Grape brandy

Brandy is an alcoholic beverage distilled from an alcoholic ferment. There is a great variety of organic agricultural substances whose pasta or fermented juice is used for its extraction, including fruits , cereals , vegetables and grains . The spirits come from a multitude of plants rich in sucrose, which is the essential element in the elaboration of the drink since ethanol arises from this, being in principle the alcoholic spirit diluted in water. Thus the brandy takes its name from Waterand Ardent from Latin Ardens, lexeme Ardie, referring to its low flammability, although the name is also said to be due to the sensation of the liquid alcoholic substance when ingested. Aguardiente can refer to practically any alcoholic beverage obtained by distillation, but the name is applied mainly to those that have between 30% and 59% alcohol content or volume. While the emergence of distillate beverage making is related to the use of alembics and ale stills by Arab alchemists in ancient times, distillation methods were not fully developed until the late Ancient and early Middle Ages. The manufacture of distilled beverages spread throughout Europeand the world, giving way to a great variety of flavors, colors and aromas, which occur depending on the type of distillation, the distilled raw material and the different additives. These properties change from one culture to another according to customs, as well as the very use of the term brandy.


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  • 1 Grape brandy or Orujo
  • 2 Processing technique
  • 3 The distillation
    • 1 Some supplements on the pomace
    • 2 Distinctions between marc considering
  • 4 Source
  • 5 Sources

Grape brandy or Orujo

The spirit drink obtained from fermented and distilled grape marc, either directly by steam, or after adding water, to which lees have been added in a proportion to be determined, being carried out the distillation in the presence of the own pomace less than 86% by volume, with a content of volatile substances equal to or greater than 140 g / Hl. of alcohol at 100% volume and with a maximum content of methyl alcohol of 1000 g / Hl. of alcohol at 100% volume. The pomace is a brandy obtained by distillation of grape pomace, that is to say the solid parts of the grape harvest that have no use in the previous production of the wine, belonging to the same type of drink as the French brands, the Italian grappas, the Portuguese bagaçeiras or the Greek tsiroupos.

Production technique

With the distillation of pomace it is not intended a simple extraction of alcohol, but rather a fine and selective extraction of the aromatic components contained in the pomace, by concentrating the alcohol almost 20 times, and with the proper handling of heads and tails, to obtain a drink that is pleasing to the senses, respectful of a tradition and a culture, and that defines in its organoleptic characteristics the personality differentiated from the raw material from which it comes.

The technique and art of distillation consist in regulating the external supply of energy (heat), to achieve a slow and constant distillation rate, which allows the appearance of the desired aromatic components at the appropriate times. The distillation process takes place in two phases: the first is the vaporization of the volatile elements from the marc; the second is the condensation of the vapors produced. In this condensation phase, three fractions can be distinguished, which appear in the distillate in this order: heads (with an alcohol content greater than 70% vol.), Hearts (between 70% and 45% vol.) And tails (less than 45% vol.). This fragmentation is arbitrary. The work carried out at EVEGA has shown, among other things, that esters, components that are generally favorable from the organoleptic point of view, appear mainly in heads and hearts, while undesirable compounds such as methyl, acetoin, furfurol and certain organic acids, appear mainly in the tails. It is very important, the correct separation of the different fractions of the distillate, which requires permanent control over the alcoholic strength of the distillate, taking advantage of heads and hearts and rejecting the tails. The distillation of the orujos can be carried out with devices of very different characteristics, although the regulations of the Specific Designation Orujo de Galicia admits only three types; direct fire: tar and alembic, and another by steam drag. Although much is discussed about the superiority of one method over another in terms of the quality of the pomace brandy obtained, there are no objective elements to support this claim, there being no differential organoleptic appreciations between them, although it seems that in certain circumstances the alembic can supply larger quantities of esters. Therefore, economic criteria must prevail in choosing the system. alembic or rent. Therefore, economic criteria must prevail in choosing the system. alembic or rent. Therefore, economic criteria must prevail in choosing the system. alembic or rent.


Secular experience has established the patterns to which the artisanal distillation technique obeys.

