Delicious rye whiskey doesn’t have to come from a store! Make your own delicious spirit from the comforts of home with our easy step-by-step recipe.
When some think of moonshining they conjure up images of prohibition, outlaws and fast cars. However, thanks in part to the popularity of the Discovery Channel’s Moonshiners moonshining has become a popular hobby that combines a love of science and a love of spirits.
With moonshining rising in popularity, many moonshiners are seeking new recipes and challenges to make different spirits. Gone are the days when moonshiners were only able to make corn whiskey. Today, moonshiners are able to take their skills to new levels with recipes like applejack moonshine, root beer moonshine and of course, rye whiskey mash.
The Right Tools Make all the Difference
Moonshining is a fun hobby that yields results that your friends and family will love. Creating the perfect spirit does require a great recipe and the right tools. Since many items are not easily available at the corner store, getting an all-in-one tool is invaluable.
Making moonshine is a fun way to easily create spirits for personal use, friends and family. Getting the right tools can quickly turn a beginner into a seasoned moonshiner! We love this Mist 1 Gallon Mini Air Still for those who want a simple distillation process with an appliance that can fit on your kitchen counter.
History of Rye Whiskey
Rye whiskey gained popularity in the northeastern states of America during the 1700 and 1800’s. Rye whiskey all but disappeared after prohibition. However, it has seen a surge in popularity since the 21st century.
Rye Whiskey vs. Bourbon
While both are delicious spirits, rye whiskey and bourbon do vary greatly both in recipe and flavor profile. While bourbon offers a sweet almost caramel taste whereas rye whiskey offers a much more spicy and savory flavor.
The recipes for the spirits also differ greatly. Bourbon has a corn based mash with corn making up at least 51% of the mash ingredients. In comparison, in rye whiskey rye makes up at least 51% of the mash in order to be considered rye whiskey.
Many may associate the two because of their ageing process. Both spirits are aged in either oak barrels or with oak chips.
The age-old saying goes-failing to plan means planning to fail. When it comes to moonshining it is important to plan ahead and get all the necessary equipment. As making moonshine is a form of science, following the recipe exactly as written and using the correct equipment is necessary to get the desired results.
At How to Moonshine, we are passionate about helping people create delicious spirits at home. This is why we sell the best all-in-one kits on the market. You have everything you need to make delicious spirits from the comforts of home.
- 1 All-in-one Stove top still
- 2. Long spoon
- 3. Heat source
- Heat source
- Long spoon
- Cooking thermometer
- Large copper or stainless steel cooking pot
- Fermentation bucket with lid
- Air lock
- Cheese cloth
Ingredients Needed for Rye Whiskey
This recipe is reminiscent of the traditional mash created by George Washington’s distillery used to create his Rye Whiskey at Mount Vernon. This rye whiskey mash consists of 60% rye, 35% corn, and 5% barley.
For this recipe you will need:
- 6 Pounds Rye Malt
- 3.5 Pounds Flaked Maize (Corn)
- .5 Pound Malted Barley
- 5 Gallons of Water
- Whiskey Turbo Yeast
Making your Rye Whiskey Mash
- Gather all your necessary equipment and ingredients.
- Place your cooking pot on your heat source and add 4.5 gallons of water. Heat the water to 165 °F
- Once your water has reached the desired temperature remove it from the heat source and immediately add the rye malt and flaked maize.
- Stir continuously for 7 minutes. After 7 minutes, stir every 30 seconds until the mash has cooled to 152 °F ( about 5 minutes).
- Once the mash has reached 152 °F, stir in the malted barley.
- The mash now needs to be stirred every 20 minutes until it cools to 70 °F. This process can take several hours. It is helpful to set a 20 minute timer. Every 20 minutes the mash needs to be stirred for 30 seconds.
- Once the mash has reached 70 °F it is time to add the whiskey turbo yeast.
- Aerate the mixture by pouring it back and forth between the cooking pot and the fermentation bucket for five minutes. After five minutes seal the fermentation bucket with an airtight lid and place in a cool dark area.
Fermenting Your Rye Whiskey Mash
Leave your mash to ferment in a cool dark place for about 10 days. You should notice the airlock will stop emitting gas.
If you are unsure whether your mash is ready for distillation, you can remove a small amount of liquid and place it on a white plate. Add several drops of iodine. If the mash is ready to distill it will not turn blue. Discard your test sample and do not add it back into your mash.
Once the fermentation process is complete it is important to strain your liquid well using your cheesecloth
If this is your first time performing the distillation process it is important to read over the instructions provided with your distillation kit carefully. Temperature and procedure play an equally important role in this step of the process.
The distillation process does not create the alcohol, but rather separates the alcohol created during the fermenting process which you will then be collecting.
It is also important to make sure you are using clean equipment and tools. Even if you have cleaned your equipment after your last batch, it is important to clean your equipment before use if it has been sitting for awhile.
Collecting Foreshots and Heads
Once your batch has been distilled it is time to store it in an airtight glass container.
Remember that the first 5% of your yield is easiest evaporating alcohol and should be thrown out. This part of the batch can contain ingredients such as methanol which can be dangerous to consume. This is known as collecting the foreshots.
The next 30% of the yield is considered the ‘head’. While it is less toxic than the foreshots, it also contains some toxic alcohols and should also be collected and thrown out. You may notice this part of the yield has a distinct smell reminiscent of acetone.
You will soon notice your yield losing its acetone-like smell. This means you are reaching the ‘hearts’. The hearts will make up about 35% of your batch and is mostly made up of ethanol.
Maximizing the amount of hearts in your yield will take time and practice.
As the hearts run out you will begin collecting the tails. The tails do not have the sweet flavor of the hearts and may also appear to have an oily sheen. This is because there are water, proteins and carbohydrates present. The tails can either be thrown out, or put through for another distillation.
Aging your Rye Whiskey
At this point you have made moonshine. To turn your white whiskey into a rye whiskey it needs to be aged. Aging your rye whiskey in an oak barrel or with oak chips will give it a rich brown color as well as a distinct oaky flavor. The amount of time you need to age the whiskey is up to you, although generally rye whiskey is aged in a cool, dark place for about 1 to 3 years.
Checking your ABV
Once your rye whiskey has been aged to your preference, it is important to check the ABV (alcohol by volume) before consuming. Rye whiskey must have a minimum of 40% ABV (80 Proof) to be classified as a rye whiskey. This can be done using a hydrometer. If the ABV is too high, it can be diluted with purified water prior to bottling.
Remember Practice makes Perfect!
The best way to feel more comfortable with the distillation process is to practice. Take detailed notes to hone your skills. Our all-in-one kits make the distillation process painless. You have everything you need to get a great batch every time.