Whiskey Still - How you make Whiskey and more !
The intention with this page is if its a Whiskey Still in a commercial operation or indeed if you are wanting to look at a still for making Whisley at home, I've tried to cover as much information as you will need.
Alcohol boils at a lower temperature than water so a common application of the process of distillation is to produce strong alcoholic drinks.
Usually a Whiskey Still used for this purpose is made of copper, as it does not give taste to the drink, resists acid, and conducts heat.
The simplest standard distillation apparatus is commonly known as a pot still, consisting of a single heated chamber and a vessel to collect purified alcohol.
A pot still involves only one condensation process, whereas other types of distillation equipment have multiple stages which result in higher purification of the more volatile component namely the alcohol.
Pot still distillation gives an incomplete separation, but this can be what is wanted for the flavour of the drink being distilled.
A Whiskey Still known as a pot still is a type of still used in distilling spirits such as whisky or brandy. Heat is applied directly to the pot in which the wash (in the case of whisky) or wine (in the case of Cognac) is contained.
In the pot still, the alcohol vapour combined with vapours of all the aroma components such as esters, alcohols flow from the still through the condensing coil which then flows into a second still below.
Distillation by a pot still often required two distillations in separate stills. This is called a batch distillation, (as opposed to a continuous distillation).
The pot still is a device used for batch distillation process, which is a kind of large copper kettle filled with wash (or wine) which is then heated.
Alcohol and water as well as the multitude of flavour components that give the wash or wine its aroma, evaporate before being condensed.
The vapour of an alcoholic liquid that is being heated is always richer in alcohol than the liquid itself and when this vapour is condensed, the resulting liquid therefore contains more alcohol.
The first distillation produces the so-called 'low wines', with a strength of about 25-35% alcohol by volume, which is then distilled a second time to produce the colourless spirit, collected at about 70% alcohol by volume.
Maturation in oak typically causes the brown color to develop over time.
If a purer distillate is desired, a reflux Whiskey Still is the most common solution.
Reflux stills incorporate a fractionating column, commonly created by filling copper vessels with glass beads to maximize available surface area. As alcohol boils, condenses, and reboils through the column, the effective number of distillations greatly increases.
Vodka and rum are both distilled by this method, then diluted to concentrations appropriate for human consumption.
The term reflux is very widely used in industries that utilize large-scale distillation towers and fractionators such as petroleum refineries, petrochemical plants, chemical plant and natural gas processing plants.
Inside the tower, the downflowing reflux liquid provides cooling and condensation of the upflowing vapors that ultimately increases the efficiency of the distillation process.
By controlling the temperature of the condenser a reflux still may be used to ensure that higher boiling point components are returned to the flask while lighter elements are passed out to a secondary condenser.
This is useful in producing high quality alcoholic drinks, while ensuring that less desirable components (such as fusel alcohols) are returned to the primary flask.
This is particularly effective in the production of alcoholic beverages in which it is appropriate to retain the flavors and aromas of the source of the drink.
For high quality neutral spirits (such as vodka), or post distillation flavored spirits (such as gin) a process of multiple distillations and/or charcoal filtering may be applied to obtain a product lacking in any suggestion of its original source material for fermentation.
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An introduction to making whiskey at home
How to make Whiskey at home - A guide
A number of recipes for making home made Whiskey
All about making Whiskey at home
All about the barrels or casks that make the drink
Sour Mash Whiskey is Bourbon with distinction
The Whiskey rebellion proves how important whiskey is!
Whiskey ring - Political scandal and extortion
A glossary of all that Whiskey terminology