Baking Soda

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Baking Soda

Postby Froggy » Wed Jan 09, 2008 4:06 pm

I have about 12L of 40% cloudy spirit which I'm going to cook off again. I've been reading on here about mixing bicarbonate soda in with the spirit for a week or so before running through the still.
A few of the more in depth threads on here had many posts for and against the idea.

So my question is how many on here use this method and do you notice any real improvements?
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Postby BW Redneck » Wed Jan 09, 2008 4:24 pm

Bicarb works great. It dissociates into NaOH ions and they chew up a lot of various esters and aldehydes and clears up a bunch of funky flavors. Mix about 1 tablespoon per quart.

Only recommend it for neutral spirits. Can turn a malty whiskey into flavorless hootch.
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Postby Froggy » Wed Jan 09, 2008 4:33 pm

Thanks mate.

One quart is roughly one litre isn't it?
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Postby BW Redneck » Wed Jan 09, 2008 4:56 pm

Right. I wanted to say litre, but I thought it'd seem odd that I used US and metric to refer one quantity to another. :roll:
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Postby Froggy » Wed Jan 09, 2008 5:57 pm

No worries mate.
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Postby Bsnapshot » Wed Jan 09, 2008 6:06 pm

Do you add the baking soda during the stripping run or the spirit run? Do you add it the same day or days before the run?

Does the baking soda do the same as adding salt like I seen in some other post
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Postby HookLine » Wed Jan 09, 2008 6:28 pm

Do you add the baking soda during the stripping run or the spirit run?


No, after the stripping (low wines) run, before the spirit run

Do you add it the same day or days before the run?


Add it straight after the stripping run, and let it sit for a week or so, stir it up at least once a day.

Does the baking soda do the same as adding salt like I seen in some other post


Explanation here.
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Postby mikeac » Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:33 pm

BW Redneck wrote:Right. I wanted to say litre, but I thought it'd seem odd that I used US and metric to refer one quantity to another. :roll:


You'd be from Canada if you did... :lol: tablespoons and liters are directions I can understand
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Postby Bsnapshot » Thu Jan 10, 2008 8:35 am

I read the explanation on the parent sight but still a little confused.
So the baking soda and the salt do two different things and both should be added? the salt highers the boiling temp for the water and helps with separation and the baking soda helps with removing off flavors and nasties? Or am I wrong on this?
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Postby HookLine » Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:01 am

Sounds about right. I am pretty sure that most do not use salt, but most do use bicarb (or sodium carbonate, at 1 tsp per litre).

This is for neutral spirits, of course, not flavoured spirits.
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Postby oakie » Thu Jan 10, 2008 11:41 am

Personally I never use salt. I do how ever use baking soda. I add baking soda and freshly charred toasted wood to my low wines (for neutral spirits) and let sit for a couple of weeks. (shaking it once a day) I then run my spirit run. The spirit is a lot smoother and I end up with a little more when I use this method then when I don't.
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Postby stoker » Thu Jan 10, 2008 1:31 pm

BW Redneck wrote:... It dissociates into NaOH ions ..
that's not correct, but the results will be simular, though bicarb is not as strong as NaOH, it might not react with the esters, but will react with acids, but I doubt how much acid is present in low wines. therefore, I think the bicarb has most of its influence during the run, more then before. at higher temperatures.
does anyone want to make experments of a good quality? NaOH, bicarb, before, after run, ... would be interesting.
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yep

Postby Uncle Jesse » Thu Jan 10, 2008 1:39 pm

google search: 1 quart in liters


1 US quart = 0.94635295 liters
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Re: yep

Postby Froggy » Thu Jan 10, 2008 2:08 pm

Uncle Jesse wrote:google search: 1 quart in liters


1 US quart = 0.94635295 liters


I dont think I'll be bothering to adjust the amount of baking soda or spirit for that :D
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Postby byacey » Tue Jan 15, 2008 12:22 am

We use the Queens measurements around here - 34-45-, .. I mean 1 litre equals 0.88 Imperial quart.
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Re: yep

Postby alice » Tue Jan 15, 2008 12:45 am

Uncle Jesse wrote:google search: 1 quart in liters


1 US quart = 0.94635295 liters


Damn, no wonder my last batch was screwed up - I've been calculationg it at 0.94635296 liters..... :lol: :lol:
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Postby HookLine » Tue Jan 15, 2008 12:47 am

