Rerunning Feints

Distillation methods and improvements.

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casper the Irish
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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by casper the Irish » Wed Mar 01, 2017 8:06 am

Hound Dog wrote:I am a firm believer in saving all heads and tails now for a later date and not just mixing into the next batch. The all feints runs are great.
That sounds like an Irish cocktail, HD
A shot or two whiskey, with brandy, vodka, dash of OJ added to rum.

I am finding promising results with refluxed spirit runs. I know folks here think reflux is too pure for whiskey, but on the whole pure ethanol hearts are so weak in flavours anyway. Flavour lies in the feints. So potstill or boka for mixing or smearing if you prefer.
I think if I keep adding feints to the low wines their strong taste will swell up and push their wicked way into my pure hearts.
Last edited by casper the Irish on Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by der wo » Wed Mar 01, 2017 8:17 am

I am 100% your opinion, casper. But unfortunately I always want to make something different, now a Bourbon, then a pear brandy, then a rum, then a raspberry Geist, then a peated Malt... With this system I would have standing all around different bottles of feints without knowing if I will use them ever. So I prefer to make an all feints run like Hound Dog. Sometimes I have enough grain feints, then I make a vodka. But mostly I turn everything into a neutral (also using carbon for it) for vapor infusions and macerations.
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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by casper the Irish » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:06 pm

A carbon filter column perhaps, To clean up feints for a neutral, have you tried Sodium Carbonate, washing soda + potassium permanganate?
When I mix my feints, grain with rum or fruits, I dose with bicarbonate or washing soda for weeks or more till it's full, then treat briefly with pot Perm. Tastes clean and dandy enough to add into my wheat vodka low wines receiver.

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by der wo » Thu Mar 02, 2017 1:21 am

Yes, I am using a carbon pipe and sodium hydroxide for making neutral. Not for making vodka.
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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by casper the Irish » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:09 pm

der wo wrote:Yes, I am using a carbon pipe and sodium hydroxide for making neutral. Not for making vodka.
What is neutral, not vodka? What is the difference?

I meant that all my discarded feints when treated were good to add to my vodka low wines. But in future I will be running all my feints back through the spirit run. Except for rum strong tails, not without pre-treatment at least to prevent a build up of fusels.

Do you ever get blue alcohol by using un-buffered hydroxide? I think it's tricky using lye to balance measured acid and avoid raising pH too near neutral. Calcium or Sodium carbonate will produce sufficient buffered hydroxyl anions to raise the ethanol.
Also, since this is an equilibrium reaction, I leave it in my low wines for weeks before treating the feints with potassium permanganate

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by der wo » Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:09 am

For me neutral is a tasteless spirit I use for vapor infusion and maceration. And vodka is a clean almost tasteless spirit for drinking it like it is.

When using 1g/l sodium hydroxide on feints the pH is 11. With 2g/l it's 12. The blue distillate problem occurs only if you treat mashes or washes with pH risers, not feints or low wines.
I like the hydroxide because it's way better soluble than washing or baking soda and it has a greater effect with much smaller amounts.
I never experimented with potassium permanganate.
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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by liqrlkr » Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:04 am

Good Morning, I haven't posted in quite a while but read this forum every day. My first run of NChooch's bourbon came out amazingly great and I have run several more and am waiting for them to get ready to sip on. I have tried not to ask many questions but I want to try something with my next run of Bourbon but don't want to ruin it. I have several quarts of heads and tails I have saved up and wondered if I could add them to my next run of NChooch's. I have read about running the feints at 40% or less by themselves but thought it would be alright to add them to my next run. Also I have run the recipe after a five day ferment and after two weeks and find I get a higher proof with the two week old ferment. How long to you let your AG's ferment. I have run a couple of sugar heads and did the Welchs frozen concentrate but nothing can compare to NChooch's recipe. I plan to retire this spring and spend more time with my new hobby. Looking forward to cooler weather this fall as the Florida summers make it hard to cook outside in this heat. Thanks for any input. liqrlkr.

