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Production of whisky using specialty malts: An optimised process

Project Description

Currently, much of the malt whisky produced in Scotland is produced using lightly kilned malted barley which contributes relatively subtle flavour/aroma to the product. The characteristics differentiating the product of one distillery from another is primarily introduced by varied fermentation and distillation practices. Within recent years, the malt whisky industry has grown substantially and the requirement for product differentiation has similarly grown. Interest in introducing proportions of high-colour malts to malt whisky recipes has increased and some commercial products have been released, however the challenges a distiller may face using these materials are poorly understood.

This industrially facing project, will investigate the suitability of roasted and high-colour malts for use within the production of new-make spirit and whisky. Key issues of note include assessing recovery and retention of malt-derived flavour/aroma compounds following distillation and maturation, the impact of roasted malt grist inclusions on yeast fermentation behaviour, and investigation of malting and roasting regimes for production of malt-products specific to the distilling industry. The successful candidate will work closely with university academics and industrial partners, conducting trials at lab-scale, pilot-scale and industry-scale.

The multidisciplinary nature of this project would suit candidates with a background in malting, brewing, distilling, biosciences, chemistry, or analytical chemistry. Strong laboratory skills will be vital to this project, practical experience of analytical chemistry (GC-MS, GC-FID, HPLC) whilst not essential, would be an advantage. Funding available to Home/EU students.

The ideal candidate will have a 1st or strong 2:1 Honours degree or a Masters in a biological science, chemical or biochemical engineering discipline (or similar scientific field). Please direct enquiries and applications to Dr. Dawn Maskell (). Tel: +44(0) 131 451 3466. Closing date for applications is 30 April 2019. The studentship must start in June/July 2019.

Funding Notes

This 4-year PhD is fully funded by the Scottish Research Partnership in Engineering (National Manufacturing Institute Scotland – Industry Doctorate Programme in Advanced Manufacturing), Holyrood Distillery, Crisp Malt, and Heriot-Watt University. The studentship will include an annual stipend of £14,777 for the duration of the project.

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