When to stop distilling?

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When to stop distilling?

Postby SMOKEU » Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:22 pm

How do all of you know when to turn the still off and stop the run? Do you go by the rule of 'each kilo of sugar gives 1L of 40%ABV spirit' or do you stop when the temperature goes over a certain point (after it has remained almost constant for the entire duration of the run), or when you smell the tails, or any other method?
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Re: When to stop distilling?

Postby lacedspirits » Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:32 pm

I stop the beer-stripping run when I can't light 2 drops of the dripping distillate on fire. As for spirit runs, I collect the tails and all. Just switch from the container that your hearts are in.
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Re: When to stop distilling?

Postby atticpc » Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:08 am

I do my stripping runs until I reach 98 degrees centigrade. On a spirit I run swap bottles out every 500ml - I still collect to 98 degrees centigrade - but cuts get done by taste.

Reflux run on a 40% charge - on my still the normal temperature for a run is 78.4 - 78.6 ish. I collect in bottles up to 82 degrees centigrade. Cuts are done by taste. The bottles on the outside range - i.e. the first few and last few that I collect just go to lighter fluid. The other bottles outside the drinkable range are put aside. When I have enough I do a separate and very slow run with these.
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Re: When to stop distilling?

Postby kiwistiller » Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:14 am

smoke on your unit you'll get very little in the way of tails I'd imagine. CM's are pretty good at tails compression. I'd probably keep tails til 84*c maybe. I would think that there will be so little left after that as to not be worth the effort of continuing collection.
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Re: When to stop distilling?

Postby LWTCS » Tue Mar 30, 2010 4:30 am

I smell and taste ordinarily.
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Re: When to stop distilling?

Postby goinbroke2 » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:07 am

When to stop distilling? When your dead.....oh wait..

You mean stopping a run? On a pot still I go to about 20%
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Re: When to stop distilling?

Postby Vodka_Master » Tue Mar 30, 2010 11:07 am

goinbroke2 wrote:When to stop distilling? When your dead.....oh wait..

You mean stopping a run? On a pot still I go to about 20%


Or when you get caught, hope that wont happen!

On a more serious note, with my LM i get hearts at 78.8 Centigrade, if it goes up by .1 degrees, i close the valve and let it reflux. then when it goes down i reoped and keep on collecting. I stop doing that when it takes like 30 min to go down or when i collected alot of alcohol (around 2L from a 5kg sugar wash) then i just switch to feint bottle, open valve so it streams down and collect till 95-100 degrees.
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Re: When to stop distilling?

Postby rad14701 » Tue Mar 30, 2010 11:50 am

With my LM reflux column I stop when I reach a diminished rate of return in relation to the amount of time and effort required to maintain consistent spirit take off... This generally happens within minutes and/or ounces and usually very close in collected volume to my pre-calculated theoretical yield...
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Re: When to stop distilling?

Postby Casper » Tue Mar 30, 2010 11:54 am

rad14701 wrote:This generally happens within minutes and/or ounces and usually very close in collected volume to my pre-calculated theoretical yield...


Rad. How might you go about calculating the theoretical yield for your wash? Pounds of sugar used, gallons of water, etc. Can you please ellaborate?
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Re: When to stop distilling?

Postby rad14701 » Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:06 pm

Casper wrote:Rad. How might you go about calculating the theoretical yield for your wash? Pounds of sugar used, gallons of water, etc. Can you please ellaborate?

I make very good use of the many calculators on the parent site, to the point where I have created my own personal HTML page that contains all of the calculators I need... You can also use several other methods based on starting specific gravity (SG), or original specific gravity (OG), and final specific gravity (FG) if you use a hydrometer... I usually base mine from the amount of sugar used and have had very good luck with that method because my washes stay fairly consistent...

Here is an example... I know that 2 lbs (or 4 cups) of sugar per gallon has a theoretical yield of 14.1% ABV for a sugar wash... Rounding to 14% I can then calculate the maximum amount of alcohol I can potentially distill at ~95%... And as long as my reflux column stays steady at ~172F that is what I will get, within a few ounces... So a boiler charge of 8 liters will yield ~1.12 liters, which usually ends up closer to 1 liter when I calculate foreshots, heads, hearts, and tails... And because it is a sugar wash my foreshots, heads, and tails are smaller than for a grain mash... I don't chase after tails because they just aren't there in any proportion to be worth bothering with... For a really clean ferment I can get somewhere in the range of 24oz/750ml of drinkable ~95% spirits after airing and blending... Cut to ~90% I'll end up with ~1.5L of drinking proof neutral with no smell, no taste, and no headache... Your mileage may, and most likely will, vary...
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Re: When to stop distilling?

Postby Dnderhead » Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:38 pm

not hard
1 lb sugar to the gal=6%______or 1kg sugar per 10 L=6% _or 2lb grain per gal=5% ,, or if you go by SG -----OG-FG X 136=% then of course just X times the amount of wash you have.. these fingers will give you how much alcohol in the wash. about 1/2 of this will be harts depending on cuts.
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Re: When to stop distilling?

Postby blanikdog » Tue Mar 30, 2010 5:03 pm

I just go by taste and abv. I usually stop collecting around 40abv if it tastes 'right'. I usually taste a small diluted amount every pint or so and more often as I approach the tails which is about 40abv

I then keep running down to about 20abv for my feints jars.

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Re: When to stop distilling?

Postby Casper » Tue Mar 30, 2010 5:23 pm

It sounds as though I can use both a scientific approach, or one that is maybe a bit more vague. The combination of the two should be good to determine how much product to expect from a run. I have yet to do my first run as I am patiently waiting for my first wash to finish. Very good suggestions. Thanks.
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Re: When to stop distilling?

