Adding Tails

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

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HeyMaker
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Adding Tails

Post by HeyMaker » Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:50 am

I tried to search and haven't been able to find anything on this and my question is this. After fermentation is over and I've re-racked my mash into a separate carboy for settling can I add my tails at this time and will help in settling the mash. Has anyone done this?
Thanks

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Re: Adding Tails

Post by NZChris » Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:30 pm

I question the wisdom of putting the stinking crap you didn't like from the previous run into your nice fresh wash, so I save my heads and tails for all feints runs.

I've never racked off for clearing for anything to be distilled, not even for neutrals.

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Re: Adding Tails

Post by HeyMaker » Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:58 pm

Being new to this I appreciate your candor. I've seen many post where people add the tails to their distillate to increase the ABV. If this is something that will taint my final product I will stay away from that. As far as the settling it was my understanding that I want all the yeast cells to settle out before distillation so that they won't taint the final product?

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Re: Adding Tails

Post by Yummyrum » Fri Aug 23, 2019 3:04 pm

I really don’t think adding tails will help settle the mash . However once you have stripped your mash you might like to add them to the strip for the spirit run . Scott’s have been doing it this way for a long time . Mind you they use a Pot still . If it's tails from a reflux still , dump them .

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Re: Adding Tails

Post by NZChris » Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:54 pm

HeyMaker wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:58 pm
As far as the settling it was my understanding that I want all the yeast cells to settle out before distillation so that they won't taint the final product?
Whiskey distillers often strip their mash on the grain. You can't get much further away from clear than that.

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Re: Adding Tails

Post by HeyMaker » Fri Aug 23, 2019 5:42 pm

Thanks, that's why I'm here to figure this out. Looks like I've been spending a lot of unnecessary down time.

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Re: Adding Tails

Post by Saltbush Bill » Fri Aug 23, 2019 6:01 pm

Throwing the heads from the last run into the boiler with the wash or low wines along with the tails will work out better. I've been recycling heads and tails that way for years and never seen an increase in either.

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Re: Adding Tails

Post by Twisted Brick » Fri Aug 23, 2019 6:18 pm

HeyMaker wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:50 am
I tried to search and haven't been able to find anything on this and my question is this. After fermentation is over and I've re-racked my mash into a separate carboy for settling can I add my tails at this time and will help in settling the mash. Has anyone done this?
Thanks
Can't say I've ever heard of anyone adding tails to a fresh wash to 'settle' it.

You might best review the differences and individual properties of a mash, a (fermented) wash, and of low wines, as they are different. Like NZChris warns, it's not logical to add reject tails to a fresh wash.
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Re: Adding Tails

Post by NZChris » Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:05 pm

Saltbush Bill wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 6:01 pm
Throwing the heads from the last run into the boiler with the wash or low wines along with the tails will work out better. I've been recycling heads and tails that way for years and never seen an increase in either.
Whereas I had a decreasing heart cut after the third recycle. I suspect it has a lot to do with what we each consider to be heads and tails and how we strip.

I'm revisiting this with my latest rum and have an unfinished experiment where I'm recycling heads into the spirit runs and tails into the stripping runs.

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Re: Adding Tails

Post by Saltbush Bill » Sat Aug 24, 2019 12:13 am

It probably has to do with the still as well.

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Re: Adding Tails

Post by NZChris » Sat Aug 24, 2019 12:31 am

That would be correct.

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Re: Adding Tails

Post by shadylane » Sat Aug 24, 2019 1:06 am

NZChris wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:05 pm
Saltbush Bill wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 6:01 pm
Throwing the heads from the last run into the boiler with the wash or low wines along with the tails will work out better. I've been recycling heads and tails that way for years and never seen an increase in either.
Whereas I had a decreasing heart cut after the third recycle. I suspect it has a lot to do with what we each consider to be heads and tails and how we strip.

I'm revisiting this with my latest rum and have an unfinished experiment where I'm recycling heads into the spirit runs and tails into the stripping runs.
I'm looking forward to that :thumbup:
I've been doing it like Saltbush

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Re: Adding Tails

Post by Single Malt Yinzer » Sat Aug 24, 2019 4:33 pm

There's two times you can add tails to a wash:
1) When the fermentation starts
2) When you put it in the boiler to distill

1) This is done to enhance esters. Fatty acids provide FAN (free ammonia nitrate). The fatty acids are absorbed by the yeast to build cell walls. Through enzymes fatty acids are turned into esters and then into sterols that the yeast uses during the growth phase to physically build cell walls. For grains fatty acids are also provided during the malting process or protein rest where proteins are broken down into amino/fatty acids. By using tails it also provides higher alcohols for the esterification so more complex esters can be formed.

2) This is done to salvage alcohol in the tails to increase ABV. On a hobby scale it's not a huge deal. Commercially it is.

I haven't heard of using tails to clear a wash. It may have been something you misread or someone said wrong.

