My understanding is that there are basically two kinds of heat distillation (cold distillation like that used to make applejack is another method:
2. Alembic or pot stills, which are used for batch distillation. In this method spirits are produced in batches, the heads and tails are discarded and the “heart” of the distillate is used for the final product. Output is of course in batches. (That’s Johnny Shuler, Master Distiller at Pisco Porton by some classic cognac stills imported from France.)
But this “discontinuous” thing is bugging me. I reached out to friends Shelley Alger at Cleargrape who kindly forwarded me source material from INDECOPI, the Peruvian agency that looks after intellectual property, and writer Greg Dicum who wrote “The Pisco Book” which should be coming out soon. My supposition is that it probably stems from a bad translation of some Spanish word in some regulation and then got included and reused in other references.
My problem with the word is that it presupposes the standard is a continuous still. In reality the original still design is the alembic which goes back to the Alchemists in the Middle Ages and the Arab discovery of distillation before that. It’s sort of like us calling a car a “horseless carriage”. That’s an anachronism, but a discontinuous still is just plain wrong.
I would like to know if anyone has seen the use of “discontinuous” still in any other references? And does it bug anyone else?