Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby ukdon001 » Sun Sep 20, 2015 6:17 pm

Thank you for the info Still_stirrin

It will be very helpful in the next batch a I do
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby engunear » Sat Oct 17, 2015 11:43 am

Hey Kiwi, great intro and a great thread.

However, there is one variable that is mentioned briefly, but I'd like to hear a few more opinions on: intended drinking age. As a lover of old red wines, I know that that when the good ones are young they taste like shit. Beautiful shit, but they take the enamel off your teeth, turn your tongue into last year's toothbrush used to clean that carburettor, and (for the most famous Australian wine) smell like crushed ants. If I was making something to drink in 6 months I'd follow your advice. But drinking 6 month old whiskey is child abuse. I currently take everything to a combined ABV of about 60%. At this point the runoff is watery. Maybe lose some heads if the ethyl acetate is too much. Add a little high quality dry sherry, and oak, and lock it up. Well, not quite, the odd sample for "educational" purposes is allowed. I'm very happy with the trajectory of the results. I'm thinking of doing per-bottle variations on cuts with a view to blending at aged 12.

Its tricky because there is a well known syndrome where the person who makes beer/wine whatever loves it because it gives them a buzz every day and everybody is too polite to tell them it is terrible. We can all see this in our friends, but our stuff is perfect, right?

Which of the nasties will react over time to become integrated? Ethyl acetate reacts with phenolics from peat. What else happens? What advice would people give?
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still and Flute...)

Postby Jimbo » Sat Oct 17, 2015 12:12 pm

Taking a short back break from the apples... This is a great thread, and damn nice work on the images in your OP Kiwi, picture is worth 1000 words. I edited your POT one to add a Flute one. This is my observation of how a Flute run goes compared to POT.

Cheers,

JImbo

PotvsFluteSm.JPG
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby BaxtersDad » Sun Nov 01, 2015 7:01 pm

still_stirrin wrote:+1 Baxtersdad.

I suggest taking detailed notes of your senses and writing them down. There's something about writing it down that helps to imprint into the memory, and that makes it easier to come back to when you mix and blend. Also, when you write it down, you go slower which allows more of your perceptions to filter through. It helps to sift through the finer details and make better cuts. At least it works that way for me.
ss


We were very discerning on the heads. Three pints were clearly fingernail polish remover. The fourth pint was "iffy," so we set it aside too, so I now have half a gallon of heads to add to the next spirit run. We did not discern any tails, neither of us. The flavor changed some but not to "watery or wet cardboard," so that all ended up in the gin run. After dilution to 45%, we got 8 quarts of gin flavored with Odin's Simple Gin botanicals, and I am on a "refresher" of it right now! It turned out great, now that it has a month plus of age on it due to a month long trip that we just got back from.
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby jb-texshine » Sun Nov 01, 2015 8:50 pm

Kiwi- just wanted to say thanks for putting this together for us. It has been one of those posts I come back to over and over again. It's most definitely the reason I haven't had a hangover in 9 months :thumbup: Unless I am drinking beer anyway,lol. Shiner black does that though... Lol.
Thanks again
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still and Flute...)

Postby T-Pee » Sun Nov 01, 2015 9:45 pm

Jimbo wrote:Taking a short back break from the apples... This is a great thread, and damn nice work on the images in your OP Kiwi, picture is worth 1000 words. I edited your POT one to add a Flute one. This is my observation of how a Flute run goes compared to POT.

Cheers,

JImbo

PotvsFluteSm.JPG

My observations mirror yours when running my CM, Jimbo. I would put forward that it would be fairly comparable for most reflux-producing columns in that the heads and tails are compressed (fores too for that matter) resulting in more precise cuts that are easier to make.

tp
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still and Flute...)

Postby Jimbo » Mon Nov 02, 2015 7:01 am

T-Pee wrote:...the heads and tails are compressed (fores too for that matter) resulting in more precise cuts that are easier to make.

tp


The jury is still out on that, for me anyway. If youre cutting for neutral sure. But cutting brandy and whiskey for flavor I find it more difficult. Getting there finally after a bunch of runs, definitely a re-learning curve.
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby HDNB » Mon Nov 02, 2015 7:38 am

I think you are both right. Easier for heart cut? ... Tougher for blending? (for a complex aging stock)
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby thecroweater » Sat Nov 07, 2015 6:14 am

I think you blokes must run ya columns a lot better than me. No way I get the same compression with tails as I do with heads. I can stack the plates and squash them fores and heads right up and tails are much more compressed than with a pot but unlike that chart its rarely the same compression as heads
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby Jimbo » Sat Nov 07, 2015 6:53 am

thecroweater wrote:I think you blokes must run ya columns a lot better than me. No way I get the same compression with tails as I do with heads. I can stack the plates and squash them fores and heads right up and tails are much more compressed than with a pot but unlike that chart its rarely the same compression as heads


