Rerunning Feints

Distillation methods and improvements.

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Rerunning Feints

Post by NewGuy » Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:05 pm

Hey all,
I have read about saving the heads and tails to rerun as an all feints run, question is, once a head is a head, is it always a head, or will it remix with the rest, so that there will be heads and hearts and tails, like a normal run?
Is the ethanol locked in to the original azeotrope, or can they be moved? For that matter, when are the indiviual azeotrpoes created, during fermantaion, or distilling?
If you have a gallon of what you cut as heads, and you rerun it, are you just trying to get cleaner cuts and squeeze out some hearts that might have gotten past, or will the alcohol have remixed in the feints jar, to make another full heads, hearts, and tails mixture to be cut again?

-Thanks

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by Bushman » Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:22 pm

Great questions, I am commenting not with an answer but so I can go to my posts and find the answer to your questions. I have not rerun my tails and heads but am thinking about it for my next run. I have some neutrals that I used turbo yeast on before learning right from wrong. Wondering if I throw those back in if they would ruin my current birdwatchers run?
Last edited by Bushman on Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by Barney Fife » Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:28 pm

There's plenty of good ethanol mixed-in with the heads and tails. The "trick" is to save up enough of these to have a good size charge in your still. Then it's just a matter of running it as usual and making good cuts. You'll see the heads come out first, then hearts, then tails, same as usual. You can now keep these and save them up along with the next 5-10 wash's worth of heads and tails, then run them all again. Eventually, you'll have so much compressed crap that you wil want to just toss the whole of it, but that takes a long while. Meantime, just keep squeezin' the good stuff out!

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by MuleKicker » Mon Dec 13, 2010 7:04 pm

The 'all feints run' is supposed to make the best likker. lotsa flavor tied up in there.
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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by Ayay » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:34 am

Are'nt feints the result of a strippin run where everything is collected without makin cuts?

After takin out the hearts, more hearts can be squeezed out of the heads and tails in a second distillation, but it depends on how well the first distillation went. If the first distillation was a slow and careful reflux then the early heads will be pure heads, and the late tails will be pure stinky. The early heads go into the fuel container and late tails are thrown (if we bothered to collect them). Dilute what's left (late heads and early tails) to 30% and run them again same as before for more hearts, but much less flavour.

If the first distillation is fast and flavourful then there will be more to be got out of a second distillation of all the heads and tails from the first run.
cornflakes...stripped and refluxed

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by Barney Fife » Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:32 am

Are'nt feints the result of a strippin run where everything is collected without makin cuts?

That would be the "low wines".

Very technical terms, these. ;)

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by Usge » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:34 am

I'm going to offer an opposing view: Running feints will increase your yield. But, in my experience it also tends to concentrate the "bad" stuff even more. You "might" end up with more flavor...(which you would not want if trying to make neutral, ie., a fractioning still), and if you are running a potstill..it's going to smear the heads/tails somewhat as per usual. The difference is..those heads and tails are more concentrated. So, you "might" end up with a more flavorful end product. Or you might end up with a batch of the worst stinging/burning stuff you ever tasted.

I had a stretch where I just could NOT get the harshness out of my product. I experimented with everything, starting with yeast, ferment, temps, etc. I finally did a single run..(slow) and realized the distillate was "quite" smooth and did not have that sting. I then tasted my low-wines made from fast running my wash...and although I could definitely taste more flavors (from the fast run), it was also dead smooth. So, I asked...what then...could be making it pick up prickly stabbing heat/stinging? It was the feints I was running. I had been recycling those feints for a long time. I just always kept the rejects from my cuts in a jug, and added it to next spirit run. So, I dumped them. Sting gone. I was then able to recycle some of my feints and it didn't make it too harsh. BUT...if I kept recycling the same feints...(ie., from that run, to the next), it would eventually get nasty and would make anything you put in it sting like the dickens.

There are many here with much more experience than I have, who might have more input on this.....but the sum of my experience thus far has been....don't mindlessly do things (like recycle feints) out of habit. And If you use feints in a spirit run, don't recycle the feints from "that" run to subsequent runs. That runs counter to what is general consensus. But, that's been my experience so far. The more times you run them, the worse they are going to get. (as opposed to the more times you run them...the better they get). What I can't say is "why" my experience is different. As I said, perhaps others might be able to shed more light on it.

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by ammocrypta » Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:16 pm

That makes sense to Usge. However, the best Scotch in the world is made with feints added back continuously. Seems like a paradox...

