Braeckman Grain Distillery
Here we take you on a tour through our distillery to introduce you to the art of distilling. The activities of our distillery are the following: milling the grains, mashing, adding yeast, fermentation, rough-distilling, fine-distilling and maturing.
1. Milling the grains
It all starts by selecting the basic raw materials, such as wheat, rye and malt. These grains are poured into the different hoppers and are successively milled in the hammer mill.
After milling the grist is mashed in a mash tun. The enzymes of the malt disintegrate the starch to fermentable sugars. Yeast is added to the cooled mash.
3. Adding yeast
For the fermentation, Braeckman uses a high-performance distillery yeast for assured and sensorially pure mash fermentation. This yeast is propagated continuously in the distillery.
During this process, all wort sugars are converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide. At the same time, an important part of the aroma is produced. As fermentation occurs under the best of circumstances, that is in closed tanks. Hence, the mash cannot be infected by bacteria and wild yeast from the environment.
5. Distillation column
As alcohol and water have a different boiling point, the fermented mash is separated in the distillation column in alcohol and a watery residue, named draff. The fermented mash is pumped into the distillation column from the top and heated up by the steam, which causes the alcohol fractions to evaporate and to condense in the cooler, finally turning into crude alcohol or phlegm and being stored in the measurement tank. The remaining draff flows into the distillation column from the top to the bottom, where it is pumped out and processed into fodder.
6. Pot-still distillation
After conclusion of the production in the measurement tank by the officers of Customs and Excise, the crude alcohol can be pumped across into the copper pot still, where the heart of the distillate, from now on called malt spirit or grain spirit, is separated from the distillation fore shots and feints. The separation of the different fractions requires from the master distiller a vast knowledge of alcohol, a lot of experience and a well-developed sense of smell.
The freshly distilled grain distillate will rest for a couple of months before it is used in the geneva production.
For the aged grain genevas the distillate is transported to the maturing warehouse where it is stored in oak casks, in which the pungent smell and wild flavour of the young grain distillate develops into a sweet-smelling aroma and soft aged grain flavour.