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Re: [Distillers] Info Article #1

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  • Robert Thomas
    more, Harry, more.....! Cheers Rob. ... compounds ... Cheers, Rob. __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Tired of spam? Yahoo!
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 28, 2006
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      more, Harry, more.....!
      Cheers
      Rob.


      --- Harry <gnikomson2000@...> wrote:

      > Whisky and water
      > Dr Stephen Cribb
      > Carraig Associates
      >
      > It has been estimated that over nine hundred billion litres of rain
      > fall on Scotland annually and of this around nine hundred million
      > litres are used in the manufacture of whisky of all types, both
      > grain and malt.
      >
      > The character of a malt whisky, in particular, results from a
      > combination of four important factors:
      > � the degree of peating of the malt (peat reek);
      > � the shape of the stills;
      > � the type or combination of types of barrel that are used for
      > maturation;
      > � the chemistry of the water involved in the extraction of
      compounds
      > from the malted barley (mashing).
      > If any of the four factors is dominant, such as the heavy peating of
      > the Islay malts or the use of Oloroso barrels for Macallan, then
      > that character will predominate. However for many whiskies it is the
      > subtle combination of all four factors that is definitive.
      >
      > This article looks at the sources and nature of the water used by
      > distilleries, primarily in the mashing process, but also refers to
      > water used for cooling, the latter being between four and six times
      > greater than the former.
      >
      > Distillation is Scotland's largest tax generator and export
      > commodity in terms of value and just as importantly is an industry
      > that cannot be moved elsewhere. Water is an essential resource for
      > both the brewing and distilling industries but even the largest
      > distilleries maintain their own specific water sources, each of
      > differing chemistry, and have not gone down the road of the major
      > brewers who find it easier to deionise mains water and reconstitute
      > the water chemistry to one deemed suitable for a particular brew. In
      > other words, whereas beers of any type may now be brewed virtually
      > anywhere, the malt whisky from a particular distillery is unique and
      > represents a combination of the ingredients (barley, yeast, and
      > water) and the local environment: a truly green product.
      >
      > An oft-quoted statement about the best water for whisky manufacture
      > is "soft water through peat over granite". This may well be
      > applicable to the area centred on Dufftown in central Speyside,
      > where around fifteen distilleries take very soft water from springs
      > in the granite hills of Ben Rinnes and the Conval Hills, but there
      > are over 80 distilleries elsewhere in Scotland where this is not the
      > case. In fact there are quite a large number of sources where the
      > water chemistry varies from slightly to quite heavily mineralised
      > (i.e., hard) and the distillers who use those sources stand by the
      > chemistry as an important feature of their product. Among these,
      > well-known distilleries include Glenmorangie, near Tain, and
      > Highland Park and Scapa on Orkney. Mineralised water also
      > characterises the sources for the distilleries on the volcanic rocks
      > of the west, such as Talisker on Skye and Tobermory on Mull.
      >
      > The early stages of the whisky making process are similar to
      > brewing. Indeed apart from the lack of hops and, by design, a higher
      > alcohol content, the liquid which enters the still after mashing and
      > fermentation is to all intents and purposes a beer. Brewers have
      > long recognised that the presence of the calcium ion in particular
      > is important in optimising the brewing process. Calcium helps in the
      > effective extraction of sugars from the malted barley and promotes
      > fermentation. Beneficial effects are also seen in the presence of
      > the magnesium, carbonate and sulphate ions.
      >
      > Distillery water sources vary enormously from rivers and burns,
      > lochs, lochans and reservoirs to springs and boreholes. Each source
      > is unique and, even where similar source rocks occur, each has a
      > subtly different trace element chemistry.
      > As mentioned above, substantial amounts of water are also utilised
      > in other processes �particularly cooling but also for cleaning.
      > Twenty years ago, the ratio between other water use and process
      > water could well have been over ten to one. More effective
      > processing technology and a response to pressure on the companies
      > from the regulatory authorities have reduced this ratio down to less
      > than five to one in many cases.
      >
      > Newly proposed abstraction controls are of great concern to the
      > industry. The very uniqueness of the water sources mean that there
      > is no substitute and, whilst all efforts are being made to reduce
      > water use for "other" purposes, it is essential that sufficient
      > cognisance is taken in assessing the volumes of process water
      > necessary for whisky production to continue successfully and
      > effectively. Anything that affects the ability of a distillery to
      > operate directly affects the economy of the nation.
      >
      >
      > Slainte!
      > regards Harry
      >
      >
      >
      >


      Cheers,
      Rob.

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