First screw-up

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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First screw-up

Postby Canuckwoods » Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:42 am

Yes, I'm a newbie.
First, two batches went well.
My third sugar wash mixed 8lbs sugar a cup of molasses, added a tsp yeast nutrient and a package of yeast. As we were going on vacation for a week I thought a perfect time to run a batch as when we got back it should be fine. No, I did not take the gravity before pitching the yeast. I checked on it right before we left and it was bubbling along fine, got back Wednesday and I was getting a consistent bubble every ten seconds or so. Saturday it had almost stopped, siphoned into the pot put the lid on and the Boka and started the heat. After a 30-minute reflux took the first 250ml and tossed. I was getting 90% into the parrot and then the column temp started to climb and the % dropped. after getting only a pint. I tried everything went back to full reflux to try to get the column down turned off the heat etc. Then I had a realization maybe the fermentation was not done. I let everything cool down put the wort back into the carboy and went to bed. Tested it in the morning and sure enough, the gravity was still showing 20% potential alcohol. I added more yeast nutrient and pitched another packet of yeast last evening, unfortunately, nothing this morning. The basement is about 68-72 degrees. I'm thinking it was too cold for the little yeasties to do their thing. any other thoughts on how to fix.
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Re: First screw-up

Postby bilgriss » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:19 am

Warm it, or pitch a beer yeast tolerant of low temperatures (US05 loves 68 degrees). Furthermore, after boiling, you've totally removed all oxygen and after removing some of the the liquid with your still, probably lowered pH. I'd probably pour it between containers a few times to introduce some air, and add a little pH buffer.

To offer a little more unasked for advice, you might want to start off with a more tried and true recipe (from the 'tried and true' section of the forum). Your recipe and procedure don't sound like a direct path to success. Everything you are describing has been covered many times here on the forum, and we generally encourage people to read, read, and read some more. There's so much to learn here, and you'll be happy you did, and end up with a better product.
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Re: First screw-up

Postby NZChris » Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:10 pm

Not many yeasts will be happy in a wash at 20% potential alcohol, so fix that.

A lot of rum wash goes into amateur and professional boilers at 8% abv for good reasons, like quick ferments and good flavor.
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Re: First screw-up

Postby Oldvine Zin » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:21 pm

Canuckwoods wrote: No, I did not take the gravity before pitching the yeast. I checked on it right before we left and it was bubbling along fine, .

Problem #1 ???

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Re: First screw-up

Postby jb-texshine » Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:17 am

Split in to two fermenter and top off with water,check ph,and heat it.repitch yeast and it should be great
Remember not to blow yourself up,you only get to forget once!


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Re: First screw-up

Postby Canuckwoods » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:12 am

While I may be new to distilling I have been making Beer, wine, mead, and maple wine for almost 30 years. I use Lalvin 1118 yeast which is tolerant to high alcohol so the OG is not the problem. The problem was not knowing if the fermentation had stopped but assumed it had due to activity. It seems while we were away the temperatures had dropped and the house heat was not on, the cool basement was a cold basement, and fermentation had slowed. with the heat on everything is bubbling away nicely now.
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Re: First screw-up

Postby Saltbush Bill » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:19 am

Canuckwoods wrote:While I may be new to distilling I have been making Beer, wine, mead, and maple wine for almost 30 years.

Canuckwoods wrote: the gravity was still showing 20% potential alcohol.
Canuckwoods wrote:I use Lalvin 1118 yeast which is tolerant to high alcohol so the OG is not the problem.

Sorry to say but we aint making any of those here.
Your not making beer or wine now , High ABV wash will make shit booze every time.
You need to re adjust your ideas for distilling.
Stay below 11-12% and you will do a lot better.
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Re: First screw-up

Postby jb-texshine » Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:14 am

Saltbush Bill wrote:
Canuckwoods wrote:While I may be new to distilling I have been making Beer, wine, mead, and maple wine for almost 30 years.

Canuckwoods wrote: the gravity was still showing 20% potential alcohol.
Canuckwoods wrote:I use Lalvin 1118 yeast which is tolerant to high alcohol so the OG is not the problem.

Sorry to say but we aint making any of those here.
Your not making beer or wine now , High ABV wash will make shit booze every time.
You need to re adjust your ideas for distilling.
Stay below 11-12% and you will do a lot better.

Not to mention that not pushing the yeast to the max alcohol tolerance results in faster ferment even with slower yeast like1118
Remember not to blow yourself up,you only get to forget once!


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Never eat Mexican food north or east of Dallas tx!
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