Whiskey Heart Cuts- rate OR proof goal better?

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

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boschd
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Whiskey Heart Cuts- rate OR proof goal better?

Post by boschd » Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:13 pm

Need some guidance on spirit run for whiskey/rye, to maximize all that grain/corn flavor. I've looked on the boards for clarification but can't seem to get a straight answer.

Background on my method: I run a pot still (18inch tall, 1.5 diameter copper column) with electric heat element. Strip 8% wash to 30%abv, add tails from prior run, add water to get back to 30% for spirit run.

With my equipment, my spirit run starts off with fores/heads at 175 proof, with a drip rate of about 5/sec. I like to run the heads slow because I hate the flavor of heads. By the time I am thinking I should be getting into hearts, my proof is still 160-165- which seems high, and I worry that I'm losing flavor. If I keep the energy on my element constant (about 40%), the proof slowly decreases through the run and the rate stays about the same until I hit a fairly rapid drop in proof, obviously getting into tails.

My question: FOR MAXIMUM FLAVOR- would it be better to try to run the still when I'm in my "hearts zone" at a constant proof (like 135) by increasing/decreasing the energy on my controller, even if that means running it "fast" initially, and "slow" as I get closer to tails? OR is it better to keep the throttle about the same for the whole run and then just make cuts as usual, accepting a much higher AVB at the heads-hearts transition and lower ABV at the hearts-tails transition?

Thanks!

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Hambone
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Re: Whiskey Heart Cuts- rate OR proof goal better?

Post by Hambone » Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:21 pm

The proof coming out of a pot still is determined by the boiling point at any given time (ie the proportion of alcohol to water). You can boil it harder (which increases smearing) but not change to proof coming out...
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NZChris
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Re: Whiskey Heart Cuts- rate OR proof goal better?

Post by NZChris » Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:38 pm

If you add your tails every time, you risk hitting tails earlier.

Calculate to run into about twenty jars. Once your nose tells you the worst of the heads are gone, you can speed up. Unless I'm in a hurry to go to the pub, I don't adjust the heat again until my nose tells me I definitely wont be putting the next jar into hearts.

Kiwistiller's novice guide to cuts can be used to choose the hearts from the jars, but if you want maximum flavor, you might be better to choose the cut by making up a sample of the obvious heart jars, tasting it, then alternatively adding to it from jars at each end until you find out which jars must not be included. Taste at about 35% and use a spittoon so that you don't wreck your taste buds before you make your final choice. I make my samples up using a dipper made out of a small bent spoon, but there are other methods to be found on the forum.

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Re: Whiskey Heart Cuts- rate OR proof goal better?

Post by seabass » Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:46 pm

Keep the power steady. There's no reason to worry about maintaining proof during a pot still run. You'll just slow your output until it stops anyway. You can slightly raise abv by lowering power if there is enough passive reflux, but there's no reason to worry about that. There is also no reason to be concerned about the abv coming out. Go by flavor, NOT abv for cuts. Higher abv doesn't mean higher flavor.

boschd
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Re: Whiskey Heart Cuts- rate OR proof goal better?

Post by boschd » Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:57 pm

Kiwistiller's method for cuts is amazing and I follow it almost exactly, and usually use 24+ jars for tight cuts and reduce to 35% for tasting.

Seabass- you nailed my concern- that by running too slow I'd be getting passive reflux and losing flavor and ending up with neutral spirit. Since bourbon usually "comes off the still" less than 150 proof, when too much seems to be coming off over that I wonder if I'm leaving flavor behind.

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NZChris
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Re: Whiskey Heart Cuts- rate OR proof goal better?

Post by NZChris » Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:03 pm

boschd wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:57 pm
Since bourbon usually "comes off the still" less than 150 proof, when too much seems to be coming off over that I wonder if I'm leaving flavor behind.
Go to the website of the distiller who does that and try to find out what type of stills they are using. I'm betting they're not double distilling with pot stills.

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Saltbush Bill
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Re: Whiskey Heart Cuts- rate OR proof goal better?

Post by Saltbush Bill » Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:05 pm

The amount of passive reflux in a pot still is next to nothing what ever you do. It shouldn't be a problem to flavour.

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Re: Whiskey Heart Cuts- rate OR proof goal better?

Post by seabass » Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:16 pm

boschd wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:57 pm
Kiwistiller's method for cuts is amazing and I follow it almost exactly, and usually use 24+ jars for tight cuts and reduce to 35% for tasting.

Seabass- you nailed my concern- that by running too slow I'd be getting passive reflux and losing flavor and ending up with neutral spirit. Since bourbon usually "comes off the still" less than 150 proof, when too much seems to be coming off over that I wonder if I'm leaving flavor behind.
As SBB said, passive reflux is not worth worrying about. If you want more flavor, go deeper on your stripping run and you'll have a lower abv in your boiler. That will lower your output abv. You won't be accidentally getting a neutral spirit with two runs on a pot still no matter how slow you run.

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Re: Whiskey Heart Cuts- rate OR proof goal better?

Post by bluefish_dist » Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:21 pm

Running a little faster in the hearts will simply drag more tails along, which is smearing. Proof will be lower and possibly more flavor. Honestly I would not worry about it as a double pot still should still be plenty robust on flavor. If you want more flavor, you could do a 1.5 run and dilute the first run with more wort. That will push more flavor.
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