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by Usge » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:49 pm

I reckon putting it in a barrel for 5, 10 years (or more) helps a little :ewink:

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by blind drunk » Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:05 pm

Usge wrote:I'm going to offer an opposing view: Running feints will increase your yield. But, in my experience it also tends to concentrate the "bad" stuff even more. You "might" end up with more flavor...(which you would not want if trying to make neutral, ie., a fractioning still), and if you are running a potstill..it's going to smear the heads/tails somewhat as per usual. The difference is..those heads and tails are more concentrated. So, you "might" end up with a more flavorful end product. Or you might end up with a batch of the worst stinging/burning stuff you ever tasted.

I had a stretch where I just could NOT get the harshness out of my product. I experimented with everything, starting with yeast, ferment, temps, etc. I finally did a single run..(slow) and realized the distillate was "quite" smooth and did not have that sting. I then tasted my low-wines made from fast running my wash...and although I could definitely taste more flavors (from the fast run), it was also dead smooth. So, I asked...what then...could be making it pick up prickly stabbing heat/stinging? It was the feints I was running. I had been recycling those feints for a long time. I just always kept the rejects from my cuts in a jug, and added it to next spirit run. So, I dumped them. Sting gone. I was then able to recycle some of my feints and it didn't make it too harsh. BUT...if I kept recycling the same feints...(ie., from that run, to the next), it would eventually get nasty and would make anything you put in it sting like the dickens.

There are many here with much more experience than I have, who might have more input on this.....but the sum of my experience thus far has been....don't mindlessly do things (like recycle feints) out of habit. And If you use feints in a spirit run, don't recycle the feints from "that" run to subsequent runs. That runs counter to what is general consensus. But, that's been my experience so far. The more times you run them, the worse they are going to get. (as opposed to the more times you run them...the better they get). What I can't say is "why" my experience is different. As I said, perhaps others might be able to shed more light on it.

I knew I'd find the answer to my current situation if I searched around. I just ruined a perfectly good batch of tasty all grain by adding the "sting." Sure creeps up on you, don't it? The flavor in really amazing except for the stinging. Wtf? Too bad there isn't a reset button.

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by Dnderhead » Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:31 pm

" I just always kept the rejects from my cuts in a jug, and added it to next spirit run.'
feints are tales not heads . and they go into the stripping run not the spirits run.

(pronounced “Faints”) a name given to the last portion of spirits that runs from a still as the distillation of a batch nears completion. Feints are normally turned back into the still for redistillation. Feints are also, and more generally referred to as tails

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by blind drunk » Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:11 pm

I was wondering about that too. So are the tails ok to infinitely recycle? I usually have a jug of each and just combine each time. It would be real easy to keep them separate. I think I should go back to my old way and do multiple strips and then a spirit run with a couple of gallons of fresh wash and maybe just a gallon of feints. Distill and learn 8)

Ed - just to say that I've had alot of success with the constant recycling, except this last time. The flavor was boundless and so was the sting.
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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by Dnderhead » Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:20 pm

feints go into the proceeding run,so they are re distilled.
wash still,collect everything that comes off down toX.
intermediate (if distilling 3 times) distill and make cuts ,discard heads ,save tales (these go back into wash still,)
spirits run,,making cuts, discard heads, save harts,, distill off tales, (these go into low wines.)

if distilling twice,,,,collect down to X,,
spirits run) remove heads and discard,,save harts,,distill off tales and add these back to wash still.


I used to run once a week for 6 months doing this,with no complaints..remember feints
goes into the one proceeding run,,,,NOT THE NEXT..

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by blind drunk » Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:13 pm

So -

1) strip a beer mash
2) set aside the low wines for the next spirit run
3) do a spirit run, which includes all of the low wines from above, separate the heads, keep the hearts and set aside tails for next strip run
4) strip a beer mash with the tails from step 3 and set aside the low wines for the next spirit run
5) do a spirit run, which includes all of the low wines from above, separate the heads, keep the hearts and set aside the tails for next strip run

Is this right? That's what I used to do but I used to recycle the heads too. That's why I got into trouble this last time. I was experimenting ... I guess. I was diluting all of the low wines and the heads and tails with the new beer mash and running it as a "single" run. So, next up I'll modify and add some beer mash to my spirit run, which includes the low wines plus the previous tails but not the heads.

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by Dnderhead » Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:34 pm

i believe you got it, after you have done so much it becomes like a habit and not even thank about it.when you do, it even confuses your self.. :?

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by Usge » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:39 am

Thanks for stepping in Dunder. Yes, just to confirm, my understanding has always been "feints" was head/tails mixed that was left over from what you didn't keep as hearts. And, that these were recycled during "spirit" run. Read that plenty of times from other places as well. First time I ever saw different was reading Golden Ponds procedure which was pretty much as you listed above...ie., feints were anything from X proof down (ie., tails). And were recycled into next "strip" run...not spirit run.

