The Practical Distiller
by Samuel McHarry
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Be it remembered, that on the twenty fourth day of November, in the thirty-third year of the Independence of the United States of America, A. D. 1808, SAMUEL McHARRY, of the said district, hath deposited in this Office, the title of a Book, the right whereof he claims as author, in the words following, to wit:

The Practical Distiller: or an introduction to making Whiskey, Gin, Brandy, Spirits, &c. &c. of better quality, and in larger quantities, than produced by the present mode of distilling, from the produce of the United States: such as Rye, Corn, Buckwheat, Apples, Peaches, Potatoes, Pumpions and Turnips. With directions how to conduct and improve the practical part of distilling in all its branches. Together with directions for purifying, clearing and colouring Whiskey, making Spirits similar to French Brandy, &c. from the Spirits of Rye, Corn, Apples, Potatoes &c. &c. and sundry extracts of approved receipts for making Cider, domestic Wines, and Beer. By SAMUEL McHARRY, of Lancaster county, Pennsylvania.

In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, "An act for the encouragement of Learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the Authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned." And also to the act, entitled, "An act supplementary to an act, entitled, 'An act for the encouragement of Learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the time therein mentioned,' and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints."

D. CALDWELL, Clerk of the district of Pennsylvania.


Page SECTION I Observations on Yeast. 25 Receipt for making stock Yeast. 27 Vessel most proper for preserving do. 30 To ascertain the quality of do. 31 To renew do. 32 Observations on the mode in which distillers generally work do. 33 How stock Yeast may be kept good for years. 34 To make best Yeast for daily use. 36 SECTION II Observations on the best wood for hogsheads. 39 To sweeten by scalding ditto. 41 Ditto, burning do. 42 SECTION III To mash rye in the common mode. 44 Best method of distilling rye. 45 To mash one-third rye with two-thirds corn. 47 Do. an equal quantity of rye and corn. 49 Do. two-thirds rye and one-third corn. 51 Do. corn. 54 To make four gallons to the bushel. 55 To know when grain is sufficiently scalded. 58 Directions for cooling off. 59 To ascertain when rye works well. 61 To prevent hogsheads from working over. 62 SECTION IV Observations on the quality of rye. 63 Mode of chopping rye. 64 Do. or grinding indian corn. 65 Do. malt. 66 To choose malt. 67 To build a malt-kiln. 67 To make malt for stilling. 69 Of hops. 69 SECTION V How to order and fill the singling still. 69 Mode of managing the doubling still. 71 On the advantages of making good whiskey. 73 Distilling buckwheat. 77 Distilling potatoes, with observations. 78 Receipt to prepare potatoes for distilling. 82 Distilling pumpions. 83 Do. turnips. 83 Do. apples. 84 To order do. in the hogsheads. 85 To work do. fast or slow. 86 To know when apples are ready for distilling. 87 To fill and order the singling still for apples. 88 To double apple-brandy. 90 To prepare peaches. 91 To double and single do. 92 SECTION VI Best mode of setting stills. 93 To prevent the planter from cracking. 98 Method of boiling more than one still by a single fire. 99 To set a doubling still. 100 To prevent the singling still from rusting. 101 SECTION VII How to clarify whiskey. 102 To make a brandy, from rye, spirits or whiskey, to resemble French Brandy. 103 To make a spirit from ditto, to resemble Jamaica spirits. 104 Do. Holland gin. 105 Do. country gin, and clarifying same. 107 On fining liquors. 110 On coloring liquors. 111 To correct the taste of singed whiskey. 112 To give an aged flavor. 113 SECTION VIII Observations on weather. 115 Do. water. 117 Precautions against fire. 119 SECTION IX Duty of the owner of a distillery. 120 Do. of a hired distiller. 123 SECTION X The profits arising from a common distillery. 125 Do. from a patent distillery. 127 Of hogs. 129 Diseases of hogs. 133 Feeding cattle and milk cows. 134 SECTION XI Observations on erecting distilleries. 135 SECTION XII On Wines. 139 Receipt for making ditto, from the autumn blue grape. 140 Ditto, from currants. 142 Do. for making cider, British mode. 143 Do. do. American mode. 145 Do. for an excellent American wine. 150 Do. do. honey wine. 153 To make elderberry wine. 156 Do. do. cordial. 157 SECTION XIII Of brewing beer. 160 Of the brewing vessels. 160 Of cleaning and sweetening casks and brewing vessels. 161 Of mashing or raking liquors. 163 Of working the liquor. 167 Of fining malt liquors. 170 Season for brewing. 172 To make elderberry beer or ebulum. 173 To make improved purl. 174 To brew strong beer. 175 To make china ale. 176 To make any new liquor drink as stale. 177 To recover sour ale. 177 To recover liquor that is turned bad. 178 Directions for bottling. 178 To make ale or beer of cooked malt. 179 To make treacle (or molasses) beer. 181


When I first entered on the business of Distilling, I was totally unacquainted with it. I was even so ignorant of the process, as not to know that fermentation was necessary, in producing spirits from grain. I had no idea that fire being put under a still, which, when hot enough, would raise a vapour; or that vapour when raised, could be condensed by a worm or tube passing through water into a liquid state. In short, my impressions were, that chop-rye mixed with water in a hogshead, and let stand for two or three days; and then put into a still, and fire being put under her, would produce the spirit by boiling up into the worm, and to pass through the water in order to cool it, and render it palatable for immediate use—and was certain the whole art and mystery could be learned in two or three weeks, or months at farthest, as I had frequently met with persons who professed a knowledge of the business, which they had acquired in two or three months, and tho' those men were esteemed distillers, and in possession of all the necessary art, in this very abstruse science; I soon found them to be ignorant blockheads, without natural genius, and often, without principle.

Thus benighted, and with only the above light and knowledge, I entered into the dark, mysterious and abstruse science of distilling, a business professed to be perfectly understood by many, but in fact not sufficiently understood by any. For it presents a field for the learned, and man of science, for contemplation—that by a judicious and systematic appropriation and exercise of certain elements, valuable and salutary spirits and beverages may be produced in great perfection, and at a small expense, and little inconvenience, on almost every farm in our country.

The professed chymist, and profound theorist may smile at my ideas, but should any one of them ever venture to soil a finger in the practical part of distilling, I venture to say, he would find more difficulty in producing good yeast, than in the process of creating oxygen or hydrogen gas. Scientific men generally look down on us, and that is principally owing to the circumstance of so many knaves, blockheads and conceited characters being engaged in the business.—If then, the subject could be improved, I fancy our country would yield all the necessary liquors, and in a state of perfection, to gratify the opulent, and please the epicure.

I had no difficulty in finding out a reputed great distiller, whose directions I followed in procuring every necessary ingredient and material for distilling, &c. He was industrious and attentive, and produced tolerable yield, but I soon found the quantity of the runs to vary, and the yield scarcely two days alike. I enquired into the cause, of him, but his answers were, he could not tell; I also enquired of other distillers, and could procure no more satisfactory answer—some attributed it to the water, others to witchcraft, &c. &c.

I found them all ignorant—I was equally so, and wandered in the dark; but having commenced the business, I determined to have light on the subject; I thought there must be books containing instructions, but to my surprise, after a diligent search of all the book-stores and catalogues in Pennsylvania, I found there was no American work extant, treating on this science—and those of foreign production, so at variance with our habits, customs, and mode of economy, that I was compelled to abandon all hope of scientific or systematic aid, and move on under the instructions of those distillers of our neighborhood, who were little better informed than myself, but who cheerfully informed me of their experiments, and the results, and freely communicated their opinions and obligingly gave me their receipts. In the course of my progress, I purchased many receipts, and hesitated not to procure information of all who appeared to possess it, and sometimes at a heavy expense, and duly noted down all such discoveries and communications—made my experiments from time to time, and in various seasons, carefully noting down the results. Having made the business my constant and only study, carefully attending to the important branch of making yeast, and studying the cause and progress of fermentation, proceeding with numerous experiments, and always studying to discover the cause of every failure, or change, or difference in the yield. I could, after four years attention, tell the cause of such change, whether in the water, yeast, fermentation, quality of the grain, chopping the grain, or in mashing, and carefully corrected it immediately. By a thus close and indefatigable attention, I brought it to a system, in my mind, and to a degree of perfection, that I am convinced nothing but a long series of practice could have effected.

From my record of most improved experiments, I cheerfully gave receipts to those who applied, and after their adoption obtaining some celebrity, I found applications so numerous, as to be troublesome, and to be impossible for me to furnish the demands gratis, of consequence, I was compelled to furnish to some, and refuse others; a conduct so pregnant with partiality, and a degree of illiberality naturally gave rise to murmurs.