Postby kiwistiller » Tue Mar 30, 2010 5:34 pm

it's a personal pref sort of thing. and it depends a lot on the equipment, type of run, so on and so forth. haha 9 unique answers to one question. yup, I'd say we all do it different. your first run will make things a lot clearer for you casper.
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Re: When to stop distilling?

Postby WalkingWolf » Tue Mar 30, 2010 5:51 pm

SMOKEU wrote:When to stop distilling?


Sorry SMOKEU but I'm gonna be an arse on this one. I've thought it since the first time I read the title yesterday.

When ya got enough :D

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Re: When to stop distilling?

Postby Casper » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:41 pm

kiwistiller wrote:it's a personal pref sort of thing. and it depends a lot on the equipment, type of run, so on and so forth. haha 9 unique answers to one question. yup, I'd say we all do it different. your first run will make things a lot clearer for you casper.


Sounds like it Kiwi. You ask a question on this forum and get 30 different ways to do the same thing (maybe a bit exaggerated), which is good and bad at the same time. I can't help but appreciate all the help all of you have provided for me though. Very cool. I have done quite a bit of distillation in the lab, but have never done it on a large scale. I will definately let you know how the first run goes though. Excited to get cooking!
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Re: When to stop distilling?

Postby SMOKEU » Tue Mar 30, 2010 11:29 pm

So to keep things simple, after I have thrown away the first 50mL, should I put the next 500mL in a jar and recycle it by putting in the next batch, and put the rest in my bucket and turn the still off once the temperature goes above 82ºC?
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Re: When to stop distilling?

Postby kiwistiller » Wed Mar 31, 2010 12:59 am

do it by taste, that's the most simple.
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Re: When to stop distilling?

Postby rad14701 » Wed Mar 31, 2010 5:54 am

Perhaps the trickiest part of learning distillation, cuts, and blending, is accepting the reality that it can't be done by numbers alone... Not volumes... Not temperatures... Not percentages... Not time... Those forms of measurement will only get you close... You still need to hone your skills using taste, smell, feel, and experience...
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Re: When to stop distilling?

Postby SMOKEU » Wed Mar 31, 2010 6:28 pm

I have just collected 500mL of foreshots (after I threw out the first 50mL). I'm now collecting the good stuff in a bucket. After I have collected all the good stuff should I put the tails in the same jar as I put the foreshots in? If I collect 250mL of tails + the 500mL of foreshots to recycle for my next batch, does that mean that I can take an extra 750mL from my still in the next run I do? Because the foreshots and tails will be distilled twice, or do I lose a bit of the recycled spirit during my next run?
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Re: When to stop distilling?

Postby Dnderhead » Wed Mar 31, 2010 6:47 pm

ya but that's heads ,,fore shots come first then heads ,, then harts,, then tales,,,
discard fore shots ,, combine heads and tales (to rerun) ,,save harts to drink.
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Re: When to stop distilling?

Postby Vodka_Master » Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:21 pm

As dnder said, foreshots are the 50 ml you collected. The 500 ml is the heads.

You will not lose alcohol, unless you feint jar (it's what people call their heads+tail container to be redistilled) is not closed well. You can run that next time and you will get more alcohol out of it, or you can just keep on saving heads and tails untill you have enought to run the feints. Just make sure to cut the feints to at least 40%, not only is it safer (less chances of accidental fires or explosions) but the product will come out cleaner.
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Re: When to stop distilling?

Postby SMOKEU » Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:44 pm

Vodka_Master wrote:As dnder said, foreshots are the 50 ml you collected. The 500 ml is the heads.

You will not lose alcohol, unless you feint jar (it's what people call their heads+tail container to be redistilled) is not closed well. You can run that next time and you will get more alcohol out of it, or you can just keep on saving heads and tails untill you have enought to run the feints. Just make sure to cut the feints to at least 40%, not only is it safer (less chances of accidental fires or explosions) but the product will come out cleaner.


So does 500mL of feints = 500mL of hearts once it goes through the still again?
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Re: When to stop distilling?

Postby Ayay » Thu Apr 01, 2010 12:28 am

When running the feints you will get the same as before...heads, hearts and tails. If you took out the foreshots (first little bit) in the previous runs then the foreshots are gone, but no harm in taking the first lil bit out again in the second and subsequent runs just to be sure.

Every run will give you heads, hearts and tails. You must find the hearts all on your own each and every time. Collect in small containers, let them air out, and then find the smoothest best tastin container somewhere in the middle. Work outwards either side of that container smellin an tastin. Your guide must be, "Hearts are precious. No heads perfume and sting allowed, and no tails stink (and sting) allowed". Forget about quantity; better to enjoy drinkin the hearts-of-hearts while running the rest again. And when you run them again think about running it all slower and more careful so as to get more of the bestest hearts. Ageing and oaking will allow you to go further into the heads and tails...but then you'll have to be very patient.

I just did a 2-day feints run running faster but obviously it didn't work. After airing out for a week I find only 1.1L out of 10L of 95% worth keeping for drinkin. Sure I'm dissapointed, tough, no way will I drink skanky hooch. I'll run the remainder again and next time will be slower and better. It will produce heads, hearts and tails once more and so it goes...will air out and make new cuts!

Meanwhile that 1.1L will be a pleasure to drink for weeks to come.
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Re: When to stop distilling?

Postby ScottishBoy » Thu Apr 01, 2010 3:55 am

WalkingWolf wrote:
SMOKEU wrote:When to stop distilling?


Sorry SMOKEU but I'm gonna be an arse on this one. I've thought it since the first time I read the title yesterday.

When ya got enough :D

good stillin to ya
ww


Wait...you mean... you CAN have enough?

who'da thunk?....
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