IN THE SIERRA
Plant selection: It consists of choosing the plants that are reaching their flowering process when they are mature.
Capped: Selected plants have their flower stalk or quiote separated. This procedure ensures that the sugars of the Agave, instead of being consumed by flowering, are concentrated in the plant.
Jimado: Approximately one year after the plant's floral stem is covered, the stalks are removed with a mango ax until the head or pineapple is obtained.
Harvest: The heads of Agave jimadas are collected and their transfer to the processing area is undertaken.
IN TABERNA (Place where the Raicilla is made)
Roast or "tatema" of the heads: With this treatment it is possible to break the chains of carbohydrates not suitable for fermentation, transforming them into sugars easily assimilated by yeasts. stone ovens or masonry that they reach temperatures that oscillate between 150 and 200 degrees centigrade.
Machuca: At present it is generally carried out with the support of mechanical instruments, in its traditional way it consists of crushing the cooked heads one by one, they are placed on a trunk conditioned in the shape of a basin and they are hit with the back of an ax. the paste created is known as "must"
Fermentation: The "must" It is deposited for fermentation in 200-liter plastic containers, to which 50 liters of water are added per batch. Fermentation time varies according to weather conditions; during the hot season the process takes four to five days, while in temperate weather it takes up to ten days or more.
Cooking or distillation: For this procedure, the Master Raicillero he uses a still and a condenser. The still consists of a 250-liter stainless steel body, insulated with a jacket of stones, earth, mud and, eventually, cement. On one side it has an opening 50 centimeters in diameter through which water is poured up to a level of approximately 30 centimeters, equivalent to 40 liters. This container is heated by a wood fire to the boiling point, the "must" is added. fermented. Subsequently, once the alembic is loaded, the lid is closed, trying to seal the joints with pressed cardboard to avoid vapor leaks. The vapors coming from the still are conducted through a tube (choker) towards the condenser.
Condensate: The condenser is attached to the alembic and contains circulating water to maintain a suitable cooling temperature. A copper spiral or serpentine, called a snake, is submerged in the water, which is connected to the choker and its function is to condense the vapors from the still. The condensate is collected until the Master Raicillero determines that what you are obtaining is water, this is done taking into account the bubbles that are formed when collecting the distillate, as well as its smell and taste. The product obtained in this first distillation is called "wine".
Second distillate: From here, the "wine" or primary distillate is subjected to a second distillation called resaque, from where the Raicilla is finally obtained. The condensate is collected in different containers, since three different distillate fractions are identified:
The first sample to be collected is called heads and has a high alcohol content, characterized, in addition to the presence of fleeting bubbles. Once the bubbles become more stable, it is said that the Raicilla has begun to come out and the collection container is changed.
This second fraction is recognized by the "rope" or cordon of pearls, which is a series of surface bubbles with a pearly color, which adhere to the internal walls of the container.
The pearls have a high surface tension that lengthens their breaking, therefore, when they begin to disappear quickly, it is taken as an indication that the Raicilla has been exhausted. At this time, it is collected in another container are the tails, composed mostly of water.
Standardization: This is the final stage of the elaboration, which the Raicilleros Masters they call "compose the Raicilla", in this operation A portion of the heads is mixed with the Raicilla to give it a final touch according to the producer's criteria. Normally the Alcohol content of the finished liquor ranges between 40º and 50º. The Raicillero Masters stores the product in food grade plastic or metal containers.