My friends strongly recommended a publication of them, the plan requiring the exercise of talents, order and method, with which I presumed myself not sufficiently versed, I for sometime obstinately refused, but at length and after reiterated solicitation, I consented to enter on the talk, under a flattering hope of affording useful information to those of my country engaged in the distillation of spirits from the growth of our native soil, which together with the following reasons, I offer as the only apology.

1st. I observed many distillers making fortunes, whilst others exercising an equal share of industry, and of equal merit were sinking money, owing to a want of knowledge in the business.

2d. In taverns I often observed foreign liquors drank in preference to those of domestic manufacture, though really of bad quality, possessing pernicious properties acquired from ingredients used by those in our commercial towns, who brew and compose brandies, spirits, and wines, often from materials most injurious to health, and this owing to so much bad liquor being made in our country, from which the reputation of domestic spirit has sunk. Whilst, in fact, we can make domestic spirits of various materials, which with a little management and age, will be superior to any of foreign produce.

3d. By making gin, &c. as good if not better, we might in a few years, meet those foreign merchants in their own markets, and undersell them; which we certainly could do, by making our liquors good, and giving them the same age. The transportation would of consequence improve them in an equal degree, for the only advantage their liquors of the same age have over our good liquors, is the mildness acquired by the friction in the warm hold of the ship in crossing the ocean.

And moreover as liquors will be drank by people of all standings in society, I flattered myself I could improve our liquors, render them more wholesome to those whose unhappy habits compel a too free use of ardent spirits, and whose constitutions may have been doubly injured from the pernicious qualities of such as they were compelled to use. For there are in all societies and of both sexes, who will drink and use those beverages to excess, even when there exists a moral certainty, that they will sustain injury from such indulgence, and as an evidence of my hypothesis, I offer the free use of coffee, tea, &c. so universally introduced at the tables of people of every grade.

The wise Disposer of worlds, very happily for mankind, permits the exhibition of genius, mind and talents, from the peasant and lower order, as well as from the monarch, the lord, and the opulent. To Europe they of course are not confined—Genius has already figured in our hemisphere—The arts and sciences are becoming familiar, they rise spontaneously from our native soil, and bid fair to vie with, if not out-shine accomplished Europe. In possession, then, of all the necessary materials, ingredients and requisites, I would ask why we cannot afford ardent spirits and wines equal to those imported; and thus raise our character to a standing with other countries, and retain those millions of dollars at home, which are yearly shipped abroad for those foreign liquors, so common, so universally in use, and much of which so adulterated, as to be followed, when freely used, with unhappy consequences. Would men of capital and science, turn their attention to distillations, from the produce of our own country, preserve the liquor until age and management would render it equal, if not superior to any imported; is it not probable that it would become an article of export, and most sensibly benefit our country at large.

Considerations such as those have combined to determine a publication of my work; fully apprised of the scoffs of pedants, kicks, bites and bruises of critics—but I hope they will find latitude for the exercise of a share of compassion, when I inform them candidly, that a mill and distillery, or still house, were substituted for, and the only college and academy in which I ever studied, and those studies were broken, and during the exercise of my business, as a miller and distiller.

That it contains errors in the diction and perspicuity, I will readily confess—but that it is in substance true, and contains much useful information, I must declare as an indisputable fact. And though the road I travelled was a new one, without compass, chart, or even star to steer by, not even a book to assist me in thinking, or cheer me in my gloomy passage—seeking from those springs of nature, and inherent endowments for consolatory aid—pressing on a frequently exhausted mind, for resources and funds, to accomplish the objects of my pursuits—not denying but that I met many of my fellow-beings, who cheerfully aided me with all the information in their power, and to whom I now present my thanks—I must acknowledge, I think my labors and exertions will prove useful to those of less experience than mine, in which event I shall feel a more ample remuneration for my exertions, than the price asked for one of those volumes.

Could I have witnessed the publication of a similar work by a man of science and education, mine should never have appeared. But it would seem the learned and scientific have never considered a work of the kind as meriting their attention; a circumstance deeply to be regretted, as a finer colouring to a work of the same properties and value often procures celebrity, demand and currency. My object is to be useful, my style plain, and only laboured to be rendered easy to be understood, and convey the necessary instruction to those who may honor this work with a perusal, or resort to it for information, and that it may be useful to my countrymen, is the sincere wish of



It is not more than twenty years since whiskey was first offered for sale in the seaport towns in large quantities; and then, owing to its badness, at a very low price. Since that period it has been gaining ground yearly, and at this time, it is the second great article of commerce, in the states of Pennsylvania and Maryland.

In the interior of these states, it has nearly excluded the use of foreign distilled spirits, and I fancy might be made so perfectly pure and nice, as to ultimately supersede the use of any other throughout the United States.

To assist in effecting this, the greatest attention should be paid to cleanliness, which in a distillery is absolutely necessary, the want of which admits of no excuse, where water is had without price.

If a distiller does not by a most industrious well-timed care and attention, preserve every utensil perfectly sweet and clean, he may expect, notwithstanding he has well attended to the other branches, but indifferent whiskey and not much of it.

If, for instance, every article, or only one article in the composition of yeast be sour or dirty, that one article will most assuredly injure the whole; which being put into a hogshead of mashed grain, soon imparts its acidity or filth to the whole mass, and of course will reduce the quantity and quality of the spirit yielded from that hogshead. Cleanliness in every matter and thing, in and about a distillery becomes an indispensable requisite, without a strict observance of which the undertaker will find the establishment unproductive and injurious to his interest. Purity cannot exist without cleanliness. Cleanliness in the human system will destroy an obstinate itch, of consequence, it is the active handmaid of health and comfort, and without which, decency does not exist.

Care is another important and necessary consideration, and a basis necessary, on which to erect a distillery, in order to ensure it productive of wealth and reputation. Care and industry will ensure cleanliness; an eye of care must be extended to every thing, that nothing be lost, that every thing be in its proper place and order, that every thing be done in due time; the business must be well timed, and time well economised, as it ranks in this, as in every other business very high. Let a judicious attention be paid to care, cleanliness, and industry, and when united with a competent knowledge of the different branches of the distilling business, the character of a compleat practical distiller is perfect.

With such a distiller, and a complete still-house, furnished with every necessary utensil for carrying on the business—it cannot fail to prove a very productive establishment, and present to the world, from the materials of our own farms, a spirit as wholesome, and well flavored and as healthy as any spirit whatever—the produce or yield of any country, provided it be permitted to acquire the same age.

What a grand and great idea strikes the thinking scientific mind, on entering a complete and clean distillery, with an intelligent cleanly distiller, performing his duty in it.

To see the four elements, each combining to produce (with the assistance of man) an article of commerce and luxury, and at the same time, a necessary beverage to man. The earth producing the grain, hops and utensils, which a combination of fire and water reduces into a liquid by fermentation, and when placed in the still to see air engaging fire to assist her in reducing the liquid that fire and water had produced, into a vapour, or air, and afterwards to see fire abandoning air, and assisting water to reduce it into a liquid by means of the condensing tubes, and then to consider the number of hands employed in keeping the distillery a going, will present one other patriotic idea. The farmer with all his domestics and people, engaged in the cultivation of the rye, corn, &c. The wood choppers—the haling—the coopers engaged in making casks—the hands engaged in feeding cattle and the pork—haling, barrelling and selling the whiskey, spirits, pork, &c. The produce of the distillery, presenting subject for commerce, and employ for the merchant, mechanic and mariner—and all from our own farms.

After seeing the distillery afford employment for so many hands, bread to their families, and yielding the means of an extensive revenue and increase of commerce—with a flattering prospect of completely annihilating the use of foreign liquors in our country, and thereby saving the expenditure of millions of dollars; and ultimately rendering our liquors an article of export and source of wealth—I presume every mind will be struck with the propriety of encouraging a branch of business so promising in wealth and comfort.

The following receipts are intended to convey all the instruction necessary in the science of distilling, and producing from the growth of our own farms, the best spirits of every description, and such as I flatter myself will supersede the use of all imported liquors, and thereby fulfil the views and wishes of




Observations on Yeast.

That yeast is the main spring in distilling, is acknowledged by all distillers, tho' but few if them understand it, either in its nature or operation; tho' many pretend a knowledge of the grand subject of fermentation, and affect to understand the best mode of making stock yeast, and to know a secret mode unknown to all others—when it is my belief they know very little about it; but, by holding out the idea of adding some drug, not to be procured at every house, which has a hard name, and that is little known to people of common capacities: Such as Dragons blood, &c. frequently retailing their secret, as the best possible mode of making stock yeast, at ten, twenty, and in some instances one hundred dollars.

Confessing it a subject, abstruse, and a science little understood in Pennsylvania, and notwithstanding the numerous experiments I have made with care and close observation, yet from a consciousness of not understanding it, too well, I have in several instances purchased receipts, and made faithful experiments; but have never yet met the man of science, theory, or practice, whose mode of making stock yeast, yielded a better preparation for promoting fermentation, than the simple mode pursued by myself for some years, and which I have uniformly found to be the best and most productive.

