Module Title:Distillation and Distilled Spirits Production
Language of Instruction:English
Credits: 10
NFQ Level:8
Module Delivered In 1 programme(s)
Teaching & Learning Strategies: This module contains the key concepts of distilling technology at level 8. Learning objectives , learning activities and assessments are constructively aligned . The integration of the practical and theoretical aspects of the module will reinforce deep learning of key concepts , skills and competencies . A variety of active learning strategies will be employed to ensure that the learning objectives are met. Students are expected to engage actively with the material at lectures, in practicals and by independent learning VLE Blackboard Autonomous learning will be developed by use of scaffolded in class and independent research and enquiry activities . Research and enquiry skills will be developed in a supported manner via activities that will involve the learner finding , evaluating and organising information from credible sources, analysis and synthesis of new information and communicating new knowledge in the correct discipline appropriate convention
Module Aim: To develop students' knowledge and understanding of the distilling process and operational procedures
Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module the learner should be able to:
LO1 Describe the fundamentals of the distilling process
LO2 Give an overview of distilling operation procedures and evaluate these procedures in the context of column still operation and continuous and multi-stage distillation
LO3 Investigate the raw materials for the distilling process and distinguish factors influencing flavour development
LO4 Demonstrate appropriate scientific thinking, research and enquiry, communication and team skills
LO5 Demonstrate essential laboratory techniques in a safe and competent manner
LO6 Demonstrate sensory skills to assess new make spirit
Pre-requisite learning
Module Recommendations

This is prior learning (or a practical skill) that is recommended before enrolment in this module.

No recommendations listed
Incompatible Modules
These are modules which have learning outcomes that are too similar to the learning outcomes of this module.
No incompatible modules listed
Co-requisite Modules
No Co-requisite modules listed
This is prior learning (or a practical skill) that is mandatory before enrolment in this module is allowed.
No requirements listed

