Have you ever wondered how the big distilling companies make their product, well I know I have and I have done a bit of research on how it’s done. Whether you are trying to produce a well-aged product or what the country boys call moonshine, it all is produced from pretty much the same thing, sugar, water and yeast. The yeast consumes the sugar and produces carbon dioxide and ethanol. The biggest thing to understand is the different types of stills that produce ethanol and what purpose they serve. Without a still you cannot separate the alcohol from the mash. The three most popular stills are the pots still, fractionating still and reflux still. Choosing the right kind of still for your needs is a big contributor to the quality of your final product. Yet, it does not actually mean that each type cannot carry out all the tasks of another, but certain types are just more specific and effective than the others
The pot still is the simplest type. This still is useful to produce spirits with varying strengths with much ease although the process can take long. If you use a grain or sugar wash fermented with 20% alcohol strength and run it in the still pot once, you will achieve a still output with 60% alcohol strength given it was run under 72 and 92 degrees Celsius. This output is full of flavor and can be modified even further by running it in the still for the second time around under the same temperature. The still outcome will come up with a spirit containing 80-95% alcohol but less flavorful. If you do this again and halt collecting the spirit when the temperature of the vapor reaches below 90 degrees Celsius, you will end up with an almost pure spirit with fewer flavors.
The reflux still is also made up of major components such as the boiler and the condenser, and but includes a vertical column between the two structures. This column is packed with metal like substance such as stainless steel or even marbles. This type of still works as the temperature of the column changes and gets further from the source of heat. In essence, this means that as the vapors pass through the column, most of it undergoes condensation and come back into the boiler in liquid state. Thus, the taller the column, the purer the final spirit will be.
And the third is the Fractioning still. This still can give you a 95% return first run due to the temperature of the column changing as the vapor gets further from the heat source and is also condensed by a first condenser known as the dephlegmator. The dephlegmator causes the vapor to condense before the final condensing stage forcing the fluids back down into the column and perforated plates to purify the vapor even more
Here At RnW we combine both the fractioning as well as the reflux stills into one, giving the user the ability to refine their spirits to a vodka level or if you want more flavor you can eliminate the some or all the perforated plates and get a more flavorful run.