Gin development

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dis-still-in
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Gin development

Post by dis-still-in » Sun Jun 26, 2011 1:02 pm

Hello, folks,

Question about Gin after having searched the forums a bit. Most gin made commercially is made from a whisky base. Those that mention making it on the forums are using a simpler sugar wash and then proceeding to gin through various methods.

Has anyone tried to suss out the difference in final flavor between a sugar wash gin and a whisky wash based gin? That is, keeping all other variables (botanical types and quantities, etc.) constant?

Thanks!

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Re: Gin development

Post by Dnderhead » Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:28 pm

most neutrals/vodkas are grain based,then gin is made from that. most do not have the experience or excess to do grain.so sugar is a easy accessible alternative.
if you have the mashing experience and a cheap source for grain go for it.

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Odin
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Re: Gin development

Post by Odin » Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:59 am

Di-Still-in,

Gin was originally made from flavouring brandy's, in the early 17th century. A few decades later it was made from grains. Dutch old geneva is still made this way. At least 21% of the amount of mash used, needs to be made from barley, rye or corn. That leaves 79% of sugar based wash. A Koornwyn is made from at least 51% of grain mash. There is a huge difference in making gins this way.

If you make a "young" gin, it can be made sugar based entirily. Just rectify out a pure alcohol of 95%, then water it down, put in the ingredients and pot destill another time.

Of course, you can also rectify a grain mash towards 95%, but you will loose most if not all of the taste. When using a grain mash, you might rather not reflux it, but potstill instead. Make from your (say) 10% mash through a skip run a 30% low wine. Distill this again to reach around 60% of strengh. Put it together with a pure, sugar based vodka in a 25% grain / 75% sugar based division of alcohol. Water down to 35% to 40% and macerate juniper etc. Then potstill again. You will keep a pretty strong grain taste like that and will have made an "Aulde" Geneva. Tastes completely different from an neutrals based gin. Actually, an "old" version, you might ripen on wood and ad caramel to colour it. Even some sugar (no more then 20 grams per liter) will do fine. See also my dutch gin recipe on shared recipes

Odin.
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dis-still-in
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Re: Gin development

Post by dis-still-in » Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:50 pm

@Odin:

Thanks, very informative, couple of questions for you as you seem to know your Gin.

1. Your recipe on the forum is a sugar based neutral. Is this for ease or do you prefer the taste. As I am not a gin drinker, what is the flavor profile difference between the two bases cum final product.
2. Most of the research I did (which I don't claim is exhaustive by any means) pointed to the 'gin head' as the preferred method vs. maceration (and then of course the hot/cold compounding...). What are your thoughts on the character of the final product between the two?
3. Just a clarification: When you write to distill the low wines on the pot still to 60% does that mean to run the still until you reach 60ABV in the collection?
4. A couple buds prefer Hendrick's, which has cucumber. I have seen a couple of these on the shelves now. Any thoughts on that? Seems to 'soften' the flavor. Would you just throw some sliced cucumber into the maceration?
5. When you talk about the 25%/75% combo with the grain wash and the sugar wash, is the sugar wash, at the point of vatting, at still strength or already diluted to 40ishABV?

Thanks, I have some more questions to bother you with, but I need to formulate them better. Always appreciate those with knowledge helping out us youngins.

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Re: Gin development

Post by Odin » Fri Jul 01, 2011 7:20 am

Hi Dis, I love to make gin, so if you have any more questions please ask and I'll try to answer them. My recipe on the forum is based on a neutral sugar base. It is easier to make and tastes very well. I will try to describe. Colour: white with oils hanging on to the glass, when being stirred; Nose: fresh, clean smell of juniper; Taste: elements of fruits, juniper, then lower/darker mouth feel from Koriander, then towards the end or after swallowing the warmth of the liquorice. Now a (parially) grain based gin will be sweetened, normally, so will taste sweeter. The nose is a combination of both juniper and a light (Irish?) whiskey. Grain, malt, not the peat you get from a Scottish whiskey. Taste is like a light whiskey with strong juniper signature. But because of the grain taste, juniper is less dominant than in the sugar based version. All herb tastes are generally less. In general it tastes less (I think) than a sugar based gin, BUT the grain based gin, you can actually age and put on wood (some port, a bit of sherry), bit of honey. Taste will develop and become more complex than a sugar based white gin. But taste is personal. I think that if you like vodka a "white" gin would be best to start with. If you love your whiskies (and the more complex, the better), then try a grain based one. But beware, a grain based one is much more difficult to make.

