Glossary of Irish Whiskey Terms

This glossary attempts to cover those terms used throughout this site that may not be familiar to you ....hope it helps......
Aqua Vitae : Latin term for "water of life".
Blending : Term used for mixing malt or pot still whiskey with grain whiskey
Brewing : The process of producing alcoholic liquids aided by yeast from the sugars present in a solution of fermented grains
Cask : Wooden Barrel into which whiskey is stored in order to mature
Coffee Still : Patent still invented by Irish man Aeneas Coffee, a former Government Excise Official. His invention allows the continuous distillation of wash.
Draff : Spent solids of grain left over from the brewing process. Removed from the mash tun these "wastes" are normally sold as livestock feed.
Feints : Term applied to the impure spirit produced from the end of the second distillation.
Fermentation : Active period during the brewing process when yeast reacts with the sugar rich wort.
Fermenters : See Wash Backs
Fillings : The term applied to "new" whiskey that has been filled into casks prior to being matured
Foreshots : Term applied to the oily spirit produced at the start of each "run" from the stills
Gauger : Old name given to an exciseman whose job was to assist in the prevention of illicit distillation notably poteen in Ireland
Grain Whiskey : Whiskey produced from column stills, normally made from wheat or maize wit a small quantity of malted barley to aid fermentation.
Grist : Name given to the crushed grains mixture of malted and unmalted barley in the making of Irish pot still whiskey
Malt : Barley soaked in water then spread to dry in order to promote germination.
Marrying : Term given to the process of mixing whiskeys from more than one distillery in order to form a blend or vatting.
Mashing : The process of adding the Grist to hot water in order to dissolve the fermentable sugars
Mash Tun : Large container holding Grist and hot water for mashing process. The product of which is known as wort
Maturation : Process of leaving whiskey in casks to react over a period of years with the chemicals within the wood of the cask. The longer whiskey is left at the maturation stage the greater influence the chemicals within the wood will have.
Peat : Term given to the material formed by decaying matter found in bog land. May be used as a fuel also known as Turf in Ireland. Traditionally used in Scotland as the fuel for during the malted barley
Poteen : Irish term for illicit spirit made form malted barley occasionally from potatoes but more commonly made today from molasses.
Pot Still : Copper container in which the distillation process is carried out. The heating of the contents of the still produces vapors containing the alcohol which is separated from the water.
Pot Still Whiskey : Traditional name for Irish Whiskey produced from a mixture of malted and unmalted barley.
Run : Clear alcohol rich liquid produced by the distilling process
Single Malt : Malt whiskey made by a single distillery and unmixed with either grain or pot still whiskeys.
Uisce Beatha : Celtic for "water of life" also see Aqua vitae
Vatting : The mixing together of identical whiskeys from a single distillery but from different casks in order to maintain continuity of character for a particular brand of whiskey
Wash : The term given to the fermented liquid prior to being pumped into the wash still for the first distillation.
Wash Backs : Also referred to as fermenters in Ireland, these are huge containers that hold the fermenting liquid as it changes from wort to wash.
Worm : Apparatus in which the vaporized alcohol form the stills condense and are separated from the water. Normally a coiled copper tube.
Yeast : Organism which feeds of sugar forming alcohol as a by product, added to the wort in the mash tuns to aid the fermentation.
Ingredients Malting Mashing Distillation Maturation Blending

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