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Thread: Still types

  1. #11
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    Re: Still types

    I've heard folks either here at this forum or elsewhere state that bourbons undergoing primary distillation using pot stills retain more flavor and complexity than those distilled using continuous stills. Is that true and, if so, why?

    (I'm assuming the respect that A.H. Hirsch has garnered here along with the anticipation of the new L&G product has quite a lot to do with the pot still production methods and their flavorful results.)

    Thanks,

    -Troy

  2. #12
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Still types

    The spent (i.e., alcohol depleted) mash flows out of the still near the bottom. If it didn't, it would accumulate very quickly, defeating the whole purpose. The still has to be stopped periodically because the goop accumulates on everything inside the still. I believe the routine cleaning process is similar to backwashing. I saw a still at Jim Beam once that had been allowed to run much longer than normal, as an experiment. When it was opened, the caked-on spent mash was falling off in huge, black chunks. I asked the distiller what they learned from the experiment. "To not do it again," was his answer.

  3. #13
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Still types

    Pot still advocates make that claim pretty much across the board, not just for bourbon. With the exception of the Michter product, there has been so little pot distilled bourbon available, who can really say? Brown-Forman is gambling that it's true, or they went to a lot of trouble for nothing.

  4. #14
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    Re: Still types

    Thanks to everyone who helped clear up my foggy understanding of the continuous still. I think I've got it now. I am, however having trouble with the difference between a thumper and a doubler. I understand WHAT they do, just not exactly how a thumper works. If someone would be so kind as to enlighten me

  5. #15
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Still types

    I have trouble with this too, but I'll try. Both are used for the second distillation of the product of the beer still (i.e., low wines). Both are, technically, alembics or pot stills. The difference is that in a thumper, the low wines are introduced into the vessel as steam, i.e., the vapor coming off the beer still is not condensed. That's why it makes a thumping sound, as it hits the hotter steam in the vessel.

    A doubler is more conventionally a pot still. Low wine vapor is condensed into a liquid and then steam is introduced to affect the second distillation.

    I had it explained to me for the umpteenth time during the festival and I hope I got it right.

 

 

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