This species of ardent spirit is much used in this country as well as in Ireland. It varies considerably in the mode of preparation as well as in its strength and comparative value. One of the modes of procuring it is stated in Gray's Operative Chemist to consist in mixing 3840 gallons of rye or barley ground very fine, and 1280 gallons of coarse ground pale malt, and making it into a mash, with 8500 gallons of water, heated to 170° Fahr. There is then drawn off 1020 gallons of this wort, and a large quantity of yeast is added to it; and when the remaining wort is cooled to 55° Fahr. eighty gallons of malt are mashed with another portion of 1020 gallons of hot water, and this, being drawn off, is mixed with the first wort, and the yeasted wort is also added. This wash should have the specific gravity from 1.084 to 1.110. In the course of ten or twelve days, the specific gravity gradually diminishes till it becomes only 1.002, when the yeast head falls quite flat; the wash has a vinous smell and taste, and is fit for the still.
It is calculated that every sixty-four gallons of meal and malt ought to produce eighteen gallons of spirit, so much stronger than proof spirit that ten gallons will make eleven gallons proof.
In general, one-third of the wash is drawn over at the first stilling, and the product is called low wines, the specific gravity being about 0.975. On redistilling the low wines, a milky, fiery tasted spirit comes over at first; when the running turns clear, the spirit that has come over is returned into the still. The distillation being continued, the clean spirit comes over; and when the running gets below a certain specific gravity, the remaining spirit which comes over, until it ceases to be inflammable, is kept apart by the name of faints, and is mixed with the next parcel of low wines that are distilled. The proportion of malt to the raw grain is sometimes diminished much below that stated, even as low as only one-tenth of the raw grain. If the wort is not sufficiently heavy, its specific gravity is brought up, by adding a strong infusion of ground malt, or barley and malt. The fermentation is generally carried on in open pits, and hurried as much as possible; but of late some distillers, considering that the carbonic acid gas carried off much of the spirit, have covered the pits with a flooring, having a trap with a water joint, to prevent the loss of the spirit; this retards the fermentation, but the augmentation of the produce, although slight, is judged fully equivalent to the loss of time.