Lots of tails - fermentation question

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roxtar
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Lots of tails - fermentation question

Post by roxtar » Mon Jun 07, 2010 8:28 pm

I'm making an all grain neutral (vodka). Here are the details:

5 gallon batch
O.G. was 1.052
F.G. was 1.003

Calculated ABV to be 6.2 %.

When making my cuts, I discarded the first 50 mL (foreshots).

The next 250 mL seemed pretty clean (probably some heads though.

Then right after that I collected over 1 L of tails. The temp of my column reflux still went up to 185F.

My question is why would I collect so much tails? My thought is that I used Lalvin 71b-1122 yeast and fermented over 80F. The thermometer on my fermentation bucket only goes up to 80 so I'm not sure how much higher it went. The recommended temperature range is 59F - 86F. Could my higher fermentation temperature have created a lot more fusel oils, thus resulting in a lot more tails?

What do you guys do, use higher temperature yeasts or try and keep fermentation temperatures lower? Also please answer why I would get so much tails.

Thanks! :econfused:

kiwistiller
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Re: Lots of tails - fermentation question

Post by kiwistiller » Mon Jun 07, 2010 8:38 pm

High temps could cause more nasties to be produced, but I wouldn't have thought it to be that much. Could you post a pic of your rig?
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blanikdog
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Re: Lots of tails - fermentation question

Post by blanikdog » Mon Jun 07, 2010 9:11 pm

Same thing happened to me just recently with a low abv fruit wash. Dunno why, but I suspect it was a result of the low abv.

As the distillate is concentrated and coming out at a high abv you get all the good stuff early and the rest are tails. Perhaps someone else can help us both, but no more low abv for me. Ten is the lowest I would consider. :)

blanik
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Ayay
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Re: Lots of tails - fermentation question

Post by Ayay » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:17 am

It can be in the stilling and not the brewing. Kiwi do you mean high temps in the brewing or the stillin? I think both apply!

Fast stillin (high heat) is like a stripping run where the heads hearts and tails overlap each other. Slow stilling means low heat specially in the first stages to get the heads off, then a little faster for the hearts but not too fast because the tails will come over with the hearts. When the hearts are all out then tails come out and if you keep going you will get just water. Heads hearts and tails allways overlap each other and it takes practise to keep the overlaps as small as possible. This basic principle works with both pot and reflux stills but each still is controlled differently.
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kiwistiller
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Re: Lots of tails - fermentation question

Post by kiwistiller » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:57 pm

I was meaning brewing, but agree with everything you say RE stilling as well. Hoping a pic of the rig will make things clearer, but I suspect you are right and too much heat was applied.
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toofless one
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Re: Lots of tails - fermentation question

Post by toofless one » Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:57 am

Did we determine a cause for this?

I had a similar problem over the summer. This batch sat for a couple weeks, undisturbed, after fermentation completed. I have never let a batch sit that long after completion. when I ran it, it was harsh tasting and had LOTS of tails. I live in a cold region and it was my first"hot" weather fermentation. went faster than usual, higher temp than usual... I wonder if you are on to something with this higher temp thing.


damn that batch was ass-awful. embarrasing to share at the Ted Nugent concert. :oops:
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father william
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Re: Lots of tails - fermentation question

Post by father william » Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:34 pm

I've been spending more time lately poking around the homebrew sites and forums, trying to better understand how to best treat barley. One thing I've seen in more than one place is that the best homebrewers are pretty dedicated to fermenting at the low end of the temperature range of any given yeast, rather than the high end.

According to them, more fusel oil/congeners/esthers are produced at a high temperature ferment than a low one. Yes, it's faster hot, but there's a price to pay. The yeast is happier with a slower, lower temp ferment so the end result is cleaner.

Since the beer guys don't distill and cannot make cuts, any congeners they produce will end up in the final product. I've seen descriptions like 'beer tasted like bananas' and 'beer tasted like Juicy Fruit chewing gum' from the people who fermented at too high a temp. If you have trouble getting sugar washes to ferment all the way to the end, biting your tongue and running them hot, then paying extra attention to the cuts might be the best alternative. For an all grain run, a lower temp makes some sense.
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