Terminology

Alcohol

Alcohol is the hydrocarbon compound that results from fermenting sugar. In the form of ethanol, alcohol is distilled white spirit.

ABV

Alcohol By Volume is also known as ABV and is the alcoholic strength of a spirit measured as a % part in relation to the liquid as a whole. 40% ABV equates to 40% alcohol and 60% water/congeners etc.

Airlock

A device to allow air out of a fermenting unit while preventing oxygen and bugs from coming back inside it.

Air Still

A special type of pot still that uses air instead of water to cool the condenser, with an inbuilt fan that blows cool air over the cooling coils inside the top cover.

Body

The main distillate or condensed steam collected from an air still or pot still. The body comes off between the "heads" and "tails".

Distillate

A liquid condensed from vapor in distillation.

Fermentation

The process that occurs when yeast uses sugar to make alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Fermenter

The container that you use to mix up the wash.

Head

The first distillate or condensed steam from the still which can contain undesirable elements.

Neat

A term referring to liquor that is drunk as it is from the bottle and undiluted by ice or a mixer.

On The Rocks

A liqueur or spirit poured over ice cubes and served in a small or tall glass.

Pail

A watertight, vertical cylinder or truncated cone, with an open top that can be enclosed and a flat bottom. In this context, it is the container used for fermenting. See also 'fermenter'.

Pot Still

A simple still consisting of a pot and an outlet to a condenser, with the outlet itself also serving as a

Reflux Still

A more complex still with a chamber called the Reflux condenser, where steam is filtered and some of the unwanted elements are returned to the boiling vessel. This results in purer, stronger alcohol. Depending on the level of refluxing spirit can be produced from 70% through to a theoretical maximum of 96.4% ABV.

Tails

The last portion of alcohol that is produced from most stills. This portion contains heavier alcohols, a much higher percentage of water and other unwanted by-products. Some stills like the Turbo 500, by design, do not produce "Tails".

Wash

Mix of water, sugar, yeast and nutrients that you ferment to make an alcoholic base for distilling.

Yeast

A living organism that converts the sugary wash into alcohol.