Module Content & Assessment

Indicative Content
Fundamentals of Distillation
Origins/history of distillation. The distillery brewhouse, corn cooking, starch gelatinization and solubilisation. Use of enzymes; Measurement of alcohol strength, theory of distillation, boiling, evaporation, volatility of alcohol, water and congeners. Alcohol/water relationship, latent heat of evaporation. Congeners and impurities. Batch vs continuous distillation, batch pot still distillation: operation/reflux/entrainment. Condenser design and operation – shell and tube condensers, worm condensers. Condensation, latent heat and spirit character/strength. Tail pipes, spirit collection and receivers. Role of copper in potable spirit distillation. Copper stills/condensers. Link between spirit quality, cleaning and copper wear. Copper salts in new-made spirits. Column distillation – two column systems. Basics of column still operation, continuous steady state operation. Steam supply, feedstock input, theory of column still operation, rectifying/stripping. Commercial two-column still systems. Neutral spirit production (gin and vodka) and the use of three-column stills to produce flavour-free alcohol. Batch versus Continuous Distillation Basic operation of batch distillation, multi-stage distillation. Material balance of water and alcohol. Heads and tails. Operating stills during production periods. Batch distillation using pot stills with plates. Triple distillation in pot stills. Cut points to control flavour. High volatility and low volatility congeners, removal of unwanted congeners, distillation end points. Collection of distillate: Design/operation of various spirit safes. Foreshots testing. The spirit to feints cut. Feints to foreshots receiver. Column distillation: Operation of a commercial two-column distillation system. Stripper, rectifier columns, fusil oil removal. Control and balance of two-column operations, the use of copper, plate design and maintenance, column plates and still operation. Column vs pot stills. Batch distillation using column stills. Non-Coffey (NC) versus Coffey stills. Control of product rectification in Coffey stills. The two column ‘modified Barbet’ still. Design and operation of continuous stills for neutral spirit, hydroextractive distillation.
Raw materials
Raw Materials for Spirits Production Grapes: Cultivation/varieties. Composition of must. Grape harvesting, pressing, must production. Composition and structure of grapes, ripening, sugar content, acidity. Must treatment: removal of solids, sufliting, addition of yeast nutrients/Free Amino Nitrogen/diammonium phosphate. Molasses: As a raw material for distilling. Types: sugar cane/sugar beet. Composition, harvesting, refining, juice extraction. Production of molasses. Analysis: chemical and microbiological. Molasses pre-treatment (‘mashing’), addition of yeast nutrients/pH adjustment. Sterilizing of molasses
Brandy, Whiskey and Rum distillation
Whiskey/cereal distillation Types of whiskey, whiskey flavour. Terminology. Continuous (column) distillation for grain whiskey and Grain Neutral Spirit. Pot distillation for malt whiskey. The distillation process for malt whiskey. Design of the still house, wash receiver, wash pre-boiler, still body, still head and reflux, purifiers. Malt distillery still house operation. Grape brandy distillation Grape brandies, fruit brandies. Brandy flavour and blending. Brandy rectification. Grape distillation for neutral spirit. Operation of batch (pot) still for brandy production. Simple batch distillation of brandy/Cognac pot still system. Armagnac continuous column stills. Rum distillation Different kinds of rum: Light rums and heavy rums. Rum flavour, rectification of rum and neutral spirit produced from molasses. The use of high alcohol-producing strains for the latter
Rum fermentation: Light rum, similar to neutral spirit. High alcohol-producing yeast strains, high fermentation temperatures. Heavy rum: High levels of esters and butyric acid. Flavour production during fermentation, flavour production by wild yeasts/bacteria/selected Saccharomyces species. Use of Schizosaccharomyces pombe and Clostridium saccharobutyricum. Effect of temperature, pressure and fusel alcohol levels on ester production. Cereals Malt, barley and other cereals – as in brewing.
1. Wine fermentation. 2. Rum fermentation and chemical analysis of molasses. 3. Effect of nutrient addition on yeast growth in molasses and wine must. 4. Effect of must treatment such as sulfiting on wine production/quality. 5. Flavour analysis (GC) of beer, wine and distilled fermentation products. 6. Comparing yeast propagation with commercial dried yeast products for pitching beer, wine and rum fermentations. 7. Comparing ‘natural’ fermentations with propagated yeast inoculation.
Distillation Practicals
1. Construction of a ethanol / water vapour equilibrium chart 2. New Make Spirit from a Multi-stage Pot Still 3. Pot Stills Fitted With Plates 4. The effects of copper on the flavour of new make spirit
Assessment Breakdown%
Continuous Assessment10.00%
End of Module Formal Examination60.00%
Special Regulation
Students must achieve a minimum grade (35%) in both the practical/CA and final examination. IT Carlow reserves the right to alter the nature and timings of assessments
Continuous Assessment
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Assessment Date
Examination Short exam 1,2,3 10.00 n/a
No Project
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Assessment Date
Practical/Skills Evaluation Laboratory work 4,5 30.00 n/a
End of Module Formal Examination
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Assessment Date
Formal Exam Final examination 1,2,3,4,5,6 60.00 End-of-Semester
Continuous Assessment
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Assessment Date
Examination n/a 1 10.00 n/a
No Project
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Assessment Date
Practical/Skills Evaluation n/a 2,3,4,5 30.00 n/a
End of Module Formal Examination
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Assessment Date
Formal Exam n/a 1,2 60.00 End-of-Semester

SETU Carlow Campus reserves the right to alter the nature and timings of assessment


Module Workload

Workload: Full Time
Workload Type Frequency Average Weekly Learner Workload
Lecture 12 Weeks per Stage 3.00
Laboratory 12 Weeks per Stage 3.00
Independent Learning 15 Weeks per Stage 11.87
Total Hours 250.00

Module Delivered In

Programme Code Programme Semester Delivery
CW_SABRE_B Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Brewing and Distilling 7 Mandatory