Developing a New Drink: Kasha Whiskey!


My thoughts have been wondering towards buckwheat for quite a few times over the last years, but I never really gave it a try. That’s about to change! I just found a good source to Kasha. Kasha is roasted buckwheat. I like that “roasted” addition, because I expect it to add nutty, rooty flavors, especially at the back of the taste pallet. Maillard? Probably. In short: I am hooked on giving this a try. If any of you want to follow this thread, chime in, or do parallel experiments, please be my guests. The party is open to all with good intend and a merry mindset!


Here’s the approach I’ll do:
– Buy 5 kilo’s of Kasha;
– Put it in warm water and boil it for 15 minutes;
– Put it in a 30 liter fermentation bucket;
– Add cold water to bring total temperature wise to around 85C;
– Add high temp enzymes and stir and let it sit for 45 minutes;
– Add more cold water to bring temp to 65C;
– Add low temp enzymes and stir and let it sit for another 45 minutes;
– Add more cold water to bring total content to 25 liters;
– Given the 64 to 65% of total starch in the Kasha, I hope to convert that;
– Maybe I need to grind it, not sure. Maybe the roasting and boiling is enough to open things up enough for extraction and conversion;
– The recipe can also be done as a sugar head. In that case, don’t use enzymes, just dissolve 3.5 kilo’s of sugar and then top up with cold water to 25 liters total content;
– In both cases: boil 5 grams of yeast into a yeast nutrient and add that to the mix;
– Now sprinkle 15 grams of dried baker’s yeast on top and let the fermentation begin!


Especially on the sugar heads, I expect pH to crash easily, so pH monitoring is probably important. I’d go for pH 4.0 to pH 4.5. I’ll also pitch the yeast at around 30C to create some extra fruity notes to balance out nicely (or that is the goal) with the more rooty, nutty flavors I expect to come over from the roasting process.

My gut feeling tells me this recipe may be surprisingly good white. But for sure we are going to do some aging on wood as well.


Fermentation should take a week, no longer. The goal is to achieve a 7.5 to 8% result. After that a quick strip run and then a finishing run. Maybe some backset from generation one to start a backset/sourmash cycle. The sourness of the backset may help esterification on next generations. And the taste transfer will definately boost taste as well.

If you use backset on follow-up generations, no more yeast starter will be needed. You may need to pre-adapt those second, third, etc. generations with bicarb to prevent further pH crashes.


I want to go taste rich, so probably a 1.5 distillation approach is best, where we combine one strip with fresh wash and then do a finishing run.

The size of this test batch is small. That allows us to change things easily. Or to scale up, when we achieve success, quickly.

Time frame

All right. Let the fun times begin. I’ll order the Kasha today. I expect to start mashing later this week. I’ll let the fermentation run its course next week, when I am away anyhow. Of to Utah to give another distillation workshop. Distillation will take place after I come back.

Regards, Odin.

Kasha before cooking …


2 thoughts on “Developing a New Drink: Kasha Whiskey!

  1. Hi Odin,
    Buckwheat is one of grains I want to use in whiskey making. I tried doing a smash buckwheat beer to get a flavor profile. The problem I had was the groats soaking up all the water like oatmeal. Also burnt some groats on the elements of my conical fermenter which gave the smash an ashtray smell. I distilled the beer and really enjoyed the sweetness before the hop oils started coming over. That is a side question what is your experience distilling failed hopped beer?

    What I may do differently is bring the water in the fermenter to a boil. Turn the power off before adding the groat. Allow the mixture to cool before adding the enzymes.

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