Distilling Advice

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Distilling Advice

Postby Tater » Wed Apr 23, 2008 3:59 pm

This has been posted on forum a few times before Uncle Jessie was last to post it.Fourway was first I saw post it back on old forum. but it so reverent I'm putting a sticky on it.--------------I thought this info might be useful to you, It is one of the most important pieces of info that I have gotten from this site, It might sound weird at first, but I can tell you, I no longer use a hydrometer at all. Anyway, this was given to me when i first started this hobby...
"just go by what's coming out.
you smell it.
you put it in a spoon and burn it.
you drip it on a plate and burn it.
you taste it.
you rub it on your hands and smell it.
you rub it on your hands and feel it.
you put it in a little vial or bottle and shake it and look at the bubbles."

"as long as it lights easily in a spoon it's over 100 proof.
When it won't light in a spoon but will light on a plate it's under 100 proof but over 75 or so.
If it burns clear and blue and steady with a flame you can't see in sunlight it's very pure.
If it burns with a yellow "beard" it's got some fusils and impurities... the bigger the beard the more off it is."
"See how much liquid is left in the spoon after the burning stops."

"Taste your output, compare it to the taste of the liquid left in the spoon after burning.
Tasting isn't very accurate for strength (and it gets less and less accurate the more you do it) but it is the most accurate test of how your stuff actually tastes (imagine that)."

"Catch some of the output and rub it between and all over your hands.
Move your hands from arms length toward your face, see how close you have to get to smell it.
Feel how fast it evaporates.
Feel when you rub it between your hands whether it feels oily or slippery (like soap) or scrunchy. "

"Learn to recognize how those feelings correspond to smell and taste and to how it burns."

"Put an half an ounce to an ounce of your output in a small glass bottle or vial with a tight fitting cap and give it a vigorous shake.
Look at the bubbles that form briefly along the edge of the liquid in a string like beads. (READING THE BEAD)
bigger more uniform bubbles happen at higher proof and it will stop "beading" altogether as you start to drop below 100 proof. "

"Do all these things at regular intervals every time you run.
Pay attention to how these sensory tests correspond to one another at different points in the run."

"Don't expect to understand exactly what you are seeing and smelling and tasting and feeling the first several times you do it.
Remember that you are training your senses as much as you are learning an intellectual set of tests... the senses learn through consistency and repetition."

"Just keep doing it, consider it an integral part of your process even if at first you can't tell what good it's doing."

"It will all come together. There are people who can nail proof within two or three points by rubbing the liquor between their hands. The only thing they've got that you don't is experience... and if you don't do the tests whether you "get" them or not you'll never gain the experience. "

Once you senses are trained to tell proof, purity, etc... then this dilution calculator might help.
http://homedistiller.org/calcs/dilute

I hope this helps you out a bit.



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Re: Distilling Advice

Postby Tater » Fri May 02, 2008 8:35 pm

trthskr4 wrote:Tater, I notice that when it burns in the spoon that it starts off pure and blue, then it forms a ring of liquid around the outside of the spoon seperate from the center pool. When it forms this ring it begins to burn with a yellow tip, very small at first but as it burns all the way down the yellow "beard" at the tip of the flame gets larger and brighter. What should this tell me?

After the spoon cools, only took one try to remember to let the damn spoon cool, the leftover has a very very slight tails flavor and other wise drinkable. This is at 69% abv by hydrometer and 1/2 gallon into 5 gallon wash and 1 gallon tails run.
Looks like you mostly answered your own question.Pure and blue is a good description of way high proof ethanol burns off as temp increases to make rest of burn off that is lower proof and not as clean
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Re: Distilling Advice

Postby blanikdog » Tue May 13, 2008 8:31 pm

tater wrote: ... "Put an half an ounce to an ounce of your output in a small glass bottle or vial with a tight fitting cap and give it a vigorous shake. Look at the bubbles that form briefly along the edge of the liquid in a string like beads. (READING THE BEAD)
bigger more uniform bubbles happen at higher proof and it will stop "beading" altogether as you start to drop below 100 proof. "



A great post, tater. I've been doing this since I first heard of it - I think it was goose who mentioned it - and it works. I only use a hydrometer to see how clever I am at judging the bead these days. :)

I feel vindicated after saying in the yahoo forum many, many months ago that one doesn't really need a hydrometer to check abv. I got myself into a lot of trouble from one or two contributors for saying such a thing. :lol: :lol:

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Re: Distilling Advice

Postby Pikluk » Sun May 18, 2008 7:02 am

one of the good advise i got here"got so many :)", sorry can remember who it was, but its a good one.

DON'T BE GREEDY !!!

i run a reflux column on spirit run i put in 3gallons at about 50%, first and last liter go back in next batch.
even if i would trow those out would still be cheep booze,cheep quality booze :).

i use to be a dry gin fan because most of the vodka"those in acceptable price range" smell to me like rubbing alcohol.
now for a fraction of the price i make a nice non smelling rubbing alcohol vodka.the hell with gin :P

anyway just dont be greedy it doesnt pay.make your cut right or just like me go overkill till you get the hang of it.i still dont have the hang of it but vodka is easy when you have the right hardware.
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Re: Distilling Advice

Postby Glock19Fan » Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:52 pm

I have a question about the "beading" test.

In my experience, smoother, typically lower proof alcohols seem to have the larger, longer lasting beads, while the higher proof stuff seems to have more numerous, smaller beads that only last a couple of seconds.

Does anyone know why I get different results?

Like shaking everclear. You get lots of tiny bubbles that last for just a couple of seconds.

I always thought the larger bubbles came from water?
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Re: Distilling Advice

Postby Hack » Sun Jun 14, 2009 4:05 pm

tater wrote:
Hack wrote:I seem to get larger bubbles that stay longer when I include more tails in my hooch. How big the bubbles are and how long they stay is no indicator of proof.
Works for me Only way i had to tell proof for long time was the bead.Worked for all the old timers I ever knew as well. .


For me, I read the bead by how much of the bubble is above the top and how much is below. So it's helpful if the bubbles are large and they stick around. Half above and half below seems to be pretty close to 100. I've had stuff where I made really tight heads and tails cuts where the bubbles didn't stick around at all, but the hydrometer indicated 140 proof. Now that I'm learning what I like, I'm leaving a bit more tails in when I make cuts which makes for bigger bubbles that stick around longer.
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