|What is distillation|
Distillation is the process of heating a liquid to produce steam, which is then condensed into a liquid again. The whole idea was inspired by nature: after a hot day, the water in the puddle turned into invisible steam. A cool night will reverse this process, and water droplets will form on the grass blades. "Can you heat a liquid with fire and do the same thing?" our ancestor asked. "Will putting something cold on warm steam make it liquid again?" The birth of distillation is hidden in these questions. Add some aromatic herbs and use the condensed steam to make perfume. Use some fermented liquid to make alcohol-even better.
Although we may never know who was the first to discover distillation-scholars have been speculating on this for at least a century-we do know that the practice of alchemy is ancient. Aristotle explained at least the first prerequisite of distillation in his meteorology, namely evaporation, where he wrote that seawater can be purified by evaporation.
As for the condensation part, my favorite theory revolves around the distillation that took place in the kitchen from the first to the third century AD. In other words, women are probably the earliest alchemists. Whiskey scholar Fred Minnick hinted in his book "Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch, and Irish Whiskey" that the alchemist Maria Hebrea might have used one A tube connects two hollow vessels to make the first distiller. The liquid will be heated in the first container, generate aromatic vapor in the circular container, cooled, and then transferred to the second container or receiver through a tube.
Surprisingly, this basic structure—a spherical bottom with arms extending from the top to collect steam and transfer them to a second container—is still widely used today. These tank stills and another type of still known as column stills or continuous stills (sometimes even a combination of the two) form the backbone of global brewery operations. Without them, you only have beer.
Most whiskeys made with tank stills are double distilled or triple distilled. Every time the whiskey is heated, concentrated and collected, we call it distillation. Do it twice and call it double distillation. Do it three times...you know. The first distillation separates the alcohol and other lower boiling substances in the fermentation broth. These substances are located at the bottom of the so-called washing liquid (the fermentation broth at this time is actually called the "washing liquid".) The alcohol evaporates at 173°F. Therefore, the alcohol concentration of the collected liquid will be higher. The contents will bubble and foam, pulling various molecules and vapors out of the liquid. The resulting distillate is called "low wine" and is transferred and distilled again in the "spiritual still"
Generally (though not always), the more times a spirit is distilled, the lighter and purer the final product.
The shape, size and material of the jug still affect the flavor of the whiskey.
Since various elements in the liquid evaporate (become gas) at different temperatures, such as alcohol (173°F) and water (212°F), the distiller can adjust the temperature and distillation time to affect the so-called ABV (volume Alcohol). The size of the pot still affects which aromatic molecules will volatilize and form on the swan neck of the still.
The distiller monitors the distillate flowing out of the distiller and collects the most flavorful liquid, called the "heart". The other parts of the distillate, called "head" and "tail", refer to the first and last moments of the distillate coming out of the distiller, respectively. Those are re-distilled or discarded because they contain undesirable molecular compounds that are not suitable for making delicious whiskey. The location where these "cuts" occur mainly depends on the taste of the still and what is still in use.
The tank distiller is made of copper, which is a material that interacts with molecules to enhance the characteristics of the distillate, especially sulfur compounds that are produced when yeast is metabolized during fermentation.
Generally speaking, tank distiller produces more powerful distillate and generally retains more raw material flavor than other types of distiller.
Most of your favorite whiskeys are distilled in so-called continuous stills. You may see it called "Coffey Still", named after the gentleman Aeneas Coffey, who created and patented the still in 1831. Like tank stills, their dimensions and materials are also different. I have seen some reaching a height of several floors.
The operating objective of the column distiller is the same as that of the pot distiller: different aromatic vapors with different boiling points are induced from the washing, and then condensed again. Their working principle is as follows: The steam passes upward through the bottom of the tower to meet the liquid phase of the scrubbing poured from the top. The perforated plate lays flat along the length of the column and captures husks, seeds, and other grain residues (if any) as the starch-containing liquid falls. The steam at the bottom is very hot, becomes colder as it rises, and evaporates alcohol and fragrance when encountering falling washing liquid. The washing liquid after the alcohol is removed will fall to the bottom of the distiller and generate more steam. Because the alcohol evaporates at a lower temperature, the cooler temperature is near the top, where the aromatic alcohol condenses,
Their size, design, and efficiency mean that continuous stills can operate around the clock, producing large amounts of distillate. You will hear this type of distillation called "fractionation", which refers to different fractions (compounds) that are trapped at different points along the bottom of the distillation column. The easiest way to describe the internal structure of a column distiller is to imagine many tank distillers connected together, one on top of the other. The more layers there are in the tower, the purer the distillate—or "rectification".
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