1st grappa

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jonnys_spirit
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1st grappa

Post by jonnys_spirit » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:01 am

I started my grappa. I had grape skins left over from a cab-sav. I reused them once on a merlot kit.

So my grappa -

- 3x 5gallon must buckets pressed. This comes to about 1x 5gal bucket of pressed skins.
- 10lbs of mixed produce grapes (red, white, black). Include stems.
- 4x cans of welches frozen grape juice.
- 15lbs sugar...
- About 15gal water...
- 3x packets of ec1118 yeast.
- SG is in the 1.100 to 1.090 range...
- Add tartaric acid or acid blend to get pH down to 3.3-3.6 range if it isn;t....

Ferment like wine. About a week or so until ~0.994 SG. Clear like you do with a wine....

I'm going to let it sit and clear - Use some SuperKleer too.... Rack off the sediment so that it doesn't gunk up the still...

Planning to run this hard and fast with a stripping run then low and slow spirit run to cut it up...

I have a 13gal still so this will split into two stripping runs.

Looking forward as I love grappa and will put it on oak to age it.Just pitched yeast this am...

Ciao!
-jonnys-spirit
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Re: 1st grappa

Post by brat » Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:24 am

That S.G is to high on my opinion. Your going to lose a lot of flavor. But that's just my opinion. I never run anything higher than .075. even for a neutral spirit.

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Re: 1st grappa

Post by NZChris » Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:30 pm

The SG is high enough to give your yeast a hard time. I never go over what was in the original fruit.
The pH you are aiming for seems very low. Does EC1118 do ok that low?
Stems are ok if you want their grassy flavor. I don't, so I leave them out.
Grappa is traditionally distilled with the pomace in the boiler, which is about as far divorced from racking and clearing as you can get.

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Re: 1st grappa

Post by jonnys_spirit » Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:42 am

I'm definitely stretching the pomace as I already fermented a kit wine on it a second time. Smells good this morning though and fermentation has kicked in.

I have a 13gallon milk can boiler (w/pot still head) with a 240V 5500W element so am nervous about putting the skins in boiler. I would prefer to have them in there for the flavor. The fermenter is a 20gallon brute almost to the top so it's going to take at least two spirit runs if not three.

This stuff is going on oak and sitting for a while. No big hurry to drink it so while diverging slightly from the traditional I am trying to stay true in spirit and using my skins for what they're worth. I figured my SG was a little too hi so am happy for the learning experience.

Cheers and thanks for the pointers.
-j
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Re: 1st grappa

Post by Bushman » Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:09 am

I agree with NZChris you do not need to add that much sugar. When you make grappa the fermentation process is a bit different. Do a search for Punch Down the Cap.

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Re: 1st grappa

Post by jonnys_spirit » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:32 am

Thank you. I've seen different recommendations for grappa from simply "distilling the pomace" to adding water and sugar and refermenting...

Maybe i'll not clear this batch in order to get the most flavor and use the pomace in the boiler too... A thumper filled with pomace would probably work well too.

If there is enough product on this run I saw a nice recipe around here for Sambuca that uses the grappa as the base spirit.

Cheers!
-j
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i make stuff i break stuff
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Re: 1st grappa

Post by jonnys_spirit » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:39 am

This will be my first run too so pretty excited. I have been a wine and beer maker off and on 30yrs or so and have studies and read about distilling that whole time - just now starting to get hands on...... 13gal Mile Hi still with 3" copper pot still tower and 27" liebig condenser. 5500W Heating element with 220V 30A controller (wired to dryer power cable which is 220/30). I ran the vinegar and water last night and it works well. After that water/vinegar run I have some ideas on how to fine tune the setup. Planning to pick up a box or two of cheap wine to run with some water for the sacrificial alcohol run.... I'll get two boxes or so just to have some good output that I can keep and use for further cleaning runs....

The ferment is progressing nicely. SG is ~1.040 this morning so probably will not be dry by Sat/Sun when I wanted to run it... Next weekend then... I have some pear wine that I'm not going to drink that I can run this weekend (10 gal).

Ciao!
-js
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Re: 1st grappa

Post by NZChris » Thu Aug 03, 2017 12:47 pm

It's called a sacrificial run for good reasons. It's contaminated with flux and machine oils, so it isn't an ideal cleaning product. It's very probably poisonous and you don't want anyone accidentally, or deliberately, drinking it.

Once you start distilling you will have foreshots available for cleaning. My last cleaning run was foreshots, the still was outside and the output was sacrificed by not using any cooling water so that the condenser got a good hot clean and there was no condensate to deal with afterwards.

