The liquid resulting from the fermentation (Wash) are limited to a maximum alcohol content of about 20% ABV, as most yeasts cannot reproduce when the concentration of alcohol is above this level; as a consequence, fermentation ceases at that point. If we boil the wash, then the alcohol on it evaporates first due to its boiling point (78.3°C/172.94°F) and the water is leaving behind.
Technically we named this process as distillation which is the process of separating the component or substances from a liquid mixture by selective evaporation and condensation. In the industry distillation has different uses, in this case, we just focus in the distillation of fermented products which produce distilled beverages with a high alcohol content.
A distilled beverage is also named spirit, liquor, hard liquor or hard alcohol. This process purifies it and removes diluting components like water, for the purpose of increasing its proportion of alcohol content ABV. Beverages such as beer, wine, sake, and cider are fermented but not distilled. These all have a comparatively low alcohol content, less than 15%. On the other hand, distilled beverages contain more alcohol concentration, higher than 20%, for example, Vodka is a spirit produced by the distillation of cereal grains or potatoes, and has about 37.5% ABV in Europe or 40% ABV in the United States. Other examples of distilled beverages include gin, rum, tequila, whiskey, and so on.
The term spirit refers to a distilled beverage that contains no added sugar and has at least 20% ABV while liquors are bottled with added sugar and added flavourings, usually derived from fruits, herbs, or nuts, such as Galliano, Sambuca, Amaretto, Jägermeister, Cointreau, along with others.
The first application of this technology was for the purpose of beauty care and personal hygiene, it was used to extract essential oils from plants, some evidence of distillation comes from Greek alchemists in the 1st century AD, however the earliest evidence of true distillation of alcohol comes from the School of Salerno in southern Italy during the 12th century.
As a result, the consumption of distilled beverages increased dramatically and distilled liquors were commonly used as remedies. Around 1400, methods to distill spirits from wheat, barley, and rye were a cheaper option than grapes. Later in 1822, Anthony Perrier developed one of the first continuous stills. In 1826, Robert Stein improved that design to make his patent still and finally, in 1830, Aeneas Coffey got a patent for improving that design. Coffey’s continuous still, also called column still is the modern distilled process.
An installation for distillation, especially of alcohol, is a distillery. The distillation equipment is a still. Additionally, there are different kind of distillations process
- The pot still
- The continuous still