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by HDNB » Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:41 am

i would not hesitate to run them with a new wort or with low wines. two schools of thought...it compounds bad stuff, which i feel is bullshit. and the second is that it compresses the shit to the outer fractions. I find this to be the case.

what i mean is i do small fores cuts on strips and a larger one on a spirit run. then i also find that going deep on strips carries a lot of oils into the low wines but not really much in the spirit run, even in the tails...it seems to stay in the kettle.

so, imho, the feints are actually cleaner than than a low wines collection. i get a larger heads cut with feints, but a vastly largr hearts cut. when the heads cut gets so big that i can dilute and rerun with a bunch of reflux i do that and clean up as much as i can and then finally toss the worst offenders at that point...about once a year. And then i re-run the cleaned up heads from that run and augment the next wort.
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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by liqrlkr » Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:33 am

Thanks HDNB, that was pretty much my way of thinking about it. Didn't see how it could hurt anything. I plan to run them next weekend and I will let you know what I end up with. They are left overs from another AG so they shouldn't change things much. I have quite a bit of clear from my sugar heads and Welch's recipe and I might dilute them down and run them again and then oak them and see what I get. I know it won't be as good as NChooch's recipe but will be fun to experiment with.

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by jon1163 » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:37 pm

Just posting to bump and save in my topics. Thanks Dunder for all the information!

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by engunear » Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:27 pm

The Scots, at least Abelour and Glenlivet, recycle all their heads and tails back in to the next batch. They dump them once per year. It surprised me to hear that. They don't have de wo's problem as they only make one recipe. I'm puzzled where the ethyl acetate and aldehydes go, but thats another question.
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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by Bushman » Sun Nov 05, 2017 6:46 am

My process mirrors HDNB's. On a side note it was fun to go back and read some of the original posts by some of our very knowledgeable members that are no longer active on the boards. Even my comment from 7 years ago just shows how far I've come in this hobby.

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by WIski » Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:49 pm

I used to save all my conservatively cut heads and tails until I accumulated about 4 or 5 gallons. I would then add them to a fresh all grain ferment and run this high abv mix. This made an awesome product. Recent discussions on acids and esters prompted me to do things a bit differently with astounding results. I now save several gallons of all grain backset add the saved up feints and let this stew for several weeks. Then add this mix to a fresh all grain ferment and run it. All I can say is....you wont be disappointed if you want flavor. YMMV :eugeek:

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by casper the Irish » Mon Nov 06, 2017 6:43 am

I presume you are Not adding feints to wort before fermenting.... adding alcohol to yeast will suppress the fermentation. Yeast is good up to 6% or 8%abv when the alcohol suppresses its reproduction. (Mash, washes, wort, fresh fermentation.... I get confused by these, since there are no washes used to extract sugar including molasses, no washes when fermenting on grain, so I refer to all pre-ferments as wort, and fermented worts as "beer").

On adding backset, I have been using hot rolled flake corn. If the mash is not heated to above 190º it can quickly acidify itself, probably bacterial or fungal. pH drops below 4 as it cools. I am looking at replacing barley enzymes with liquid enzymes since these work at high temperatures, whereas mashing flake grains with barley at these low non-sterile temperatures is causing big acidity problems

On feints, the Scottish breweries use that word to name all the discarded cuts. foreshots, heads, tails. All are tossed back to the low wines, as Dnderhead says, backwards.

I would agree with Wiski. I have eventually come to find this works best for me too. Keep all cuts, discarding any that are hot or foul, feints from all runs tossed back not just to the low wines bucket, but into the fresh beer. All Feints from the first strip, late heads and tails from spirit runs, even the dregs from reflux runs can be stripped for feints.
AS I strip my corn washes, I taste the run. Good flavours are there right down to as low as 1% and below. Heads are not so good, but if there is something in there we can get it out the next run.
Not so with rum strip. Heads are sweet, strong tails 55% -38% are foul, weak tails 40% down to 25% GOOD. nothing worth the gas below 20% with fruit and sugar beers. So I stop these strips early.

Second low wines run is of course where cuts are made. Until now I have been making my cuts for my reflux still. That works well for rum and vodka, but increasingly I am convinced to run my grain spirits thru the potstill I use for stripping, a few mods to improve and add a bit of reflux and copper cleaning (mesh rolls in the Lyne arm).
Cuts for reflux are hardly necessary. I do need to take out those strong tails during a rum strip. Not a loss since molasses hearts get bitter when late.

