CONSTRUCTION OF ALEMBICS
Alembians were the first type of simple distillation apparatus. They have an unchanged structure for centuries, traditionally made of copper.
They consist of a heated boiler, a canopy, an outlet pipe, a cooler and a receiver. The shape of the alembique, especially its upper part has an influence on the quality and character of the distillate.
Pot stills have an ordinary empty pipe instead of a canopy. If they are made of stainless steel, the pipe is partially filled with copper springs.
Ideally, it is heated indirectly, through a water or oil jacket. It is less likely to burn the charge, and the distillation process itself is easier to control. The temperature of water that heats the boiler must exceed 100 degrees Celsius. Therefore, a slight overpressure is needed, controlled by a safety valve. A thermometer and a liquid level indicator are needed. Such a jacketed tank must be equipped with a safety valve and a liquid level indicator. Good, if a stirrer is installed, even by hand. Then thick mash can be distilled. In addition to the evaporator drain, a large, lockable opening for filling, emptying the dense mash, cleaning the tank, is useful. A viewfinder and thermometer for the charge temperature boiler is also useful. If we use electric heating, we can precisely control the heating power.
A characteristic part of the alembique is a spherical bowl. It acts as a deflegmator and can be shaped like an onion or a cone. Its size and shape determines the intensity of condensation, affects the taste and aroma. It is made of copper, which is a very good heat conductor. In addition, copper absorbs sulphur compounds, catalyses the breakdown of esters and other undesirable substances, which they adversely affect the taste and smell of the distillate.
The head in the upper part smoothly passes into the drive pipe. This is most often called a "swan neck". It is from what angle it is connected to the alemic bowl, whether it rises or falls determines the intensity of the aroma at the expense of the power of the distillate.
The cooler is used to liquefy the distillate, so the twisted tube, connected to the outlet pipe, is placed in a tank with cold water. The connector with cold water supply should be placed at the bottom of the cooler, as counterflow cooling is most effective. The tube in which the distillate will condense should be made of stainless steel, not copper. It is important that the capacity of the cooler is sufficient, so that the distillate flows out cold. This prevents loss of aroma and power of the distilled beverage.
It is commonly called a "parrot" because of its shape. It is installed at the outlet of the cooler to collect the distillate. The special design allows the insertion of an alcohol meter and the constant observation of the power of the distillate flowing out of the cooler into the container.