How is Beer Distilled?
Despite what many people think, distilling is actually a fairly simple process that can be done in your kitchen. There are a few things you need to know before jumping into the process, though. First, you need to understand what the difference is between fermented alcohol and distilled alcohol.
Fermented alcohol is made by a yeast fermentation process, while distilled alcohol is a product that has been distilled through a heating and cooling process. The main difference is that distilled alcohol is much stronger and more concentrated than fermented alcohol.
Distilled beer is typically a lower alcoholic content than fermented beer, but it can also be higher in alcohol depending on the type of distilling technique used. Generally, the process involves boiling the mash to evaporate the alcohol and then removing the vapors from the still.
Some distillers use a process called pot distillation, where the mash is placed in a small pot and the alcohol evaporates directly from the hot liquid. This is often the preferred method for flavored spirits, like gin or whisky.
Another way that a beer can be distilled is by using the same method as a whiskey or bourbon distiller: adding a neutral spirit to the mash and then distilling it. This is the most common method, and it allows for greater control over the mash and what it produces.
This process can be dangerous because it brings the mash and the alcohol vapors in close proximity to each other. This can cause a fire or explosion if it’s not handled correctly.
Traditionally, brewing and distilling have been separate processes. Brewers create beer by combining barley, hops, and yeast with water. In most cases, a malted barley is used to brew beer.
The mash is then cooled in an airtight container, and a yeast starter is added to the mix. The yeast then converts the sugars in the mash into alcohol.
While brewing typically requires the addition of other ingredients, such as sugar or salt, distilling is entirely different. The primary ingredient in a distiller’s mash is grain. This can be wheat, rye or barley.
After the mash is cooled and the yeast has been added, the beer is usually fermented in the same way as a traditional brewery. This is because it can be a more effective way to control the beer’s alcohol levels and the flavor of the final product.
In the end, the beer is poured into a barrel and left to age for several years before it is bottled and sold as an alcoholic beverage. Some distilleries have taken the time to create single-malt distilled beers. This is a fun way to experiment with flavors and aromas from different types of beer.
One of the most intriguing examples is the partnership between Sons of Liberty and Ranger Creek in Texas. They have a line of beer-distilled spirits, including True Born. The gin uses the same recipe as the beer, but the juniper berries are added during the distillation process to give it a more distinctive character than a standard gin would have.