Vodka is alcohol made by distillation of fermented mash obtained from potato, wheat or barley or any other raw material of agricultural origin. It initially contains about 96% alcohol and is later diluted to about 35 to 50% by the addition of water.
What Are The Raw Materials Used In Vodka Making?
Here is the list of raw materials that are used to make vodka.
Vegetables Or Grains
As vodka is a neutral spirit that does not have any color or odor, any fermentable ingredients can be used as the starting materials in its making. Originally, vodka was made from potatoes only. Although some of the East European vodkas are still made from potatoes or corn, the practice is less common these days. High-quality imports and all vodkas made in the United States use cereals like wheat as the starting material.
Water is a very important raw material in vodka making and it has to be added at the end of the distillation process. This is done to decrease the alcohol content in vodka.
The production of alcohol from sugars requires the microscopic organism, yeast. Sachharomyces cervisiae is the yeast species used to make alcoholic beverages.
Vegetables and cereals have their sugar content in the form of starches, which has to be converted to sugars for the fermentation process to begin. Malt grains are allowed to germinate by soaking them in water and added to the mash of vegetables and grains to facilitate the conversion of starch to sugars.
How To Make Vodka?
The steps in the manufacturing process of vodka are given below:
Step1: Preparing The Mash
The grains and vegetables are loaded into an automatic ash tub fitted with agitators that break down the ingredients as it rotates in the tub. To convert the starch to sugars, ground malt meal is added to the mixture.
Step 2: Sterilization And Inoculation
Preventing bacterial growth is an important step in the making of distilled spirits. The mash is sterilized by heating it to the boiling point, after which lactic acid bacteria is injected into it in order to make the acidity level ideal for fermentation. After the mash reaches the desired acidity level, it is inoculated once more.
Step 3: Fermentation
In this step, the mash is poured into large stainless steel vats into which yeast is added. The vat is closed after yeast is added and the mixture is allowed to ferment for four days. The enzymes in yeast convert the sugars in the mash to ethanol.
Step 4: Distillation
The liquid ethanol is pumped to stainless steel columns made of vaporization chambers. The alcohol is continuously cycled through the columns and heated with steam until vapors are released from it. The vapors are then condensed. This step is also important in the removal of impurities.
Step 5: Addition Of Water
The concentrated vapors have about 95-100% alcohol. To convert it to a drinkable form, it has to be diluted by adding water in the right amounts.
After all the manufacturing steps are done, the vodka is bottled in glass bottles as glass does not react with alcohol.