Cooking Up Our Bespoke Malted Barley Mash Bill

Malted barley. Lots of malted barley! It’s what American single malt whiskey is made of, but not all barley is created equal. We are fortunate to be able to draw from the bounty of the Pacific Northwest for our bespoke malted barley mash bill. Our Evergreen Collection features four types of malted barley – all grown in Oregon and Washington. 

Creating the Mash Bill

How are beer and whiskey related? For the Evergreen Collection, the mash bill recipe is reminiscent of the types of beers that Phil, Wanderback founder, really enjoys – think a Newcastle Brown Ale (without the hops). 

To get the right whiskey recipe, Phil got busy brewing a lot of different batches of beers in his basement! Envision the late-night, mad scientist, Phil  running a type of kinetic trial-and-error process to hone in on the perfect mash bill.  

After many brews, he landed on a specialty malted barley recipe that he hoped would lead to the final taste profile he was looking for…. scroll down to Meet our Malts!

Meet the Malts

The malted barley grain bill for the Evergreen Collection consists of a local Washington pale malt and three flavorful Pacific Northwest specialty malts. Each malt has a specific role to play in flavor development:

88% Pale malt Washington State Select® 2-Row Malt

Provides a great base flavor and is the source of most of the sugars and enzymes to create alcohol.

8% Crystal 60L

Creates a red/amber hue and a pronounced malty, toffee, caramel flavor plus a clean, smooth finish

2% Pale chocolate from Thomas Fawcett & Sons

Adds a dark brown color and a dark chocolate/coffee “campfire” flavor.

2% Munich from Great Western 

Gives it a robust, rich, malt flavor

Converting Barley into Whiskey!

Once ready, the malted barley mix was crushed in the Westland mash house and cooked with water in the mash tun to extract and break down sugars. This sugar water was cooled slightly, mixed with the yeast, and transferred to fermentation tanks. Here the yeast magically converts the sugars to alcohol. Phil liked the saison, Belgian-beer yeast used for the esters and fruity notes it lends to the whiskey wash. 

After a couple of days fermentation was completed. Next, the liquid was transferred into a copper pot wash still for distillation. To read more about the distillation of our first American single malt whiskey collection, click here.

More Reading on How We Make Our Whiskey…

Want to dig a little deeper into how we made our Evergreen collection of limited edition American single malt whiskeys (Batch No. 1,2, 3+ 4)? Check out these articles on each phase of our unique approach:

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