忌更多質感。 日本蒸餾廠喜歡使用半混濁的麥芽汁，令其威士忌更富果香。