The Influence of Distillation Methods on Brandy Composition (1939)

Graham, W. O. Influence of distillation methods on brandy composition.  Australian Brewing and Wine Journal 58(6):40-42; (7):31-33; (8):26-31. 1940. (part I PDF link)

Graham, W. O. Influence of distillation methods on brandy composition.  Australian Brewing and Wine Journal 58(6):40-42; (7):31-33; (8):26-31. 1940. (part II PDF link)

[Unfortunately the first scanning of the paper was missing the last three pages but the second link provides all of the last segment: (8):26-31. Much thanks to the wonderful people at the Brookline Public Library.]

This was the last English language paper that I needed from Amerine’s Commercial Production of Brandies (1941) to complete his bibliography.  The journal article, it turns out, was a summary of a graduate thesis from 1939 and published as part of an award. (Karl Weidenhofer Prize for the best individual study or project submitted by the Diploma Class for 1939.) W. O. Graham’s topic was also influenced by the global conflict which would grow into World War II.  He thought Australia couldn’t compete well in the global wine markets so they should try to do more with brandy.  Australia already had many brandy producers but all where producing unremarkable low quality products.  Australian brandies were limited, not just by their source material, but also by techniques used to operate the still which was the focus of the study.

When I have time I’ll try to do a better review and extract some choice quotes.  This study, because of its limited scope, is perfect for home distillers to read.

It turns out W. O. Graham was Walter Osbourne Graham and he was top of his class in 1939 with two honors.  Roseworthy Agricultural College got absorbed by the University of Adelaide but they keep impeccable records.  Graham’s student project among others are digitally indexed but contained in manila folders somewhere in the library.  (Maybe we could convince them to make scanning of a few!)

Below is a review of the paper I had found in another old journal in case anyone is interested. I don’t think it does it much justice.  It would be awesome to see the original study.

“Influence of Distillation Methods on Brandy Composition. W. O. Graham. (Australian Brewing and Wine J., 1940, 58, No. 6, 40-42; No. 7, 31-33; No. 8, 26-31; J. Inst. Brewing, 1940, 46, 326.)–The proportion of secondary constituents (especially esters) is lower in Australian than in French brandies. The difference is partly due to the removal of a large heads portion (in which the aldehydes and, still more, the esters are concentrated) in the Australian distillation. Also, heads from a previous charge are not included in the Australian process, and the more rapid distillation in that process further increases the concentration, in the early fractions, of esters and of volatile acids. The volatile acidity of the original wine apparently has little effect on the ester-content, but esters do not necessarily increase during storage. With rapid distillation the alcoholic strength of the early fractions decreases very slowly.” E.B.D.

One thought on “The Influence of Distillation Methods on Brandy Composition (1939)

  1. Pingback: W.O. Graham. 1939. A comparison of the composition of successive fractions obtained during distillation and their relation to the composition of commercial brandies. | Boston Apothecary

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>