CRAFT by Under My Host® Issue No. 15 Classics - Page 147

becomes pliable, where they are then sent out to be pressed into the dome shape by a separate company. The smaller heads, on- ions, elbows and lyne arms are also done in- house, heating the pieces until they get to the right temperature and then hammering them by hand to the shape using leather mallets and iron forms. The history of continuous column stills isn’t as lengthy as pot stills and, in my opinion, not nearly as inspiring. The original Woulfe Bottle, used to improve chemical rectifica- tion, was refined and patented by Edouard Adam in 1801. Even though it was horizontal and used several chambers, this “column” still was the first to produce alcohol in one operation. There were several alterations to this rudimentary column still by Nicole Fournier to create the first truly continuous still. Pistorius patented his continuous still as the first to be vertical, but it was just several pots connected to each other. Robert Stein patented his to use two columns, the first be- ing the Analyser with wash descending from the top and steam being introduced from the bottom. The second was called the Rec- tifier. It recirculated the alcohol taken from the wash and condensed it at the proof the distiller wanted. The one that is considered the standard today, however, was patented in 1833 by Aeneas Coffey. Coffey was a Tax collector and began managing two distiller- ies after retiring. His patent introduced the use of perforated plates at various levels of the column for creating the reflux and pipes for taking away the oils created during dis- tilling. There were various new designs over the years for rectifying plates, but the one that was the best and is still being utilized the most is the Bubble Cap Plate. At each level of a column still the wash that is intro- duced at the top filters downward towards the heat until evaporation begins. As the va- por rises back up through the trays it leaves the heavier compounds behind while letting the lighter ones progress to the next level. The continuous column stills made by Ven- dome come in a variety of sizes, ranging from a very small diameter of 12 to 14 inches for craft distillers to extra-large ones of 5 to 6 feet in diameter for the bigger producers like Four Roses and Wild Turkey. As you can imagine, the larger columns can reach 40 to 50 feet tall. The whole column starts as in- dividual sections when the flat sheets are rolled to the diameter needed and the seams welded. The sight glass and coupling/ferrule holes are laid out and cut smaller than need- ed, so the edge can be bumped outward to form a perpendicular lip for welding and the shell won’t fall in afterwards. Sight ports are welded in after the flanges on each end are put on. Whatever trays are being used in that column are then inserted in at the cor- rect levels. For instance, trays that are flat with holes are called sieve trays. These are further up in the column so the thicker mash doesn’t clog the system. Bubble trays can either have round helmets (American) or rec- tangular covers (UK). Both pot stills and column stills can make the same spirit, but they are inherently different in their application and production. Pot stills are “batch” systems. You make a batch, clean the still, make another batch. Distilleries who use pot stills don’t make a lot at once and they don’t make it fast. There are some whis- key rules that say you must make it in a pot still, like Single Malt Scotch, Pot Still Irish Whiskeys and Cognac. Some of these are distilled twice while others are three times. Bourbon isn’t classified as being required to be made in pot stills, although there are sev- eral bourbon brands that do. To me, pot stills are simply magnificent pieces of equipment. I mean, they’re just truly beautiful. That’s why they usually have women’s names. Fla- vor profile is one thing but, to be honest, you really want one because of how they look. Continuous column stills are used because they can distill as fast and as long as you © Hundred-to-One LLC 2017. All rights reserved.