Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

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Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by Hillbilly Popstar » Sun Dec 01, 2019 10:33 am

Maybe this should be in the novice section, if so feel free to move it there....

So I've been reading quite a few threads on using pot stills for making neutrals.

Seems the consensus is minimum of 2 spirit runs, most seem to feel that 3 runs is best though...
I'm guessing spirit run implies making a cut each time, but it seems that leaves alot of ethanol unused.

Are making cuts necessary each time? Water is an amazing filter, is it not? Why not let the water do its thing?

Let's face it, that's exhausting and very inefficient. Which leads most who want neutrals to building their first reflux.

Well I dont have the funds or the time to throw together a bokabob. I want to though...

What I'm wondering is. Why not do 3 back to back stripping runs. With each run dilute alot with good spring water or distilled water and make very small heads and tails cuts each time. You could even add some bicarb each time to help clean things up. This would be something that can easily be accomplished in a day with most of the hobby sized stills on this group.
Then you can finish up with a good slow and low spirit run.

Why is this not a better way to do it?
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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by shadylane » Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:26 am

Your getting the kart before the horse :lol:
First thing needed is a good clean neutral flavored wash.
Use all the tricks of the trade
Keep the yeast happy while fermenting, then encourage it to flocculate.

I'd recommend being wasteful and ending the stripping runs early
There's some nasty peppery cardboard flavor in the tails
You want to keep that out of the lowines

For the spirit runs
As someone here once said "water makes a good filter"

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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by Hillbilly Popstar » Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:46 am

shadylane wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:26 am
Your getting the kart before the horse :lol:
First thing needed is a good clean neutral flavored wash.
Use all the tricks of the trade
Keep the yeast happy while fermenting, then encourage it to flocculate.

I'd recommend being wasteful and ending the stripping runs early
There's some nasty peppery cardboard flavor in the tails
You want to keep that out of the lowines

For the spirit runs
As someone here once said "water makes a good filter"
But in general, multiple strips, then a spirit is an acceptable method?

Would you say this method would be more efficient than running back to back to back spirit runs?
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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by NZChris » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:06 pm

Hillbilly Popstar wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:46 am
Would you say this method would be more efficient than running back to back to back spirit runs?
What do you mean by 'back to back spirit runs'?

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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by shadylane » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:17 pm

Hillbilly Popstar wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:46 am
But in general, multiple strips, then a spirit is an acceptable method?
Yes

Hillbilly Popstar wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:46 am
Would you say this method would be more efficient than running back to back to back spirit runs?
I'm confused as normal
Are you doing 3 stripping runs with small cuts
Then diluting or are you diluting the wash before the stripping run :?:

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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by Hillbilly Popstar » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:26 pm

3 successive fast stripping runs of the same batch, with small cuts and diluting with water in between. Then doing a spirit run.

That's my thought process anyways.
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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by Hillbilly Popstar » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:27 pm

As opposed to running the spirit 3 times in a row, on low and slow spirit runs...
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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by Yummyrum » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:30 pm

Doing 3 strip runs followed by one big spirit run is how we all do it I thought :?


Other than on the stripping run must make cuts before you re-run else you just keep getting the same coming over each time . But even on a strip you would effectively do a tails cut by simply not going to low on the strip like Shady said.

So if you are going to triple distil you have to do cuts after the first spirit run ( second distillation) , dilute and run again . Then you would do a final cut on that . Yes it is wasteful of alcohol . If you want neutral and not be wasteful you need a reflux still .

IMO you can’t make neutral on a pot still . You can make an acceptable Vodka though . My taste buds are shot but if I can still taste heads and tails in the middle jar , it’s not neutral .

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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by NZChris » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:34 pm

I'm still confused. Are you sure you are using the term 'stripping run' correctly?

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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by Hillbilly Popstar » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:35 pm

Well, that goes right along with what I had in mind.

From the older threads I read through on the google search, it seemed alot of people were recommending 3 spirit runs and making big cuts each time.

24+ hours of stilling for a less than half gallon cut, doesnt sound like a good time. Lol
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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by Hillbilly Popstar » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:40 pm

Stripping run- run the still hot and fast to strip the alcohol out of the boiler charge. Usually the result is about 1/3 of the total boiler volume.

So my protocol would be:
1) strip the wash hot and fast
2)make a small heads cut and leave the late tails in the boiler.
3)dilute the low wines back to 60-80 proof
4) repeat steps 1-3 two more times
5)dilute the low wines back to 80 proof
6)do a slow and low spirit run and make careful conservative cuts.
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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by Saltbush Bill » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:45 pm

I will say it again.....people seem to be using the terminolgy "Neutral" more and more loosly.
If your going to try for neutral at least use the right tool for the job.....build a reflux still.

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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by Hillbilly Popstar » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:52 pm

Well specifically said a neutral, cause as I understand a true vodka is supposed to be distilled to 95%. That ain't happening on a potstill.

But considering you know exactly what is meant... correct the vocabulary if you must, but arguing semantics doesnt do any of us any good. No offense, I appreciate you taking the time to respond.
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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by Saltbush Bill » Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:03 pm

Well get it right and call it for what it is.

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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by Hillbilly Popstar » Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:04 pm

So if I cant make a vodka or a neutral on a potstill, what should a call it?
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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by NZChris » Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:13 pm

So my pot still protocols are:
1) Strip the wash hot and fast, removing a generous foreshot, then running until the ABV in the receiver drops to 80 proof. Dump and recharge several times until I run out of wash.
2) Do a slowish spirit run and don't stuff up the cuts.

