Glossary

Balling. A measure of the sugar concentration in a grain mash, expressed in degrees and approximating percent by weight of the sugar in solution.

Bushel. A distillers bushel of any cereal gain is 25.4 kg (56 lb).

Congeners. The flavor constituents in beverage spirits that are responsible for its flavor and aroma and that result from the fermentation, distillation, and maturation processes.

Feints. The third fraction of the distillation cycle derived from the distillation of low wines in a pot still. This term is also used to describe the undesirable constituents of the wash which are removed during the distillation of grain whisky in a continuous patent still (Coffey). These are mostly aldehydes and fusel oils.

Foreshots. The first fraction of the distillation cycle derived from the distillation of low wines in a pot still.

Fusel oil. An inclusive term for heavier, pungent-tasting alcohols produced during fermentation. Fusel oil is composed of approximately 80% amyl alcohols, 15% butyl alcohols, and 5% other alcohols.

Grain whisky. An alcoholic distillate from a fermented wort derived from malted and unmalted barley and maize (corn), in varying proportions, and distilled in a continuous patent still (Coffey).

Heads. A distillate containing a high percentage of low-boiling components such as aldehydes.

High wines. An all-inclusive term for beverage spirit distillates that have undergone complete distillation.

Low wines. The term for the initial product obtained by separating (in a pot still) the beverage spirits and congeners from the wash. Low wines are subjected to at least one more pot still distillation to attain a greater degree of refinement in the malt whisky.

Malt whisky. An alcoholic distillate made from a fermented wort derived from malted barley only, and distilled in pot stills. It is the second fraction (heart of the run) of the distillation process.

Proof. In Canada, the UK, and the United States, the alcoholic concentration of beverage spirits is expressed in terms of proof. The United States statutes define this standard as follows: proof spirit is held to be that alcoholic liquor that contains one-half its volume of alcohol of a specific gravity of 0.7939 at 15.6°C; ie, the figure for proof is always twice the alcoholic content by volume. For example, 100° proof means 50% alcohol by volume. In the UK as well as Canada, proof spirit is such that at 10.6°C weighs exactly twelve-thirteenths of the weight of an equal bulk of distilled water. A proof of 87.7° would indicate an alcohol concentration of 50%. A conversion factor of 1.142 can be used to change British proof to U.S. proof.

Proof gallon. A U.S. gallon of proof spirits or the alcoholic equivalent thereof; ie, a U.S. gallon of 231 in.3 (3,785 cm3) containing 50% of ethyl alcohol by volume. Thus a gallon of liquor at 120° proof is 1.2 proof gal; a gallon at 86° proof is 0.86 proof gal. A British and Canadian proof gallon is an imperial gallon of 277.4 in.3 (4,546 cm3) at 100° proof (57.1% of ethyl alcohol by volume). An imperial gallon is equivalent to 1.2 U.S. gal. To convert British proof gallons to U.S. proof gallons, multiply by the factor 1.37. Since excise taxes are paid on the basis of proof gallons, this term is synonymous with tax gallons.

Single whisky. The whisky, either grain or malt, produced by one particular distillery. Blended Scotch whisky is not a single whisky.

Spirits. Distilled spirits including all whiskies, gin, brandy, rum, cordials, and others made by a distillation process for nonindustrial use.

Tails. A residual alcoholic distillate.

Wash. The liquid obtained by fermenting wort with yeast. It contains the beverage spirits and congeners developed during fermentation.

Wine gallon. Measure of actual volume; U.S. gallon (3.7845118 L) contains 231 in.3 (3,785 cm3); British (Imperial) gallon contains 277.4 in.3 (4,546 cm3).

Wort. The liquid drained off the mash tun and containing the soluble sugars and amino acids derived from the grains.

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