Distilling Your Rye Whiskey
You’ve made it this far! At this point, you’ve completed the heavy lifting of producing your whiskey mash water for your rye whiskey! Now it’s time to distill and separate all of that alcohol content into a purified form. Just like making mash, distilling is as much an art as it is a science.
The best way to master the art of distilling is to hone your skills with practice. We recommend taking detailed notes throughout this process so you can become better with each run. If you’re in need of any distilling equipment or supplies we’ve got you covered.
The process of distilling the fermented whiskey mash will make for a purer and more concentrated spirit. This step separates out all of the undesirable types alcohols such as acetaldehyde, acetone, and methanol (which can cause blindness if consumed).
Prepping and Cleaning Your Whiskey Still
*DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!
Keeping up on prep-work for your still is mission critical. Even if you cleaned your whiskey moonshine still after your last run and let it sit for a while, it is still recommended to clean it before transferring your whiskey mash water. This is especially the case on copper stills that are starting to show a salt buildup.
If you want to add packing to your column, this is the time to do it. Pack your column with the amount of copper packing that is appropriate for your setup.
If your still setup has a condenser, hook up your water input and output.
Finally, it’s time to add your mash water to the whiskey still. Again, you can use a cheesecloth or auto-siphon to transfer the mash water into your still without including solid material. It’s very important that you don’t allow any solids or sediment to be included in the still.
If this is your first run ever, below is a great walkthrough of how to set up your pot or reflux whiskey moonshine still.
Running Your Whiskey Still
Now for the step you’ve prepared for. Distilling rye whiskey is an incredible process. If you’re not familiar with the science, here is a quick break down. Distillation is the process of separating different alcohol chemicals by taking advantage of different evaporation temperatures points between the chemicals.
The distilling process is not creating the alcohol, it is simply separating it from all of the other substances in your whiskey mash water. Therefore distilling it down to a purified spirit. The alcohol was already created during the fermentation step.
Slowly bring your temperature up to 150 °F. Once you reach 150 °F, turn on the condensing water, if your setup has a condenser.
After that, dial up your heat source to high until your still starts producing. Time your drips as they speed up until you reach 3 to 5 drips per second. Once you reach this rate, dial down your heat to maintain this drip rate (usually the “medium” setting).