The Devil is in the details. :twisted:
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Postby Froggy » Tue Jan 15, 2008 1:56 am

We picked up some Bi-Carb today so we're keen to try it out.
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Postby wineo » Tue Jan 15, 2008 11:29 am

I have used the salt.Dont bother,it didnt do much.The bicarb works great,and I also think it does most of its work in the boiler.Ive done it both ways,and cant tell any difference.
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Postby Froggy » Thu Jan 17, 2008 12:46 am

My question is, is the bi-carb soda really worth doing? Today I had 20L of 40% spirit that I added a table spoon of bi-carb per litre to, and boy doesn't 20 table spoons add up :?
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Postby HookLine » Thu Jan 17, 2008 2:37 am

Yes. I have done it with and without. With is much better.

Bicarb is cheap.

Sodium carbonate works even better. Get it from pool shops (or Bunnings) as pH raiser. It is much more powerful than bicarb, so it only needs one teaspoon per litre, and you don't have to wait, you can distill straight away.

Sodium carbonate is also relatively cheap.
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Postby Froggy » Thu Jan 17, 2008 2:39 am

Thanks mate, I'll look into the sodium carbonate.

With all the effort you go to, do you polish with carbon in the end?
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Postby HookLine » Thu Jan 17, 2008 3:22 am

No.

One of my main aims in the way I do it is to avoid having to polish with carbon in the first place. IMHO, if you need to carbon filter vodka, you haven't distilled right in the first place.

Filtering out the carbon after polishing is a time-consuming, messy f*#&$%#ing business. My vodka is at least as clean as any commercial brand I have tried.

Half the secret is a tall column, which you have (will have shortly :wink: ).
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Postby Froggy » Thu Jan 17, 2008 4:46 am

Ahh good good. Using my current still I polish the spirit afterwards to be on the safe side. The carbon adds to the cost though so if I can get away from that I don't mind doing the bi-carb treatment.
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Postby HookLine » Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:14 am

Here is what I do to get a clean, smooth product without using carbon:

Low % ferment (around 10%)
Fully clear the wash before stilling
Add bicarb/carb to the low wines (strippings)
Run through a tall column (at least 1000mm of packing)
Let product age for at least two weeks before drinking

DRINK! 8)
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Postby Froggy » Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:28 am

HookLine wrote:Here is what I do to get a clean, smooth product without using carbon:

Low % ferment (around 10%)
Fully clear the wash before stilling
Add bicarb/carb to the low wines (strippings)
Run through a tall column (at least 1000mm of packing)
Let product age for at least two weeks before drinking

DRINK! 8)


Sounds like something I could do :)
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Postby Bsnapshot » Thu Jan 17, 2008 8:32 am

What is the difference between Bicarb and Sodium carbonate?
One you have to add and let sit for a week before running and the other you can add and run right away, is that the difference?
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Postby HookLine » Thu Jan 17, 2008 8:46 am

Sodium carbonate is a lot stronger (higher pH), so its effect is more-or-less immediate.
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Postby schnell » Thu Jan 17, 2008 8:48 am

the sodium carbonate is dehydrated sodium bicarbonate...

since your putting it in water you end up with virtually the same result.

after an ester is hydrolyzed you're left with an alcohol and an organic acid. (ester + water => organic acid + ethanol) the anionic conjugate base of the acid will then ionically bond the sodium ion. (organic acid + base => salt + water).

salts don't melt easy, much less boil. but they're very very water soluble.

this reaction is why the esters go away and are no longer components of the heads. they have been incorporated into the liquid solution as dissolved salts that are not volatile.

so add it to low wines that still have a significant amount of water. the water is crucial for a hydrolysis reaction to occur. the base just pushes it.

and don't use a strong base like NaOH. you might regret it.
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Postby wineo » Thu Jan 17, 2008 11:00 am

I dont use carbon anymore.I have in the past,but I feel that if you have to use carbon to clean it up,You need to change your ferment to something cleaner,then you can forget the carbon.I dont use the bicarb unless my neutrals have too much flavors,and I dont use very much of it.
I have been making vodka with a potstill,running once with a large forshot cut,and collecting to 40%,then when I have made 4 or 5 stripping runs,I potstill it a 2nd time with hard cuts,and keep only the hearts for the vodka.It seems to have a better flavor than the refluxed stuff,and blows away the commercial stuff by miles.It almost taste like water,until the end,and the flavors on the end are all pleasent.
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