Spectac International Brings Custom Triple Whiskey Distillation Unit to Life

Spectac International Brings Custom Triple Whiskey Distillation Unit to Life

This will substantially increase the capacity of a triple distilled single malt Irish whiskey distillery

Triple distillation is most widely associated with Irish whiskey. If you are wondering why you would need a third pot still. Well, the clue is in the name. Triple distilled whiskey must be distilled 3 times. Every time you distil, you increase the alcohol’s volume. By adding a third still there is also more copper contact with the spirit, leading to the heavier components (oils and proteins mainly) being removed. This is what gives triple distilled whiskey a distinct lighter and smoother taste. Most grains are capable of being distilled three times. With the third still, there is the added option of blending two or more grains together to produce a single malt or a single grain whiskey.

Spectac International have spent the last few weeks working on a significant project to manufacture a triple distillation unit with the aim of increasing its customers production capacity to 750,000 litres of alcohol per year. To put this in perspective, the annual global average alcohol consumption is 6.4 litres of ‘pure alcohol’ per person. For example, wine contains around 12% of pure alcohol per volume so that one litre of wine contains 0.12 litres of pure alcohol.

Whiskey is a Complex Spirit

The customer provided us with some key criteria for their still that upon completion will be installed in an Irish whiskey distillery in Co. Tipperary. One of the largest factors impacting the whiskey making process and the end result is the cereal grains selected (or mash bill as it is also known). The raw materials selected largely dictates everything from: the whiskeys class and type, processing requirements, and flavour.

Ireland is seen as the home of Irish whiskey, with it being distilled in Ireland since the 6th century. Whiskey is one of the oldest spirit drinks in Europe and in 2018 exports of Irish whiskey were worth €647 million according to Drinks Ireland.

Whisky can be produced in either a column or a pot still. In recent times we have witnessed the revival of the copper pot still for whiskey production. Up to now these have not been produced in Ireland since the 1800’s, with distillers having to import their copper pots. Today Spectac are proud to be the sole producer of copper pot stills in Ireland. Offering customers, a 100% Irish designed and manufactured product. We have invested a significant amount of time in the research and development of these pot stills, to provide the highest quality to customers.

Pot stills were traditionally constructed from copper, but they can also be made from stainless steel. They can be manufactured into a range of shapes and sizes, as copper offers the flexibility and resilience needed to create bespoke still designs. Many people argue that whiskey from a copper still is far superior to that of a stainless steel still. This is because copper is seen to improve the quality, aroma and taste of the end product.

The Project

This project required a cereal intake that included two 32 tonne storage bins, 4 roller mills and all conveying equipment and necessary intermediate storage between intake and mash tun. The milling process is essential to break the grains open and expose the starch contained within. The type of mill used will always depend on the type of cereal selected. Roller mills as requested for this project, pair with separation applications (i.e. lauter-tun or mash-tun ). The first set of rollers crack open the grains, then the second pair grind the grist to the desired consistency. The grist must be of the right consistency for mashing. The conveyor belt allows the grit to move onto the mash-turn, where temperature controlled hot water is added. This is called “mashing”, the porridge-like result is called the mash.

For mashing, this project required a 1 and 2 tonne mash tun, mashing machine and conversion vessel. Traditional whiskey, or Pot Still Irish whiskey, is a mixed mash bill of malted barley, unmalted barley and other grains. The mash tun included hot liquor tanks, plate heat exchangers, pumps and spent grains removal system. The next step in the whiskey making process is fermentation, and for this the customer required a system that included four fermenters and a wash pump. Fermentation is the stage where alcohol is produced.

For the distillation of their triple distilled whiskey, the customer required:

  • First Distillation: One copper wash still, where the first distillation will take place. The vapour will rise to the top and be directed along the lyne arm to a condenser.
  • Second Distillation: A copper immediate still with lyne arm, condenser and seal pot.
  • Third Distillation: A copper spirit still, lyne arm, condenser, and seal pot.

Also required are brash sampling safe(s), storage for low wines, high wines, feints and spirit. Low wines, high wines and feints pump, spirit pump, effluent pump.

Upon completion of all three distillation phases the next step is the cask filling. This requires a SRWV process tank in addition to a basic cask filling system and weigh platform. By Irish law, all whiskeys must be aged for a minimum of three years in barrels/casks.

This project also necessitates a preheating system for separate pre-heating of pot ales and spent lees. Other utilities will include 1 bulk effluent receiver, 1 incoming water storage tank and pump, air compressor, boiler package including fuel tank, 1 basic CIP system for mash-tun, fermenters and wash still, cooling tower including recirculation pump, flooring /  access platform steel.

Spectac International’s team of design engineers have been instrumental in this project from developing the processes, mechanical and electrical design and drawing work. We aim to complete and install the entire distillation unit at the customers premises in the weeks to come. Equipment for the installation will include interconnecting process piping & valves, gaskets, gas, welding rods and other consumables, mechanical installation, MCC panel, mashing control panel, instruments, wiring materials, cables tray and other consumables, Electrical installation, cranes, scaffold, insulation, lacquer and cladding of stills, gauging services, dip rods, hydrometers and other instruments.

Spectac’s Experience and Expertise in the Distilling Industry

For more than a quarter of a century Spectac International have been designing, producing, and maintaining high-spec stainless-steel equipment for distilleries in Ireland, the UK and Worldwide. Spectac are market leaders in the design, manufacture and installation of Stainless-Steel vessels and piping for the distilling industry.

We have a proven track record of delivering complete solutions that are meticulously planned, tailored, project-managed and delivered on time. You can view examples of our work here.

If you have a question regarding our storage vessels contact us today to find out more about how we can help.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

Sign up to receive the latest news

Start typing and press Enter to search