You are correct crow. I cranked that diagram out in a hurry and apparently wasnt thinkin too hard about how I run. Tails for sure drag out longer. Starting pretty quick after the temp starts to rise, and carries on for quite a bit. I tend to shut off after a couple jars of tails and leave quite a bit in the tank. Once I ran to pull everything (2 plates) and had a few jars of tails . I should edit that chart.
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby Lowjack » Sun Dec 06, 2015 7:26 am

That is a lot of awesome information that I don't think exists anywhere but here online in this form. However it mainly is describing the cuts from runs of spirits you fermented. I had a quick question for cuts on say an absinthe that uses a commercial 75% spirit that's been bottled and sold to me. Since the fore shots were already removed is it necessary to remove them again when distilling after macerating with the herbs used in the absinthe recipe? For taste purposes? Or safety? Sorry if I missed it but I don't think I skipped a single post in this awesome thread on cuts.
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby thecroweater » Sun Dec 06, 2015 7:34 am

Well now that depends on how much you trust what ya bought, maybe taste it first
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby Lowjack » Sun Dec 06, 2015 7:37 am

It's everclear 75%. And thanks for the quick response. I'm still learning how to make it safely and correctly so I'm not putting this knowledge into action immediately but if I was the quickness of the response time could prove invaluable. I love t his place. Every thread I click on I learn so much. I'm starting a written journal like now.
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby T-Pee » Sun Dec 06, 2015 9:00 am

If you're going to rerun a commercial anything, I'd take a fores cut at the least. If the distiller doesn't run in batch mode and runs a continuous process, fores are in there...and heads...and tails.

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby Danespirit » Tue Dec 08, 2015 6:29 am

+1 T-Pee

I wouldn't trust the product to be without foreshots or heads in some amount.
The only one who can decide what to do is you...and your tastebuds. :wink:
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby Hillbilly Popstar » Thu Jan 28, 2016 5:25 pm

Ok...
Sorry if I missed this somewhere in the required reading.

I have seen where it is an option to triple distill in your pot if you wish. But if your not supposed to run anything at 50% or higher in your still and it is recommended to run 40% lowines for the 2nd run, then what would you use for the 3rd run?

Am I to take it that triple distilling in a pot still is not recommended and whatever your still can do with 40% abv is the best you can expect to get?
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby GrassHopper » Thu Jan 28, 2016 5:39 pm

No disrespect, but your obviously not understanding the concept.
No run, EVER....should be run at an ABV of more than 40%. Doesn't matter whether it is the first, second, third, or 100th!
Got it?
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby Hillbilly Popstar » Thu Jan 28, 2016 5:52 pm

GrassHopper wrote:No disrespect, but your obviously not understanding the concept.
No run, EVER....should be run at an ABV of more than 40%. Doesn't matter whether it is the first, second, third, or 100th!
Got it?

Fair enough. Don't remember where I got the 50% figure from. But it's somewhere on this forum.

So under what circumstances would a 3rd distillation be necessary/ran?
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby jedneck » Thu Jan 28, 2016 5:56 pm

Hillbilly Popstar wrote:
GrassHopper wrote:No disrespect, but your obviously not understanding the concept.
No run, EVER....should be run at an ABV of more than 40%. Doesn't matter whether it is the first, second, third, or 100th!
Got it?

Fair enough. Don't remember where I got the 50% figure from. But it's somewhere on this forum.

So under what circumstances would a 3rd distillation be necessary/ran?

You can run as many distillations as needed long as the boiler charge is cut down to 40% or less.
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby Hillbilly Popstar » Thu Jan 28, 2016 6:06 pm

jedneck wrote:
Hillbilly Popstar wrote:
GrassHopper wrote:No disrespect, but your obviously not understanding the concept.
No run, EVER....should be run at an ABV of more than 40%. Doesn't matter whether it is the first, second, third, or 100th!
Got it?

Fair enough. Don't remember where I got the 50% figure from. But it's somewhere on this forum.

So under what circumstances would a 3rd distillation be necessary/ran?

You can run as many distillations as needed long as the boiler charge is cut down to 40% or less.

So what would be the benefit of distilling 40% lowines, watering back down to 40%, then distilling again?

