my Scotch

Many like to post about a first successful ferment (or first all grain mash), or first still built/bought or first good run of the still. Tell us about all of these great times here.
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my Scotch

Postby Cristi » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:35 am

Hello everyone,

I decided to document here my first wash and all steps i took to make my peated scotch.

Wash
24KG of Heavy Peated Malted Barley.
65 L of water at 63 C and put the Barley and left it for 3 Hours , steering every 20-25 minutes.

I strained everything and put the barley back in the fermenter and I made another 35 L of water at 90 C and put it over the barley and left it for about 1 hour and strainded at 55 C

I ended up with 90L of was at 1072 SG

80g of test Safspirit M-1
I added 50 grams Calcium carbonate
I added 30 grams of Yeast nutrient Actimax Ferm.

I made a yeast started with 1L of wash , 1L of water and left it for about 8 hours until the wash cooled down to 26C.

Fermentation started almost immediately and after 24 hours i was at SG 1040, fast forward 4 days and SG is at 1004 and I can still see some bubbles forming. Should i keep steering the wash or should i leave the lees to settle on the bottom of the tank ?

While the wash is finishing fermentation i am preparing for aging so i got some European Oak and cut some peaces to 4x9x2 cm and I toasted them at 215C for 1.5 hours.
I bought a bottle of Sherry and now i am soaking the toasted oak in Sherry wine.

Will be posting when i start the Still with new pictures of the still.

Here are some pictures.
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From the left to the right i extracted 1 piece every 15 minutes
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Re: my Scotch

Postby der wo » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:51 am

Gratulations! Sounds like a success!
The layer of lees of an unboiled wort is very thick. I wouldn't use only the downest layer with the calcium carbonate and the yeast, but everything else.
Fresh oak is not the best for Malt Whisky. And a few days soaking in sherry will not change this much. So be careful with the amount. Better take less and after a few weeks or months add more. Most commercial Malt Whisky is colored. And the uncolored ones use relatively fresh oak normally (what has bad effects on taste IMO. This is why I like colored Whisky more than uncolored normally. Because the barrels of the colored ones are older probably. Ardbeg is uncolored and ugly soft and sweet, at least the part of the taste, what comes from the oak. Lagavulin and Laphroaig is colored and spicy, the natural color would be too light to sell it to the masses...). Keep this in mind. A lighter color than the commercial ones has probably the better taste.
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Re: my Scotch

Postby Cristi » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:23 pm

Actually the wood is not fresh , it had it around for at least 2 years and before that it was dried for many other years.
What i also did was to leave the wood in cold water for 2 days so i can extract the woody flavor as much as possible and then i boiled the oak for 1 hour.
I left it for for 2 days to dry outside then i toasted.
What i notice is that the wood is very light in comparation to the initial so i expect the wood to soak a lot of the sherry as it is very dry.
Actually this is why i extracted one peace every 15 minutes so to see how dry the wood will be at different times.
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Re: my Scotch

Postby der wo » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:47 am

Cristi wrote:Actually the wood is not fresh , it had it around for at least 2 years and before that it was dried for many other years.
What i also did was to leave the wood in cold water for 2 days so i can extract the woody flavor as much as possible and then i boiled the oak for 1 hour. Very good
I left it for for 2 days to dry outside then i toasted.
What i notice is that the wood is very light in comparation to the initial Yes I know. "Seasoned" and dried oak is lighter than expected so i expect the wood to soak a lot of the sherry as it is very dry.
Actually this is why i extracted one peace every 15 minutes so to see how dry the wood will be at different times. 215°C 1.5h sounds much more than I see on the pic. 215°C 1.5h sounds too dark. But on the pic also the dark pieces look ok.
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Re: my Scotch

Postby Cristi » Mon Sep 18, 2017 12:15 pm

Here are some new information from my batch. Time is not really in my favor so I am kind of slow in doing stuff and posting updates.

So the final wash went to 1004 SG.

I started the strip run yesterday so i filled the still with 50L of wash and i collected 12L , i threw away 200ml . The still started at 70 and i went to a low of 20.
I then removed the backwas and as Der Wo adviced i took the rest of the wash except the downset that was pretty thick and i think it was about 10L as i initially had 90 L so i was left with 30L in the second strip run, due to the size of the pot still i had to add some backset about 10L. I thew away 100ml and collected 7L from 70 to 30, it was pretty late so i decided to stop at 30.

