High quality spirits get their special taste by being stored in wooden barrels that are roasted before filling. Roasting traditionally has been done with an open flame. A custom infrared oven is replacing that open flame for one spirits maker.
The purpose-built infrared heating system from Heraeus Noblelight is being used by Edrington, a premium spirits company based in Scotland, to regenerate its casks. During the regeneration process, the existing ends of casks to be refilled are replaced with newly toasted (or charred) ends. Regeneration is necessary because the impact of the flavors created by toasting (and charring) diminishes each time a cask is filled. In addition, according to Heraeus, traditional roasting methods produce an inconsistent finish and have health and safety implications.
Edrington worked with Heraeus Noblelight to investigate alternatives to the traditional process. Successful extensive trials at Heraeus’s Neston Applications Centre established that infrared would satisfy the end toasting requirement. Consequently, an 80.4 KW carbon medium-wave oven was installed at Edrington’s Muirhall Cooperage site.
According to Heraeus Noblelight, the oven’s heating zone can accommodate two cask ends and is fitted with an optical pyrometer. The pyrometer measures the temperature of one of the cask ends, and its output automatically regulates the power to the twelve 6.7 W infrared emitters, which initially heat both cask ends and then hold them at temperature. A typical cycle time is 10 minutes, but cycle time can be adjusted at the control panel.
Read more about the infrared heating system here.