Our barley comes to us ready-malted. The barley has been steeped in water for two to three days to encourage the grain to germinate, to sprout. If germination is allowed to continue the grains of barley will begin to consume their own sugars in an effort to grow. As we need the sugars to enable fermenting, the process is brought to a halt by heating. This is known as 'kilning'.
Any rootlets that may have grown as a result of germination are removed. The malted barley is then cleaned and ready for us to begin the distillation process.
The malted barley is fed into our mill and ground to produce 'grist' (you’ll be familiar with the expression, ‘grist to the mill’). The grist is separated into three parts; the husk, the grist and the flour. This gives easy access to the starches held within.
The grist now enters our 'mashtun' where it is mixed with warm water. This process is known as 'mashing'. Mashing converts the 'starches' in the barley into 'sugars'. This takes about five-and-a-half hours, and the mixture is now a sugary liquid known as 'wort'. Any solids left are called 'draff', which is used by local farmers as animal feed, and is also fed to our friendly alpacas at the distillery.