In making yeast, all drugs and witchcraft are unnecessary—Cleanliness, in preserving the vessels perfectly sweet, good malt, and hops, and an industrious distiller, capable of observation, and attention to the following receipt, which will be assuredly found to contain the essence and spirit of the ways and art of making that composition, a knowledge of which I have acquired, by purchases—consultations with the most eminent brewers, bakers, and distillers in this commonwealth, and above all, from a long practice and experience, proving its utility and superior merits to my most perfect satisfaction; and which I with pleasure offer to my fellow-citizens, as meriting a preference—notwithstanding the proud and scientific chymist, and the flowery declarations or treatises of the profound theorist, may disapprove this simple mode, and offer those which they presume to be better, tho' they never soiled a finger in making a practical experiment, or perhaps witnessed a process of any description.


Receipt for Stock Yeast.

For a stock yeast vessel of two gallons, the size best adapted for that purpose.

Take one gallon good barley malt, (be sure it be of good quality) put it into a clean, well scalded vessel, (which take care shall be perfectly sweet) pour thereon four gallons scalding water, (be careful your water be clean) stir the malt and water with a well scalded stick, until thoroughly mixed together, then cover the vessel close with a clean cloth, for half an hour; then uncover it and set it in some convenient place to settle, after three or four hours, or when you are sure the sediment of the malt is settled to the bottom, then pour off the top, or thin part that remains on the top, into a clean well scoured iron pot, (be careful not to disturb the thick sediment in the bottom, and that none of it goes into the pot); then add four ounces good hops, and cover the pot close with a clean scalded iron cover, and set it on a hot fire of coals to boil—boil it down one third, or rather more, then strain all that is in the pot through a thin hair sieve, (that is perfectly clean) into a clean well scalded earthen crock that is glazed—then stir into it, with a clean stirring stick, as much superfine flour as will make it about half thick, that is neither thick nor thin, but between the two, stirring it effectually until there be no lumps left in it. If lumps are left, you will readily perceive that the heart or inside of those lumps will not be scalded, and of course, when the yeast begins to work, those lumps will sour very soon, and of course sour the yeast—stir it then till those lumps are all broken, and mixed up, then cover it close for half an hour, to let the flour stirred therein, be properly scalded, after which uncover and stir it frequently until it is a little colder than milk warm, (to be ascertained by holding your finger therein for ten minutes, but beware your finger is clean) then add half a pint of genuine good yeast,[1] (be certain it is good, for you had better use none, than bad yeast) and stir it effectually, until you are sure the yeast is perfectly incorporated with the ingredients in the pot—after which cover it, and set it in a moderately cool place in summer, until you perceive it begin to work, or ferment—then be careful to stir it two or three times at intervals of half an hour—then set it past to work—in the winter, place it in a moderately warm part of the still-house—and in summer, choose a spring house, almost up to the brim of the crock in water—avoiding extremes of heat or cold, which are equally prejudicial to the spirit of fermentation—of consequence, it should be placed in a moderately warm situation in the winter, and moderately cool in the summer.

[Footnote 1: If none can be obtained that is good, the following is a receipt to make it, viz.

Procure three wooden vessels of different sizes and apertures, one capable of holding two quarts, the other three or four, and the third five or six; boil a quarter of a peck of malt for about eight or ten minutes in three pints of water; and when a quart is poured off from the grains, let it stand in a cool place till not quite cold, but retaining that degree of heat which the brewers usually find to be proper when they begin to work their liquor. Then remove the vessel into some warm situation near a fire, where the thermometer stands between 70 and 80 degrees (Fahrenheit,) and here let it remain till the fermentation begins, which will be plainly perceived within thirty hours; add then two quarts more of a like decoction of malt, when cool, as the first was; and mix the whole in the larger sized vessel, and stir it well in, which must be repeated in the usual way, as it rises in a common vat: then add a still greater quantity of the same decoction, to be worked in the largest vessel, which will produce yeast enough for a brewing of forty gallons.]

This yeast ought to be renewed every four or five days in the summer, and eight or ten days in the winter—but it is safer to renew it oftener, or at shorter intervals, than suffering it to stand longer. In twenty-four hours after it begins to work, it is fit for use.

Between a pint and half a pint of the foregoing stock yeast, is sufficient to raise the yeast for the daily use of three hogsheads.


The most proper vessel for preserving stock yeast is an earthen crock, that will hold three gallons at least, with a cover of the same, well glazed—as it will contract no acid from the fermentation, and is easily scalded and sweetened. There ought to be two of the same size, that when one is in use, the other may be sweetening—which is effected by exposing them to frost or fire.


To know when Yeast is good or bad.

When you perceive your yeast working, observe if it works quick, sharp and strong, and increasing in bulk nearly double what it was before it began to work, with a sweet sharp taste, and smell, with the appearance of a honey comb, with pores, and always changing place, with a bright lively colour, then you may pronounce your yeast good; on the contrary, if it is dead, or flat and blue looking, with a sour taste, and smell, (if any at all,) then you may pronounce it bad, and unfit for use, and of course must be renewed.


How to renew Yeast when sour.

About two hours before you begin to make your beer, take one pint of the sour yeast, put it into a clean dish or vessel, and pour clean cold water over it—changing the water every fifteen minutes, until the acid be extracted, have it then in readiness to mix with the beer, which is to be prepared, in the following manner, viz. Take one pint malt, and scald it well in a clean vessel, with a gallon of boiling water, let it stand half an hour closely covered—then pour it into a pot with plenty of hops—then strain it into a well scalded earthen jug, when milk warm—add then a small quantity of the yeast, (sweetened as directed in the first part of this receipt,) with two or three table spoon fulls of molasses ... set it past for twenty four hours to ferment ... then pour off the top, or beer that is in the jug, leaving about a quart in the bottom ... then that which remains in the bottom will be yeast with which to start your stock yeast.


The method of procuring and keeping stock yeast, by the generality of distillers, merits in the mind of the author of this work, most decided disapprobation. They generally procure yeast once a week, or month, from brewers, and if not convenient to be had in this way, they often use such as is used by country women, for baking bread, without paying any regard to the quality, or whether sour; with such, tho' generally bad, they proceed to make their daily yeast, and often continue the use of it, until the grain will no longer yield a gallon of whiskey to the bushel, and so often proceed in this miserable and indolent mode of procuring and renewing yeast, to the great prejudice of their own, and employer's interest ... attributing the small yield of liquor to the badness of the grain ... the manner in which it is chopped, or some other equally false cause. Then to the idle and careless habits of distillers, must be attributed any yield short of three gallons to the bushel of rye.... To ensure this quantity at least from the bushel, the author discovers the anxiety expressed, and the care recommended in the foregoing pages, on the subject of preserving and keeping good yeast, and recommends the following as the best mode of preparing.


Stock Yeast good for years.

When the weather is moderately warm in autumn or the spring, take of your best stock yeast that has fermented about twenty four hours, and stir it thick with the coarsest middlings of wheat flour, add small quantity of whiskey, in which, previously dissolve a little salt, when you have stirred the middlings with a stick, rub it between your hands until it becomes pretty dry, then spread it out thin, on a board to dry in the sun ... rubbing once or twice in the day between your hands until it is perfectly dry, which will be in three or four good days—taking it in at night before the dew falls—when it is properly dried, put it up in a paper and keep it in a dry airy place for use.

Thus yeast will keep good, if free from moisture, for any length of time, and it is the only effectual mode of preserving stock yeast pure and sweet ... when put up conformably to the foregoing instructions, the distiller may always rely on having it good, and depend on a good turn out of his grain, provided he manages the other parts of his distilling equally well.

About two hours before you mean to use the dried yeast, the mode is to take two gills, place it in any convenient vessel, and pour thereon milk-warm water, stir and mix it well with the yeast, and in two or three hours good working yeast will be produced.

In the spring every distiller ought to make as much as would serve 'till fall, and every fall as much as will serve thro' the winter, reckoning on the use of one pint per week, three gills being sufficient to start as much stock yeast as will serve a common distillery one week.


To make the best Yeast for daily use.

For three hogsheads take two handfuls of hops, put them into an iron pot, and pour thereon three gallons boiling water out of your boiler, set the pot on the fire closely covered half an hour, to extract the strength from the hops, then strain it into your yeast vessel, thicken it with chopped rye, from which the bran has been sifted ... stir it with a clean stick until the lumps are all well broken and mixed ... cover it close with a cloth for half an hour, adding at the time of putting in the chopped rye, one pint of good malt when the rye is sufficiently scalded, uncover and stir it well until it is milk-warm, then add one pint good stock yeast, stirring until you are sure it is well mixed with the new yeast. If your stock yeast is good, this method will serve you ... observing always, that your water and vessels are clean, and the ingredients of a good quality; as soon as you have cooled off and emptied your yeast vessel, scald and scour, and expose it to the night air to purify. Tin makes the best yeast vessel for yeast made daily, in the above mode.

