How to make brandy?
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For any lover of spirits, it will probably be interesting to find out not only how brandy is made, but also what it is in essence. Let's start with the definition of this drink, and then proceed to the technology of its preparation, to learn more about how to make real cognac.
So, cognac is a strong alcoholic drink, which is obtained as a result of double distillation of high-quality white dry grape wine. In the future, the resulting brandy spirits are subjected to the procedure of aging in oak barrels. The production process of cognac is divided into several stages, each of which is strictly regulated:
- Collection of raw materials, which are special grapes. (We also answered another very common question, namely, what is brandy made from?)
- Grape pressing
- Getting grape wine
- Distillation process
- Keeping brandy alcohol in oak barrels
- Mixing to get a unique bouquet
Gather grapes, distill wine
In early autumn, ripe grapes are gathered. They can be assembled both manually and mechanically. They are pressed in traditional horizontal presses and the released juice is put on fermentation. At the same time, sugar is not added to it. After about three weeks, get a light young wine, whose strength does not exceed 8-10 degrees. It is then distilled using the Charenton method. Wine goes through two stages of boiling, and brandy alcohol becomes the final product. A more entertaining and detailed description of the video gives how to make cognac, which is posted online on the websites of the official manufacturers of this wonderful drink.
The middle of spring is the starting point for laying brandy spirits for aging in oak barrels. By volume, oak vessels are large, and can reach up to 450 liters. They have special requirements. The barrel must be porous and at the same time durable, its wood must contain the necessary amount of tannins (substances, due to which a special bouquet of brandy will be formed, which brandy masters call “ranches”).Alcohols are stored in them from 2 to 50 years in special temperature conditions. The rooms in which such barrels are stored have natural dampness. This factor is decisive for the processes that will occur in oak vessels. Namely - cognac alcohol is saturated with tannins (dry extracts), will lose some of its alcoholic strength and acquire a characteristic amber color. A bouquet of brandy develops just under the influence of the processes of extraction, adding an indescribable taste and aroma to cognac, improving its organoleptic qualities.
The loss of the alcoholic fortress, which develops due to contact with air, is referred to by cognac masters as "angels' share" Ostensibly, these celestial creatures take a part of the work of cognac sommeliers.
Mix alcohols and get brandy
What is in the barrels after a certain time period of exposure, this is not cognac in the sense to which we are accustomed. Make a real cognac by blending different alcohols. Moreover, such aged spirits have different characteristics. A special master in creating bouquets of cognac by selecting various flavoring and aromatic notes makes up such a composition that will be very pleasant to the consumer.Many of these masters have been learning this craft for many years, and sometimes their whole life. Only after creating such a composition and finding its proportions, get a true brandy and bottled it.
Note that the above method makes a real cognac. Surrogates of this drink get much easier, but we will not describe these methods.
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