How we make our whisky

Every single process in making Stauning Whisky – from the floor malting to the bottling – is done at the Distillery.

Our Distillery is located near the west coast of Denmark. The small village of Stauning is only a 10 minute walk from the Distillery. The history of the village and the support from the local community is reflected deeply in our Whisky.
A location amidst graceful farmland, with wide open spaces and the western wind in your hair.

When you visit the surrounding area, you will feel how authentic the distillery is. How the local history traces from the old town centre, past the old fisherman’s wharf and right into the heart of our distillery. That is what Stauning Whisky is about; Uncompromised, traditionally handcrafted Whisky of the finest quality.

Read about our production below.

1. MALTING

When we make our whisky, we begin with malting the grain. At Stauning we do this by floor malting. The grain is spread on the malting floor where we start the “steeping”. This is done by watering / soaking the grain for a few days so the grain can absorb a lot of water for the germination to begin.

We need grain to germinate to form the enzymes (amylases) so the grain can convert its starch into maltose. Maltose (disaccharide) is needed for the yeast at a later stage can produce alcohol.

During germination, it is very important that we mix the grain often, so there is a uniform temperature throughout the grain. If the grain is not mixed, the grain in the bottom will develop much more heat than the grain in the top and thus have a much quicker germination. In order to ensure uniform germination the grain is turned with a machine we have invented only for this purpose.

After the germination period (the malt is now called green malt), we stop the process. We do this by drying the grain.

2. DRYING

The Barley or Rye is dried in an kiln, where it is dried by blowing in hot air.

For it to be a smoky whisky, we also dry the grain with warm, smoky air from the burning of peat. A peat we get from Klosterlund Museum near by Herning.

If we do not produce a smoky whisky, we only use hot air during drying. When the grain is dried we store it in stock. Subsequently, the malted-dried grain is ready for mashing.

3. MASHING

For mashing, we use malted grain and some hot water. We take the grain and grind it to a kind of wholemeal flour. This we mix with hot water. In this process, we break the starch into smaller chains – it is converted into malt sugar by means of the enzymes that were formed in the germination. The whole process of mashing is to have a sugary liquid – wort – which we later can get to ferment, thus forming alcohol.

After the grain and water having been mixed for 1-2 hours by stirring, we pump the sugary liquid out of the mash tun. In this way, the grinded grain stays in the mash tun, while the sugary wort is pumped into a cooling vessel.

For the second time pour warm water into the mash tun to extract the last sugar of the grain. This stands for an hour and is then also pumped into the cooling vessel.

The cooling vessel cools the wort down to about 20 degrees so that the wort is ready to have the yeast added.

4. FERMENTATION

Once the wort is cooled to the desired temperature, it is pumped into the fermentation vessel. Yeast is added under stirring, and now we wait for 2-3 days for the fermentation to complete. During the fermentation alcohol is formed, and the fermented wort is now ready to be distilled.

5. DISTILLATION

We have chosen a production that is very much inspired by the Scottish single malt whiskies. Further, we have chosen to distill by double distilation in alembic copper pot stills. First in a wash still and then in a spirit still. Not the easiest solution, but we certainly believe it is the right solution. In this way we make whisky using the same principles as the Scots have done for centuries, and we get a whisky with character.

First distillation

The wash is pumped into our 1000 liter wash still. During distillation the wort with an alcohol content of 6-7 will be distilled to a low wine with an alcohol content of approx. 25. This low wine is then pumped into our 600 liter spirit still for the second distillation.

The second distillation

Before distillation we add the head and tail from our previous second destillation. During the second distillation, we divide the distilled liquid into three parts. The first part has a lot of flavors that will not fit the whisky. It also contains methanol. This first part is called the head and being put aside.

The second part is called the heart. This is what all the fuss is all about. It is this part that is ready to be filled in to oak barrels, so time and the oak barrels can mature the whisky.

The third part is the tail. Here we again have some flavors that do not contribute to the taste. At this time of distillation the alchohol level is low. This part we also put aside.

Head and tail are mixed into the lowwine before the next new distillation.