The best gin (or jenever) is probably made by Zuijdam in the south of the Netherlands. The way they do is that they tripple pot distill to make various base wines. One based on rye, one on grain, one on corn and one on barley. The master distiller then tastes them and mixes them according to the profile he is after. The resulting mix is redistilled over juniper, then tasted again, then redistilled another time, now to add the coriander, and then yet another time for final herbs like dill, orange peel, etc. This way every step can be adjusted and the result gives an increadible taste: you taste every ingredient seperately and in another period of time. Yet, this is not my method.

I somehow feel that doing all your herbs in one distillation is better. You will get a more "unified" taste. And continuously correcting feels to me a bit like cheating.

But then, how to get the herbs in? You could make an essence and then add this to a neutral sugar wash. If you like this method, why not make more essenses? One on juniper, one on coriander, etc, that way you can really start to mix things to find out what you like. I personally do not like this method, though, because it feels like making mixed drinks. Like "now a vodka with cherries, and now one with juniper ... hey, isn't that a gin by coincidence?

What is left is what I call cold, warm and hot compounding. And a gin head, but that comes later. Cold: put in the herbs, wait a few days, filter and you've got your gin. My experience is that distilling is better, because you actually take out the essential oils that give taste and leave out some off tastes that come from maceration without distilling. I think however you filter, some ingredients stay behind and start developing taste and so unbalance what you where after in only a few weeks time. Then comes what I call warm compounding. Macerate for 24 hours, take out the herbs and distill. Gives good results if you want an easy going gin. Hot compounding: leave the herbs in the pot when you redistill. This give (due to the heating of the herbs) a more complex and much more intense taste. My preferred method! Problem is that you can make the mistake by distilling too long. Herbs that stay too hot for too long will give other off tastes. The result can be fantastic. Almost in between a heavy, complex gin with character and an actual gin essence. If I get guests or if I am into a lighter gin, I add up to a litre of neutral sugar based vodka for a litre of hot compounded gin. The result is pretty close to a warm compounded, lighter gin. Now a gin head (or just insurting a hops bag with herbs in you pot or reflux still) works good if you are after an easy going gin. Lighter, usually than with warm or hot compounding. Bombay gin style. When you have a pot still where you can hang your herbs in, you can make it an easy going gin with even quite some complexity. Just put in more sorts of herbs and the pot still will take out different components at a different time in the distillation process. Vapours coming up through the bag with herbs get ligher in alcohol and hotter in temp, that's why. If you use a reflux still, just place a small bag in the top. Where the take-off point is. Because the alcohol gass is strong and consistently strong (95%), just use juniper and maybe a bit of koriander. You will get a gin that you can serve to people not accustomed to gin drinking. It's the perfect gin to put in your tonic, actually! Or you can use it to make a hot compounded gin a little less intense ... So you see, there is no answer to what is best, it has more to do with what still you have and what you like!

I never used cucumber myself! Interesting! I think you should squeeze out the juice and add that to the maceration. Cucumber in peaces might not give away much of its taste in maceration. And hot distilling cucumber ... I do not know what it will do to the taste. But your guess is as good as mine, here! For a gin head, small peaces might work, since the vapour is warmer that the liquid at maceration, but cooler than boiling in a hot compounding distillation. Maybe the best way if you have a pot still and want to put a bag in the vapour path.

The 25%/75% combo can be at vatting strength or at 42% (ideal drinking percentage). Depends on what you want. Do you want to drink right away, than 42% is okay. If you want to oak and age it, a higher percentage is better, because vanilla's from the wood are better absorbed at higher alcohol percentages.

