We now have the extract contributions from each grain component. Add these numbers together, and we get our Total Extract value that we’ve been so desperately searching for. Total Extract = 0.1219 + 0.4747 + 0.0698 = 0.6664 From there, we can use this value in our recipe calculation. How much Total Grain do we need to produce this bourbon mash? Let’s say we need 500 gallons of mash at a specific gravity of 1.070. The equation would look like this: 70 x 500 = 1,134.12 lbs of grain 0.6664 x 46.31 To find out the necessary weight of the individual grains, simply multiply their recipe percentages by the grain poundage total. Rye = 1,134.12 x 0.2 = 226.82 lbs Corn = 1,134.12 x 0.7 = 793.88 lbs Malted Barley = 1,134.12 x 0.1 = 113.41 lbs Whew! If this all seems like a lot of math, well, it is. You could always revert to using programs such as Beersmith, Brewer’s Friend, and the like, but I’ve found these programs to be less than ideal for distillers. The grain specifications are often out of date and sometimes even missing. Besides, being able to handle these calculations on your own will give you more control of making recipe changes should you receive a batch of grain that falls out of spec. If you’re in the world of making whiskey, one of the best things you can do to produce better juice more consistently is to get a better understanding of your raw materials. Too many people seem to think that all grains are created equal when the reality is that there is wide variability between crops, farms, maltsters, and suppliers. If something changes, you need to understand why and the proper recourse to make sure those changes don’t affect your valuable distillates. And if you’ve reached the end of this piece with nary a change in mind on how you view malt specs, you can always read this to your kids during bedtime. Trust me, they’ll sleep for days. Cheers!
Matt Strickland is the Master Distiller (he hates that title) for Distillerie Cote des Saints in Quebec where he focuses on single malt production. He has a Master's in Oeonology and Viticulture from Oregon State, is a faculty member at Moonshine University, and is the only American to sit on the Board of Examiners for the Institute of Brewing and Distilling in the UK. His spirit spirit is Peruvian pisco and he does not believe that listening to Journey has to be done ironically. W W W . ARTISANSPIRITMAG . C O M