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Production & Process

Eighty Years of Rapid Maturation Studies

Overview. This is part 3 of a treatise on distilled spirits maturation. Part 1, in the Fall 2017 Distiller, saw the coverage of ethanol-water solvent systems and key analytics for monitoring spirits maturation. Part 2, in the Winter 2017...

The Ins & Outs of Distilling from Beer

Whiskey is famously made by distilling beer, but any distiller will tell you that the “beer” that goes into the still bears little resemblance to the commercial stuff you sip on game day. While it won’t kill ya, those...

Be Safe. Save Money. Build Your Own Lab.

For craft distillers, the key to success in product development and production is to document what you do and continuously improve your methods to help you achieve your goals more easily, cheaply and with the best possible results. Building...

Copper Love

The alembic, as I know it, or alembic (in American and English), is an anciently curious and cleverly designed distillation contraption that looks like it comes from another time and has little changed over the centuries (alambic from French,...

The Quest for Local Grains

“We are ready for our first batch of whiskey!” my husband Steve exclaimed. “Where’s the grain?” For two years we had spent every evening, weekend and holiday building our distillery from the ground up. How could it be that suddenly...

It’s Time to Take Ethyl Carbamate Seriously Again

Ethyl carbamate (EC), also known as urethane, is a compound found in fermented foods and beverages. It’s an ester of carbamic acid. It’s also a known carcinogen (cue ominous-sounding music), making it an important compound to know and understand...

Are We Ready for Accelerated Aging?

“There is hope that 1-year-old whisky may soon rival 16-year bonded liquor in taste and smell and at a vastly lower cost. … Chemists are glad Prohibition is over so they no longer have to listen to bootleggers for...

Bain-Marie

As a distiller, proper equipment selection shouldn’t be the bane of your existence. My bane? Well, her name is Marie: bain-marie to be exact. This is an often overlooked yet incredibly useful type of still that I am honestly...

Math or Money and The Electric Sombrero of Death

Of all the things in a distillery that could spark (pun intended) a fire or explosion, electrical systems and equipment are at the top of the list, followed closely by static electricity and open flames. The solution to the...

Juniper

Just as juniper trees stay the test of time and can live to be hundreds of years old, juniper berries have been an enduring flavor in the repertoire of distillers through the centuries. Liquids present challenges to archaeologists, as they...