Backset (US term) In North American whiskeys, the alcohol-free liquid left at the bottom of the still and is added to both the Mash Tun and fermenter (or Washback) to ward off bacterial contamination. Also known as thin stillage.
Ball of Malt A peculiarly Irish expression for a glass of whiskey.
Barley The only cereal grain used to produce malt whisky.
Barley Intake The Barley Intake is the piece of machinery used to transfer the barley from the Delivery Bay to the Barley Loft. In earlier days, this was basically a sack lift as the barley would have been delivered to the distillery in sacks on a horse and cart. Nowadays, this would be some form of vacuum tube as deliveries are now usually made by road-going bulk grain tanker lorries.
Barley Loft The Barley Loft is the place where the unprocessed barley is stored upon receipt by the distillery and before it starts going through the whisky-making process. Typically, this store is on the topmost floor of the Malt House.
Barm Yeast.
Beading A rough method used to tell the alcholic strength of a whisky. When a bottle is shaken, bubbles or beads will form. The bigger they are and the longer they last, the greater the alcholic strength of the spirit.
Bear, Bere, Bigg The strain of four-rowed barley in common use throughout the Islands and Western Highlands until superseded, as the Rev James MacDonald observed in 1810, " . . . . with the real barley with long two-row grained ears. The reason urged for preferring the inferior species to the better kind is, that it is fourteen days or three weeks earlier in ripening, and that it does not require such rich manure, or as fertile a soil as the genuine barley."
Beer (US term) The alcoholic liquid that goes into the still. Also known as brew or wash.
Beer Still (US term) The first still used in the distillation process. Also known as the wash still.
Bere See "Bear".
Bigg See "Bear".
Blended Whisky Whisky containing both malt and grain whisky in varying proportions and ages from various different distilleries. A typical blended whisky may contain between 15 and 40 different malt whiskies as well as grain whiskies. Although, in theory, there is no minimum proportion of malt whisky allowed in a blended whisky as long as there is some present, even the cheapest blended whiskies usually contain at least 5% of malt whiskies although it is usually 10% - 40%. Deluxe blended whiskies contain a higher proportion of malt whiskies, sometimes more than 50%. The major part of the malt whiskies added to the grain whisky provides the bulk and are usually of comparatively poorer quality than the "top dressings" used to fine tune the final product, giving it depth and character. Any age statement refers to the youngest component whisky - malt or grain. See also "Single Cask", "Single Malt", "Single Grain", "Vatted Malt" and "Vatted Grain".
Blending The mixing together of "straight" whiskies (malt, bourbon or rye) with grain whisky in proportions determined by a whisky blender who is attempting to achieve a particular style of whisky or consistency of character across a number of years (if no grain whisky is present, then it is a vatted malt in Scotland).
Boll An arbitrary unit used to measure grain, but generally the measures in common use were:-
1 boll   = 6 bushels = 24 pecks   = 48 gallons
1 bushel = 4 pecks   =  8 gallons
1 peck   = 2 gallons
Bond Whisky stocks held in the Bonded Warehouse which are yet to have excise duty levied on them.
Bonded Warehouse A Bonded Warehouse is a secure store where maturing whisky is stored. It is cool and earth-floored to provide an even temperature and humidity. During its period in bond, a cask will lose about 2% of alcohol per year - the so-called "angel's share". With each warehouse holding many hundreds of casks and each cask holding up to 500 litres of whisky, it can be seen how much of an investment is tied up in one of these warehouses. No excise duty has yet been levied on this whisky. Once the whisky is removed from the warehouse, duty becomes payable.
Bothie A building that housed an illicit still in the Scottish Highlands. Most had only a single room or were even hidden underground.
Bottled in Bond North American whisky, usually bourbon, bottled after four years in the cask, at 50% abv or more..
Bourbon U.S. Whiskey (note the "e") that is produced from a mash of not less than 51% corn grain, distilled to a maximum 80% abv (160° American proof) and put into charred new oak barrels at a strength of no more than 62.5% abv. Bourbon casks are charcoaled on the inside before use to impart flavour to the maturing spirit.
Brew See "Wash".
Brewing The process of mashing grain in hot water and fermenting the result with yeast to produce beer or wash.
Burnt Ale, Pot Ale The liquor ln the Low Wines Still after the distillation. It is either discharged as waste, or converted to animal feed.
Bushel Traditionally the dry measure of 8 imperial gallons, although the Scotch Whisky Association regard it as equivalent to 25.4 Kg. See "Boll".
Butt See "Casks".