So the best way to recycle my feints: weak tails and late heads which add so much flavour?
Maybe make rough cuts during the strip. two collectors, one for the spirit run, the other to toss back with the next beer strip.

That seems to build up flavour, good and bad, by adding all feints from the strip back to the remaining beer ( I brew 25 gal and strip in 5 gal batches).
It also raises the ABV of my next strip, its like I am getting high wines on a stripping run.

That works for me, I can potrun (spirit potstill) those "high wines" with very tight cuts. I can relax, take only the best hearts from 70% TO 60% and not be greedy. I do run again down to 1% and collect all feints that taste ok and they get better the further down.
Great hearts, no loss because these feints can go back to the next strip... this time, tasting and discarding sharp heads and foul fusel tails as they come.
Any discard are not lost, they go into my neutrals low wines. I have the choice to treat these with caustic or reflux them with other mashes.
Last edited by casper the Irish on Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by RedwoodHillBilly » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:17 am

WIski wrote:I used to save all my conservatively cut heads and tails until I accumulated about 4 or 5 gallons. I would then add them to a fresh all grain ferment and run this high abv mix. This made an awesome product. Recent discussions on acids and esters prompted me to do things a bit differently with astounding results. I now save several gallons of all grain backset add the saved up feints and let this stew for several weeks. Then add this mix to a fresh all grain ferment and run it. All I can say is....you wont be disappointed if you want flavor. YMMV :eugeek:
I do something similar. I add backset from my AG (that's all that I run now days) strip run to my collected feints to dilute to around 30%. I let it sit until I can get around to running it, usually a week or two. I then run the mixture through 3 plates. It makes a fairly good whiskey, not as good as the original, but not too bad.
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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by Dima » Wed Dec 27, 2017 2:30 pm

Have to ask a question, my head is about to explode with all the treads i've read in past 24 hours about Feints Runs
I've been collecting low wines from runs for a couple of months, I tried 9 most viewed recipes in "Tried and true recipe book" ( :crazy: :crazy: :crazy: :crazy: )
Everything from runs lower than 50% ABV i collected to 20% and dumped in the container, yesterday i ran 12 gallons of that...added backset from Wineo's to make sure i have liquid covering my element.
I do not know the abv of low wines that i put in boiler because it was way too cold (-11C in garage) but none of it froze so must be pretty high ABV :crazy:

Ran it quite slow, using pot still (1.5" diameter pipe 36" tall) took me over 8 hours, first 1 liter i threw away, the rest collected from 80% to 40% in mason jars
I have 11.64 liters of product
80-77% ABV - 6 liters
75-68% ABV - 5.06 liters
62-40% ABV - 4.25 liters
Below 40% - 1.5 liters
All the high ABV product smells and tastes good, no burn
Low ABV has a bittern after taste to it - not keeping that

here is the question/issues/dilemma I've been having:
Did i end up with too much high ABV product?
is it because it is heads or did my heads and hearts blend together and i can not distinguish which is which?
On first run in this still i usually do not get past 74% ABV product, usually starts at 74 goes to 68 stays there for most of the run then it dropps
Now I am thinking if I should put it all in boiler and run it through Boka to make sure i do proper cuts?
Edited: didnt know how to word it properly, had to re-write everything 3 times :shifty:
Last edited by Dima on Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by zapata » Wed Dec 27, 2017 3:21 pm

Lol, that is all up to you. What you have, what you like and what you want.
I would dilute and sniff and taste each jar. Are there flavors you like? Make a test mix from whatever jars you like (or at least aren't offended by. How does it smell and taste? Sip on it over a night or two to get to know it. Adjust your mix according to taste. What does it taste like? I imagine it is rather unique, so I would take my time forming an opinion. Only after if you find you don't like it would I run it back through the boka for a neutral.
Unless you like neutral and need more, more than you care to play with what you have. In that case, give it some time on washing soda and reflux it to neutral.

