Our still is a lovely copper alembic pot still that distills small quantities of product at a time.
Pot stills are traditionally made of copper for numerous practical purposes:
* Copper absorbs sulphur containing compounds and yeast cells which are produced during fermentation and the presence of which is undesirable in the distilled spirit or essential oil. Sulphur compounds and yeast cells smell. Copper keeps the distillate sweet;
* Copper reduces bacterial contamination;
* Copper has excellent heat transfer properties, helpful for both heating and cooling of vapours;
* Copper prevents the production of ethylcarbamat which is a toxic substance formed from cyanides (cyanides are found in the stones of fruits);
* Copper also improves the quality of the final product. If the quality of the mash is not microbiologically perfect, copper will improve the aroma of the final product.
The disatillation Process
The distillation process begins by heating the cider in the boiler of a pot still or alembic. As the temperature rises the most volatile constituents of the mixture (those that vaporise at lower temperatures) begin to evaporate first. This permits us to isolate the different components of the mixture as they evaporate at different temperatures. As the vapours accumulate in the head of the alembic they they flow through the connecting tubular swan neck to a serpentine coil in the condenser which is filled with running cold water. Once the vapours come into contact with the cold surface of the serpentine coil they condense to their liquid state and trickle down to where they are collected, in an appropriate vessel drop by drop. This process has to be carefully monitored so you know exactly what you are collecting at any given stage of the distillation as we do not want to be collecting any harmful substances.