|How does distillation work|
The specific type of alcohol sought by commercial stills is called ethanol. Ethanol can be separated from water in washing because ethanol has a lower boiling temperature than water (pure ethanol has a boiling temperature of 172 degrees Fahrenheit, while water does not boil until 212 degrees). In short, the washing liquid is heated in the distiller to above 172 degrees, but below 212 degrees. The ethanol starts to boil and turns into steam, which separates from the washing water. The vapor then condenses (turns back to liquid) and drips from the still into a tank or some other collection container.
How to brew vodka? When making vodka, remove as much moray as possible, because it should be a very pure, tasteless spirit.
How is whiskey made? When making whiskey, homologs are preferable because they add flavor and complexity. However, along with good similar products comes some bad ones. One of the reasons for whiskey aging is to eliminate the tasty but somewhat pungent congeners in the final product.
Since various alcohols and compounds in washing are separated at different boiling temperature, each distillation operation has several stages: front section, head, center and tail. At different stages of operation, commercial stills will notice that the taste and smell may vary greatly. Usually, only the "heart" part is reserved for commercial distribution. Set aside the tail for further distillation in the future.
1- Front photo
The front cut is the vapor that evaporates first during the distillation process. These contain the most volatile alcohols and should not be ingested because they contain methanol and other undesirable substances. Commercial stills always discard the front lenses and never consume them. This part accounts for approximately 5% or less of all liquid collected during the distillation process.
The head contains "lighter" compounds such as acetone, acetaldehyde, and acetate. Commercial stills will notice that these compounds taste bad and smell like solvents. In addition, they are said to be the main culprits of the hangover. There is almost no sweetness in this part of the operation, and it is far from smooth. The header is not worth keeping for commercial distribution and should be set aside. Generally speaking, about 20-30% of the liquid collected in the distillation process is head.
The heart mainly contains ethanol, which is the most ideal part of the mental operation. Commercial distiller can tell when the distiller starts to produce the heart because the tingling sensation on the head has dissipated and the smell is no longer harsh. This is the "sweet spot", it is not just a metaphor. The whiskey produced at this stage is very delicious, but also very smooth and (depending on the recipe) slightly sweet. It is by far the best tasting wine commercial still produced during the spirit run. The skills of commercial stills come into play because they must recognize the beginning and end of the heart part of the operation. However, in general, this stage will account for approximately 30-40% of all spirits collected during the entire distillation process.
Once the alcohol with the lower boiling point has all evaporated, the tail begins. This part of the run contains fusel oils such as propanol, butanol and pentanol. The taste of the tail is not very good, mainly water, protein, carbohydrates and alcohol with a higher boiling point and less volatile. There are several ways to determine when the positive side ends and when the negative side begins. First, the flavor profile of the distillate will change significantly. The rich flavor that exists in the heart will begin to fade, and so will the sweetness. The spirits collected at this stage will taste a little "thin". In addition, the fusel compound produces a very slight oily luster on the top of the distillate, which can be viewed at an angle under the correct light (just like gasoline can be seen floating on the water). When rubbing with your fingers and thumb, the touch of the distillate will also be slightly slippery. The tail accounts for the last 20-30% of the liquid collected during the mental run.
|When the distillation process is over|
An experienced commercial distiller usually runs the distiller until the alcohol content in the washing liquid drops to about 10-20 degrees. It is not worth the time and effort to further distill to separate the small amount of remaining alcohol from the water.
|When to distill and cut|
An experienced commercial still knows when to "cut" from the head to the heart and from the heart to the tail. In distillation, "cutting" means that the commercial still stops collecting in one tank and starts collecting in a new tank. This is a skill that is learned over time and requires some practice.
If the spirits are aged, usually a small part of the head and tail, as well as all the heart, are kept and added to the barrel. These homologs, together with the flavor extracted from the wood, provide the flavor and body of the final product.
Cutting can have a huge impact on the final product. Commercial winemakers will say that it is better to cut the head late and use the head to collect a little heart, rather than cut it up early and let the head mix with the heart. For the same reason, it is best to cut off the tail early and add snacks to the tail, and vice versa.
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