Regards, 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: Gin development

Post by Odin » Fri Jul 01, 2011 7:36 am

dis-still-in wrote:@Odin:

3. Just a clarification: When you write to distill the low wines on the pot still to 60% does that mean to run the still until you reach 60ABV in the collection?
Dis, for the grain part, don't collect below 60%. You might get off tastes after that. If you are into ageing and so, you might want to go a bit "deeper", because tails will (partially) develop into nice tastes over time. At least as important: if you go lower than 60%, you run a serious risk of getting hangovers. Stopping a bit sooner will improve on that. Odin.
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Re: Gin development

Post by bencornish » Sat Jul 09, 2011 9:42 pm

I make a Bombay equiv using the following method and find it to be awesome! - many thanks to Olddog for most of this :)

I use a slightly modified DWWG for a neutral base. (Modificatin some Vit B/Epson Salts etc)
I run up several runs and strip them all down to low wines.
i stick all the leftover botanicals from the previous run in the low wines.
My Low wines ussually hang around for a few weeks or more so they soak in well.

For Final Spirit Run, I pore all the low wines into the keg (Half full for best results or no more then 60 percent) the left over potanticals go in / minus any peel.
I dont like boiling Peel as I find it adds some yukky flavours.

i still all my botanicals into a Stocking end and hand inside the neck of my Keg.
My Botanicals (Thanks for Old dog for thisawesome recipe)
25lt wash. 4 rounded tsp of juniper berries
couple of strip of lemon peel
one strip of orange peel
1 tsp of angelica root
1 tsp of orris root
1/2 star anise
1 tsp ground corriander
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
5 almonds
Morter and Pestle all this down as much as possible.

At the end i empty the left over botanicals into the next low wines batch - as mentioned above. gets the last of the flavour out.

Finished run - I air as normal.. After a few days i add a little bit of lemon peel and some more Juniper berries to the Final collection. Let sit for around 7 to 10 days with the lid off.
I find this last bit adds some good finishing flavour and i really like the juniper berry taste - so i add a few more.

i find by re-using the used botanicals into the Low wines adds a more deep complex taste but doesnt over power it.

I run this Cycle and store my Gin for around 6 months or longer at 60 percent. I leave 1 Juniper berry in the bottle also per 700mls - only cause i like them :)

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Re: Gin development

Post by Odin » Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:24 am

Bencornish,

Great that you re-use the "old" botanicals! Never done that, but certainly will give it a try. A question on your spirit run. Do you do it in a pot still or in a reflux still?

Thanx, 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: Gin development

Post by bencornish » Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:24 am

Hey Odin, sorry for the late reply... been down the Snow on holidays :)

Check this out - i use Olddog's Stumpy / Flute Still. Quite good :)

http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopi ... 50&t=21354

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Re: Gin development

Post by Odin » Sat Jul 30, 2011 1:06 pm

Thanx BEn!

I have been reading the threads and especially the flute mark 2 has raised my interest! I will look into that for sure!

Regards, 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: Gin development

Post by DukeLeto » Sat Jul 07, 2018 11:01 am

Hello gin lovers,
This is my first post on the site, but I've been lurking around for a while. I''m somewhat new to distilling, but I've been brewing wine and beer for quite some time. I'm distilling with a grainfather with the Alembic Pot Still lid, but I've removed the rubber washers so it's just metal on metal. I've distilled two batches of gin so far, and, well, I'll tell you the results below after I explain my plan.

My plan:
I'm playing around with gin recipes for the next few months. So I'm doing three main washes: A sugar wash, a 2-row wash, and a wheat wash. With each i'm doing my stripping run then diluting it and dividing it into two batches for the spirit runs. In each spirit run I'm using 40g of juniper, then I'm using a different botanical for each. I have more botanicals than I will have batches of spirit runs, so I am sometimes doing two botanicals that I know (or think) will go well together. In the end, will have 6 different gins with different botanicals, and from different washes. From that point on I'll start to blend them to see if I like certain combinations more than others. And I'm using a gin basket for the botanicals. I've bought a wide range of botanicals including:
- Orris root
- Angelica
- Grains of paradise
- cubeb berries
- pink peppercorns
- tonka beans
- Licorice root
- Calamus root
- Corriander
- Various citrus peels

I've completed my first two spirit runs, with a basic sugar wash (6 gallon wash with a little tomato paste and lemon juice at 10%abv after fermented for two weeks with regular old bakers yeast). For this one I also put 50g. of juniper into the stripping run. i'm not sure how much of the flavour of that came through in the spirit run, but with the added 40g. in each run it tastes about right to me.