In the course of my long practice in distilling I fully discovered that a nice attention to yeast is absolutely necessary, and altho' I have in the foregoing pages said a great deal on the subject, yet from the importance justly to be attached to this ingredient in distilling, and to shew more fully the advantages and disadvantages arising from the use of good and bad yeast, I submit the following statement for the consideration of my readers.

Advantages in using good yeast for one month, at 5 bushels per day; 30 days at 5 bushels, is 150 bushels at 60 cents, costs $ 90 00

Contra 150 bushels yield 3 gallons per bushel, at 50 cents per gallon—450 gallons, 225 00 ———— Profit $ 135 00

Disadvantages sustained during the above period. 150 bushels at 60 cents, $ 90 00

Contra 150 bushes yielding 1-1/2 gallons to the bushel—225 gallons at 50 cents, 112 50 ———- Profit $ 21 50

Thus the owner or distiller frequently sustains in the distillation of his produce, a loss, equal and in proportion to the foregoing—from the use of indifferent yeast, and often without knowing to what cause to attribute it. This statement will shew more forcibly, than any other mode—and is made very moderate on the side of indifferent yeast, for with bad sour yeast the yield will be oftener under one gallon to the bushel than above one and an half—whereas with good yeast the yield will rarely be so low as three gallons to the bushel. It is therefore, I endeavor so strongly to persuade the distiller to pay every possible attention to the foregoing instructions, and the constant use of good yeast only, to the total rejection of all which may be of doubtful quality.



Observations on Wood for Hogsheads.

The cheapest and easiest wrought wood is generally most used for making mashing tubs, or hogsheads, and very often for dispatch or from necessity, any wood that is most convenient is taken, as pine or chesnut; indeed I have seen poplar tubs in use for mashing, which is very wrong, as a distiller by not having his hogsheads of good wood, may lose perhaps the price of two sets of hogsheads in one season. For instance, a farmer is about to erect a distillery, and is convenient to a mountain, abounding in chesnut or pine, which from its softness and the ease with which it may be worked, its convenience for dispatch sake, is readily chosen for his mashing hogsheads.—To such selection of wood, I offer my most decided disapprobation, from my long experience, I know that any kind of soft wood will not do in warm weather. Soft porus wood made up into mashing tubs when full of beer and under fermentation, will contract, receive or soak in so much acid, as to penetrate nearly thro' the stave, and sour the vessel to such a degree, in warm weather, that no scalding will take it out—nor can it be completely sweetened until filled with cold water for two or three days, and then scalded; I therefore strongly recommend the use of, as most proper

White Oak.

Disapproving of black, tho' next in order to white oak staves for all the vessels about the distillery ... as being the most durable of close texture, easily sweetened ... and hard to be penetrated by acids of any kind, tho' sometimes the best white oak hogsheads may sour, but two or three scaldings will render them perfectly sweet ... if white oak cannot be had, black oak being of the next best in quality may be used ... and again I enter my protest against pine, chesnut, poplar, and every kind of soft porus wood.

If possible, or if at all convenient, have the vessels iron bound and painted, to prevent worms and the weather from injuring them, using one good wood hoop on the bottom to save the chine.


To sweeten Hogsheads by scalding.

When you turn your vessels out of doors (for it is esteemed slothful and a lazy mode to scald them in the still house,) you must wash them clean with your scrubbing brush, then put in sixteen or twenty gallons boiling water—cover it close for about twenty minutes, then scrub it out effectually with your scrubbing broom, then rinse your vessel well with a couple buckets clean cold water, and set them out to receive the air—this method will do in the winter, provided they are left out in the frost over night—but in summer, and especially during the months of July and August, this mode will not do—it is during those extreme warm months in our latitude, that the vessels are liable to contract putrid particles, which may be corrected by the following mode of making

Hogsheads perfectly sweet.

Scald them twice, as above directed, then light a brimstone match, flick it on the ground, turn your hogshead down over it, let it stand until the match quits burning, this operation is necessary once a week—a method I have found effectual.


To sweeten Hogsheads by burning.

When you have scalded your hogsheads well, put into each, a large handful of oat or rye straw, set it on fire, and stir it till it is in a blaze, then turn the mouth of the hogshead down; the smoke will purify and sweeten the cask. This process should be repeated every other day, especially during summer—it will afford you good working casks, provided your yeast be good, and your hogsheads are well mashed.

There ought always to be in a distillery more vessels than are necessary for immediate use, that they may alternately be exposed to the frost and air one night at least before brought into service, always bearing in mind that the utmost attention to cleanliness is necessary, in order to afford such yield from the grain, or fruit, as may be requisite to compensate for the expense and labor of extracting spirits—and moreover, that the exercise of the finest genius possessed by man is scarcely capable of taking from small grain, all the spirit it contains:.... good materials will not suffice ... the most marked attention is indispensably necessary to yeast; a mind capable of judging of fermentation in all its stages ... a close adherence to the manner of using the ingredients ... preparing them, and the use of sweet vessels, with great industry and a knowledge to apply it at the proper moment, are all necessary to enable the accomplishment of the desired end.

Note ... In scalding your hogshead I would recommend the use of a shovel full of ashes, which will scald more sharply.



To Mash Rye in the common mode.

Take four gallons cold water to each hogshead, add one gallon malt, stir it well with your mashing stick, until the malt is thoroughly wet—when your still boils, put in about sixteen gallons boiling water, then put in one and an half bushels of chopped rye, stirring it effectually, until there is no lumps in it, then cover it close until the still boils, then put in each hogshead, three buckets or twelve gallons boiling water, stirring it well at the same time—cover it close—stir it at intervals until you perceive your rye is scalded enough, which you will know by putting in your mashing stick, and lifting thereon some of the scalded rye, you will perceive the heart or seed of the rye, like a grain of timothy seed sticking to the stick, and no appearance of mush, when I presume it will be sufficiently scalded—it must then be stirred until the water is cold enough to cool off, or you may add one bucket or four gallons of cold water to each hogshead, to stop the scalding.

I have known this process succeed well with an attentive distiller.


The best method of distilling Rye.

Take four gallons boiling, and two gallons cold water—put it into a hogshead, then stir in one and a half bushels chopped rye, let it stand five minutes, then add two gallons cold water, and one gallon malt, stir it effectually—let it stand till your still boils, then add sixteen gallons boiling water, stirring it well, or until you break all the lumps—then put into each hogshead, so prepared, one pint coarse salt, and one shovel full of hot coals out of your furnace. (The coals and salt have a tendency to absorb all sourness and bad smell, that may be in the hogshead or grain;) if there be a small quantity of hot ashes in the coals, it is an improvement—stir your hogsheads effectually every fifteen minutes, keeping them close covered until you perceive the grain scalded enough—when you may uncover, if the above sixteen gallons boiling water did not scald it sufficiently, water must be added until scalded enough—as some water will scald quicker than others—it is necessary to mark this attentively, and in mashing two or three times, it may be correctly ascertained what quantity of the kind of water used will scald effectually—after taking off the covers, they must be stirred effectually, every fifteen minutes, till you cool off—for which operation, see "Cooling off." To those who distill all rye, I recommend this method, as I have found it to answer every kind of water, with one or two exceptions.

Distillers will doubtless make experiments of the various modes recommended and use that which may prove most advantageous and convenient.


To Mash two thirds Rye and one third Corn in Summer.

This I have found to be the nicest process belonging to distilling—the small proportion of corn, and the large quantity of scalding water, together with the easy scalding of rye, and the difficulty of scalding corn, makes it no easy matter to exactly hit the scald of both; but as some distillers continue to practice it, (altho' not a good method in my mind, owing to the extreme nice attention necessary in performing it.) In the following receipt I offer the best mode within my knowledge, and which I deem the most beneficial, and in which I shew the process and mode pursued by other distillers.

Take four gallons cold water, put it into a hogshead, then stir half a bushel corn into it, let it stand uncovered thirty minutes, then add sixteen gallons boiling water, stir it well, cover it close for fifteen minutes, then put in your rye and malt and stir it until there be no lumps, then cover it and stir it at intervals until your still boils, then add, eight, twelve, or sixteen gallons boiling water, or such quantity as you find from experience, to answer best—(but with most water, twelve gallons will be found to answer) stirring it well every fifteen minutes until you perceive it is scalded enough, then uncover and stir it effectually until you cool off; keeping in mind always that the more effectually you stir it, the more whiskey will be yielded. This method I have found to answer best, however, I have known it to do very well, by soaking the corn in the first place, with two gallons warm, and two gallons cold water, instead of the four gallons of cold water, mentioned above—others put in the rye, when all the boiling water is in the hogshead, but I never found it to answer a good purpose, nor indeed did I ever find much profit in distilling rye and corn in this proportion.


