Pre-fermentation of malt whisky wort using Lactobacillus plantarum and its influence on new-make spirit character

Struan Reid, R. Alex Speers, Nik Willoughby, William Lumsden, Dawn Louise Maskell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
203 Downloads (Pure)


Distillery fermentations are non-sterile, which allow bacterial communities to flourish, typically towards the end of fermentation. The effect of beginning the bacterial fermentation at the start of fermentation was investigated. Wort was treated for 48 h using a commercial strain of Lactobacillus plantarum followed by fermentation using a distilling strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The treated wash showed a substantial increase in lactic, acetic and succinic acids Sensory analysis determined that the spirit produced with bacterial treatment were significantly different (p < 0.05) and chemical analysis demonstrated an increase in the production of ethyl acetate. These results show that pre-treatment using species of Lactobacillus could be utilised to alter the quality of new-make spirit in a distillery. By using bacterial cultures present in the surroundings or raw materials, distillers could allow naturally occurring or commercially available microflora to be added thus enhancing flavour development during fermentation and producing different spirit characters.

Original languageEnglish
Article number126605
JournalFood Chemistry
Early online date12 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • Bacteria
  • Fermentation
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Organic acids
  • Whisky

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Food Science


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