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by Dnderhead » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:23 am

there are much confusing statements out there.most are from reporters that are doing an article on brand X. if they git a good story they are good to go, if right or wrong.
heads like fore shots contain the lower alcohols. these you do not want. many of the distillers
take fores and heads off all together. this is sold for fuel or denatured alcohol. if you go to a technical site on distilling you will see no distinction between fore shots and heads.(both words are interchanged)

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by wildrover » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:25 am

blind drunk wrote:So -

1) strip a beer mash
2) set aside the low wines for the next spirit run
3) do a spirit run, which includes all of the low wines from above, separate the heads, keep the hearts and set aside tails for next strip run
4) strip a beer mash with the tails from step 3 and set aside the low wines for the next spirit run
5) do a spirit run, which includes all of the low wines from above, separate the heads, keep the hearts and set aside the tails for next strip run

Is this right? That's what I used to do but I used to recycle the heads too. That's why I got into trouble this last time. I was experimenting ... I guess. I was diluting all of the low wines and the heads and tails with the new beer mash and running it as a "single" run. So, next up I'll modify and add some beer mash to my spirit run, which includes the low wines plus the previous tails but not the heads.

:crazy:
Wow, this is new to me. I always figured people kept the heads, but I was also aware it'd build up over time. I can see how people want to keep the heads though because there's so much ethanol in it. What if one did the process above, but saved the heads for an all "heads" run later on as not to waste them? Would that be worth the effort?

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by Bushman » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:27 am

Usge wrote:Thanks for stepping in Dunder. Yes, just to confirm, my understanding has always been "feints" was head/tails mixed that was left over from what you didn't keep as hearts. And, that these were recycled during "spirit" run. Read that plenty of times from other places as well. First time I ever saw different was reading Golden Ponds procedure which was pretty much as you listed above...ie., feints were anything from X proof down (ie., tails). And were recycled into next "strip" run...not spirit run.
This is exactly what I have read until I saw Dunder's post. Knowing his expertise I started googling it and found the same information to confirm what he is saying. I have always re-run the heads/tails in my next run. My question is you are talking about a pot still so if I'm running a reflux do I throw just the tails back into the run and use the heads for some type of fuel say for the lawn mower?

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by Dnderhead » Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:30 am

yes a pot still,making flavord spirits. you could try rerunning heads with a reflux.
but my understanding if done right all or most lower alcohols should have been taking
off in for shots?

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by Usge » Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:35 am

Dnderhead wrote:there are much confusing statements out there.most are from reporters that are doing an article on brand X. if they git a good story they are good to go, if right or wrong.
heads like fore shots contain the lower alcohols. these you do not want. many of the distillers
take fores and heads off all together. this is sold for fuel or denatured alcohol. if you go to a technical site on distilling you will see no distinction between fore shots and heads.(both words are interchanged)
And I thank you again Dnder for adding clarity to this! :)

I really can't remember exactly where I came upon the idea that heads/tails = feints. I just know that's always been how I understood it since I've been here, and that they were commonly supposed to be added to "spirit" run (ie., to low-wines). And like you said...I just did it by habit after that never really thought about it till I started trying to trace out that "hot" taste in my distillate and quickly realized it wasn't the equipment (still) doing it. I finally figured out it got worse everytime I added "feints" (meaning my understanding of it being heads/tails from previous spirit run...or what didn't make the cut). When I used less (or none) of that...things usually got better. Guess it was recycled heads that was the causin of it all. Still got to work more on my recipe/mash though :)

Thanks again Dnder. You da man!

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by blind drunk » Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:40 am

Dnderhead wrote:i believe you got it, after you have done so much it becomes like a habit and not even thank about it.when you do, it even confuses your self.. :?
Thank you for you help Dnderhead. This reminds me a bit like when I was learning how to keep a sourdough culture going. Used to trip up now and again and now it's second nature. So much so, I don't think I could actually explain it :shock: But you can and did :thumbup:

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Last edited by blind drunk on Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by Bushman » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:02 am

Dnderhead wrote:yes a pot still,making flavord spirits. you could try rerunning heads with a reflux.
but my understanding if done right all or most lower alcohols should have been taking
off in for shots?
Yes, the last two runs I have run both heads and tails calling them feints. In a 10-1/2 gallon birdwatchers recipe I have been throwing out about 250 ml of foreshot and combining the heads/tails calling them feints as has usge. I will keep them separate and see what the difference is by just reusing the tails.