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Re: 1st grappa

Post by jonnys_spirit » Sat Aug 05, 2017 7:28 am

Ok cool and thanks. The sacrificial will get burned up in the fire pit with a little ceremony. The grappa ferment isn't going to be done today - maybe tomorrow. I'm running 10gal of pear wine today.

For the sac run I did 2gal box chardonnay in 5gal water and got about 1.5L 100pf.

Cheers!
-j
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i make stuff i break stuff
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just getting started in home distilling - been drinking for decades
16g copper pot still, 10l alembic, and a column or two
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Re: 1st grappa

Post by jonnys_spirit » Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:35 am

Been running about 1/2 of the grappa today. Low and slow. Drip - drip - drip - drip - drip - drip. 7.5hr so far and almost two liters still coming out at -155pf. The flavor is excellent. Cant wait to air it out cut it up and put it on some oak. So far I'm very happy with this setup and feel like the 5500w/13g-boiler capacity ought to work out well for the cellar. Still have about another eight gallons of the pomace wash to run. I'll see what the backset on the first run looks like when it's done - maybe i can cook the next run with some of the backset pomace from the last run to bump the flavor a hair.

Cheers!
-j
————
i make stuff i break stuff
water into whiskey into water
just getting started in home distilling - been drinking for decades
16g copper pot still, 10l alembic, and a column or two
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Re: 1st grappa

Post by jonnys_spirit » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:08 am

Finished the first half of the grappa run yesterday. Kept it at a nice slow drip all day and think I ended up with a little over 4 liters over a 12h period... That's 4 liters of fairly high ABV - Keeping it low and slow kept the ABV up so the tails was pretty quick to get through once the output started dropping ABV-wise...

It smells like grappa and tastes like Grappa so I'm pretty happy. I've got the second run loaded and I can't really do a 12h run until next weekend so will probably attempt to run it after work a couple times during the evening this week and collect what I can over two or three days. I guess once it's into hearts I can run it a little harder to speed up output.

Once I do my cuts I'll probably bottle one or two clear and oak the rest.

Cheers and thanks!
-j
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i make stuff i break stuff
water into whiskey into water
just getting started in home distilling - been drinking for decades
16g copper pot still, 10l alembic, and a column or two
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Re: 1st grappa

Post by NZChris » Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:04 am

It sounds like you are going to a lot of trouble to do something that is really easy. Have you done stripping runs?

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Re: 1st grappa

Post by jonnys_spirit » Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:05 pm

No. That run I did as a single run and collected in 100mL to 350ml jars to cut. I'll probably collect stripping runs on some other recipes like UJSSM or similar where I'll be doing a number of batches and collecting low wines to run all at once.

Cheers!
-j
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i make stuff i break stuff
water into whiskey into water
just getting started in home distilling - been drinking for decades
16g copper pot still, 10l alembic, and a column or two
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Re: 1st grappa

Post by NZChris » Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:08 pm

What abv will you be aging at?
I've always double distilled as it makes better grappa. I would have your lot done and dusted and in the aging jugs with less than 12 hours spent in the distillery.

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Re: 1st grappa

Post by jonnys_spirit » Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:58 pm

Hmmmm... I am very interested in that approach. Planning to age @ 130pf if possible and bottle @ 80 pf. What do you recommend?

Thanks!
-j
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i make stuff i break stuff
water into whiskey into water
just getting started in home distilling - been drinking for decades
16g copper pot still, 10l alembic, and a column or two
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Re: 1st grappa

Post by NZChris » Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:16 pm

It's what you said you were thinking of doing in the OP, except I don't run slow during the obvious hearts.

Most of mine stays white. For aging, it usually works out that the abv of my final selection is ok without dilution, about 65-70%

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Re: 1st grappa

Post by jonnys_spirit » Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:52 am

Thanks a ton for the pointers. I ran the second half of the ferment last night under a stripping protocol and got about 3gallons of ~45%ABV low wines..... Will dilute slightly down to about 30%abv run that as a spirit run. I cut the low-and-slow-one-and-done-grappa-run and got 1 gallon @ 136pf. Feints went into the low wines for the spirit run and I put the cut grappa on 60grams of medium toast american oak cubes to age....

The pear brandy gave up about 1.5 gallons... Didn't measure final ABV yet but this is also very nice and fruity. I may try a very light oaking just to provide some complexity. I have some used chardonnay oak sticks in the freezer that I can retoast a little and also toss in a minimal amount of new oak too toasted up for sweetness and vanilla emphasis....