I mean even of the most careful of runs on one's particular potstill can make no better than 80% out of 40%, what is the point of another run?
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby jedneck » Thu Jan 28, 2016 6:11 pm

Water is the best filter there is. Even 3x potstilled will have flavour, damn good flavour, to much to be called vodka. Every time you water down for a rerun it gets cleaned up a little more.
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby GrassHopper » Thu Jan 28, 2016 6:28 pm

jedneck wrote:Water is the best filter there is. Even 3x potstilled will have flavour, damn good flavour, to much to be called vodka. Every time you water down for a rerun it gets cleaned up a little more.


There it is....Jedneck gives you good advice. And if you had read enough on the subject you would already know that.
Do your homework, and you won't have to ask such basic questions that anybody doing just a little research will find the answers to.
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby MichiganCornhusker » Thu Jan 28, 2016 6:28 pm

Each run you can discard a generous foreshot and deep tails.
Each run the spirit gets "cleaner".
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby crazyk78 » Thu Jan 28, 2016 9:37 pm

MichiganCornhusker wrote:Each run you can discard a generous foreshot and deep tails.
Each run the spirit gets "cleaner".


That's the aim
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby Danespirit » Thu Jan 28, 2016 11:52 pm

Hillbilly Popstar wrote:
GrassHopper wrote:No disrespect, but your obviously not understanding the concept.
No run, EVER....should be run at an ABV of more than 40%. Doesn't matter whether it is the first, second, third, or 100th!
Got it?

Fair enough. Don't remember where I got the 50% figure from. But it's somewhere on this forum.

So under what circumstances would a 3rd distillation be necessary/ran?

+1 on the answers given.
The third distillation would only be necessary, if your tastebuds can't stand the swill you made.
Taking the foreshots on all runs, will wastly improve your final product.
Potstills will always "smear" a little....
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby Hillbilly Popstar » Fri Jan 29, 2016 3:22 am

That makes sense. Thank you.
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby rad14701 » Fri Jan 29, 2016 6:42 pm

In addition, when pot stilling, contrary to the thought that you always lose flavor with every distillation, with practice you will actually be able to concentrate and improve the flavor profile... It's not just the mechanics of the act, it's an art that comes with practice...
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby Hillbilly Popstar » Sat Jan 30, 2016 5:30 am

Jimbo wrote:Yes its an important skill to learn. Googe been around the block for years, thats all the Dane was saying. There's several early run smells to learn...

acetone (solventy, sweet)
common esters like ethyl acetate (solvent), ethyl caproate (green apple), isoamyl acetate (banana)
acetaldehyde (fruity)
diacetyl (buttery, butterscotch)
dimethyl sulfide (DMS) (cooked veggies, sulfer)

Can anyone break down which of these you absolutely do NOT want in your whiskey? Cause honestly, they all sound pleasant to some degree.
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby bitter » Sat Jan 30, 2016 6:01 am

Most if not all these are in the heads I like to eliminate. But thats because they give me a headache.

Look at the compound and boil temperature
acetone 133–134 °F
Ethyl acetate 170.8 °F
isoamyl acetate 288 °F
acetaldehyde 68.4 °F
diacetyl (Can't find boil temp easy)
dimethyl sulfide 95 to 106 °F
Methanol 148.5°F

But going by the boiling temps you can see most these (except isoamyl acetate that would be in the higher temp run of the tails might pull some I'm guessing) come out in the heads. I suspect this is why for example with apple cider people take a very small head cut to get the fruity taste

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Postby Danespirit » Sat Jan 30, 2016 6:31 am

Hillbilly Popstar wrote:
Jimbo wrote:Yes its an important skill to learn. Googe been around the block for years, thats all the Dane was saying. There's several early run smells to learn...

acetone (solventy, sweet)
common esters like ethyl acetate (solvent), ethyl caproate (green apple), isoamyl acetate (banana)
acetaldehyde (fruity)
diacetyl (buttery, butterscotch)
dimethyl sulfide (DMS) (cooked veggies, sulfer)

Can anyone break down which of these you absolutely do NOT want in your whiskey? Cause honestly, they all sound pleasant to some degree.

Basically you don't want any of them in there, still they are represented in various amounts.
Some of them will draw off long before the foreshots are dripping.
Take the funny smell of green apples for example, it's uncondensable gasses that you can smell at the takeoff just before the foreshots.
Acetone gives this sweet solvent like odor but condenses already at 56 C, Ethanol condenses at 78 C.
We can exploit this property and draw off a lot of unwanted components via the foreshots, Methanol is also one of them ( boils at 64,7 C).
There are al lot of undisirable components on the other end of the temperaturescale, that have a higher boilingpoint than Ethanol.
Fortunatly for the distiller, those who have a higher B.P. than water, stay behind in the boiler.
That would be with the exception of those components that are carried over by the vapor.
So as i wrote in a earlier post, a potstill will always smear to some degree.
The challenge is to control the amount of smearing going on.
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