|How are spirits made|
You would think that all spirits, whether it's gin, rum or whiskey, are basically made in the same way, right? not completely. Although these types of wine do go through a similar process, the details behind each bottle are somewhat different.
So how did spirits come about? In short, by distillation. Distillation is what distinguishes spirits from beer, wine, and other types of non-distilled spirits. Alcoholic beverages can basically be divided into two categories: fermented (or non-distilled) beverages and fermented (distilled) beverages. Fermented beverages that are not distilled include beer, cider, mead, sake and wine. Fermented and distilled alcohol includes brandy, gin, rum, vodka and whiskey.
1. Prepare the mash
In order to carry out the distillation, the spirit producer must use the fermented beverage as the base product. These initial materials are selected based on the desired final alcohol level. For example, whiskey is basically produced from a beer base, which is made by fermenting various grains. (The type of grain depends on the style of whiskey produced.) Gin is also usually produced using grain alcohol, while vodka can be made using grain alcohol, fruit alcohol, or potato alcohol.
Depending on the raw materials used by the manufacturer, certain processes are used to prepare this base material called mash. For example, starchy grains are milled and pressed, which prepares the starch and sugar for the next step, while sugary grapes are crushed and pressed.
For starch-containing grains, the grains will be reduced to meal-like substances to better perform the saccharification process. Saccharification involves mixing and moisturizing the base material to optimize enzyme activity and ultimately convert starch into sugar that is easy to ferment. In short, saccharification destroys the coating of starch cells and prepares the material for the next step.
Regarding the fermentation itself, the equation is very simple: adding sugar to yeast produces alcohol and carbon dioxide. No matter what type of raw material is used, whether it is grains, grapes or other fruits and agricultural products, this fermentation equation is always the same and will not change. Fermentation can be carried out with natural yeast or cultured yeast. The former is carried out with natural yeast found in the base material and/or cellar, while cultured yeast is a purchased strain that is added to the base to advance the process.
After the base alcohol is made, the next and most critical step is distillation. Distillation is the process of separating alcohol from water through evaporation and condensation. The base alcohol is heated and some parts of it are captured. This process purifies and concentrates the remaining alcohol, which will eventually become the final spirit.
The distillation is carried out in a still. The two most commonly used distillers are continuous distiller and tank distiller. The distiller consists of three parts: distiller, heating liquid, condenser and receiver, collecting distillate at the end of the process.
The mash or fermented base wine is transferred to a still and heated to a low temperature, which first evaporates the alcohol. Because alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, it can evaporate, collect, and then cool into a liquid, and then the alcohol content is much higher than it was at the beginning. Multiple distillations can be performed before the next step of the process, and depending on the style of the brewed spirits, multiple distillations and distillation to a minimum are usually required.
Each style of spirits, depending on its origin and label type, has different aging requirements. Certain types of spirits require at least a period of aging, and some spirits are bottled almost immediately after distillation. Others need to be aged in a specific container.
Many winemakers choose not to bottle the spirits at cask strength, but to dilute them before the aging process. This is just done by adding water to the spirit. This process usually makes most consumers "easier to drink" the alcohol they get.
To better understand the requirements of spirits, let's take bourbon as an example. Bourbon must be produced in the United States, made from at least 51% corn mashed, distilled to no more than 160 degrees (80% ABV), and must be aged in new charred oak barrels (it cannot enter more than 125 Prove). Most spirits have similar requirements, or even stricter.
5. Integration and Transcendence
After the aging process, the winemaker can take many additional optional steps to make spirits. Many brewers mix various spirits together to create a consistent flavor profile for their brands year after year. Others add colorants to change the tone of their spirit. Many winemakers also filter their spirits for a variety of reasons before bottling them and placing them on the market.
Once the spirits are aged and/or filtered, the liquid is bottled and ready for packaging. Distilled spirits are bottled, labelled and sealed in containers, which can be glass, ceramic or many other materials, and are sealed with various types of bottle caps, including corks, screw caps, etc.
Contrary to wine, it is generally believed that spirits do not improve with aging in the bottle and are usually placed directly on the market after bottling. The relatively high ABV in spirits can act as a natural preservative, which means that once the bottle is opened, the shelf life of this liquid is significantly longer than that of beer or wine. They can be enjoyed for a long time-or as long as you can make them last, that is to say.
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