To distill one half Rye and one half Corn.

This method of distilling equal quantities of rye and corn, is more in practice, and is much better than to distill unequal proportions, for reason you can scald your corn and rye to a certainty, and the produce is equal if not more, and better whiskey, than all rye. The indian corn is cheaper, and the seed is better than if all rye. I would recommend this, as the smallest quantity of corn to be mixed with rye for distillation, as being most productive, and profitable. The following receipt I have found to answer all waters—yet there may be places where the distiller cannot follow this receipt exactly, owing to hard or soft water, (as it is generally termed) or hard flint or soft floury corn, that will either scald too much or too little—but this the attentive distiller will soon determine by experience.

Have your hogshead perfectly sweet, put into each, three gallons of cold and three of boiling water, or more or less of each, as you find will answer best—then stir in your corn—fill up your boiler, bring it briskly to a boil—then put to each hogshead twelve gallons boiling water, giving each hogshead one hundred stirs, with your mashing stick, then cover close, fill up your boiler and keep a good fire under her, to produce a speedy boil; before you add the last water, put into each hogshead one pint of salt, and a shovel full of hot coals and ashes from under your still, stir the salt and coals well, to mix it with your corn, the coal will remove any bad smell which may be in the hogshead—Should you find on trial, that rye don't scald enough, by putting it in after your last water, you may in that case put in your rye before the last water—but this should be ascertained from several experiments. I have found it to answer best to put in the rye after all the water is in the hogshead, especially if you always bring the still briskly to a boil—then on your corn put twelve or sixteen gallons boiling water, (for the last water,) then if you have not already mashed in your rye, put it in with one gallon good malt to each hogshead, carefully stirring it immediately very briskly, for fear of the water loosing its heat, and until the lumps are all broken, which you will discover by looking at your mashing stick; lumps generally stick to it. When done stirring, cover the hogshead close for half an hour, then stir it to ascertain whether your grain be sufficiently scalded, and when nearly scalded enough, uncover and stir steady until you have it cool enough to stop scalding; when you see it is scalded enough, and by stirring that the scalding is stopped, uncover your hogsheads, and stir them effectually, every fifteen minutes, until they are fit to cool off—remembering that sweet good yeast, clean sweet hogsheads, with this mode of mashing carefully, will produce you a good turn out of your grain. The quantity of corn and rye is generally two stroked half bushels of each, and one gallon malt.


To Mash one third Rye and two thirds Corn.

This I deem the most profitable mashing that a distiller can work, and if he can get completely in the way of working corn and rye in this proportion, he will find it the easiest process of mashing. That corn has as much and as good whiskey as rye or any other grain, cannot be disputed, and the slop or pot ale is much superior to that of any other grain, for feeding or fattening either horned cattle or hogs—one gallon of corn pot ale being esteemed worth three of rye, and cattle will always eat it better—and moreover, corn is always from one to two shillings per bushel cheaper than rye, and in many places much plentier—so that by adopting this method and performing it well, the distiller will find at the close of the year, it has advantages over all other processes and mixtures of rye and corn, yielding more profit, and sustaining the flock better. Hogs fatted on this pot ale, will be found decidedly better than any fatted on the slops of any other kind of mashing.

Mash as follows.

Have sweet hogsheads, good yeast and clean water in your boiler; when the water is sharp, warm, or half boiling, put into every hogshead you mean to mash at the same time, six, eight or as many gallons of the half boiling water, as will completely wet one bushel corn meal—add then one bushel chopped corn, stir it with your mashing stick till your corn is all wet; it is better to put in a less quantity of water first, and so add as you may find necessary, until completely wet (be careful in all mashings, that your mashing stick be clean), this is called soaking the corn. Then fill up your boiler, bring her quickly to a boil, when effectually boiling, put into every hogshead, twelve gallons boiling water, stirring it well after putting in each bucket, until the lumps are quite broken—cover the hogsheads close, after a complete stirring—fill up your boiler, bring her quickly to boil for the last mashing—stir the corn in the hogshead every fifteen minutes, till your last water is boiling—put into each hogshead one pint salt, and a shovel full of red hot coals, stirring it well—then put in each hogshead sixteen gallons of boiling water, stir it well—cover it close for twenty-five minutes—then put into each hogshead one half bushel rye meal, and one gallon good chopped malt, stirring it until the lumps are all broken, then cover it close, stir it every half hour, until you perceive it sufficiently scalded—then uncover it and stir it as often as your other business will permit, until ready to cool off.

In this and every other mashing you must use sweet vessels only and good yeast, or your labor will be in vain; and in all kinds of mashing you cannot stir too much.


To Mash Corn.

This is an unprofitable and unproductive mode of mashing, but there may be some times when the distiller is out of rye, on account of the mill being stopped, bad roads, bad weather, or some other cause; and to avoid the necessity of feeding raw grain to the hogs or cattle, (presuming every distillery to be depended on for supplying a stock of some kind, and often as a great reliance for a large stock of cattle and hogs,) in cold weather I have found it answer very well, but in warm weather it will not do. Those who may be compelled then from the above causes, or led to it by fancy, may try the following method. To one hogshead, put twelve gallons boiling water, and one and an half bushels corn, stir it well, then when your water boils, add twelve gallons more, (boiling hot,) stir it well, and cover it close, until the still boils the third time, then put in each hogshead, one quart of salt, and sixteen gallons boiling water, stir it effectually, cover it close until you perceive it nearly scalded enough, then put in two, or three gallons cold water, (as you will find to answer best,) and two gallons malt, or more if it can be spared—stir it well, then cover it for half an hour, then uncover and stir it well, until cold enough to cool off.


To make four gallons from the bushel.

This is a method of mashing that I much approve of, and recommend to all whiskey distillers to try it—it is easy in process, and is very little more trouble than the common method, and may be done in every way of mashing, as well with corn or rye, as also a mixture of each, for eight months in the year; and for the other four is worth the trouble of following. I do not mean to say that the quantity of four gallons can be made at an average, in every distillery, with every sort of grain, and water, or during every vicissitude of weather, and by every distiller, but this far I will venture to say, that a still house that is kept in complete order, with good water, grain well chopped, good malt, hops, and above all good yeast; together with an apt, careful and industrious distiller, cannot fail to produce at an average for eight months in the year, three and three quarter gallons from the bushel at a moderate calculation. I have known it sometimes produce four and an half gallons to the bushel, for two or three days, and sometimes for as many weeks, when perhaps, the third or fourth day, or week, it would scarcely yield three gallons; a change we must account for, in a change of weather, the water or the neglect or ignorance of the distiller. For instance, we know that four gallons of whiskey is in the bushel of rye or corn—certain, that this quantity has been made from the bushel; then why not always? Because, is the answer, there is something wrong, sour yeast or hogsheads, neglect of duty in the distiller, change of grain, or change of weather—then of course it is the duty of the distiller to guard against all these causes as near as he can. The following method, if it does not produce in every distillery the quantity above mentioned, will certainly produce more whiskey from the bushel, than any other mode I have ever known pursued.

Mash your grain in the method that you find will yield you most whiskey—the day before you intend mashing, have a clean hogshead set in a convenient part of the distillery; when your singling still is run off, take the head off and fill her up with clean water, let her stand half an hour, to let the thick part settle to the bottom, which it will do when settled, dip out with a gallon or pail, and fill the clean hogshead half full, let the hogshead stand until it cools a little, so that when you fill it up with cool water, it will be about milk-warm, then yeast it off with the yeast for making 4 gallons to the bushel, then cover it close, and let it work or ferment until the day following, when you are going to cool off; when the cold water is running into your hogshead of mashed stuff, take the one third of this hogshead to every hogshead, (the above being calculated for three hogsheads) to be mashed every day, stirring the hogsheads well before you yeast them off. This process is simple, and I flatter myself will be found worthy of the trouble.


To know when Grain is scalded enough.

Put your mashing stick into your hogshead and stir it round two or three times gently, then lift it out and give it a gentle stroke on the edge of your hogshead—if you perceive the batter or musky part fall off your stick, and there remains the heart of the grain on your mashing stick, like grains of timothy seed, then be assured that it is sufficiently scalded, if not too much, this hint will suffice to the new beginner, but experience and observation will enable the most correct judgment.


Directions for cooling off.

Much observation is necessary to enable the distiller to cool off with judgment—which necessity is increased by the versatility of our climate, the seasons of the year, and the kinds of water used. These circumstances prevent a strict adherence to any particular or specific mode; I however submit a few observations for the guidance of distillers in this branch.—If in summer you go to cool off with cold spring water, then of course the mashed stuff in your hogsheads must be much warmer, than if you intended cooling off with creek or river water, both of which are generally near milk warm, which is the proper heat for cooling off—In summer a little cooler, and in winter a little warmer.