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Re: Adding Tails

Post by Setsumi » Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:25 pm

around here oldtimers would stop a fruit ferment for wine by raising the abv with a bottle of cheap vodka. I think tails will likewise stop a ferment and settle yeast out if large enough volume and high enough abv is used.
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Re: Adding Tails

Post by NZChris » Sat Aug 24, 2019 11:07 pm

Setsumi wrote:
Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:25 pm
around here oldtimers would stop a fruit ferment for wine by raising the abv with a bottle of cheap vodka. I think tails will likewise stop a ferment and settle yeast out if large enough volume and high enough abv is used.
To check that, I did a calculation from a rum spirit run and the next 8% ferment. My tails would have raised the wash abv by 1% to 9%, not enough to have stalled the ferment if I had added them at the start.

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Re: Adding Tails

Post by Setsumi » Sun Aug 25, 2019 12:46 am

NZChris wrote:
Sat Aug 24, 2019 11:07 pm
Setsumi wrote:
Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:25 pm
around here oldtimers would stop a fruit ferment for wine by raising the abv with a bottle of cheap vodka. I think tails will likewise stop a ferment and settle yeast out if large enough volume and high enough abv is used.
To check that, I did a calculation from a rum spirit run and the next 8% ferment. My tails would have raised the wash abv by 1% to 9%, not enough to have stalled the ferment if I had added them at the start.
thanks, somewhere there is a thread of feints into a ferment, if i remember corect it was described by a large distillee . your info certainly make it a possibility
press https://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=79008
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Re: Adding Tails

Post by Setsumi » Sun Aug 25, 2019 1:01 am

i was thinking about this post, but not much discussion..

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=72440
press https://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=79008
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Re: Adding Tails

Post by NZChris » Sun Aug 25, 2019 1:18 am

Setsumi wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 12:46 am
NZChris wrote:
Sat Aug 24, 2019 11:07 pm
Setsumi wrote:
Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:25 pm
around here oldtimers would stop a fruit ferment for wine by raising the abv with a bottle of cheap vodka. I think tails will likewise stop a ferment and settle yeast out if large enough volume and high enough abv is used.
To check that, I did a calculation from a rum spirit run and the next 8% ferment. My tails would have raised the wash abv by 1% to 9%, not enough to have stalled the ferment if I had added them at the start.
thanks, somewhere there is a thread of feints into a ferment, if i remember corect it was described by a large distillee . your info certainly make it a possibility
Don't go taking that as a recommendation. It's an unfinished experiment and it isn't a problem if it gets a poor result as my cellar is already well stocked.

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Re: Adding Tails

Post by CuWhistle » Sun Aug 25, 2019 2:23 am

I do rack and clear my wash / mash most of the time. I find that AG mash settles heaps of dregs out whereas not so much with a sugar wash. Whether it is actually achieving anything, I doubt it. I've never had a scorch whether I do or don't rack and clear but I'm using propane. What I do is more about convenience and timing than anything else. It just allows me to get the next generation going and allow me to run the strips over a period of time. I don't put heads or tails back into anything. I understand in Rum it is essential but I don't do rum.
Saltbush Bill wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 6:01 pm
Throwing the heads from the last run into the boiler with the wash or low wines along with the tails will work out better. I've been recycling heads and tails that way for years and never seen an increase in either.
Are you saying that you put your heads and tails back in to each following run and the amount has never increased? What is your secret?

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Re: Adding Tails

Post by Saltbush Bill » Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:15 am

There is no secret.....its how many people do it.

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Re: Adding Tails

Post by CuWhistle » Sun Aug 25, 2019 2:19 pm

SB, you appear to be saying that after many runs you still only have the same original amount you 'cut" from your initial run and you have "never seen an increase in either".

What I'm asking is how do you not get increased heads and tails out when you put increased heads and tails in? My personal experience of putting these "cut" materials into the next run, or doing an all feints run, simply results in taking the same stuff back out again and cutting / rejecting it again, or at least most of it anyway. In the long run there is very little net gain.

The basic premise doesn't make any sense to me and it is not reflective of my outcomes. If I were to do 3 or 4 individual and completely separate runs and make judicious cuts, i will take heads and tails out of each. This means I would have 3 or 4 times as much heads and tails as I would have collected had I only done a single run. Now if I add the heads and tails from the first run to the second, then third, etc I will not transform these cut materials into "hearts". While I may not end up with the exact same full amount of rejected material, in my personal experience, it is so close that the net gain is not worth the effort, time and expense of running gas and water.

Are you talking about using a pot still or a reflux column? I can see how using a column would be more likely to perform as you say, but when I was running a column, my reject bottle kept growing.

I don't ever go far into tails and I can see how combining heads and tails may provide some gain, depending on how you make your cuts in the first place. However, my recent all feints run which was heads and tails in, simply produced heads and tails out in almost the same volumes, and consequently, producing very little recovered product. This was after soaking on Bicarb for a week and my conclusion was that it was a waste of time and resources.

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Re: Adding Tails

Post by NZChris » Sun Aug 25, 2019 2:53 pm

CuWhistle wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 2:19 pm
My personal experience of putting these "cut" materials into the next run, or doing an all feints run, simply results in taking the same stuff back out again and cutting / rejecting it again, or at least most of it anyway. In the long run there is very little net gain.
This mirrors my experience when I first tried it with rum. I came to the conclusion that the increasing heads and tails components were diminishing my heart cut, which was the exact opposite of what I was aiming for. The experiment I'm running now could well give the same result, but I'm determined to try it anyway.

