Re: [Distillers] Info Article #1
- more, Harry, more.....!
--- Harry <gnikomson2000@...> wrote:
> Whisky and watercompounds
> 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:
> ï¿½ the degree of peating of the malt (peat reek);
> ï¿½ the shape of the stills;
> ï¿½ the type or combination of types of barrel that are used for
> ï¿½ the chemistry of the water involved in the extraction of
> from the malted barley (mashing).Cheers,
> 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 ï¿½particularly 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.
> regards Harry
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