It will be found that a hogshead of mashed grain will always get warmer, after it begins to work or ferment.

When the mashed stuff in your hogsheads is brought to a certain degree of heat, by stirring, which in summer will feel sharp warm, or so warm, that you can hardly bear your hand in it for any length of time, will do for common water, but for very cold or very warm water to cool off with, the stuff in the hogsheads must be left colder or warmer, as the distiller may think most expedient, or to best suit the cooling off water.

When you think it is time to cool off, have a trough or conveyance to bring the water to your hogsheads ready—let the hogsheads be well stirred, then let the water run into them slowly, stirring them all the time the water is running in, until they are milk warm, then stop the water, and after stirring them perfectly, put in the yeast and stir it until completely incorporated with the mashed stuff, then cover your hogshead until it begins to ferment or work, then uncover it.


To ascertain when Rye works well in the Hogshead.

When mashed rye begins to work or ferment in the hogsheads, either in a heavy, thick, or light bubbly top, both of which are unfavorable; when it rises in a thick heavy top, you may be sure there is something wrong, either in the grain, yeast, or cooling off. When the top (as called by distillers) appear, with bubbles about the size of a nutmeg, rising and falling alternately, with the top not too thick nor too thin, and with the appearance of waves, mixed with the grain in the hogshead, rising and falling in succession, and when you put your head over the steam, and it flying into your nose, will have a suffocating effect, or when it will instantly extinguish a candle when held over it, you may feel assured, it is working well.

From these hints and the experience of the distiller, a judgment may be formed of the state of fermentation and the quality.


To prevent Hogsheads from working over.

If the stuff is cooled off too warm, or too much yeast is put in the hogsheads, they will work over, and of course lose a great deal of spirit, to prevent which, take tallow and rub round the chine of the hogsheads a little higher than they ought to work; it will generally prevent them from rising any higher, but if they will work over in spite of this remedy, then drop a little tallow into the stuff, it will immediately sink the stuff to a proper height.



Observations on the quality of Rye for distilling.

The best rye for distilling is that which is thoroughly ripe, before it is cut, and kept dry till threshed; if it has grown on high or hilly ground, it is therefore to be preferred, being then sounder and the grain fuller, than that produced on low level land—but very often the distiller has no choice, but must take that which is most convenient;—great care however ought to be observed in selecting sound rye, that has been kept dry, is clean and free from cockle, and all kind of dirt, advantages will result from fanning it, or running it through a windmill before it is chopped.


Mode of chopping Rye and the proper size.

The mill stones ought to be burrs, and kept very sharp for chopping rye for distillation; and the miller ought to be careful not to draw more water on the wheel than just sufficient to do it well, and avoid feeding the stones plentifully; because in drawing a plentiful supply of water, the wheel will compel a too rapid movement of the stones, of course render it necessary they should be more abundantly fed, which causes part to be ground dead, or too fine, whilst part thereof will be too coarse, and not sufficiently broken, so that a difficulty arises in scalding—for in this state it will not scald equally, and of consequence, the fermentation cannot be so good or regular; and moreover as part of it will merely be flattened, a greater difficulty will arise in breaking the lumps, when you mash and stir your hogsheads. If burr stones are very sharp, I recommend the rye to be chopped very fine, but to guard against over-seeding, or pressing too much on them; but if the stones are not sharp, I would recommend the rye should be chopped about half fine. Distillers in general sustain a loss from having their rye chopped so coarse as I have observed it done in common.


Chopping or Grinding Indian Corn.

Indian corn cannot be ground too fine for distilling.



Cannot be ground too coarse, provided it is done even—there ought to be no fine nor coarse grains in malt, but ground perfectly alike, and of the same grade. If ground too fine, it will be apt to be scalded too much in mashing. Malt does not require half the scalding necessary in rye. Let the distiller try the experiment of coarse and then of fine ground malt and judge for himself.


How to choose Malt.

Malt is chosen by its sweet smell, mellow taste, full flower, round body and thin skin. There are two kinds used, the pale and the brown—the pale is the best.


How to build a Malt kiln in every Distillery.

When setting up your stills, leave a space of about nine inches for a small furnace between the large ones, extend it to your chimney and carry up a funnel, there-from to the loft, then stop it—here build the kiln on the loft, about 4 or 5 feet square, the walls to be composed of single brick, 3 feet high—lay the bottom with brick, cover it with a plaster of mortar, to prevent the floor from taking fire. Turn the funnel of the chimney into, and extend it to the centre of the kiln, cover the top, leaving vent holes at the sides for the heat to escape thro'—Place on the top of the kiln, sheet iron or tin punched full of small holes, too small to admit the passage of malt; lay the malt on the top of the tin, when ready for drying. Put coals from under the still furnace into the small furnace leading to the kiln, which will heat the kiln and dry the malt above, by adding to or diminishing the quantity of coals, the heat may be increased or decreased, as may be found necessary. Malt for distilling ought to be dried without smoke.



Give a preference to hops of a bright green colour, sweet smell, and have a gummy or clammy effect when rubbed between the hands or fingers.



How to order and fill the Singling still when distilling Rye.

Scrape, clean, and grease the singling still, fill her up with beer, and keep a good fire under her, till she be warm enough to head, stirring her constantly with a broom, to prevent the grain from sticking to the bottom or sides, and burning, which it is very apt to do when the beer is cold, but when it comes to boil there is little danger, prevented by the motion of boiling; have the head washed clean—when she is ready for the head, clap it on and paste it; keep up a brisk fire, until she begins to drop from the worm, then put in the damper in the chimney, and if the fire be very strong, moderate it a little, by throwing ashes or water on it, to prevent her throwing the head, which she will be very apt to do if very full, and coming round under a strong fire, (should the head come, or be thrown off, the spirit remaining will scarcely be worth running off). When fairly round and running moderately, watch her for half an hour; after which, unless the fire is very strong all danger is over.

Should she happen to throw the head, it is the duty of the distiller to take and (wash the head and worm—the latter will be found full of stuff) clean, clap on the head, and paste it—but the moment the head is thrown off, the fire should be drowned out, and water thrown into the still to prevent her boiling over.

It is important that after every run, or rather before you commence a run, the distiller should carefully clean out the still, wipe the bottom dry, and grease her well, to prevent her from burning and singeing the liquor.


Mode of managing the doubling Still when making Whiskey.

Let the doubling still be carefully cleaned and washed out, then be filled with singlings and low wines left from the run preceding, add thereto half a pint of salt and one quart of clean ashes, which will help to clear the whiskey, and a handful of Indian meal to prevent the still from leaking at the cock, or elsewhere—clean the head and worm, put on the head, paste it well; put fire under and bring her round slowly, and run the spirit off as slow as possible, and preserve the water in the cooling tub as cold as in your power.

Let the liquor as it runs from the worm pass thro' a flannel to prevent the overjuice from the copper, and the oil of the grain from mixing with the spirit. The first being poisonous, and the latter injurious to the liquor.

The doubling still cannot be run too slow for making good whiskey ... observe when the proof leaves the worm, that is when there is no proof on the liquor as it comes from the worm, if there be ten gallons in your doubling keg, if so, run out three more, which will make in all thirteen gallons first proof whiskey. If the proof leaves the worm at eight gallons, then run till eleven gallons and so on in proportion, to the larger or smaller quantity in your keg at the time of the ceasing of the proof.


Observations on the advantages of making strong and good Whiskey with stalement, &c.

The distiller who makes whiskey for a market under the government of inspection laws, too weak, sustains a loss of a cent for each degree it may be under proof ... and the disadvantages are increased in proportion to the extent of land carriage. If a distance of seventy miles, the price of carriage per gallon will be about six cents, paying the same price for weak or strong ... not only the disadvantage of paying for the carriage of feints or water, but the loss in the casks, which tho' small apparently at first view, yet if nicely attended to, will amount in the course of the year to a sum of moment to every distiller or proprietor. To convey my ideas, or render a more compleat exposition of my impressions as to the actual loss on one waggon load (predicated on a distance of seventy miles land carriage) of first proof whiskey, and that nine degrees under proof. I give the following statement.

