After finding our perfect Yorkshire grown winter wheat we proceeded with the milling ourselves and moved to the fermentation stage, all that went to plan. Full speed ahead you would think. On we went to distil it, and that’s where we hit a roadblock. You see our still is “direct fired”, that is the element sits in the liquid, imagine an old school kettle where you can actually see the heating element inside the kettle. Now that’s fine for gin, but the fermented wheat, or “wash” as it’s called is full of suspended particles that stick to this element and can scorch. Once a wash is scorched it’s done for, there’s no removing the acrid taste and smell. Well you’ve guessed it. It scorched like a worn out ironing board cover 🙁
Now we have to purchase a new still dedicated to the production of vodka. It’s called a “jacketed still” or “indirect fired” – for the chefs amongst you it’s akin to a bain-marie type setup. The still is surrounded by a second layer that is filled with liquid, this liquid is heated and in-turn heats up the inner section containing the wash.. this spreads out the heat over a much larger surface area and stops scorching. In addition to this it has an agitator, which is a mixing paddle inside to further prevent the scorching.
It’s going to be with us in about six weeks and then we will be able to try again.
Slow and steady wins the race.