diluting low wines in preperation for spirit run

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the pure drop
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diluting low wines in preperation for spirit run

Post by the pure drop » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:53 pm

Good evening all. I sort of started this over in the UJSSM topic, but the direction I am going with this made me feel that it was getting away from UJSSM-specific arena. I'm talking about diluting a strip run in preperation for making my spirit run. I run a simple pot still with a bit more than a 5 gallon capacity. Small fries for most of you here, but I used the material I had available. Back on topic...in the past I have just run my washes down until I couldn't taste anymore discernable alcohol. I assume I ran it down to maybe 20-25 percent. I would collect up enough of these low wines then charge my still for a spirit run. If I had feints, I'd add them to my wash for my strip. If I had extra wash left over, I'd add it to my spirit run to try to squeeze out a bit more flavor. My base recipe is UJSSM. It's my go-to. I love it because it recycles everything except the sugar...and I'm trying to stay within a "hobbyist" budget, and also because I'm very limited to whats locally available, and most importantly...I think it makes a damn fine likker. But I believe that my half-assed methods leave a lot to be desired, and I think that I can get much more out of this recipe as well as any other future recipes by trying to refine my process. Part of the refinement has centered around the idea of a combination of diluting my stripping runs to achieve a predicted/ expected final abv. % as well as the addition of a percentage of wash to low wines prior to spirit run.

According to Harry's paper on dilution in preperation for a spirit run:
"Armed with a spirit hydrometer and a dilution chart or an adjustment formula, and this phase diagram plot information, he can then dilute the final still-charge to the correct ethanol/water starting ratio. Thus the final product will be at the desired ethanol strength, and the water fraction will be made up of distilled water. This eliminates the turbidity often associated with adding water after distillation and before kegging, thus a superior quality spirit is produced."

"A stillman using a potstill can work backwards from the phase diagram, select a desired final product strength, map it as a point on the vapour curve, then draw in the lines to arrive at a starting still-charge strength for the final spirit run."

Usint the ideas from the two quoted paragraphs above, I should decide what %abv I want to put my likker on oak at. Then, using the phase diagram, work my way backwards towards what my low wines should be diluted to in order to end up at or around what I want my final abv to be. And instead of diluting with water, I plan to dilute with un-stilled wash (for the additional flavor) no more than a gallon (for my 5 gallon spirit run), then the rest (if required to dilute further) would be with normal water. Then run my strip.

That all makes theoretical sense. But here is where my question start to come in. I am on my (lost count) batch of UJSSM...just stripped my first 10 gallon wash (first generation of this particular itteration) down to low wines. I collected all the way down to around 25% abv. My resulting low wines are sitting at 45% abv. Now, I have read that many people here like to put their UJSSM on oak at between 60-70%abv. Based on the guidance from Harry's paper and using the phase diagram which I found at http://distillapedia.org/index.php?title=Pot_still" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow I can determine that if I want my stripping run to have a total/ final abv of say 65% abv to put on oak, in order not to have to cut the final spirit with water prior to putting it on oak, I would have to dilute my stripped low wines back down to nearly 16-18%! Is this right? Will all the extra effort to get that added water back out during the spirit run really pay off in terms of quality/ flavor of final spirit? I notice from my reading that folks here and there seem to be dilluting their stripped low wines down to about 40%. But this would (in theory, using the above phase diagram and personal experience) result in spirit somewhere between 75% to 80%, which would need to be diluted back down to between 60-70% for aging on oak. According to Harry's paper, it seems to be better for quality to not need to dilute prior to oaking. Does anyone have any experience/ advice on this? If diluting my low wines down to around 18% prior to my spirit run will make a superior final product, then I'll take a crack at it...but that seems like an awful lot of effort/ utility energies used up to get all that water back out. If anyone can tell me that this is the practice they use with their pot still to get the best product they can get out of this recipe, then please pitch in. Any thought on this is appreciated. Just a simple home shiner trying to make the best corn-flavored sugarhead I can make with what I've got at hand.
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Re: diluting low wines in preperation for spirit run

Post by Odin » Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:20 am

Gave you a sort of answer on the UJSSM thread, The Pure Drop!
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Re: diluting low wines in preperation for spirit run

Post by rad14701 » Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:35 am

the pure drop, those phase diagrams are available here on the parent site as well as in these very forums... No real need in linking to an external source...

Also, rather than diluting as far back as you are entertaining you could simply add a bit more heat which will increase take off rate and reduce the overall %ABV of collected spirits... And remember, you are basing the resulting %ABV from the average of your run... The parent site has calculators that can be of help with this, as well... Try out the Calculation of a Pot Still Distillation Run calculator...

Just ran a quick calculation and 8 liters of 40%, or your 45% diluted to 40% with wash, from your initial run(s), would result in roughly 5 liters of 65% that's ready for aging...

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Re: diluting low wines in preperation for spirit run

Post by junkyard dawg » Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:19 pm

There are lots of different ways to run. I'm sure that will work well, but I know you need to do that to get a good product. Try it a few ways, see what works best for you. I never really have had persistent problems with clouding upon dilution, so I consider the cost of fuel...

I think if you dilute your UJ low wines with clear wash to around 30 to 40% and run slow and careful you are going to get a very flavorful distillate. If your wash is not your ideal flavor then use water and dilute it more. You'll get less flavor.

Play around with it and it will all make sense...
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Re: diluting low wines in preperation for spirit run

Post by blind drunk » Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:38 pm

I figured that @ 30% spirit charge, I get a good 65% final distillate. That's for oak. Just try different still charges and power management fiddling until you get what you're looking for.
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