300 gallons good first proof whiskey at 50 cents, $ 150 haling at six cents, 18 $ 132 00

300 gallons whiskey nine degrees under proof at 41 cents, $ 123 haling 18 $ 105 00 difference $ 27 00

This difference of twenty-seven dollars in favor of the distiller, who sends first proof whiskey, is not the only advantage, but he saves in barrels or casks, what will contain fifty four gallons, nearly two barrels; which together with the time saved, or gained in running good whiskey only, of filling and measuring it out, loading, &c. will leave an advantage of I presume, three dollars in each load. Or to verify more satisfactorily, and I hope my readers will not think me too prolix, as economy cannot be too much attended to in this business, I add a statement predicated on a year's work, and on the foregoing principles:

The distiller of weak whiskey, in twelve months, or one year, distils at the rate of 100 gallons per week, or say in the year, he prepares for a market at the above distance, 5000 gallons, which ought to command $ 2,500

But he sustains a loss or deduction of 9 cents, 450

Then the first loss may safely be computed at $ 450

150 empty barrels necessary to contain 5000 gallons, at 33-1/3 gallons to the barrel, estimating the barrel at 7s and 6d, is $ 150

This quantity of whiskey, when reduced to proof, is 4,100 gals. which would have occupied only 123 barrels, 123

———- 27

Then the second loss may be estimated at $ 27

He ought to have made this quantity of 4100 gallons in nine months and three weeks, but we will say 10 months, sustaining a loss of two months in the year.

3d item of loss. Hire of distiller for 2 months at $12 24 00

4th do. Rent of distillery do. at L15 per annum. 6 66

5th do. One sixth of the wood consumed, (at the rate of 100 cords per annum,) 16 cords, 20 00

6th do. One sixth of the Malt, do. say 90 bushels, 90 00

7th do. Is the wear and tear of stills, vessels, &c. 12 34 ———- $ 630

Showing hereby a total annual loss to the careless distiller, of six hundred and thirty dollars, and a weekly loss of twelve dollars and three cents in the whiskey of nine degrees below proof—our ninth part of which is seventy dollars, which is the sum of loss sustained on each degree in this quantity of whiskey.

The foregoing I flatter myself will not only show the necessity of care, cleanliness, industry and judgment, in the business of distilling; a business professed to be known, by almost every body—but in reality quite a science, and so abstruse as to be but too imperfectly understood; and moreover, the value of time, so inestimable in itself, the economy of which is so rarely attended to.


Distilling of Buckwheat.

Buckwheat is an unprofitable grain for the distillers when distilled by itself, but when mixed with rye, it will yield nearly as much as rye; but I would by no means recommend the use of it when it can be avoided. Tho' sometimes necessity requires that a distiller should mash it for a day or two, when any thing is the matter, or that grain cannot be procured. In such event, the directions for distilling rye, or rye and corn may be followed, but it requires a much larger quantity of boiling water and if distilled by itself; it is necessary some wheat bran be mixed with it to raise it to the top of the hogshead: but by no means use buckwheat meal in making yeast.


Distilling of Potatoes.

This is a branch of distilling that I cannot too highly recommend to the attention of every American—nor can the cultivation of this valuable vegetable be carried to a too great extent, the value of which ought to be known to every planter and it some times has awakened my surprise that they are not more cultivated, as it is notorious that they will sustain, and be a tolerable food for every thing possessing life on this earth—and as they produce a brandy, if properly made, of fine flavour. I hope yet to see the day when it will take precedence of French brandy and West-India spirits, and thereby retain in our own country, the immense sums at present expended on those foreign liquors; which, tho' benefitted by the sea voyage, yet often reaches us in a most pernicious state, and is frequently adulterated here.

Could the American farmer be brought to raise a larger quantity of potatoes than necessary for his consumption at home, the price would be lowered, and the distiller might commence the distillation of them with greater propriety. That they contain a great deal and a very good spirit, I am certain, and moreover, after distillation will yield as great a quantity of good wholesome food for cattle or hogs, as rye or any other grain. If distillers could be brought to try the experiment of distilling ten or twelve bushels annually, I venture to predict that it would soon become a source of profit to themselves, encouragement to the farmer, and be of benefit to our country at large.

One acre of ground, if well farmed, will produce from fifty to one hundred bushels of potatoes, but say sixty on an average. One hundred farmers each planting one acre, would yield six thousand bushels, which will yield at least two gallons of spirit to each bushel; thus, twelve thousand gallons of wholesome spirit may be produced, and with care, as good as necessary to be drank. Each farmer proceeding in this way, would have one hundred and twenty gallons spirit, as much as he may have occasion to use in the year, which would save the price of some acres of wheat or one hundred and twenty gallons rye whiskey. Each acre worked in potatoes will be in better order to receive a crop of wheat, barley, rye, or any kind of grain, than from any other culture. The farmer often receiving the advantage of a double crop, at the expense of seed and labor. They grow equally well in every soil and climate, in poor as well as rich ground—provided the thin soil be manured, and the potatoes plastered with plaster of Paris; and moreover, they are easier prepared for distilling than either apples, rye or corn, as I shall show hereafter when I come to treat of the mode of preparation; and in order to demonstrate the advantages that would arise to the farmer and distiller; I add a statement of the probable profits of ten acres of potatoes, and that of a like number of acres of rye, to shew which offers the greatest advantages.

Potatoes DR.

Ten acres at 60 bushels is 600 bushels at 33 cents $ 198 00


Ten acres of Rye, at 30 bushels per acre, is 300 bushels at 60 cents $ 180 00

CR. 600 bushels yielding 2 gallons to the bushel, 1200 gallons at 50 cents 600 ——- $ 402

CR. 300 bushels yielding 3 gallons to the bushel, 900 gallons at 50 cents 450 ——- $ 270

Balance in favor of Potatoes $ 132

Thus a balance of one hundred and thirty two dollars would appear in favor of the yield of potatoes.

I would not pretend to say that ten acres of Potatoes will not take more labor than ten acres of rye, but this far I will venture to say, that the profits arising from the sale of this brandy, will more than double pay the additional expense of raising them, besides the ground will be in much better condition to receive a crop of wheat, than the rye ground, nay, will be enriched from the crop, whilst the rye ground will be greatly impoverished.


Receipt to prepare Potatoes for Distilling.

Wash them clean, and grind them in an apple mill, and if there be no apple mill convenient, they may be scalded and then pounded—then put two or three bushels into a hogshead and fill the hogshead nearly full of boiling water, and stir it well for half an hour, then cover it close until the potatoes are scalded quite soft, then stir them often until they are quite cold—then put into each hogshead about two quarts of good yeast and let them ferment, which will require eight or ten days—the beer then may be drawn off and distilled, or put the pulp and all into the still, and distill them as you do apples. I have known potatoes distilled in this way to yield upwards of three gallons to the bushel.



May be prepared by the same process used in preparing potatoes, with the exception of not scalding them so high, nor do they require so much yeast.



Will produce nearly as much spirit as potatoes, but not so good. They must be prepared in the same manner.


How to distil Apples.

Apples ought to be perfectly ripe for distillation, as it has been ascertained from repeated trials, that they produce more and better spirit, (as well as cider), when fully ripe than if taken green, or the ripe and unripe mixed—if taken mixed it will not be found practicable to grind them evenly, or equally fine; those fully ripe will be well ground, whilst those hard and unripe will be little more than broken or slightly bruised—and when this coarse and fine mixture is put into a hogshead to work or ferment, that fully ripe and fine ground, will immediately begin, and will be nearly if not quite done working before the other begins, and of course nearly all the spirit contained in the unripe fruit will be lost—and if it is left standing until the ill ground unripe fruit is thoroughly fermented, and done working, you will perceive that a large portion of the spirit contained in the ripe well ground fruit is evaporated and of course lost.

But if the fruit be all ripe and evenly ground, of course then it will work regularly and can be distilled in due and right order, and will produce the greatest quantity of spirit, and much superior to that produced from uneven, ill-ground or unripe fruit.

Apples cannot be ground too fine.


How to order Apples in the Hogsheads.

When the apples are ground put them into open hogsheads to ferment, taking care not to fill them too full, or they will work over; set them under cover, as the sun will sour them too soon, if permitted to operate on them, and by his heat extract a considerable quantity of the spirit, if the weather be warm they will work fast enough, provided you have a sufficient supply of hogsheads to keep your stills agoing in due time and order; about twenty hogsheads are sufficient to keep one singling still of one hundred and ten gallons agoing, if you distil the pumice with the juice, but if you press off the apples after they are done working, you must have three times that number.

In warm weather five or six days is long enough for apples to work, as it is always better to distil them before they are quite done working, then to let them stand one hour after the fermentation ceases.


How to work Apples slow or fast.

If the hogsheads ripens too fast for your stills, add every day to each hogshead four gallons cold spring water, putting it into a hole made in the centre of the apples, with a large round stick of wood; by thus putting it into the centre of the hogshead, it will chill the fermentation, and thereby prevent the fruit from becoming ripe sooner than it may suit the convenience of the distiller. But I think it advisable that distillers should take in no more apples than they can properly manage in due time.

If the weather be cold, and the apples do not ripen so fast as you wish, then add every twelve hours, four gallons boiling, or warm water, which will ripen them if the weather be not too cold in four days at farthest.


How to judge when Apples are ready for distilling.