Grape Brandy or Orujo Distillery.

It begins by loading the squid or boiler with 10-20% water, after placing vine or straw branches, or the perforated copper metal base, to avoid direct contact of the marc with the bottom of the squid or boiler, lighting the fire. While the water is heating, the pomace is extracted from the conservation containers. They are spread with a rake, separating a portion richer in scrape, which will be the first to be introduced into the squid or boiler, to achieve better circulation of the vapors in the pomace mass, filling it below. When the steam outlet is uniform, the hood (with the gooseneck or elephant trunk in the case of the alembic) is placed, sealing the joints with water or flour dough. The cooling tank is then filled. It is important to keep the cooling water at temperatures close to 18-20 ºC. Low temperatures cause rapid condensation leading to hard distillates; while high temperatures cause slow condensations that lead to the loss of favorable volatile components. Once the discharge of the distillate has begun, care must be taken to maintain a slow and uniform rhythm, properly regulating the supply of heat. Traditional distillers (poteiros) used artisanal procedures to determine the usable distillate; They waved a sample in a glass to observe the persistence of the bubbles and rubbed them between the palms of the hands, assessing the smell. Even admitting that the experience and skill of the poteiros allows them to achieve a remarkable degree of accuracy, it seems more correct to us, Measure the graduations with an alcoholometer to correctly separate heads, hearts and tails. The heads and hearts should be used, rejecting the tails (graduations below 50 alcoholic degrees), although there are authors who recommend rejecting the first fraction of the heads, considering that they are accompanied by undesirable substances (sebaceous substances and a copper flavor). In any case, this is a decision that the distiller must make based on the quality and state of conservation of the marc, as well as the organoleptic characteristics perceived in the distillate. Then we proceed to cleaning and reloading the first boiler. It is important that the steam pressure is kept constant so that the distillate output is regular. The main concern in home distillation is the unwanted obtaining of methyl alcohol, a toxic substance that causes death or hopefully permanent blindness. To avoid this, the buyo must always be separated from the shoot as it is the one that generates the dreadedalcohol . Indeed, methanol is easily extracted from dry wood.

Some complements on the pomace

The outstanding benefits and characteristics of a good distillate of grape marc depend on many factors. Of the same variety and quality of grapes, the family modality used in the extraction of the must, its fermentation, the conservation time of the marc until it is used in the alembic and its composition. The average percentage for a good quality grape can be considered composed of 28% of raspones, 40% of skins, 30% of pips, 2% of other elements. The quality factor of the raw material and the good conservation of the marc to avoid the proliferation of microorganisms that can ruin a distillate. The pomace must be kept for a time so that the sugars they contain are transformed into alcohol, The excessive pressing of the grapes also influences the performance and quality of the distillation. The rupture of the seeds, rich in oil, can transmit aroma and taste to rancid. The still green scrapes give a harsh taste, moreover, to producing methyl alcohol; in this case the distillation should be done immediately after separating thecame . After this operation, in all cases, the waiting period should be considered from a minimum of 15 days to a maximum of 3 months. Longer periods increase the future methyl distillate. The composition of a liter of pomace distillate is obviously not all alcohol. Distillation can start with 70% alcohol and 30% water, but can end with 30% water and 70% alcohol. So we can consider 38% as a satisfactory alcoholic percentage. separated the water from the alcohol, this is made up of 99% ethyl alcohol, the remaining 1% is ethyl alcohol and other substances. The maximum methyl limit is 1,000g / Hl.

Distinctions between marc considering

  • Young those who have been placed in a container that do not provide any enrichment after distillation, is the case of bottling it in the bottle. They have a crystalline white color.
  • Aged are those that have been placed in oak barrels or otherwise, where they acquire different characteristics from the moment of distillation. They have a yellowish white color

Aromatic, when by themselves they acquire an aroma derived from grape varieties, such as muscat, malvasia, etc.

  • Flavored, when the maceration of medicinal herbs intervenes and the pomace acquires the color of the pigments contained in them. For example, a pomace flavored with myrtle has a purplish red color.

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