Corky's Still
In simplest terms the process begins by crushing the protective cover on a kernel of grain. Next this grain starch is cooked with barley malt which converts the grain starch to grain sugar. With the addition of yeast, the grain sugar is converted to alcohol and carbon dioxide. The alcohol is then heated so that it vaporizes. The vaporized alcohol is then cooled and the result is beverage alcohol, or distilled spirits.

  The Process

    Grain
    Grain starch + Barley Malt=Grain Sugar
    Grain Sugar + Yeast=Grain Alcohol
    Grain Alcohol + Heat and Vaporation=Beverage Alcohol
While the process of making distilled spirits is basically unchanged since earliest of times, technology has been introduced for perfecting the outcome of the process. Today the four basic steps in making distilled spirits are: 1. Milling--cracking the kernel of grain, 2. Mashing--converting the grain starch to grain sugar, 3. Fermenting--converting the grain sugar to alcohol and carbon dioxide by the addition of yeast and 4. Distilling--converting the alcohol to beverage alcohol by heating and cooling.

  The Process In Summary

Since grain is the basic ingredient used to make most distilled spirits, selecting the grain is where the process begins. The three grains used to make most distilled spirits are:
    Corn
    Barley and
    Rye.
Step #1: -Milling--In the milling step, the grain is ground into a coarse grain meal. The milling process breaks down the protective hull covering the grain kernels and frees the grain starch. At the end of this step, the process results in GRAIN STARCH.

Step #2: -Mashing--In the mashing step, the grain starch is converted to grain sugar. The grain meal is mixed with pure water and cooked. This produces a mash. Barley malt, which is barley that has been allowed to sprout, is added to the mash. At the end of this step, the process results in GRAIN SUGAR.

Step #3: -Fermenting--In the fermenting step, the grain sugar is converted to alcohol and carbon dioxide by the addition of yeast. With the addition of yeast to the grain sugar, the yeast multiplies producing carbon dioxide which bubbles away and a mixture of alcohol, grain particles and congeners. The congeners are the flavor constituents. This process results in GRAIN ALCOHOL.

Step #4: -Distilling--In the distilling step, the alcohol, grain particles,water and congeners are heated. Since alcohol boils before water, the alcohol will vaporize first leaving the water, the grain particles and some of the congeners in the boiling vessel. The vaporized alcohol is then cooled or condensed forming clear drops of beverage alcohol--distilled spirits. At the end of this step, the process results in BEVERAGE ALCOHOL which is also known as DISTILLED SPIRITS.

  Two Additional Steps

Two additional steps are taken in making some distilled spirits. They are aging and blending.

Step #5: -Aging--In the aging or maturing step, the distilled spirits are sealed in charred oak barrels where they gradually develop their distinctive taste, aroma and color over the years. This aging period can last from two to as many as twelve years.

Step #6: -Blending--In the blending step, spirits of different ages and which are made from different grains are combined to produce a more pleasing beverage alcohol.

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Copyright © 1995-2005 The Virtual Bar.
Last Touched: 6/9/2005 11:52AM