Pseudo Grappa Question

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CaptainSassy
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Pseudo Grappa Question

Post by CaptainSassy » Wed Sep 04, 2013 1:28 pm

So I have decided to try my hand at pseudo grappa.

I took about 10l of grape skins, stems and seeds (with a fair deal of juice left over in them i.e. it was forming puddles on the top of the pot I had it in) and mixed it with another 15l (total volume) of sugar water (think about 6kg of white sugar total). Then put the concoction into two plastic tubs with lids and added some lalvin 1118. This was last night. The mash is fermenting nicely today.

Anyways, my question has to do with the distilling process:

1) I was planning on filtering out the liquid, pressing the remaining pulp and then distilling the liquid and the liquid alone. But from some of what I read round here and there, it sounds like some people recommend distilling the mash, grape skins, seeds, stems and all. Are there any advantages / disadvantages to this method?

2) I use a pot still. Should I anticipate a pure methanol run at the beginning of my run, or should I just take extra caution and discard more of the heads than usual (I usually throw out the first 100ml from a run of 10l when I do my rum)? Or should I do both?

Cheers,
CS

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Odin
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Re: Pseudo Grappa Question

Post by Odin » Wed Sep 04, 2013 2:22 pm

Ferment on the grape skins! That's essential to getting over most of the taste. And that's the challenge with grappa: getting over taste. Also know that most of that taste (after fermenting on the skins) is found where heads meet hearts.

O, on the skin fermenting? Yes! Why? Taste. Already said that. And also ... 'cause them skins contain around 55% of fermentable sugars. And nutrients.

Please do take out the stems.

On the run. No. First that comes over is a mixture of ethanol, ethyl acetate, water and acetone. Throw it out. Methanol that's there will come out mostly at the end of the run. So the way to approach this recipe is ... early cut towards hearts and an early cut towards tails. Small heads cut and end your hearts collections sooner rather than later.

Odin.
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Re: Pseudo Grappa Question

Post by CaptainSassy » Wed Sep 04, 2013 2:57 pm

Heya Odin...

What do you mean by 'ferment on the grape skins'? I already have my wash going, so it may be too late...

As for the methanol thing, since asking my question I have just read this thread:
http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopi ... 6&start=36

My conclusion at the end of it was that methanol / ethanol ratio near the end of the run was higher, but this was because the ethanol content was lower. In terms of methanol per volume of total distillate, the highest levels were at the front end of the run, so tossing the heads and the fores was still reasonable. Maybe I got something wrong though.
So the way to approach this recipe is ... early cut towards hearts and an early cut towards tails. Small heads cut and end your hearts collections sooner rather than later.

Odin.


So say off of a 10l wash, where would you do your heads / tails cuts? My hydrometer is only for spirits ie can't measure the alcohol content of my mash...

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Re: Pseudo Grappa Question

Post by MDH » Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:18 pm

Ferment on the skins, distill on them as well. Muscat and merlot make good grappa, but a fairly obscure and underrated one is made from concord grapes and fermented with wild yeast.

If I were you I would literally cut the sugar in third the next time, you're diluting the grappa flavor a lot.
The still is not a liar. Mash and ferment quality is 99.9% of your performance.

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Re: Pseudo Grappa Question

Post by CaptainSassy » Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:26 pm

MDH wrote:Ferment on the skins, distill on them as well. Muscat and merlot make good grappa, but a fairly obscure and underrated one is made from concord grapes and fermented with wild yeast.

If I were you I would literally cut the sugar in third the next time, you're diluting the grappa flavor a lot.

So you mean ferment the mix with skins in the pulp and then distill the mix with the pulp i.e don't filter things?

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Re: Pseudo Grappa Question

Post by MDH » Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:28 pm

Yes. If you have a double boiler / bain-marie this is good for distilling on skins. But if you can't and have the bottom of the boiler being heated directly, try pouring a bit of water into the mash instead, the skins will "Sit" on top of the water, which will simmer gently when heating.
The still is not a liar. Mash and ferment quality is 99.9% of your performance.

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Re: Pseudo Grappa Question

Post by CaptainSassy » Fri Sep 06, 2013 6:36 am

Since I put sugar water in with the mash, the skins etc. are already sitting at the top (seeds sank to the bottom). I followed Odin's advice and took out as many stems as I could (think I got most of them but there are a few still floating around). The stems were in there for about a day of fermenting.

So if I ferment the whole shebang (skins and all) instead of just the filtered wash, then I get more flavour but will have to discard more of the heads and the tails? Is this right?

I have only done rum before and get good results tossing the first 100ml off of every 10l of wash that I run. For the quasi-grappa I'm thinking of doubling this to the first 200 ml.

As for the tails, I usually run til I get down to about 40%, and then keep collecting down to 25- 30%. I used to just keep those tails and use them for mix drinks (don't taste good on their own) but for my last run I used the tails as 'feints' and put them back into the still for the second run of wash. (Then I kept the tails from my last run for mixing. They tasted okay).

So for the tails on the grappa, I'm thinking I'll run down to about 45% and just shut down the run. Any thoughts?

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Re: Pseudo Grappa Question

Post by Odin » Fri Sep 06, 2013 7:14 am

Yes, ferment with everything in the boiler. For taste. For extra sugar. Grape skins have a lot of fructose in them.

You take out the stems, because wood in a ferment will cause wood alcohol to develop.Wood alcohol? Yes,otherwise known as methanol.

On cuts ... general rule: take a smaller heads cut and and stop a bit sooner.

Not sure collecting and rerunning feints or adding them to a next batch is a good idea. Not sure, meaning I do not know. It is not a common practice. Personally, I'd just add them feints to a more neutral wash and fractionate it into a vodka.

You should re-use some of the backset to start up generation 2. Like 15% of total liquid content of the next ferment. For better PH, for more taste, for more vits, etc.

Odin.
"Great art is created only through diligent and painstaking effort to perfect and polish oneself." by Buddhist filosofer Daisaku Ikeda.

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Re: Pseudo Grappa Question

Post by CaptainSassy » Tue Sep 10, 2013 6:31 pm

So, progress report:

The run did good. I threw out more of the heads (I know you said to cut late on the heads but I got scared and threw out 200ml for every 10l run...). I also shut the run down at around 40%-45%...

Anyways...

Got 2l out of a 20l wash. Tested at around 55% or so. I wasn't sure how to age it so I dropped a couple of pieces of orange and some orange peel in each mason jar. A few days later it's tasting pretty good but very orangey. I'm thinking I might pull out some of the peel. Tastes kinda like a grand marnier.

Pretty happy with the results. Quite tasty actually. Also, not blind so A!

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Re: Pseudo Grappa Question

Post by SoMo » Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:12 am

Hey guys I'm considering fermenting my juice and pulp no seeds or stems for a faux grappa of sorts. I'll be running thru my pot still. For safety sake how do I address the methanol in fores and tails as I read above. I don't want to do anything harmful. Advice please. Melloman
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Re: Pseudo Grappa Question

Post by Odin » Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:27 am

The less sugar you add, the less "faux" it gets. And the better, because taste will increase.

Odin.
"Great art is created only through diligent and painstaking effort to perfect and polish oneself." by Buddhist filosofer Daisaku Ikeda.

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