Corn Mash Whiskey
You will need:
• 2kg Corn kernels (cracked)
• 400g Wheat (cracked)
• 500g Dark Malt Extract syrup
• 4kg White sugar
• 1pkt Whisky Distillers Yeast
• 30g White Oak chips (lightly charred)
• Distilling Conditioner
• Large cooking pot (15L or greater)
In this simplified recipe we are not going to malt our grain. It is important however, that you
plan your mash ahead of time.
1) Prepare your fermenter. If you are using a single 30L, add 12L cool water. Alternately 2
fermenters can be used, decanting 10L into each.
2) Now, into your large cooking pot, pour approx. 3L of water from the tap (*note) and
bring to a low boil, at approximately 80°C.
3) Once this is reached, add the crushed grain, reduce heat and continue to stir.
4) Continue stirring for 15min, keeping the temp at around 80°C. Do not let your grain burn
to the bottom of the pot!
5) The Mash should now resemble a dark porridge and can be transferred to the
fermenting vessel. Corn Whiskey is fermented “on grain” so no sparging or straining is
6) Now stir in the 4kg of Sugar (or 3kg into each of 2 fermenters) and place lid on
Fermenter with air-lock.
7) Once temp has dropped below 25°C, pitch yeast, stir thoroughly and seal fermenter.
(Note: Distillation in Australia is illegal)
Fermentation, even at relatively mild temperatures, should be complete in about 3 to 5 days.
American Whiskeys are traditionally distilled “on grain” so don’t bother waiting for your wash
to clear or settle. Siphon off your liquid into your still (there will be lots of floaty bits) but try
to avoid too many solids that will burn onto your element. Add Distilling Conditioner to
prevent excessive foaming or ‘burping’.
Your wash will need to be distilled twice. Remove any packing (ceramic dough-nuts, saddles
etc.) in your column to allow free flow of vapour. If you have used 2 fermenters, do both first
runs separately, then combine both for the second. Pour in your ‘first run’ and add extra
water to ¾ fill your still as not to burn the oils and damage the flavour.
Run your still as per normal, try to not let your temp exceed 90°C. You will likely collect little
methanol below 76.5°C on your first run, but a lot on your second (225 to 270ml isn’t
uncommon). This is due to the amount of oils and solids in your first wash, that insulate the
methanol so it isn’t released until a much higher temp.
Collect everything your still produces over 76.5°C on your first run. Your liquor will likely smell
of sour apples due to the high amount of oils and fruity esters, and possibly a bit woody from
the burnt yeast cells.
For your second run, as always, collect the methanol or ‘fore-shots’ up to 77°C. Then, into a
separate vessel, collect the ‘heads’ up to 79°C. Although clean, the ‘heads’ are extremely
strong and sharp smelling (typically around 85%) and sometimes referred to as spittin’
whiskey. Makes excellent window cleaner!
Now you are ready to collect the ‘mid-run’. Place your charred oak chips in a glass demijohn
and allow the hot spirit to contact them directly (this is an old moonshiners trick to speed up
ageing). Using this recipe you will likely collect around 2.8L of good mid-run whiskey at 140
Shut your still off once you have reached your target (don’t be greedy!) and uncover your hot
liquor to allow it to breath as it cools. Remaining low-wines and esters are reduced this way.
Allow 6 to 8 weeks to mature. Enjoy responsibly.
* Rule of thumb for Grain mashing is 1gal of water for 7lb’s grain, or 4L to 3kg.
* Sour Mashing is achieved by taking some of the spent wash or beer from your still run and
adding it to the next wash to sour the grain before pitching the yeast. The commercial term
for this is Back-Set. Some distilleries use as much as 30% by total volume.