the Whiskey still
Whiskey is traditionally a two-step distillation process. A wash still (stripping still) and spirit still are used to produce traditional single malt whiskey. A hybrid still can produce whiskey in a single distillation with a rectification column. Larger distilleries use column stills or a combination of beer still and Doubler to make whiskey production more efficient.
Whiskey STILL Options
OPTIONS - BATCH PRODUCTION
SPIRIT RUN FREQUENCY
-STRIPPING RUN EVERY DAY
-SPIRIT RUN EVERY DAY
-STRIPPING RUN DAYS 1-3
-SPIRIT RUN EVERY 4th DAY
-SINGLE RUN DISTILLATION
-SPIRIT RUN EVERY DAY
-SINGLE RUN DISTILLATION
Internal or External Heating
External steam jackets are an ideal heating method. They provide excellent heat transfer and make cleaning easier. Internal steam coils, or steam plates, are used in traditional Scotch whiskey stills or when the shape and size of the still are not suitable for external steam jackets.
Electric steam boilers can be used for pot stills up to 1000L. They are efficient and a good choice for distilleries that don't have natural gas service. The size of pot still allowable will be determined by the amount of electrical service in your distillery.
CIP (Clean In Place)
Pot stills, like other tanks, can take advantage of CIP systems for cleaning. Remember that copper vessels may require copper inhibitors in the cleaning agents. It is best to consult your chemical supply company when designing a cleaning routine for your still.
Pot Still Shape
Pot stills can be made to suit customer requirements. Choose from one of our standard designs or come to us with your ideas. All pot stills are custom in one way or another.
Spirit Head Shape
The shape of your spirit head can influence the character of your whiskey. A tall head will produce a lighter whiskey and a short head will produce a more full bodied whiskey with more carried over flavor. Elements such as expansion balls will cause velocity and pressure differences in the vapor which create varying amounts of reflux. A brandy onion, or alembic head, is commonly used for making brandy.
Foam Windows and Sensors
During the first distillation or your wash, foam will rise up the head of your wash still and into the spirit head. Traditional scotch whiskey distilleries use glass windows in the spirit head to monitor the height of the foam within the still. Alternatively, some distilleries use anti-foaming agents like soap or butter to prevent foaming in the wash still. Foam sensors are sometimes used to indicate when anti-foaming agents are dosed into the still.
Lyne Arm Size and Angle
Lyne arm diameter and length will determine the amount of contact area and resonance time the vapor has with the copper. A larger diameter and longer lyne arm will create more reflux and remove more sulfur compounds from the spirit. The slope of the lyne arm will determine if the reflux within the lyne arm drains toward the condenser or the pot still. This will result in a lighter or more full bodied spirit depending on the slope and size.
Mixers are necessary for pot stills that distill on the grain. They not only help the heating rate but they help prevent scorching of the grain on the heating surfaces of the still. For clear spirits or lautered wort, it is not necessary to have a mixer but is at the discretion of the distiller. Most Scotch whiskey stills do not have a mixer because they distill lautered wort.
Condensers can be made in either copper or stainless steel. The preference for one or the other will depend on the spirit being produced.
Adding a column to a whiskey still will result in a hybrid still. Using the column to rectify the spirit will allow you to create a higher proof spirit in a single distillation run. This is attractive to some distillers because of the time and energy savings it creates. Distilling whiskey or brandy in this way may not be for everyone but it has become quite popular with craft distilleries in North America.
Basic automation packages are available for whiskey and brandy stills.
Whiskey is produced from grain mash. The grain mash can be fermented and distilled in a pot still (distilling on the grain) or it can be lautered and fermented into beer prior to distilling. Whether you are distilling "on-the-grain" or not, will influence various aspects of your pot still.
For on-the-grain distillation a pot still with a mixer is preferred to prevent scorching of the grain on the heating surfaces. External steam jackets are also preferred so that the contents of the pot still can be emptied and cleaned more effectively.
For a lautered beer, a mixer is not necessary and internal heating coils or plates can be used due to the lack of solids in the still. Various grains can be used including malted barley, rye, corn or wheat. The type of grain that you choose can affect the amount of foam that will build up in your still while you are distilling. This foam can be dealt with using de-foaming agents to break the surface tension of the bubbles, or you can allow for sufficient head space in your still and use visual foam window indicators or foam sensors to regulate the foam height.