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The apparatus that performs distillation is

called a still, of which there are two types-pot still and continuous

still. The pot still consists of a copper or copper-lined pot with a large

rounded bottom and long tapering neck connected by a copper pipe to a

condenser (a cooled spiral tube). As the fermented liquid (wine for brandy,

MASH for whiskey) in the pot comes to a boil, it vaporizes. The vapor rises

up into the still's condenser, where it cools and returns to a liquid

state. This condensation (condensate), which has a higher alcohol

concentration than the original mixture, is collected in a receiving

compartment. However, because alcohol boils at 173.3°F, water boils at

212°F, and a mixture of the two boils somewhere in between, the condensed

liquid still contains some water. This means that redistilling (often

several times) may be necessary to achieve the appropriate alcohol

level-cognac and scotch whiskey are distilled twice, for example, while

Irish whiskey undergoes 3 distillations. In this case, several pot stills

may be lined up, distilling the condensate produced by the first pot still

through the second pot still, and so on. The pot still, with its

painstaking thoroughness, produces distillates that retain the character

and personality of their source ingredients. The continuous still was

considered revolutionary when it was introduced in 1826. The continuous distillation process operates by

repeatedly recycling a mixture of steam and alcohol until all the spirit is

extracted. The continuous still consists of tall copper columns that

continually receive cold mash that trickles down and over a series of

steam-producing plates. As the alcohol vaporizes, it becomes part of the

steam that, as it rises, goes through the liquid flowing down the plates.

As the vapor interacts with this liquid, some of the alcohol in the liquid

vaporizes and some of the steam converts back to liquid. The vapor is drawn

into vents that then take it to a condenser and receiver. If the tower or

column has enough plates, a very high level of alcohol concentration can be

attained in this one continuous process. Sometimes, two or more towers or

columns are used so that higher levels of alcohol or different levels of

alcohol concentration can be produced. A single continuous still performs

much like the redistilling process with multiple pot stills. The pot still,

however, works in relatively small batches, and the continuous still has an

uninterrupted flow of incoming material and outgoing product. The

continuous still brought mass production to distillers and dramatically.

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โˆ™ 2011-09-14 00:47:26
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Q: What does it mean to be triple distilled?
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