Triple distilling:
1) Strip the wash hot and fast, removing a generous foreshot, then running until the ABV in the receiver drops to 80 proof. Dump and recharge several times until I run out of wash.
2)Run the low wines using my nose to do a heads cut on the fly, then use my nose to tell me when to shut down and dump the tails.
3)Dilute the high wines back to 80 proof
4)Do a slowish spirit run and don't stuff up the cuts.

If triple distilling doesn't tidy it up enough, you should have chosen a better wash.
I never recycle any of the heads or tails into any of the distillations when making more neutral.

That said, for many products that forums tend to recommend should be made from neutral, a bit of research finds that they are traditionally made on a flavored spirit and you might be better off double distilling a lightly flavored sugar wash made using an appropriate grain, grape, or fruit.
Last edited by NZChris on Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by shadylane » Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:15 pm

It's yours
If it were mine. I'd call it Pot-stilled neutral :lol:

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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by shadylane » Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:16 pm

Hillbilly Popstar wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:40 pm
Stripping run- run the still hot and fast to strip the alcohol out of the boiler charge. Usually the result is about 1/3 of the total boiler volume.

So my protocol would be:
1) strip the wash hot and fast
2)make a small heads cut and leave the late tails in the boiler.
3)dilute the low wines back to 60-80 proof
4) repeat steps 1-3 two more times
5)dilute the low wines back to 80 proof
6)do a slow and low spirit run and make careful conservative cuts.
How many runs does that add up to?

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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by Hillbilly Popstar » Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:29 pm

shadylane wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:16 pm
Hillbilly Popstar wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:40 pm
Stripping run- run the still hot and fast to strip the alcohol out of the boiler charge. Usually the result is about 1/3 of the total boiler volume.

So my protocol would be:
1) strip the wash hot and fast
2)make a small heads cut and leave the late tails in the boiler.
3)dilute the low wines back to 60-80 proof
4) repeat steps 1-3 two more times
5)dilute the low wines back to 80 proof
6)do a slow and low spirit run and make careful conservative cuts.
How many runs does that add up to?
3 strips and 1 spirit
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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by Hillbilly Popstar » Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:31 pm

"Neutral Pot"

"Potral"

"Pisstill"

:lol: :ebiggrin: :lol:
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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by Hillbilly Popstar » Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:33 pm

NZChris wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:13 pm
That said, for many products that forums tend to recommend should be made from neutral, a bit of research finds that they are traditionally made on a flavored spirit and you might be better off double distilling a lightly flavored sugar wash made using an appropriate grain, grape, or fruit.
This is generally what I do. I like the taste of rum or grain likker in liqueurs.

But I want neutral for martinis and bloody Marie's.
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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by NZChris » Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:43 pm

I thought martinis were gin based.

A double distilled TPW should be a match for a Bloody Mary. For fun, I re-ran Birdwatchers heads and tails a couple of times, concentrating the tomato flavors into a small batch of liquor that made a very nice Bloody Mary. :D I'm not recommending it unless you are extremely bored and have nothing better to do with your mini pot.

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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by Hillbilly Popstar » Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:57 pm

I like vodka martinis.

Sounds like I need to build a Boka
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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by NZChris » Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:09 pm

Does your preferred vodka have any flavor?

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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by SaltyStaves » Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:18 pm

I just call mine 'Base' spirit.
I don't drink it on its own. Its used as a foundation for other things.

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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by Hillbilly Popstar » Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:33 pm

NZChris wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:09 pm
Does your preferred vodka have any flavor?
I dont know. My go to vodkas ate Kettle One or Stolichnaya.

Kettle is pretty damn clean. Stolis probably has a little flavor.
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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by NZChris » Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:03 pm

Both of them tell you what they are made with and describe the flavors on their websites. Because you currently can't distill an AG to 96% you might want to cheat. Chuck a handful of the appropriate grain/s into a sugar wash and double distill it without being greedy with the cuts. Adjust your methods from there.

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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by shadylane » Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:46 pm

Hillbilly Popstar wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:29 pm
shadylane wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:16 pm
Hillbilly Popstar wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:40 pm
Stripping run- run the still hot and fast to strip the alcohol out of the boiler charge. Usually the result is about 1/3 of the total boiler volume.

So my protocol would be:
1) strip the wash hot and fast
2)make a small heads cut and leave the late tails in the boiler.
3)dilute the low wines back to 60-80 proof
4) repeat steps 1-3 two more times
5)dilute the low wines back to 80 proof
6)do a slow and low spirit run and make careful conservative cuts.
How many runs does that add up to?
3 strips and 1 spirit
That's what had me confused :lol:
When I hear 3 strips and a spirit run
I think 3 individual washes are stripped and then the lowines are redistilled for the spirit run
That equals 2 distillations
Your talking about redistilling the same batch 4 times.

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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by Hillbilly Popstar » Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:12 pm

Yes.
Sorry, I can see how that was unclear.

Should've maybe said, a strip, two fast runs, and slow run w/cuts, and watering down in between each.
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Re: Pot stilling neutrals. I haz questions?!

Post by Yummyrum » Sun Dec 01, 2019 6:58 pm

Hillbilly , pot stills smear if you run them too hard . If the aim is to best separate out the crap from each end , you still need to run slow on each run .

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