Vodka: The Making and Distillation Process

Topics: Ethanol, Vodka, Distillation Pages: 4 (1462 words) Published: March 7, 2011
Vodka is defined in the United States Standards of Identity as “neutral spirits so distilled, or so treated after distillation with charcoal or other materials, as to be without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color.” As Vodka is a neutral spirit, it means that it can be obtained by the distillation of any product with fermentable carbohydrates on it, like grains (rye, corn or wheat) or products like potatoes, beets or sugar beets; even grapes. Nowadays, most Vodka is obtained from grain. To get Vodka, a neutral spirit, (without the character of other spirits), the liquor is filtered using charcoal as a filter material. Some experts believe that the water used in the making process is the main reason of the differences between vodkas, Russians attribute the quality of their Vodka to the water from their rivers and lakes, and there are other producers that have been improving their water softeners or filtration systems. Mash preparation

The grains are feed into a mash tub; this tub breaks them down, while it is rotating. So as the grains need to convert their starches into sugar; malt is added to the mash (the malt contains diastase, that facilitates the conversion from starch to sugar). And then, the mash is boiled, so we sterilized. Fermentation

A Lactic-acid bacterium is added to the mash for two reasons; to increase the acidity and to sterilize it. The mash is poured into large stainless-steel tanks, and yeast (yeast converts the sugars into ethyl alcohol) is added, then tanks remained closed, for the next two to four days; that fermentation is completed. After the fermentation we have a product with 8% ABV approximately. Distillation and rectification

The liquid ethyl alcohol is pumped to stills, stainless steel columns made up of vaporization chambers stacked on top of each other. The alcohol is continuously cycled up and down, and heated with steam, until the vapors are released and condensed....
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