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Re: Adding Tails

Post by CuWhistle » Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:12 pm

I understand that rum relies on the use of dunder (ie: tails) for the depth of flavour. I'm not a rum expert and indeed I didn't like my only attempt so never tried again. All of my experience so far, and much of what I remember from 6 years ago was that heads is heads is heads. Tails I don't bother with as there is little point in my opinion. Just my opinion and I'd be very interested to know what SB does to maintain zero growth of by-product.

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Re: Adding Tails

Post by shadylane » Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:23 pm

CuWhistle wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:12 pm
I understand that rum relies on the use of dunder (ie: tails) for the depth of flavour. I'm not a rum expert and indeed I didn't like my only attempt so never tried again.
I'm confused as normal :lol:
I thought dunder was the slop left in the boiler after a rum distillation
Not the tails from distillation

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Re: Adding Tails

Post by Single Malt Yinzer » Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:51 pm

Tails are not dunder. Shady's right - Dunder is the stillage left in the boiler after a run.

https://homedistiller.org/wiki/index.php/Dunder

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Re: Adding Tails

Post by CuWhistle » Mon Aug 26, 2019 12:21 am

My mistake. It's been a while. Yes, dunder equals backset. Doesn't change the discussion here though.

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Re: Adding Tails

Post by NZChris » Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:20 am

It might change it more than you think. The OP was a Whiskey question, not rum, and it does make make a difference. I apologize if it is my fault that the discussion has morphed into rum.

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Re: Adding Tails

Post by HeyMaker » Tue Aug 27, 2019 4:43 am

Thanks for all the replies. Being that the collected tails have an abv of 35% I'm guessing and correct me if I'm wrong there should be at least some recoverable product. I've been paying close attention to cuts and have been achieving good results so far. As a learning experience I will be adding the 3 qts of tails I have to 4 gallons of 6% all grain mash and will see what happens. I'll post results. If it turns pout to be a waste of time it is a hobby. :D

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Re: Adding Tails

Post by Odin » Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:27 am

NZChris wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 2:53 pm
CuWhistle wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 2:19 pm
My personal experience of putting these "cut" materials into the next run, or doing an all feints run, simply results in taking the same stuff back out again and cutting / rejecting it again, or at least most of it anyway. In the long run there is very little net gain.
This mirrors my experience when I first tried it with rum. I came to the conclusion that the increasing heads and tails components were diminishing my heart cut, which was the exact opposite of what I was aiming for. The experiment I'm running now could well give the same result, but I'm determined to try it anyway.
My experience is the same. And I have done many, many trials with it. Add heads and tails back in, and you will just create bigger overall contaminations in the next run instead of recovering more hearts. The second distillation or two distillation approach just does not generate enough separating power to push more etho out of those heads and tails.

It happens with all products. Rum, whiskey, and even with rerunning heads and tails cuts from gin. Even though the GNS used in gin has very low heads/tails alcs present, the associated (bad) flavors still come over.

So ... it does not work. And it does not work because of separation power (or lack thereof). And in that statement a solution can be found. If you want to re-use heads and tails that is. It does not work in a potstill (because ... one distillation cycle per run), but it can run in a packed column or a flute.

Let's start with the flute or bubble cap plated still. That is basically a design from the South Germany and the Elzas. 1860's or thereabouts. Fruit brandy country. Wide column for low vapor speeds results in easier management of the heads cut. Essential, since it is in the heads to hearts smearing that the fruity flavors (that define a good fruit brandy) can be found. And the way homedistillers run bubble cap plates, well, they can even stabilize, concentrate heads (more separating power), and regain a lot of the good ethanol. Concentration of heads equals (to a point) ethanol recovery. Bubble cap plates were also invented as fixed liquid traps for tails. An 1860 fruit brandy producer didn't want tails or tails smearing in their brandy, since the tails associated flavors overwhelm the lighter, fruity ones. At the same time, this also explains why making whiskey and rum on a flute translates into a lighter style product. Tails do not come over. Or that was the design goal.

Now, packed columns can do the same. With my machines I can put heads and tails from runs and crank up to 96% and stabilize. Stabilization again concentrates heads and increases etho recovery (and since most packed columns can easily - with the right packing - get up to 15 to 20 redistillations, they do an amazing job at it). Also, during the recovery run, ABV tends to drop, so more reflux is needed, resulting in yet more distillation cycles, pushing tails back further and further. Hope my explanation makes sense.

For me the fun is in combinations of the above. So I set my machines up for a single run whiskey or rum, but do the first part with stabilization, to compact heads and recover good product. Same happens at the end of the run, where I can push back tails for more recovery.

Regards, Odin.
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Re: Adding Tails

Post by The Baker » Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:35 pm

Dammit, Odin, you are making me think again. Hard.

Thanks, I have kept this to look through again. And again.

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