How to Make Brandy

published by John Carter on Feb 3, 2009

How to make different kinds of brandy.

Like all alcoholic beverages that are distilled brandy starts with a sugar rich solution that has been fermented. Unlike whiskey where the wort is made from malted grains; brandy is made from grape wine that is distilled. The type of wine uses the wort determines what the finished brandy will taste like. The word brandy itself is actually from the Dutch language, “brandewijn” meaning burnt wine. It was introduced into northern Europe by Dutch traders from southern France and Spain that in the 16th century describe wine that had been burned or boiled in order to be distilled. In the process of distilling was invented in the sixth or seventh century by Arabic Alchemists in order to make medicine from different fermented fruit juices. It didn’t take too long for the rest of the locals to discover that it tasted good and left them with a good buzz.

Common brandy can be made by distilling it the same way that you would whiskey only substituting fermented grape juice for a fermented malt solution required to make whiskey. It is also made from crushed but not pressed grape skins. Brandy is usually aged in an oaken cask that mellows it and gives it its color, and adds additional scents and flavors.

What is left over from the process of crushing and pressing wine is used in Italy to make “grappa” and in France to make “marc.” These particular variations of brandy do not undergo a long aging process as brandy does. For this reason they are often an acquired taste because they are quite strong and raw tasting. They offer a fresh fruity aroma from the type of grape used to make the brandy; this is a characteristic that is lost in regular aged brandy.

Fruit brandy is a default term used to designate a brandy that is made from the fermented juice of some other fruit other than grapes. This should not be confused with fruit flavored brandy that is regular brandy that has been flavored by infusing it with the flavor of some other fruit. In both fruit brandy and fruit flavored brandy there are any number of fruits that can be used to make them. Some of these fruits are blackberries, black raspberries, raspberries, apricots, peaches, plums and apples. Other than berries that don’t have enough juice to make a fruit wine like the other fruits listed above. Berries are treated differently to make brandy. They are crushed and put into regular brandy to infuse for a period of time and afterwards are removed by filtering the brandy. This high proof brandy is redistilled once to a lower proof and then allowed to properly age.

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