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by boda getta » Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:37 pm

This is a great thread; I have been confused since I started this board by some posters using feints to describe tails only while others seemed to use low wine and feints interchangeably. I have read some posters who seem to do the same with fore-shots and heads.
I am still in my usual state of confusion (as my son said once when he was small, "I just keep getting confuser and confuser") on a few points. NOTE: These questions relate only to pot stills.

Are spirit runs made ONLY with the hearts from the stripping runs. I have read on many many post to run stripping runs fast and hard, without making any cuts. Some of this thread seems to contradict this. I have about six gals of low wines (including heads and tails) ready to do a spirit run as soon as I do three 5 gal stripping runs of 3rd. gen UJSSM. I'm not sure now how to do the stripping runs. Run fast and hard or try to cut out hearts for the sprit run and tails for the next stripping run. Further complicated by the fact I do usually do two 5 gal stripping runs back to back; I will not have time to do the overnight airing, diluting, taste, ect in order to make proper cuts of the first stripping runs.

Are the heads always discarded, same as fore-shots?
Use feints (tails) either from stripping runs or spirit runs only added back to future stripping runs only?

Sorry if I have complicated something simple for the old timers; I'm just trying to understand.

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by blind drunk » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:40 pm

I have about six gals of low wines (including heads and tails) ready to do a spirit run as soon as I do three 5 gal stripping runs of 3rd. gen UJSSM.
Finish all of your stripping runs, fast and hard. Then charge your boiler with all of the low wines (I'm assuming they fit with adequate head space), making sure they are 40% or less.

Do your spirit run, making your cuts. Keep your hearts for drinking or aging, your tails for your NEXT strip run and the fores/heads you "toss." This would be the simplest approach. Other variables can apply.

Then you start again with the stripping (including the tails from your last spirit run) ... Point being to get the fores/heads out of the recycling.
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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by blind drunk » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:51 pm

Here's what Springbank does -
spingbank.jpg
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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by Dnderhead » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:30 pm

it really dont make sense to me they remove heads then put them back in?

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by blind drunk » Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:59 pm

They do a 2.5 distillation. I found about it while the Google was on -

Personally, I find it quite confusing and I'm gonna stick to what you recommend. Thought it interesting fodder, if nothing else. I plan on staying away from the fore/heads after my last bad experience :mrgreen:

Wikipedia -
A third method is unique to the Springbank distillery's 'Springbank' brand, which is distilled "two-and-a-half-times".[13] This is achieved by distilling half the low wine (1st distillation) for a second time, adding the two halves together and then distilling the complete volume a final time.
Distilling whisky two and a half times is quite unusual, as it means that during the distillation process some of the low wines are collected before the second distillation, and then mixed back into the feints for another distillation. This means that some parts of the spirit has been through distillation twice and some parts three times. The spirit is then aged in ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks, although Springbank is experimenting with rum casks as well.
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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by kiwistiller » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:13 pm

Gotta chime in here and say that the best aged spirit I've ever made is an all feints (including heads, but not foreshots) rum. It's about 3 years old now, give or take, and going great. Still on oak in glass, aired regulary. After a year I added a touch more oak, charred, after two batches of UJSM had been aged on it. I got a slightly narrower heads cut IIRC, a lot more flavour in the white, and it's much more complex than the standard rum from the same batch. I still have a bit of the standard stuff on oak as well, although most of it is bottled so not fair to compare to. One of the pluses of compulsively keeping bits of good batches as library stock is that you can go back and refer to experiments like this... I only have about 6L of the feints rum @ oaking proof though, which makes me a bit said. I think I might bottle a litre of it this year, though I'm afraid of it all vanishing once I start on it. I'd like for some if it to turn 6 I think.

Edit, nope, looked at a calander, 2 and a half.
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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by blind drunk » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:52 pm

Gotta chime in here and say that the best aged spirit I've ever made is an all feints (including heads, but not foreshots) rum
.

Hey Kiwi, how did it taste before the aging process? Did it have a sting? How many generations of recycled heads?

My second to last run was pretty awesome, full grainy/fruity middle and smooth. I thought I was on a roll - lots of heads and tails, some low wines and fresh wash. That was the magic, I thought. Then, same technique, dilution etc and the run was a bust. I couldn't figure out where the middle was. I thought I lost my touch :roll: Too much smearing without any decent middle. I aired it for 3-7 days (some is still airing - hope springs eternal and all of that) but the heat sting only increased with time. That's what got me thinking something's wrong. Led me here :)

Also, wonder if it's different with rum? Dunno. Cheers.
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