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The Artisan’s Guide to Crafting Distilled Spirits

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Small-Scale Production of Brandies, Schnapps & Liquors: The art of crafting alcohol is a very ancient one, and small, artisan distilleries are growing in popularity every day. Expert Austrian distillers Helge Schmickl and Bettina Malle guide readers through the process of creating or purchasing their own still and provide detailed instructions from personal experience on mash creation, fermentation, distillation, and infusion using a variety of ingredients. Schmickl and Malle also introduce readers to the tradition of schnapps distillation and present a brief look at domestic and international brewing cultures.The authors cover in detail which distillation techniques excel, which merely succeed, and which should be avoided at all costs in their discussion ofNecessary equipmentPossible ingredientsMash fermentationHow to begin distillationAlcohol regulationsWith ninety recipes – from classic fruit brandy to chili infusions – this book is not only for the curious beginner. Even experienced distillers will discover new approaches to this classic practice.

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Review

The standard reference work for all home distillers. –Die Zeit magazine

A resource that everyone – beginner or advanced- interested in the craft distilling process needs. –Bill Owens, president/founder, American Distilling Institute

From the Inside Flap

  1. The Foundations and Traditions of Distilling Alcohol
    Schnapps, spirituous beverages, distillates
  2. Mashes
    • HOW IS ALCOHOL FORMED?
      A side shuttle into chemistry
      The fermentation process: Water & sugar; Flavors & aromas; Vitamins, trace elements; Solid, ligneous components
    • WHICH FRUITS CAN BE USED TO MAKE THE MASH?
    • PREPARING THE FRUIT
    • FERMENTATION CONTAINER
    • ADDING WATER
    • CONVENTIONAL MASHES
      Fruit pulp without additional ingredients: Simple mashes
      Adding cultured yeast: Mashes with cultured yeast
      Checking the pH value: Measuring the pH value, Correcting the pH value
      Pectinase
    • ALCOHOL CONTENT OF CONVENTIONAL MASHES
    • HIGH-GRADE FRUIT MASHES
      What are some great benefits of a high-grade mash?, Turbo yeast, Preparing a high-grade fruit mash
    • CHECKING THE PROGRESS OF THE FERMENTATION
      What will have to you check, and how incessantly?, Day by day check, Regular stirring, Weekly measurements, Fermentation logs, When is the fermentation complete?, The optimal time for distilling
    • PROBLEMS DURING FERMENTATION
      No alcohol has formed in the mash yet, Alcohol has already formed in the mash
    • FILTERING THE MASH
    • STORING THE MASH
    • MAKING A MASH FROM GRAINS, CORN, OR POTATOES (STARCHY PRODUCTS)
  3. Stills
    • PRINCIPLES OF CONSTRUCTION
    • SOME KEY POINTS
      Materials; Kettle; Heating and jacketed kettles; Column, lyne arm, and measuring the temperature; Cooling
    • DIFFERENT TYPES OF STILLS
      Pot stills, Reflux stills, Combination stills, Large stills (pot still and reflux)
    • USING THE STILL
      Filling; Receiver, container for the distillate; Emptying and cleaning
  4. Distilling
    • INTRODUCTION
    • HEADS
    • HEARTS
    • TAILS
    • DISTILLING PROCESS
      Relative proportions of the three parts
    • ANTIFOAM
    • SINGLE OR DOUBLE DISTILLATION?
      Calculating the amount when mixing a low-percentage alcohol with a high-percentage alcohol
    • DILUTING TO A DRINKABLE STRENGTH
      Determining the alcohol content, Calculating the amount of water needed for dilution, Cloudiness
    • TREATMENT WITH ACTIVATED CARBON, TASTE-NEUTRAL ALCOHOL
    • STORAGE
  5. Mash Recipes
    • EXCELLENT MASH, EXCELLENT SCHNAPPS
    • RECIPES
      Agave (mescal, tequila), Apples (obstler, cider, calvados), Apricots, Bananas, Beer brandy (bierbrand), Blackberries, Bullaces (Kriechenbrand), Chequers, Cherries, Currants (red and black), Damsons, Elderberries, Elderflowers, Gentian, Grains (whiskey), Grapes (cognac, wine brandy), Grapes (grappa, pomace brandy), Jerusalem artichokes, Juniper berries (Borovička), Mangos, Maple syrup, Mead, Medlars, Nectarines, Nuts, Peaches, Pears, Pineapples, Plums (vieille prune), Potatoes (vodka), Prune plum (slivovitz, Zwetschenbrand), Quinces, Raspberries, Rhubarb, Rice (sake), Rose hips, Rowanberries (Vogelbeerbrand), Sloes, Strawberries, Sugarcane (rum), Sweet potatoes
    • FRUIT WINE
      Filtering the mash, Pressing the solid components, Extracting the fruit wine, Storage
  6. Infusions
    • MATERIALS
      Recipe for tasteless alcohol, Infusions – preparation
    • RECIPES
      Absinthe, Blackberries, Blueberries, Cherries, Chili peppers, Coffee, Currants (red and black), Elderflowers, Gentian, Hazelnuts, Herbs, Hops, Lemons, Limes, Morels, Mushrooms, Nuts, Oranges, Raspberries, Rose hips, Sloes, Snowy mespilus (or juneberry), Spruce shoots, Strawberries, Swiss pine (Zirbengeist), Wormwood (absinthe, “the green fairy”)
  7. Spirits
    • THE PRINCIPLES OF SPIRIT PRODUCTION
    • BASE MATERIALS
    • RECIPES
      Absinthe, Anise (ouzo, raki, Pernod, sambuca), Apples, Aquavit, Bananas, Barberries, Caraway (aquavit), Cherries, Christmas spirit, Cinnamon, Cloves, Cocoa (chocolate), Coffee, Elderflowers, Fennel, Gentian, Ginger, Grains, Hazelnuts, Herbs, Juniper berries (jenever, gin), Lemons, Lemongrass, Limes (daiquiri, mojito), Mint (peppermint), Nutmeg, Orange (Cointreau), Ramson, Raspberries, Rue (grappa di rutta), Spruce shoots, Swiss pine, Wormwood (Swiss absinthe)
    • COMPARISON OF THE THREE DISTILLATION METHODS PRESENTED IN THIS BOOK
  8. Essential Oils
  9. Drinking Culture
    • BOTTLING AND LABELING
      Glass bottles; Cork stoppers, metal screw tops; Heatshrinkable caps; Labels
    • CHECKING THE TASTE AND QUALITY
    • OTHER COUNTRIES, OTHER CUSTOMS
  10. Legal Situation
    Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spirit productions and distilling infusions, The United States
  11. Frequently Asked Questions
  12. Harvest Calendar

See all Editorial Reviews
Small-Scale Production of Brandies, Schnapps & Liquors: The art of crafting alcohol is a very ancient one, and small, artisan distilleries are growing in popularity on a daily basis. Expert Austrian distillers Helge Schmickl and Bettina Malle guide readers through the process of creating or purchasing their own still and provide detailed instructions from personal experience on mash creation, fermentation, distillation, and infusion the use of various ingredients. Schmickl and Malle also introduce readers to the tradition of schnapps distillation and present a brief look at domestic and international brewing cultures.The authors cover in detail which distillation techniques excel, which merely succeed, and which will have to be have shyed away from at all costs in their discussion ofNecessary equipmentPossible ingredientsMash fermentationHow to begin distillationAlcohol regulationsWith ninety recipes – from classic fruit brandy to chili infusions – this book isn’t just for the curious beginner. Even experienced distillers will discover new approaches to this classic practice.

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