Next up is going to be a corn / malt type recipe for a bourbon'ish - perusing the various options but I have a 5gal wine barrel that would be nice to fill with whiskey...

Cheers!
-j
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i make stuff i break stuff
water into whiskey into water
just getting started in home distilling - been drinking for decades
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Re: 1st grappa

Post by zach » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:44 am

Did you do anything to prevent scorching the pomace on your heating element? What power level did you run at?

I've got my first grape /sugar ferment going now. I received 15 lbs of grapes from a neighbor of unkown variety. I removed almost all off the stems then crushed with paint mixer in a 5 gallon bucket. I added 4 lbs of sugar then added about 2 gallons of water to the bucket to get 4.5 gallons total. I'm using EC-1118 yeast and have been punching down the cap twice a day.

I'm thinking I will run this with the pomace in the still hopefully to get flavor like a grappa.

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Re: 1st grappa

Post by jonnys_spirit » Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:10 pm

I did not do anything special to prevent burning and there were no known issues. My batch was leftover pressed skins from 150lbs Cab Sav grapes - almost about 50lbs of pressed skins. Added maybe 15+ or so gal water and the sugar.... I haven't cleaned the still out yet and am not really looking forward to that part but pretty sure nothing scorched.... It's a 5500w element and ran at full power during heat up then around about 50% for the stripping run depending on what it needed to keep the pencil lead flowing and the water exiting the condenser hot without huffing puffing or steam/vapor escaping from the product output.

Nice grappa flavor so far!

Cheers,
j
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i make stuff i break stuff
water into whiskey into water
just getting started in home distilling - been drinking for decades
16g copper pot still, 10l alembic, and a column or two
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Re: 1st grappa

Post by NZChris » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:25 pm

45%ABV low wines is quite high and would have left a fair bit of alcohol and good flavor in the boiler. Where did you find that recommended?. Most flavored products of this type are best run until no dilution is needed, 25-30% is common.

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Re: 1st grappa

Post by jonnys_spirit » Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:37 am

I should have run it a little longer and I added feints from the one and done run which boosted the final abv on that one. For the stripping run it makes sense to run it very deep like you describe. I need more gallon jugs.

Cheers!
-j
————
i make stuff i break stuff
water into whiskey into water
just getting started in home distilling - been drinking for decades
16g copper pot still, 10l alembic, and a column or two
————

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Re: 1st grappa

Post by jonnys_spirit » Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:36 pm

Checking in on this grappa and it’s getting yummy finally :) It had for a while what folks seem to describe as the “sugar bite”. It’s been resting on oak for abiut five months now and that bite has mellowed nicely. I’ll make some more next time I have some wine grapes available. Maybe spring or next fall. This will definitely age into a favorite :) i’ll have to do a testing between what I have labeled as grappa1 and grappa2 with 1 being the one and done and 2 being the strip/spirit runs. This is the only run that i have used sugar in so far.

Thanks all for the pointers on this one!

Cheers,
-j
————
i make stuff i break stuff
water into whiskey into water
just getting started in home distilling - been drinking for decades
16g copper pot still, 10l alembic, and a column or two
————

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Re: 1st grappa

Post by nuncaquite » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:51 am

jonnys_spirit wrote:Checking in on this grappa and it’s getting yummy finally :) It had for a while what folks seem to describe as the “sugar bite”. It’s been resting on oak for abiut five months now and that bite has mellowed nicely.
-j
Ive only done 1 grappa, and thought it was a loss. Set it back and forgot about it. Found it about 6 months later and thought I would run it through the column and make a vodka from it. For kicks I gave it a taste before putting it in the boiler, good thing. It was excellent. No oak. I did not share a drop.
Glad you brought up this post.

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Re: 1st grappa

Post by jonnys_spirit » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:05 pm

Ha Ha yeah! I'm proofing down a couple 5th's for friends but have prolly 1.5g cask strength so will keep some back for further resting - thinking about labels but looking forward to some feedback some folks that do appreciate grappa.

I bought an oaked commercial grappa some time ago and loved it - This one is darker and more caramel yummy too... Several shots last night and I was still awake by 6:30a so passes that test ;)

Ciao mi Bella and good luck !
-j
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i make stuff i break stuff
water into whiskey into water
just getting started in home distilling - been drinking for decades
16g copper pot still, 10l alembic, and a column or two
————

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Re: 1st grappa

Post by jonnys_spirit » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:19 am

Working on some label ideas for this grappa. I'll draw a couple more on unlined paper but this is essentially an alembic pot type of still in the form of a beautiful woman turning grapes into nectar of the goddess garagisté grappa. That's not my real name btw just the name of my wine cellar and distillery.

