The goal of brandy makers is to capture the alcohol and aromas of the underlying fruit, leaving all of the bitter chemicals and off-tastes behind in the waste water. Producing fine brandy is an art which balances the need to remove undesirable flavors with the essentiality of preserving the character of underlying fruit. Brandies that are mass produced are actually made out of anything for the intent of people is to get rid all of the flavors, the good and bad and produce only alcohol and the taste is added later. Here are the steps in producing fine brandy.
- First, the fruit juice is allowed to ferment which means placing the juice in large vat with temperature ranging from 20-25 degrees Celsius and leave it for five days. In this period, natural yeast will ferment the sugar present in the must into carbon dioxide and alcohol. Typically, white wine grapes are used in making fine brandy.
- The brandies are made in small batches with pot stills or a large pot made of copper. The pot is heated until the fermented liquid reaches the alcohol’s boiling point. The vapor alcohol contain huge amount of water vapor will rise into the still.
- Then the vapors will be funneled from pot still with a bent pipe to condenser where the vapors will be chilled, condensing the vapors back to liquid with higher content of alcohol.
- Most manufacturers would double distill the brandy which means concentrating the alcohol twice. The product of second distillation has content of alcohol around 72%.
- The brandy is not ready yet to drink after the second distillation. It must be placed in oak casks first and allowed to age which is a very important step in the process of producing brandy. Most consumed brandy, even fine brandy is less than six years old, but there are also some that age more than 50 years old.
- The fine brandy will be prepared for bottling after two years, six years and even for decades.
- Fine brandies are blended from various barrels over several vintages. There are some cognacs that contain brandy from 100 different barrels and since most of these have not spent 5 decades in the barrel that would reduce alcohol content naturally, blends are diluted with distilled water until such time that they reach the right alcohol content.