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by bluefish_dist » Wed Dec 27, 2017 4:43 pm

I found when I recycled all the heads and tails, my head cut just got bigger. I was just rerunning the tails, but I have recently gone back to keeping a few jars of late heads and chucking the early stuff. That seems to work well and bump output as I am capturing some of the alcohol that was left.
For whiskeys I am saving late heads and tails and going to do an all feints run when I get enough. It should be interesting as the can currently has single malt, two bourbons, a pleated malt, and two porters.
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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by NZChris » Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:15 pm

I've pot stilled a large collection of mixed feints and ended up splitting it into three cuts, all good for different purposes :D

Use your nose and taste buds to pick out something nice, then Boka the rest.

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by Dima » Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:31 pm

Thanks for quick responses :)
I have it airing for 24 hours already, along with other stuff i ran, will give it another day get some good water and go through it again.
One thing i forgot to mention, bought a absinthe essence and made a 1.75l bottle of it - i was garbage, tasted awful, so i put that in my low wines along
That sh!t is so awful that even after distilling it is still present in smell and taste :-) that is one of reasons i consider Boka
I dont normally keep heads, it all goes in the Cleaning Alcohol jar, rarely i put anything other than low wines in my Re Run jugs
Another mistake i made was product temperature when i was running it - my water is very cold so it threw off the Alcometer reading thats why i ended up with so much low wines :)
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Here is other stuff that is airing out, it has been a busy December :)
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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by BoomTown » Thu Dec 28, 2017 5:57 pm

Redistilling feints/heads/&tails is pretty simple, run really slow. The cut become dramatic, and are closely linked to the ABV of the output. We always used the doubler (thumper) and watch the still head temperatures closely, but the booze is spectacular!


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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by BlackSailJ » Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:42 am

I absolutely loved this thread, so much great information here. I am new to this process as I've only done this once with great success before finding this thread. So far it has been the best run that I've done.

With running a 4 gallon pot still, 1 gallon condenser (ice used), usually a 4 gallon wash slow stripping run with foreshots tossed, 1gallon stripped distillate added to second "spirit" run with 3 gallons wash, super slow run, foreshots tossed, with small 6 ounce jars cuts, & aired out, I take tails to as close to 0 proof as I can (usually no more ice stops me at 10°proof).

After final blending of hearts, took all the heads jars (~12oz ~140+°proof) and tails (~32-64ounces of 60°proof blended tails). I save this "faints" (heads and tails) until I have enough for 4 gallons at 38-40°proof for a slow faints run. Take off foreshots, small cuts, and watch for heads, and I stop my heats collection at 100°proof, however it continues a great flavor and no sign of tails until around 80°proof. I keep that in a separate jar, and toss the rest as well as any heads from this run. Good for campfire starters. Start process over.

With trying new recipes each wash the faints run is something unique each time.

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Re: Rerunning Feints

Post by Tennessee_Spirits » Sun Jul 12, 2020 10:12 am

I want clean neutral grain spirits for cordials and gin and vodka and all these need no taste alcohol at 95%. I've made NGS from mostly cane sugar as well as from heads and I can't tell them apart as neither has taste at the resolution I use. In either case I distill with as high a resolution (plate value) as possible. I make whiskey using a pot still which is low resolution to let flavor cross the still. Cuts are conventional heads, hearts tails. I redistill the tails with the following run and make narrow cuts for hearts.
The reason heads taste bad is because of components like acetone and acetaldehyde and other light fragments. A high resolution distillation will reject flavors. There is no strong association of alcohol with those chemical components that would prevent separation. It is simply that a pot still does not separate them well. That is intentional.
I use Raschig rings and a tall still that is 2" diameter to obtain this high resolution. It could be done with metal plates, at higher equipment cost. We should use the term resolution more often to describe a still set up because if effects everything done in distilling alcoholic beverage products.
When a still is used at high resolution it will reject most of the flavors and will have more reflux and require more heat as well as outputting a higher proof. This all reflects the physical chemistry of distillation.
I like a modular set up for distillation so that I can control the column height and plate value to match the set up to the resolution desired.

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Re: Rerunning Feints (more on resolution)

Post by Tennessee_Spirits » Sun Jul 12, 2020 10:29 am

When still resolution is increased there is an interesting change in hearts and feints with modest increase in resolution. The demarcations or transitions become more sharp and clear. With low resolution (pot still) there is a lot of tails and the transition is hard to spot. With high resolution the end of the run is so clear. The still head temperature climbs sharply and taste changes are abrupt.

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