What are the four key stages during spirits production for quality and style?
- Selecting and processing of raw materials
- Post-distillation operations
Anything containing these, and of agricultural orgin can be used to make spirits.
When does fermentation begin?
Fermentation begins when yeast is added to a sugary liquid.
What are the three things created during fermentation?
Congeners (flavors from raw materials)
- Carbon dioxide
What is the typical abv of a fermented solution?
8-10%, This varies based on the raw material used.
abv refers to alcohol by volume
What is the Proof System?
The proof system is used in the US to express alcohol content. Two degrees of proof equals 1% of alcohol.
During what process in making a spirit is a still used?
A still is used during distillation.
What is the goal of distillation?
The goal of distillation is to select individual parts of the alcoholic liquid and leave others behind. This includes alcohols, and in some cases congeners.
What is the common increase in abv resulting from distillation?
From 10% to 75%
What is the aim of post-distillation operations?
The aim of post-distillation operations is to ensure a spirit has the correct color, aroma, sweetness and alcoholic strength for sale value.
What are the two things raw materials provide?
Raw materials provide carbohydrates (food for yeast), and distinct flavors.
What is ethanol is relation to fermentation?
The most important alcohol produced during fermentation - although others are produced.
What are the other key alcohols produced during fermentation?
Methanol and fusel alcohols
When does fermentation end?
Fermentation ends when all of the sugar has been converted to alcohol.
Esters are fruity smelling congeners formed during fermentation.
Why rely on specially selected yeast?
Relying on specially selected yeast ensures consistency in flavor development and production of key congeners from batch to batch.
What do newly made spirits have in common?
All are water-white, colorless, and dry (ie: contain no sugar).
Fractions are parts of a liquid that will be distilled.
What is the Boiling Point of ethanol?
What is the boiling point of water?
Which is more volatile - water or ethanol?
Ethanol - because it is lighter and has a lower boiling point.
What are the parts of a pot still?
Pot - this holds the liquid to be distilled
Swan neck - section between pot and still head
- Still head
Lynne arm - links still head to condenser
Condenser - converts vapors back to liquid
What material is used to make most pot stills?
Pot still distillation is a batch process which needs to be repeated every time the still is run.
What is low wine?
Low wine is the distillate that has come off the still during the first run - usually about 25-30% abv.
What is the aim of the first distillation?
The aim is to remove some of the water from the fermented alcoholic liquid being distilled.
What is the goal of the second distillation?
The goal is to create an alcoholic liquid the distiller can use or put on sale.
Why are the 'heads' and 'tails' collected separately during a second distillation?
The heads and tails are collected separately because they have a high concentration of unwanted congeners and a placticky aroma.
They also contain ethanol and desirable congeners and are, therefore, added to the next batch of low wines.
What are the parts of a column still?
- Viewing windows
- Bubble cap
How does a column still differ from a pot still?
A column still has multiple distillations happening at the same time, and a spirit can reach an abv as high as 96% in a column still.
A distiller has the ability to choose which plates to draw off the hearts of the liquid, therefore choosing the amount of abv and congeners.