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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...

Mash: Chemistry 101

Sometimes it’s good to go back to the basics. A refresher on a seemingly familiar topic can be… well, refreshing. Mash chemistry is one of those topics that a lot of folks feel like they have a solid handle on....

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...

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...

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,...

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...

Cool Distilling

The drummer taps frantically on the rim. The trumpet pips and pops, raising and falling, bubbling like liquid. Miles Davis’s compilation album ‘Birth of the Cool’ was first released in 1957 and has become a soundtrack to writing this...

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...

Native Nuts: Liqueurs and Bitters

As autumn arrives in America, one of the great seasonal pleasures is seeing a scattering of nuts across a path and looking up to see the tree that made them. Nut liqueurs and nut bitters might seem opposite expressions,...