Slow and even slower

Although the rain is drumming on the distillery roof as we write this, we have actually enjoyed a long warm spell here on Islay. This has been good news for our many visitors but things are not quite so easy for our stillmen and mashmen who have to keep a careful eye on the hot weather. There are a number of issues...

 

The first is that the temperature of the cooling water we use in the condensers rises. This means that distillation runs, which are always slow, are even slower in the summer months. That is not a problem in itself, we like slow. The problem is in the fermentation stage. The temperature of the wort in the washbacks is controlled at 19 degrees at the point of entry, but it inevitably stays warmer for longer in warm weather. Which means the yeasts work faster. Which means that the wash is ready for distillation sooner - but because the stills are running even slower than usual there could be a backup.  Wash is essentially beer, and as every beer drinker knows, if you leave it standing for too long it will spoil.

Distillery manager Allan Logan is very aware of this and quickly reduces the number of mashes to limit the amount of wash being produced in hot weather. Quality is always paramount at Bruichladdich. The quantity of spirit being produced is always a secondary consideration. We always run slowly, but if hot weather means we have to run even slower to maintain quality levels, then that is exactly what we do.

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