Fermentation

Fermentation is a metabolic process that converts sugar to acids, gases, or alcohol. It occurs in yeast and bacteria, and also in oxygen-starved muscle cells, as in the case of lactic acid fermentation. Fermentation is also used more broadly to refer to the bulk growth of microorganisms on a growth medium, often with the goal of producing a specific chemical product. French microbiologist Louis Pasteur is often remembered for his insights into fermentation and its microbial causes. The science of fermentation is known as zymology.

Fermentation takes place when the electron transport chain is unusable (often due to lack of a final electron receptor, such as oxygen). In this case it becomes the cell's primary means of ATP (energy) production.[1] It turns NADH and pyruvate produced in glycolysis into NAD+ and an organic molecule (which varies depending on the type of fermentation; see examples below). In the presence of O2, NADH and pyruvate are used to generate ATP in respiration. This is called oxidative phosphorylation, and it generates much more ATP than glycolysis alone. For that reason, cells generally benefit from avoiding fermentation when oxygen is available, the exception being obligate anaerobes which cannot tolerate oxygen.

 

Distillation

Distillation is a process of separating the component or substances from a liquid mixture by selective evaporation and condensation. Distillation may result in essentially complete separation (nearly pure components), or it may be a partial separation that increases the concentration of selected components of the mixture. In either case the process exploits differences in the volatility of the mixture's components. In industrial chemistry, distillation is a unit operation of practically universal importance, but it is a physical separation process and not a chemical reaction.

Commercially, distillation has many applications. For example:

  • In the fossil fuel industry distillation is a major class of operation in obtaining materials from crude oil for fuels and for chemical feed stocks.

  • Distillation permits separation of air into its components — notably oxygennitrogen, and argon — for industrial use.

  • In the field of industrial chemistry, large ranges of crude liquid products of chemical synthesis are distilled to separate them, either from other products, or from impurities, or from unreacted starting materials.

  • Distillation of fermented products produces distilled beverages with a high alcohol content, or separates out other fermentation products of commercial value.

An installation for distillation, especially of alcohol, is a distillery. The distillation equipment is a still.

 

Aging

A barrel, cask, or tun is a hollow cylindrical container, traditionally made of wooden staves bound by wooden or metal hoops. Traditionally, the barrel was a standard size of measure referring to a set capacity or weight of a given commodity. For example, in the UK a barrel of beer refers to a quantity of 36 imperial gallons (160 L; 43 US gal). Wine was shipped in barrels of 119 litres (31 US gal; 26 imp gal).

Modern wooden barrels for wine-making are either made of French common oak (Quercus robur) and white oak (Quercus petraea) or from American white oak (Quercus alba) and have typically these standard sizes: "Bordeaux type" 225 litres (59 US gal; 49 imp gal), "Burgundy type" 228 litres (60 US gal; 50 imp gal) and "Cognac type" 300 litres (79 US gal; 66 imp gal). Modern barrels and casks can also be made of aluminum, stainless steel, and different types of plastic, such as HDPE.

Someone who makes barrels is called a "barrel maker" or cooper. Barrels are only one type of cooperage. Other types include, but are not limited to: buckets, tubs, butter churns, hogsheadsfirkinskegs, kilderkins, tiercesrundletspuncheons, pipes, tunsbutts, pins, and breakers.

Barrels have a variety of uses, including storage of liquids such as water and oil, fermenting winearrack, and sake, and maturing beverages such as winecognacarmagnacsherryportwhiskey, and beer.

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