Ok so i now had 19L at 39abv but the still is big 100L so i could not run it with only 19L. As i had 5L of grain run from a friend at 40abv I decided to add that also as it had no taste and I also added 8L of backwash so that is a total of 32L.

I started the still and it started pretty fast at about 60C and output was 80abv. I collected 400ml in a jar, then i collected another 1L in another Jar, then i collected 10L until 58bv when it started to smell really funny (sour, wet socks) this is when i started collecting 500ml in each jar so the first 4 jars had that smell and bad taste , then i have another 2 jars of Tails that were ok in smell and taste that i think i will add to the 10L, i collected another 3L until 20abv as faints and decided to stop.

I might have made mistakes by adding that cereal(didn't influence taste) and the backset but the still doesn't have a flat bottom, it is rounded so the heating elements don't touch the bottom so to cover the heating elements i have to add 10L of liquid. I wish i would have had more wash to supply the still with, but now i realize the still is very large for my needs, but the dude was selling this size or bigger so i didn't really have an option.

Now i want to add the oak blocks i prepared in a 15L glass jar and forget about it for some time.

Now my question is, should i also add that first 1L that i collected at first? should i add more from tales except those last 2 jars that smell ok?
Any questions /recommendation ?

Regards
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Re: my Scotch

Postby Cristi » Mon Sep 18, 2017 12:31 pm

Here are some pictures of the still and control panel. I added the PID just because i already bought it so it's added as a Fail switch(MAX threshold).
The rest is what i was able to build , i don't have welding skills so i had to ask someone to make the pieces to add the heating elements, temp sensor and the liebig condenser.

The condenser had a cooper pipe of 22mm of 120 cm that is covered in a 60mm of 70cm that i run with tap water(not really tap as it is extracted from the ground so not drinkable).

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The still running
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I will have to arrange the place as this was the only place i had water available.

I am not sure when i will be able to do another run as this at my father's work and i can only come here once every 1-2 months when i have some time but will update my topic when i have some new information and will still be on the forum to gather/share knowledge .

Regards
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Re: my Scotch

Postby der wo » Mon Sep 18, 2017 12:52 pm

Thanks for the update.
I have a few things for you to think about, before you start the next project:

You collected from 90l wash 19l low wines. I would have collected 30-35l. Just like the Scots do. They all collect down to 0%abv. You have lost much taste here, which you only get there.

In general you should calculate what works for your equipment. For example calculate how many liters of low wines you need for a spirit run. And then calculate how many liters wash you need for this project. If then all in all it sounds like a problem for you, then think about other equipment (a smaller boiler for example).
Also that you filled the still at first with 50l and then you had left only 30l, not enough for the second run, is a sign for bad preparation.

"it started pretty fast" No good. This smears fores. Either you will have fores in the hearts or you have the best hearts in the fores container. Be aware next time, that a spirit run starts much faster than a stripping run. You have to use much less heat.

Normally the 400ml should be enough fores. The 1l is ok probably. But I cannot decide for you.
When it starts that you smell tails, it is too late in my experience. Next day with a virgin nose you would recognize this smell much earlier, if you had collected everything in small jars in a role. 58% sounds late, but not incredible late. So I wouldn't use the jars after that probably. The last jars, I don't know, I have never tried to use them. It's one of the things I didn't try out up to now unfortunately.

The angle of the liebig looks very horizontal IMO.
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Re: my Scotch

Postby Cristi » Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:38 pm

Lesson learned about going down to 0%. Will keep this i mind.
I did collect in separate jars so i also have the jar before the smell started that i will sniff today and see how it is.
I will try to lower the tip of the liebig as much as possible.

Thank you
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Re: my Scotch

Postby NZDamon » Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:50 pm

If I recall correctly, somewhere in the original thread for Jimbo's AG single malt recipe, it is said that the peated character comes through in the late tails. Certainly Jimbo himself suggests that using some tails is key to a good scotch - although it smells/tastes unpleasant, he says it ages out nicely with oak and makes for a more complex whisky. So might be worth checking that out and using some of those tails.

Jimbo also suggests that a little of the late heads adds a bit of character to the sccotch - but if your 1L was collected fast and is a smear of fores/heads, might be worth keeping it separate and re-running it in a feints run? Just a thought.
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