Put your hand down into the hogsheads amongst the apples as far as you can, and bring out a handful of pugs—squeeze them in your hand, through your fingers, observe if there be any core, or lumps of apples un-digested, if none, you may consider them as sufficiently fermented and quite ready for distilling. It may also be ascertained by tasting and smelling the cider or juice, which rises in the hole placed in the centre; if it tastes sweet and smells strong, it is not yet ready, but when quite fermented, the taste will be sour, and smell strong, which is the proper taste for distilling. A nice discriminating attention is necessary to ascertain precisely, when the fermentation ceases, which is the proper moment for distillation, and I would recommend, rather to anticipate, than delay one hour after this period.


How to fill and order the singling Still, when running Apple singlings.

When you perceive your apples ready for distilling, fill the singling still with apples and water; using about half a hogshead apples in a still of 110 gallons, the residue water, first having cleaned the still well, and greased her previous to filling—put fire under her and bring her ready to head, as quick as possible, stirring the contents well with a broom until ready to head, of which you can judge by the warmth of the apples and water, which must be rather warm to bear your hand in it any length of time. Wash the still head and worm clean, put on the head, paste it, keeping a good fire until she runs at the worm; run off 14 gallons briskly, and catch the feints in a bucket to throw into the next still full, if the singling still too fast, provided she does not smoke at the worm. When the first still full is off, and before you go to fill her the second time, draw or spread the coals that may be under her, in the furnace, and fill the furnace with wood. Shut up your furnace door and put in your damper; by proceeding thus, you cool the still and avoid burning her; this plan I deem preferable to watering out the fire. When empty, rinse the still round with cold water, scrape and grease her, then she will be ready to receive a second charge.

Care is necessary in scraping and greasing your still every time she is emptied, if this is neglected, the brandy may be burnt and the still injured.


How to double Apple Brandy.

Fill the doubling still with singlings, and add a quart of lime, (which will clear it) put fire under her and bring her to a run briskly—after she runs, lessen the fire and run her as slow as possible. Slow running will prevent any of the spirit from escaping, and make more and better brandy, than fast running.—Let the liquor filter thro a flannel cloth from the worm.


How to prepare Peaches.

Peaches like apples ought to be equally ripe, in order to insure an equal and regular fermentation—for where ripe and unripe fruit are thrown into the same hogshead, and ordered for distillation in this way a disadvantage is sustained. I therefore recommend to farmers and distillers, when picking the peaches to assort them when putting them in hogsheads, all soft ripe peaches may go together, as also those which are hard and less ripe—this will enable a more regular fermentation, and though the hard and less ripe, will take a longer time, than the soft and ripe to ferment, and yield less, yet the disadvantage will not be so great, as if mixed.

They ought to be ground in a mill with metal nuts, that the stone and kernel may be well broken. The kernel when thus broken will give a finer flavor to the brandy, and increase the quantity.

When they are ground they must be placed in hogsheads and worked in the same way with apples, but distilled sooner or they will lose much more spirit by standing any time after fermentation than apples. It is therefore better to distil them a short time before they are done working than at any period after.


How to double and single Peach Brandy.

The same process must be observed in running off peaches as in apples, except that the singling still ought not to be run so fast, nor so much fire kept under her, and more water used to prevent burning.



The best method of setting Stills.

If stills are not set right, great injury may accrue to them, in burning and damaging the sides, singeing the whiskey, and wasting of fuel too, are not the only disadvantages; but more damage may be done in six months, than would pay a man of judgment for putting up twenty pair.

If they are set with their bottoms to the fire, they are very apt to burn, without the utmost care of the distiller, in stirring her when newly filled with cold beer, until she is warm, and by previously greasing the bottom well when empty. If wood be plenty, stills ought to be set on an arch, but if scarce, the bottom ought to be set to the fire. The following method is calculated for a furnace of either two or four feet long, and with the bottoms exposed, or on an arch as the distiller may fancy.

Make up a quantity of well worked mortar, composed of the greater proportion of good clay, a little lime and cut straw.

Lay the bottom of the furnace with flag stones, or good brick, from two to four feet long, as may be deemed most proper, let it be from twelve to sixteen inches wide, and from twelve to fourteen high. Then if it is designed to turn an arch, set the end of a brick on each wall of the furnace, leaning them over the furnace, till they meet in the middle—so continue the range on each side, until the furnace is completely covered in, leaving a small hole for the flue leading to the chimney behind, leaning towards the side, from which the flue is to be started, to proceed round the bilge of the still, which passage must be ten by four inches wide.

After completing the arch as described, lay thereon a complete bed of mortar, well mixed with cut straw, set the still thereon, levelling her so that she will nearly empty her self by the stoop towards the cock; then fill up all round her with mortar to the lower rivets, carefully preventing any stone or brick from touching her, (as they would tend to burn her) ... then build the fender or fenders; being a wall composed of brickbats and clay well mixed with cut straw, build it from the commencement of the flue, and continue it about half round the still ... this is to prevent the flames from striking the still sides, in its hot state, immediately after it leaves the furnace, presuming that it will terminate before it reaches the end of this little wall or fender, between which, and the still, a space of two inches ought to be left for the action of the heat, which space preserves, and prevents the wall or fender, from burning the still; the mode in common practice, being to place it against the still, which will certainly singe or burn her. When this defender is finished, commence a wall, which continue round, laying a brick for a foundation, about four inches from the lower rivets; thus raising this wall for the flue, continuing it at an equal distance from the still, leaving a concave to correspond with the bilge of the still, and to be of precisely the same width and height all round the still. This precaution is absolutely necessary in building the wall of the flue exactly to correspond with the form of the still, and equally distant all round, for reasons 1st. The fire acts with equal force on every part of the still, and a greater heat may be applied to her, without burning. 2d. It has a great tendency to prevent the still house from smoking.

When the wall of the flue is completed round the still, and raised so high, that a brick when laid on the top of the wall will extend to the rivets in the breast of the still or upper rivets, then completely plaster very smooth and even, the inside of the flue, and then cover the flue with a layer of brick, with a slight fall, or leaning a little from the still outwards, so that if water were dropped thereon, it would run off outwardly, carefully laying a layer of clay on the top of the wall, on which the brick may rest, and thereby prevent the brick from burning the still; carefully forming the brick with the trowel, so as to fit the wall and rest more safely—cautiously covering them well with clay, &c. and closing every crevice or aperture, to prevent smoak from coming thro' or the heat from deserting the flue till it passes to the chimney from the flue; then fill the still with water, and put a flow fire under her to dry the work. When the wall begins to dry, lay on a coat of mortar, (such as the next receipt directs), about two inches thick, when this begins to dry, lay a white coat of lime and sand-mortar, smoothing well with a trowel; rubbing it constantly and pressing it severely with the trowel to prevent it from cracking.

There are many modes of setting stills and bringing the fire up by flues variously constructed, but I have found the foregoing plan to afford as great a saving of fuel, and bringing the still to a boil as early as any other.


How to prevent the Plastering round Stills from cracking.

This method of making water proof plastering on stills, is done entirely in making the mortar, and putting it on, in making which, good clay and lime are absolutely necessary.

When the mortar for the first coat is thoroughly worked, put as much brock of rye straw into it, as can be worked in, so that when the coat is put on, it may have a greater appearance of straw than mortar, when dry, and covered with the second coat composed of lime mortar, well rubbed and pressed with the trowel until it be dry. A covering put on of those materials, will be found to continue firm and compact without cracking, as in the common mode.

The best method of boiling two, three or more Stills or Kettles with one fire or furnace.

This method has been found to answer in some instances, and may perhaps do generally if properly managed. I will here give the result of my own experiments.

I set a singling still holding 180 gallons on a furnace of 18 by 14 inches, and 4 feet six inches long, with the bottom to the fire, she had a common head and worm with scrapers and chains in her. I extended the flue, (or after passing it round her), to the doubling still which it likewise went round—but to prevent too much heat from passing to the doubling still, I fixed a shutter in the flue of the singling still, immediately above the intersection of the flue of the doubling still, to turn all the heat round her, and another shutter in the flue of the doubling still at the intersection of the flue of the singling still, to shut the heat off from the doubling still if necessary.

With this fixture I run six hogsheads off in every twenty four hours and doubled the same, with the same heat and fire. I likewise had a boiler under which I kept another fire, which two fires consumed about three cords and an half of wood per week, distilling at the rate of sixty-five bushels of grain per week, and making about one hundred and ninety gallons in the same time.

Before I adopted this method I kept four fires agoing, and made about the same quantity of whiskey, consuming about four and an half cords of wood per week, and was obliged to have the assistance of an additional distiller per week.

I have since heard of the adoption of this plan with more success than I experienced.


To set a doubling Still.

As spirits can hardly be burned or singed in a doubling still, if not before done in singling, all the precaution necessary is to set them in the best method for saving fuel, and preserving the still. The instructions given for setting a singling still, is presumed to be adequate to setting a doubling still.

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