|The basic steps of distillation|
As with the fermentation process, please note that there are many other decisions in these six distillation steps. This is just the most basic six-step decomposition to understand the grain bottling process.
Understanding how grain-based spirits are made may seem complicated, but it's actually quite simple. Depending on the whiskey, grains (barley, rye, or other things) will get wet and sprout. This sprouting process is called malting, and its focus is to convert starch into sugar. The process is interrupted by dry heating of the grain.
Now that we have sugar, we must extract the sugar to ferment it. This is done by mashing, which involves placing the ground grains in a container with hot water. The resulting oatmeal-like substance is called wort or wort (or the latter if the solids are filtered out). Next is fermentation, then distillation.
Distillation is the process of increasing the alcohol content of a given liquid. This is done through a distiller. The two most popular types are called tank distiller and column distiller. The former is commonly used to manufacture whiskey worldwide and is considered a "batch process". Certain whiskeys are even distilled two to three times before aging.
Distillation involves heating the substance, and since alcohol boils at a lower temperature than water, it allows the two to separate. Alcohol will evaporate from the liquid, condense, and then become liquid again. Then the spirit will enter the second or third stillness and repeat the process. Each time the process is repeated, the final ABV will increase. The distiller cuts the spirits (called the "head" and "tail" of the spirit) to remove unwanted flavors and aromas. The rest is the heart. This is the role of barrels and age.
Column stills, sometimes called continuous stills, are more commonly used in the production of bourbon, rye, and other whiskeys. The column distiller (as the name suggests) works continuously, which means that the distiller puts the liquid on top of the distiller and passes through a series of plates. The vapor rises and separates the solids, pushing the alcohol vapor to rise. Each plate will condense steam and increase the alcohol content.
Whether you use a tank or column distiller, both distillers will leave the final "heart" (spirit) to the producer, and then the distiller decides which type of vessel to use and how long it will age.
Simply put, distillation is a process in which liquid evaporates (becomes vapor), recondenses (becomes liquid), and is collected in a container. Distillation is a very old separation technique used to separate liquid mixtures into individual components by heating. The basis for the separation of components is their different boiling points. A mixture of two or more compounds is separated by heating it to a certain temperature and condensing the resulting vapor. The steam above the boiling mixture becomes richer in more volatile components. As a result, the boiling mixture becomes richer in less volatile components. This means that the original mixture will contain more materials that are less volatile.
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