Nectar Of The Goddess
Johann Baalthizaar's Garigisté Grappa
Attachments
nectar_03.jpg
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i make stuff i break stuff
water into whiskey into water
just getting started in home distilling - been drinking for decades
16g copper pot still, 10l alembic, and a column or two
————

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Re: 1st grappa

Post by jonnys_spirit » Fri Mar 23, 2018 10:56 am

Starting prep for chilean grapes this spring so also planning next grappa batch. Last one turned out nice so looking forward to this years spring batch. I'll have six frozen must buckets this time which is double what I had last year.

One thing that concerns me that I wanted to solicit some feedback with and also provide info for the group -

When I ferment my wine grapes I am planning to pitch a good amount of dark toast oak chips into the primary fermentation stage to help with the wine. My concern is that this oak will produce methanol or wood alcohol when I reuse the pomace for the grappa.

I'm considering taking the low-wines from the grappa stripping run and macerating into the pressed pomace before running it again for the spirit run - just to maximize flavour and hopefully the low wines will be high enough proof that I could let it macerate for a longish period of time and extract all that yum... Might not extract that much more flavor anyway but might just experiment too... First strip would be a press-and-strip then spirit run would be on the macerated / extracted pomace.

Any thoughts on oak chip in the pomace and any potential issues with that from a distillation standpoint?

Cheers!
-j
————
i make stuff i break stuff
water into whiskey into water
just getting started in home distilling - been drinking for decades
16g copper pot still, 10l alembic, and a column or two
————

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Re: 1st grappa

Post by Oldvine Zin » Fri Mar 30, 2018 10:18 pm

I would be more concerned about the seeds rather than the oak producing meth. That said it wouldn't stop be from making grappa from barrel fermented pumice.

OVZ

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Re: 1st grappa

Post by jonnys_spirit » Sat Mar 31, 2018 7:41 am

Thanks OVZ! Yes, last time I did this probably about 90% or more of the seeds had fallen towards the bottom of the primary fermenter and were easily separated when pressing the pomace. Maybe a couple seeds ended up in the still but there were three to four large ziploc freezer bags worth of seeds that I was able to discard. Come to think of it, I had also used probably a pound of small oak chips in the fermenting wine must and I have consumed almost all of it now.

I’ll be pressing the 18 lugs of grapes for the wine yes. I might rehydrate them into two or even three brute cans for the grappa along with some water and sugar and perhaps cheap low-end wine kit (when I cook I prefer to never use water when I can use something with flavor instead). I did use a bunch of sugar last year and it still turned out very nice with good grappa flavor so I will use some sugar to up the brix of the pomace/must a little.

At this point in my cellar last years grappa may be the best rendering I have with nice light fruity aroma and flavor notes. This is definitely the start of a yearly tradition and I’ll be saving some for side by side comparison to future years.

I gave a couple bottles to friends and one guy mixed it with coke. Wtf??? That’s fine - he’ll learn ;)

Cheers!
-j
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i make stuff i break stuff
water into whiskey into water
just getting started in home distilling - been drinking for decades
16g copper pot still, 10l alembic, and a column or two
————

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Re: 1st grappa

Post by jonnys_spirit » Sat Jun 02, 2018 7:18 am

Pressed the grapes last night. Now I’ve got two five gallon buckets full of leftover grape pressings. I pressed fairly light because i wanted mostly free run wine and I knew that leaving some liquid in the pomace would just make better grappa. I’m reviewing my notes from last time but will be adding some sugar and maybe cheap wine kit or grocery store grape juice just to enhance the flavor a little. Gonna shoot for about 30 gallons for three boiler charges to strip.

Cheers!
-j
————
i make stuff i break stuff
water into whiskey into water
just getting started in home distilling - been drinking for decades
16g copper pot still, 10l alembic, and a column or two
————

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Re: 1st grappa

Post by jonnys_spirit » Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:13 pm

So on this round of grappa I kept it real simple. I had two five gallon buckets of mixed skins left over after lressing the wine. Merlot, Syrah, and Petit Verdot.

Ten gallons skins split between two 20gal brutes topped with water to about the 11 gallon mark. 15lbs sugar into each. Stir and wait. That was last weekend punched down daily and took an sg measurement once.

One of the brutes caps has fallen as of this morning and measures 0.990’ish. I’m gonna strip that one tonight.

Cheers!
-j
————
i make stuff i break stuff
water into whiskey into water
just getting started in home distilling - been drinking for decades
16g copper pot still, 10l alembic, and a column or two
————

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