Of Ferments

They are of two kinds; the very putrescent bodies, and those supplied by

the oxigen. Animal substances are of the first kind: acids, neutral

salts, rancid oils, and metallic oxids, are of the second.

Were I obliged to make use of a ferment of the first class, I would

choose the glutinous part of wheat flour. This vegeto-animal substance

is formed in the following manner:--A certain quantity of flour is made

into a solid dough, with a little water. It is then taken into the

hands, and water slowly poured over it, while it is kneaded again. The

water runs white, because it carries off the starchy part of the flour;

it runs clear after it is washed sufficiently. There remains in the

hands of the operator a dough, compact, solid, elastic, and reduced to

nearly the half of the flour employed. This dough, a little diluted with

water, and kept in the temperature indicated for the room of

fermentation, passes to the putrid state, and contracts the smell of

spoiled meat. Four pounds of this dough per hogshead, seem to me to be

sufficient to establish a good fermentation. A small quantity of good

vinegar would answer the same purpose, and is a ferment of the second


But are those means indispensable with my process? I do not think so.

1st. The richness of my vinous liquor, and the degree of heat to which I

keep it, tend strongly to make it ferment. In fact, the infusion of the

grain, by taking from it its saccharine part, takes likewise part of its

mucilaginous substance, which is the principle of the spirituous

fermentation, which it establishes whenever it meets with the other


2dly. The hogsheads themselves are soon impregnated with a fermenting

principle, and communicate it to the liquor that is put into them.

3dly. The rum distiller employs advantageously the residue of his

preceding distillation, to give a fermentation to his new molasses: this

residue has within itself enough of acidity for that purpose. Might not

the residue of the distillation of my vinous liquor have the same

acidity? It contains only the mucilaginous substance already acidulated.

Some gallons of that residue to every hogshead, would, I think, be a

very good ferment.

Lastly. Here is another means which will certainly succeed: it is to

leave at the bottom of each hogshead three or four inches of the vinous

liquor, when transported into the still for distilling. This rising,

which will rapidly turn sour, will form a ferment sufficient to

establish a good fermentation.

The intelligent manager of a distillery must conduct the means I

indicate, towards the end which he proposes to himself, and must

carefully avoid to employ as ferments, those disgusting substances which

cannot fail to bring a discredit on the liquor in which they are known

to be employed.

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