This vodka made from amaranth is reminiscent of a walk through a dense forest ripe with undergrowth, moss, and mushrooms. The usual expectations one has of vodka are consistently shaken. This is not a neutral spirit without any defining characteristics, identity, or taste. No, this is a complex and intense drink that surprises through its unusual flavors. Georg Hiebl distills a vodka made from amaranth, which evokes a umami-like taste explosion.
Amaranth is a so-called pseudo-grain: it looks like a grain and its seeds are used in the same way, but it is not a member of the family of sweet grasses. Instead, it belongs to the plant genus of the foxtail family (amaranthaceae).
Georg Hiebl manages to distill a full-bodied, complex spirit that perfectly embodies its terroir tasting notes.
Damp forrest floor, mushroom
Green pears followed by notes of fresh apples that slowly transform into bitter nut aromas.
Hints of hazelnut and parmesan cheese.
Amaranth (amaranthus) is a plant genus that belongs to the family of foxtails (amaranthaceae).
Georg Hiebl obtains his amaranth, as well as his quinoa, from an organic farm in the Mostviertel region that he's friendly with.
Georg Hiebl heats the water to 75 degrees Celsius in the still before adding enzymes to the crushed amaranth. This induces the carbohydrates to split. After 30 minutes, the mash is cooled down to 55 degrees Celsius and the enzymes that induce starch saccharification are added. After this, the yeast is added and the mash is kept at 25 degrees Celsius. The mash ferments for four days and then distilled immediately, in order avoid the formation of negative aromas such as acetic acids. The spirit is distilled in a 150 liter facility. Georg Hiebl switches off the column with the booster bottom for this cereal and pseudo-grain spirit. After the first distillation, the raw distillate has circa 25% alcohol. It comes in at around 80% later.
Georg Hiebl believes that his grain spirit has “a more fatty body” because of the twofold distillation that does not use a column, which then makes it taste more full-bodied and aromatic. During the fine distillation phase, Hiebl separates the high-quality medium run and the tails sensorially. He does not believe that measuring the temperature at this stage would lead to his desired results.
Before it is adjusted to drinking quality with spring water, the fine distillate is stored for several months.
Distiller | Mostviertel, Lower Austria
Georg hails from a farming family in the Mostviertel of Lower Austria. He has been involved in the distillation of finest brandies since the mid 1990s. Georg is a three time overall winner of the “Destillata”. In 2014, he was awarded the “Boutique Distiller of the Year” title. He will produce a vodka made from quinoa, spelt, and amaranth for the Freimeisterkollektiv. A floral gin is in the works for next year.