Distillation explained


Making booze may strike one as tedious and demanding task but it surely is one of the most engrossed and fascinating activity one can opt for certain…..because for every alcohol lover out there…it is always worth the effort., So what goes into the actual process is the real question!!

To make alcohol might be a favourite past-time for many and for some, it might be a way of living ..Nevertheless, the process in making, the time ,the effort may vary depending upon the alcoholic beverage we want. Let’s dig into this beverage world to know what actually happens out there…

To start out, there is this basic usual process of fermentation where sugar is turned into alcohol and that infuse is put through a particular procedure meticulously to generate the end-product in pure condition. The pure alcohol is then diluted with relatable amounts of water and minor amounts of other alcoholic constituents and heated at different temperatures to get Vodka, whiskey, wine etc., accordingly.

Distillation is the most prevalent method to extract breweries and distilleries. It is basically explained as the ‘process of heating liquid mixture, vapourizing it’s components at different temperatures and condensing it by passing through pipes at lower temperature’.

The procedure of distillation depends on level of purity we want in the final product.

However, there are basically two types of distillation to procure the final product of alcohol.

a) Simple distillation

b) Fractional distillation

Simple distillation

This comprises of basic procedures where sugars procured from barley, corn, potatoes, grapes and other sources are fermented to generate various number of chemicals., major being ethyl alcohol/ethanol and other components being methyl, propyl, amyl alcohols, aldehydes and ketones in minor amounts. Each of this minor constituents decide the flavour ,substance and color of the alcohol and if used in excess amounts may also lead to aftereffects.

Following the fermentation, the vapours will come over which is rich in substantive components such as methanol and acetone. This initial portion of beverage is referred to as “heads”. Slowly this part of portion gets evaporated to form ethanol., which again condenses into the “tails” part consisting of least volatile components. Therefore the middle portion contains ethanol in larger concentration.

The middle part can be distilled accordingly to get various alcoholic beverages such as whisky, rum, beer, vodka etc.,

Fractional distillation

Unlike simple distillation where mixture of liquids does not generate accurate segregation of the components., fractional distillation offers the opportunity to get each component clearly through fractioning column.It contains the required equipment alteration to get the desired product.

It comprises a vertical tube attached to rim of the boiler which is packed with inert gases or non- reactive particles. The vapours from the boiling liquid at the top, run back down through the packing in the column and the vapour gets drifted back and the liquid in the beaker/pot produces mini-distillations at the surface of each sector of glass in the column. The distillation process occurs rigorously until the final perfect separation of whole mixture is sub-divided into various constituents, allowing each section to withdraw itself from the top of the column in order of its boiling point., therefore producing the most volatile concentrated liquid to withdraw first followed by the least volatile components.

The alcohol is collected in a second container and is stored in barrels.

Water ,sugars, color preservatives are added accordingly to give rise to wide range of other liquor spirits.

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