6. MATURATION

After distillilation the new spirit is diluted down to 64% alcohol and filled into oak barrels for the maturation.

When new whisky is distilled, it is a colorless liquid and has only taste and aroma of alcohol and grain. It is from aging in charred oak barrels the whisky gets its color, complexity and richness of flavor.

It is still somewhat a mystery how the barrel gives its flavor to the whisky. We know that aging is related to the chemical changes that take place as a result of reactions with alcohol and drugs in the alcohol through oxidation and extraction of chemicals from the oak. Factors that affect this maturation is the percentage of alcohol, the level of charring of the oak, temperature and humidity in the warehouse, the size of the barrel and of course how long it is stored.

Our Peated and Traditional is being matured on first fill ex-bourbon barrels. These are barrels that in the United States have been used to mature bourbon.

Our Rye is matured in new oak barrels (white oak) that provides a much more intense color and flavor.

We also use Sherry-, Port- and cherrywine-casks.

7. BOTTLING

Our whiskies are bottled after a minimum of 3 years of maturation.

The bottles are filled, corked and labeled. A bottle Stauning Whisky is ready to be enjoyed.

WHAT WE USE TO MAKE A STAUNING WHISKY

BARLEY

Barley, which is used for making Stauning Whisky is always locally grown barley. It will not always be from the same field and the same farmer. But to ensure high quality of our whisky we have to use barley of the highest quality. Since conditions vary for the farmer from year to year, the farmer’s quality of barley also vary. Therefore, we may have to get the barley delivered from different farmers from one year to the next. But it will always be local barley.

The Barley is floormaltet at the Distillery.

WATER

The water used for our whisky is local. It is pumped from the ground just a few miles from the Distillery (in Dejbjerg). It is water of superior quality.
We use the water in the malting process for soaking the grain, when mashing, for diluting when adding new make to the cask before aging and when diluting the matured whisky to the best bottle strength (of our choicce).

RYE

The Rye, which is used at Stauning Whisky is locally grown. It will not be from the same field. Since conditions vary for the farmer from year to year, the farmer’s quality of Rye also vary. But as with the barley we only use Rye of the highest quality.

We also floormalt our Rye. Floormalting the Rye is very unusual worldwide. We do it because we can and because it gives a much better flavor in the final product.

The lack of a hard shell makes the Rye much harder to work with than barley. It gets more sticky during malting and mashing than barley and we therefore had to make special conditions in our production in order to make the Rye whisky. But we definitely think it’s worth it.

YEAST

The Yeast we use is developed for makinng whisky. It is a dry Yeast. This yeast is producing rich, fruity, smooth aromatics, malty character with balanced ester profile and really good at keeping the smoke in the liquid when making our Peated whisky. It is good at breaking longer sugar chains and getting optimum yield. We have used the same type of Yeast from day 1.

PEAT

At “Store Bølling Sø” between Herning and Silkeborg, Klosterlund Museum and Nature Center is situated. This place is one of the only places in the country where they still cut Peat from the bogs.

Peat extraction is used as activity in the living museum.

The Peat is a particular soil type, created by the decomposition of plant material quenched by flooding / hypoxia. Peat therefore retains some of the plant parts structure.
The incomplete decomposition increases the carbon content of Peat, which is therefore suitable for fuel.

When we make a smoky Barley Malt, we use Peat during drying in the malting proces. We control the temperature and air flow very accurately to ensure the right content of phenols in the grain, which gives the characteristic smoky taste. Our Peat adds a complex smoky, rich, oily, sweet aroma to the Malt.

CASKS

At Stauning Whisky we use ex. bourbon casks, virgin american white oak casks, sherry, port and wine casks. We use from 32 liter up to 228 liter casks.
The cask maturation of whisky is one of the most influential processes that create the taste of a whisky. The time the alcohol sits in the cask during maturation is also very important. The wood of the cask adds the different complex flavours. Different casks offer different flavours.
Most of our Casks is also toasted and heavily charred before use. Toasting and charring converts the wood sugars into vanilla and caramel flavours.

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