Throughout the last several months we’ve showcased many of the important partners and friends who help us produce our unique SILO spirits. We’ve left out one incredibly important vendor who, while not local, has played an integral role in our development. Operating since 1869, Carl Distilleries is Germany’s oldest distillery fabricator. If you’ve ever seen our still, you may have noticed CARL on the front hatch. No, that’s not his name, but rather the company that made him!
CARL worked with our team to develop a still which fit our needs and space. Having the flexibility to design a still helps tremendously in the flexibility of distilling quality products and the expression and identity of the distillery.
Our still has a 600 liter charge capacity, meaning we put in 600 liters (about 158.5 gallons) of product into the still. The area which holds this volume of product is called the “Pot”. Heated by a steam bath, the contents of the pot will start to vaporize, traveling up the pot and into a small vertical column above the pot called the “Helmet”. From here, it will travel to one of our two columns: a tall column used exclusively for vodka, or a shorter column used primarily for whiskeys.
You see, alcohol has a lower boiler point than water. As we start to heat the still, the alcohol molecules begin to vaporize while most of the water stays behind. The vapor must work hard to move up a column, which results in a stronger spirit. This process ends up concentrating the alcohol in the product, which is why spirits tend have a much higher alcohol content than beer or wine. Finally, the vapor will hit a cooler condensing column and will be turned back into a liquid, which comes out the still.
CARL is a phenomenal company who produced a product that certainly makes my life as a distiller much easier. Everything is still manual – we have not automated here at SILO – but it’s a comfort knowing that quality craftsmanship stands between me and producing a quality product.