what is chill filtration in craft gin distilling?

What is chill filtration and why don't we use it in our Lancashire gin

As many of you may have found out since buying and trying our Signature Edition, it will go cloudy when mixed with ice or your mixer. This is a result of our Lancashire craft gin being non-chill filtered, so, what exactly is chill filtration and why don’t we do it?

The process of chill filtration is most commonly associated with whiskey but it is also used within the gin industry and serves as a cosmetic purpose to make the juniper based liquid clear. Chill filtration is a method of filtering used to remove residue and cloudiness which appears when the spirit drops below a certain temperature or mixed with water or ice. It entails chilling the spirit to between -10 and 4°C and then passing it through a very fine filter so that certain oils are caught, preventing the spirit from going cloudy or ‘louching’, as some call it.

Louching is the term for when a clear spirit suddenly turns cloudy, milky or opaque. It is sometimes also known as the “ouzo effect” or hazing and often has the reputation of a poorly made product. However, here at No.1 Fairham Gin we have intentionally allowed our spirit to ‘louch’ and are advocates of having a spirit that is in its purest form. The sole purpose of chill filtration is to stop your gin going cloudy and although it’s reportedly not meant to, we didn’t want it to impair taste by removing details that we really wanted to keep in order to differentiate our gin from others.

At the beginning of our journey we were keen to implement certain processes that weren’t commonly used by other distilleries, such as distilling our gin through 100% vapour infusion as a sole method. As craft gin lovers, most of you will have tried the beautifully made Cotswolds Dry Gin, which also incorporates a non-chill filtration stance. This is where we first heard of a non-chill filtered gin and started researching as to why (or why not) chill filtration was important.

To make our Signature Edition craft gin we use 13 delicate botanicals and exotic fruits, with our process of 100% vapour infusion keeping them from being steeped and boiled in the belly of the still. None of our ingredients actually touch the base alcohol, with them sitting in a bespoke basket in the column of our copper still where the vapour passes through and picks up all the wonderful flavours. Instead of allowing some of these flavours and oils to be lost through chill filtration, we decided to remove this from our distilling process, allowing you to really experience our gin through its smell, taste and profile.

At the beginning of our journey we were keen to implement certain processes that weren’t commonly used by other distilleries.

Before bottling we filter our gin so that you don’t get any unwanted floaters in your bottle, but even with that we have made sure to use the right grade of filter so that our gin still comes out the other side with all of it’s flavour intact. Every process of making our Signature Edition has been thoroughly researched and discussed, and we believe that through 100% vapour infusion, keeping our ABV at 45% and not chill filtering our gin, gives you the product in its best form. The end result speaks for itself, a uniquely smooth, dry gin that is packed with fresh citrus flavours.

Enjoy a citrusy hit with every sip and embrace the pearlescent haze that comes with it. This is the way we prefer it and is one of the things we love about our gin as it adds character to your flavour filled G&T.

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1 year ago

Interesting. What is the micron size of the filter you use for chill-filtration?