If there was a time machine that allowed to bring to this day any famous Whiskey distiller like John Jameson or Elijah Craig so they could re-distill some whiskey, they would probably be able to do this without too much difficulty, the reason is that, despite enormous technological advances the basic design of batch stills would have been recognizable by distillers from centuries ago.
Distillation in batch stills
Batch stills are used to make many of the best spirits in the world, such as single malt scotch whiskey, brandy, rum and most mezcal. Although the large industrial column stills produce most of the alcohol on Earth, the Lot still is still highly reliable and still remains king in many important circles.
The basis of batch distillation is boiler stills, this means that a certain amount of liquid goes into the still and is distilled, then the residues are dumped and the still is cleaned so that the whole process can start again.
The still can be heated in several ways, however the most common are with a steam coil inside the still, or through a direct fire where a burner is placed under the still, very common in cognac production, many Scottish distillers prefer this method.
As the liquid heats up, the volatile elements begin to vaporize and rise towards the still helmet, often called a swan neck, the helmet can be of many shapes but the most common is the bulbous shape that provides more area. of contact for the vapors to interact with the copper and thus also increasing the reflux, preventing some compounds from prematurely evaporating and falling back into the still, this reflux reduces the amount of compounds and heavier flavor in the drinks and produces a cleaner distillate .
On some models, a device called a dephlegmator can be installed, which is nothing more than a simple cooler used to allow the vapors to condense back into the still, increasing the amount of reflux in the still. From the helmet the vapors pass to the connecting pipe to the condenser, when the hot vapors reach the condenser, they find cold coils or copper tubes, the condenser is generally cooled by cold water that enters at the bottom and exits from above, in this ascending path the cold water picks up the vapors that enter through the top of the condenser, causing the vapors to condense and pass to a liquid state.