Charred/burnt AG distillate

All styles of whiskey. This is for all-grain mashes.

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nsgibson
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Charred/burnt AG distillate

Post by nsgibson » Sun Feb 24, 2019 8:41 pm

All, I was not sure which forum to post this topic to so I'll start here. I have been working NCHooch's Carolina bourbon grain bill and after a couple false starts finally got a good SG mash. When I ran it the first quart came out pretty good. Clear and tasted fine. Just after the first quart I noticed the distillate getting cloudy. I tasted it and something was clearly wrong. There was a heavy charred or burnt taste with horrible aftertaste. I tossed everything and when I inspected the heating element it was coated with a thick paste with burnt on the surface.
I think my problem may be that I just poured the entire mash in the still... the thread for the Carolina bourbon said to strain out the grains and transfer to boiler, no need to let the wash clear. However I think the wash is a bit too thick to the point of the element literally burning it. The wash is literally opaque when I pour it in.
I would like to solicit other opinions though, and see if anyone has similar experience for charred AG washes, and what I should do differently next time. I plan to let the wash settle for a couple days after removing grain then siphoning off the top to charge the still. What do you think? Might that eliminate this problem?

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still_stirrin
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Re: Charred/burnt AG distillate

Post by still_stirrin » Mon Feb 25, 2019 4:44 am

Yep. You scorched. Best to clear your washes as you hypothesized.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do with the smokey distillate. Rerunning it won’t eliminate the taste.

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Re: Charred/burnt AG distillate

Post by Swedish Pride » Mon Feb 25, 2019 5:03 am

what element are you running?
I've always ran super cloudy, even get the odd grain bits in there, not a scorch to date.
I use a camco 5500w ulwd element
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Re: Charred/burnt AG distillate

Post by nsgibson » Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:28 am

No plans to re-run...with that aftertaste I knew there was no hope!
I will definitely clear it more next time.

I am running with a 1440W single element in a 5 gal copper potstill. I was running at full power for stripping but still not that much relatively. But when I emptied the still it was pretty thick at the bottom and I wasn't surprised this happened in hindsight. But your comment shows why I did it in the first place, the majority of comments I read through didn't make a big deal of cloudiness etc.

Thanks!

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Re: Charred/burnt AG distillate

Post by jonnys_spirit » Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:38 am

I also use a 5k5W 220V element and usually clear my washes. I recently purchased a ULWD 5k5 from home depot after my original element failed. I stripped an HBB this past weekend which had a good amount of trub sediment in it. I didn't get smoke or any burnt low-wines but when I cleaned it out there was a layer of what looked like charred yeast trub... It cleaned up pretty easy.

I got lazy and didn't clear this time and was lucky. I was running it at a full 22A for about 90-120 min.

I'm looking at a new boiler that has two heating element ports - would be nice to run two with lower wattage for same total power but spread out over two elements...

What do you guys think about using burnt distillate in a cleaning run?

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Re: Charred/burnt AG distillate

Post by still_stirrin » Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:23 am

jonnys_spirit wrote:...What do you guys think about using burnt distillate in a cleaning run?
It would work. Just be sure to dilute with water down to 30%, or lower. Otherwise, let her rip!
ss

p.s.- Incidentally, I prefer to run my cleaning runs at a higher rate...ie - hotter boil. That will make sure that all the moderate to high temperature "dissolvables" will get washed out.
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Re: Charred/burnt AG distillate

Post by Dave H » Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:13 am

couldn't you distill the burnt product to 190 and eliminate all flavor? just make it a vodka? or is it THAT impossible to get rid of?
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Re: Charred/burnt AG distillate

Post by pope » Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:08 am

Dave we discussed that here: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=74617&start=30, plus it's been discussed a lot in other places too. I didn't try but I think the consensus is 'yes you can' but it means that scorch flavor/aroma will taint all your equipment and you'll have a lot of cleaning to do. Once I stepped back and added up how much time and money I was really dumping down the drain if I scrapped the batch (vs how much headache I was gearing up for if I tried to rectify), it was an easy 'no' and I dumped my low wines.
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Re: Charred/burnt AG distillate

Post by Juniper » Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:49 am

Has anyone every tried putting scorched distillate on oak?
I managed to scorch my batch :? and am now considering tossing it away or putting it on an oak barrel for a couple of years.

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Re: Charred/burnt AG distillate

Post by still_stirrin » Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:44 am

Juniper wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:49 am
Has anyone every tried putting scorched distillate on oak?
I managed to scorch my batch and am now considering tossing it away or putting it on an oak barrel for a couple of years.
Good luck...others have not reported much success with a scorched run. Diluting it and rerunning may reduce the affects, but often won’t eliminate it. Aging likewise, may reduce the affects, but I doubt it will help much. I guess it depends on how bad you botched the run.
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Re: Charred/burnt AG distillate

Post by OtisT » Thu Apr 16, 2020 12:20 pm

Juniper wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:49 am
Has anyone every tried putting scorched distillate on oak?
I managed to scorch my batch :? and am now considering tossing it away or putting it on an oak barrel for a couple of years.
I have tried oaking a scorched batch w/o success. After a year on oak I tossed most of the batch because it was not getting better. I do have two jars saved that are still on oak, almost two years now. One jar is pure hearts, and the other is from a blend of late heads and early tails. Both still have that scorch smell to them and not something I would drink (yet).

Like you, I’ve read that there is not much you can do to separate the alcohol from the scorch smell. Keeping a few jars around on oak is allowing me to prove that out myself, and is a great reminder for me to be more careful stripping rye.

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Re: Charred/burnt AG distillate

Post by The Baker » Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:38 pm

Just kicking this around...

If it is already 'charred' (scorched), would it not be better to put it in virgin oak rather than oak that is ALSO charred/ toasted/ whatever?

Maybe?

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Re: Charred/burnt AG distillate

Post by Juniper » Sun Apr 19, 2020 7:08 am

Well, I didn't expect much of it but I ran the charred distillate for a third time in my pot still together with a lot of water and amazingly it became a lot better. Will put it on oak now and let it rest for at least a year.

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Re: Charred/burnt AG distillate

Post by Juniper » Mon Apr 20, 2020 6:54 am

The Baker wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:38 pm
Just kicking this around...

If it is already 'charred' (scorched), would it not be better to put it in virgin oak rather than oak that is ALSO charred/ toasted/ whatever?

Maybe?

Geoff
I think it'll be much harder for the distillate to enter the pores of the oak since no cracks were formed because the absence of heat treatment on the barrel.
A bigger surface area usually improves the adsorption effect where large molecules tend to stick to a certain area. So with limited surface area I'm not sure this would improve the quality a lot.

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Re: Charred/burnt AG distillate

Post by The Baker » Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:36 am

Thanks, Juniper.
Something else to take into account.

Maybe light char would be better?

Just thinking of it already having a charred taste, of course.

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Re: Charred/burnt AG distillate

Post by Juniper » Tue Apr 21, 2020 9:23 am

I'm not an expert on oak aging but light char seems recommended here

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Re: Charred/burnt AG distillate

Post by jonnys_spirit » Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:56 am

I also scorched some whisky I made and kept it on oak for a couple years. I didn't rerun it but it never tasted any good either. I'd recommend moving on and building a clearing stage into your protocol to prevent scorching in the future.

You could probably clean it up enough with refluxing it and washing it in water a couple times to use it for hand sanitizer with some fragrance added if you really wanted to.

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