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Good to know: fermentation

Good to know: fermentation

Fermentation is the natural process whereby yeast can metabolise sugar to release ethanol as a by-product.

Basically, it’s the stage during the whisky production process when alcohol is made. Fermentation begins when the yeast converts the sugary wort into crude alcohol, producing a liquid similar in aroma and taste to a sour beer called wash. Here’s 5 quick points detailing how fermentation can influence the flavour of the whisky you drink:

  • The length of fermentation plays an important part in developing the flavour compounds within the spirit.

  • A longer fermentation is thought to produce a sweeter, fruitier wash.

  • Benromach has one of the longest fermentations at 115 hours.

  • Knockando has a much shorter fermentation at around 50 hours.

  • It is quite common now for distilleries to operate partly with a long and partly with a short fermentation.

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