What Are The Different Stills Used in Whisky Production?
The primary equipment used in whisky production are stills, which are vessels used to heat the fermented liquid and separate it into alcohol and water. There are several different types of stills used in whisky production, each with its own unique design and characteristics that influence the final product.
The most commonly used stills in whisky production are copper pot stills. These stills are made of copper, which has excellent heat transfer properties and reacts with the alcohol to produce compounds that add flavour and aroma to the final product. Copper pot stills are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from small, hand-made stills used by craft distillers to large, industrial-sized stills used by major distilleries.
Another type of still used in whisky production is the column still, also known as a continuous still. Unlike copper pot stills, which distil the fermented liquid in batches, column stills continuously distil the liquid as it is fed into the still. Column stills consist of a series of trays or plates stacked on top of each other, each with increasing temperatures. The alcohol and water vapour rise through the still and are condensed into purified alcohol. Column stills are highly efficient, producing a large amount of alcohol in a relatively short amount of time.
A third type of still used in whisky production is the hybrid still, which combines elements of both copper pot stills and column stills. Hybrid stills are typically used to produce a specific style of whisky, such as bourbon or rye, that requires the flavour and aroma characteristics of a copper pot still combined with the efficiency of a column still.
The type of still used in whisky production has a significant impact on the final product. Copper pot stills are used for their ability to impart flavour and aroma, while column stills are used for their efficiency. Hybrid stills offer the best of both worlds, combining the flavour characteristics of copper pot stills with the efficiency of column stills. Each type of still has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of still will depend on the desired outcome of the whisky production process.