CARL Stills. The name is synonymous with quality, experience and craft. Since 1869 the CARL family has designed and created hand built equipment for the brewing and distilling industry worldwide. The small batch custom designed copper pot stills at Brandywine Branch are both a work of art and a distiller’s dream tool. The 1000 liter wash swan neck and 750 liter spirit helmet alembic stills accompanied by a 6 plate copper column and a 1500 litre mash vessel can be viewed from the tasting room or visited more closely during distillery tours. Within the next year a third still combination will be added. Rounding out the main aspects of the process are four wooden hand built Douglas Fir fermentation tanks each with a 250 gallon capability. Four more Hall Woolford wooden fermenters will be added within the next 2 years.
Distilling is more than just a craft. It’s science. It’s alchemy, with everything working in concert to create a product that is more than the sum of its parts. And we at Brandywine Branch Distillers aren’t just concerned with the “what”, but the “how-it’s-made” as well. We pride ourselves on our distinct process, down to the equipment we utilize to distill our spirits. And it all starts with the beginning, the mash tun. Holding 1,500 liters, we use only locally-sourced water in the mashing process, giving the end product a local taste, unmatched anywhere else.
We then have our stills made with brushed copper to cut down on sulfur and undesirable flavors. Each is fitted with a six-plate column. That way, our stills are versatile enough to not just distill our flavorful bourbon, but our lighter, seasonal gins we’ve come to be known for as well.
In this modern day, you’d find most craft distilleries go for a stainless steel washback. They’re durable and easy to maintain. But since our whole brand is synonymous with tradition, we opt for a more traditional approach. Our washbacks are made of wood. We use the finest of Douglas Fir, which ensures that the tank remains at a constant temperature as the yeast does its stuff. But not only that, we don’t even use blades to cut out the foam. Cleanup may get a bit harder at times, but that shows just how much we care to give you a spirit with a taste for the ages.
And with currently four washbacks, each capable of holding 250 gallons, you can count on us to always be plenty stocked.
For our casks, we use white American oak, a strong, durable wood that lets us use our barrels again and again, and lets us maintain a consistently great character. They’re charred to our own specifics for an extended period of time, giving the final craft spirit a sweeter taste, akin to toffee or caramel. And once we start distilling bourbon on site, those once-filled barrels will be put to good use, as we siphon in whiskey. The bourbon residue helps give the whiskey a darker color, while still having it be light in taste, as it sits for a few years.
And did we mention we bottle our spirits in house?