I didn't measure the exact amount, but I diluted the stripping run back down to 40%, and ended up with around 2 litres of each spirit run (that's in total)

Recipe 1: (I kept more of the tails for this one, around 204-205f, and less of the heads)
40 g. Juniper
15 g. Angelica root
5 g. Pink Pepper Corns
1 large strip orange zest (2g.)

Recipe 2: (I ended up keeping slightly more of the heads on this, but less of the tails. I stopped blending at around the 203f mark)
40 g. Juniper
2 g. Orris Root (powder)
10 g. Grains of Paridise
Lime zest - 1.5 g

I had a couple of friends over for a testing night last night, and the results are pretty good. Both of them had high reviews, but it was unanimous that the one with Angelica root was better. We then combined them, and it was divided between the Angelica only recipe, and the mixture.

Tasting notes:
For recipe one, the orange zest really came through, and there was a slight pepperiness and earthiness. I would call it quite dry, but there was a hint of sweetness. It was also quite floral in aroma.
For recipe two, it was a little more neutral, probably because I added less of the tails. I didn't get any unique notes, but I would compare it to something like Beefeater. It's a decent drinking gin, but nothing special.

If anyone is interested, I'll keep updating this post as I go through my next batches. I'll also update the tasting notes as more people get a chance to taste them and weigh in.

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Re: Gin development

Post by Lawfish » Wed Aug 29, 2018 10:47 am

Hi, guys. I'm late to this thread, but wanted to echo I use almost the same procedure as Bencornish. 3 stripping runs of DWWG and the botanicals macerate in the low wines for a week. I go much heavier on the juniper though. I found 1 lb. bags of fresh juniper berries from a company in California. I put 1.5 lbs. of juniper in my 4.5 gallons of low wines, macerate, then leave in the low wines during the spirit run. No citrus in the spirit run either, as it clouds up the spirit terribly.

While I like the taste of the tails, the minute you get any tails in this gin, it turns cloudy. My runs start at 170 proof and stay there for a good hour before dropping off. Once I get to 140, I stop collecting and collect the rest to add to my next stripping run.

This makes a delicious gin. Not as complex as Bencornish's as I only use juniper, citrus and a little coriander. I end up with about 16 quart jars at 94 proof. Everyone who's tasted it loves it. I have to hide it so it doesn't disappear.

I'm looking to diversify and try my whiskey base (malted 2-row with cornflakes and sugar) as a base for the gin for a kind of a genever.
Lawfish

Homebrewer turned distiller

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Re: Gin development

Post by DukeLeto » Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:39 pm

Hey all.
My latest recipe is the best one I've made yet ( take that with a grain of salt as I am still relatively new at this. It's my 5th spirit run with gin)
With 2 litres 160 proof (one from sugar wash, one from wheat wash distilled twice in reflux column), with 2.5 litres water, in a pot still with a botanical basket:

40g. Juniper
1g lavender
1g liquorice root
1g Grains of Paradise
5g Angelica
3g Calamus
2g lemon zest
1g dried orange zest (not bitter orange)
5g corriander
2g Orris Root (powder)
3g Winter Green

After distilled when at around 120 proof I added Dok Anchan tea, which is just dried sweet pea flowers. I let it steep for just a few hours, mainly for colour, but it also adds a slight citrus and floral note. It turns it a deep kind of yves klein blue that turns bright purple when you add any citric acid. It's kinda gimmicky, but fun.

I also made this tonic syrup since I have carbonated water on tap in the ol' kegerator. https://www.blossomtostem.net/homemade-tonic-syrup/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow It's not bad, but I think I want it just a little sweeter. I also let my cinchona bark steep for maybe a little too long, and I read that steeping barks in alcohol over 64% will actually take a lot of bitter and unwanted flavours out, and I used 150 proof. I think next time I'll try watering it down a little to see if that makes a difference.

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Re: Gin development

Post by DukeLeto » Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:48 pm

I'm running another batch right now. For 2 litres 160 proof watered down to 40%, it has:

35g Juniper
3g dried orange peel
7g dandilion root
5g. Calamus root
12g. Shizandra berry
2g. Pink Pepper Corns
1 tonka bean (2-4g)
5 cardamon pods
5g fresh ginger

In the wash during the boil there is also the used botanicals from my last batch (see post above)

This is going to be a very strong flavoured gin, but that's what I'm going for. I want something to drink straight with soda water rather than tonic, and have a nice spice to it.

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