This is one of several tunes marking the crucial first steps of whisky production. “Malt” is what barley grain is called when it is has been soaked to germinate, then dried. The maltman was responsible for shepherding the grain through this first step in making both ale and whisky. The dried grain is then ground into meal. The barley “mash” is then brewed by steeping in hot water to create the “wort.” The wort is the liquid filtered off of the steeped malted barley mash that makes its way to the fermenter and then the still. It is the primordial soup of whisky evolution. The skill in brewing your own malt into whisky was as commonplace in the ancient Highlands as begin able to farm your own food. A peck of malt would have made quite a bit of whisky indeed.
View the score for “Willie Brewed a Peck o’Malt.“