Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Other discussions for folks new to the wonderful craft of home distilling.

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by LWTCS » Mon Nov 16, 2009 4:44 pm

Yep, this thread is a great tool.
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by kiwistiller » Mon Nov 16, 2009 5:05 pm

Thanks for the info Usge. I use that blending method when I want to drink it white. I guess I'm too lazy to do it for the oaked stuff :lol:

Maybe a mod could update those charts from ayay in the OP with the modified version?
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by Usge » Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:39 pm

Ive done much deeper cuts too for ageing. I think initially I named one bottle I did that way "skank" because it had a thick tails smell to it and I was "sure" I had ruined it. But, it oaked out ok...just took a long time. Actually ended up with a pretty interesting flavor..sort of like scotch and bourbon mix. So, I called it Scurbon. Or B'otch.

Those cuts, mentioned above, were done from a triple run (ie., Harry's method), where you do a strip, save that add wash/mash to capacity and strip again, save that and add wash/mash to capacity and do a final spirit run on that. Proofs out a lot lower cause it starts lower, (my blend came out somewhere in the high 130s instead of 160 or 170)) and it contains single runs, double, and triple all in the same batch. It made a nice flavor, but blending it out was a little harder cause there was less overall yield (as opposed to double running all low-wines/feints to capacity) and some of it was dirtier because of the singlins. So, I had to pick my way around it.

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by adama_bill » Tue Nov 17, 2009 6:57 am

And thank you to Usge also.
Great you had the time to write up the info in a conversational style.

Regards

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by Usge » Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:02 pm

Ok boys and girls...going out on a limb here yet again with my latest testing to add another bit of info. Here it is in a nutshell, ....the size of the glass/jar you are collecting in...can make a difference in how you detect or perceive cuts. I had 2 pint jars..each had notable problems. Combined them together in a quart...all of sudden....wha' happened? It's smooth, taste ok.etc. BUT..if you water it down...whamo...same old objectionable offtastes, burn, stinging on the tongue..salty smell/taste.

So, another thing to add...is after you've separated everything out to the 'nth" degree..is start recombining it it various ways to see what holds up..and what doesn't.

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by bstinga » Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:03 pm

Usage wrote
going out on a limb here yet again with my latest testing to add another bit of info...
Spirit tasters/reviewers (commercial spirits that is) often will taste i.e. rum straight, then add some water and re-taste to reveal the different profiles. Check out some well know spirit reviewers and writers methodology for the exact process. Also see the Rum University website free program which is worth a read and really helps with 'ones' thought process when making cuts IMO.

So what you are saying isn't that far out along the limb.

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by Usge » Tue Dec 08, 2009 8:21 am

I think I was more talking about the size of the collection glass/container/sample of raw spirit...prior to dilution. And how that could/may have an impact on the initial raw spirit sample. (ie., stuff that actually tastes/smells ok...in a larger jar...that would not if collected in smaller lots/jars). Dilution as a test method was already covered earlier in the thread (as well as elsewhere). But, I appreciate the vote of confidence :)

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by Samohon » Fri Mar 12, 2010 3:35 am

Great Tut Kiwi.... Ive, been doing it all wrong.....

Thanks Man

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by kiwistiller » Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:44 pm

Probably not wrong, just different. this way is pretty fail safe though, so good for learning.
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by Nightforce » Tue Mar 30, 2010 4:01 pm

Great tutorial! I've read it several times over the last few months but I'm still having trouble getting the cuts right.

I stripped out a 20L UJSSM wash and in what I thought was the hearts, collected a quart jar, then finished up the run. I let it air for a little over a day and now when I dilute and taste it, I'm still getting what I think is the tails "flavor". I collected the quart from about the 50% mark down which should have been right in the hearts. Given the picture of stripping run is it because I smeared the hearts with tails at stripping run speed? (~5 quarts in 55min) I've almost got enough to run a spirit run of UJSSM, which I think I'll add a gallon of all grain corn that I stripped out. Seems that it will be better to get a keg for runs as it would be easier to pull out better product as well as more of it; fooling with a pony keg seems to make it harder to get good cuts for a novice.

EDIT:

Went back and looked at a few things. If I kept from the 50% mark down for a quart I probably was in the tails already. Hearts on a spirit run from a 40% wash would be ~80% down to 70% so I should have kept the quart or so around the 70-75% mark and not the 50% mark???

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by olddog » Tue Mar 30, 2010 4:12 pm

Nightforce wrote:Given the picture of stripping run is it because I smeared the hearts with tails at stripping run speed?
You should not need to worry about making cuts on a stripping run, collect everything after the foreshots and keep for a spirit run.
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by blanikdog » Tue Mar 30, 2010 4:25 pm

Interesting stuff, kiwi. I'll try speeding up the heads today on my plum run. Could be interesting cos I used a lot more plums for this run to see if I can get more plum flavour.

The plum wine is/was almost too good to distill. :)

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by kiwistiller » Tue Mar 30, 2010 4:31 pm

Nightforce, If you're just interested in a single jar of single run, then yeah, stripping speed smears cuts. If you do it again I'd try to slow down for a few minutes, then collect some slow, then speed up again to strip the rest.
Nightforce wrote:Went back and looked at a few things. If I kept from the 50% mark down for a quart I probably was in the tails already. Hearts on a spirit run from a 40% wash would be ~80% down to 70% so I should have kept the quart or so around the 70-75% mark and not the 50% mark???
:? I thought you were doing a stripping run? after it's stripped its called low wines, not wash. you won't be getting 70--80% region on a stripping run. if all else fails, collect the whole lot in small jars, then pick your favourite. you can dump all the others into the low wines container after.

Good luck blanik! you done slivovitch before?
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by blanikdog » Tue Mar 30, 2010 6:48 pm

I had 140pound of plums Kiwi, so I guess the answer is yes. I really need to try 'real' ie commercial to gauge how better mine is. :)

I've not had slivovitch before so it's interesting all round. Coming out of the still it's bloody nice, I can say that. :ebiggrin: :ebiggrin: :ebiggrin:

blanik

EDIT: Dammit, there I go off topic again!! Bugger!!!
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by Nightforce » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:15 pm

Kiwi,

I was doing a stripping run of UJSSM, I just wanted to save a good jar to try oaking to make a better product than I did before. I was a little confusing before, sorry.

I was stating that on a spirit run, hearts would be about 80-70% range given a 40% low wine charge. I was only at a 10%± wash so I wasn't going to get anywhere near the "heart range" of a low wine charge; relatively speaking. I should have collected a single jar sample somewhere up near the 70-60% range rather than the 50-40% range. Next time I'll slow it down as suggested and try and pick something around cask strength range to save as a single jar. I have ~3 gallons of DWWG stripped that I might run as a spirit run first, to practice cuts, then run those feints through the reflux column. I'm not sure how a wheat sugar head will oak up but what the hey, won't know until I try. :)

The off smell in my jar isn't really wet dog or wet cardboard either, it's more of a earthy off smell that I really can't place.

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by kiwistiller » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:30 pm

Nightforce wrote:I was doing a stripping run of UJSSM........ should have collected a single jar sample somewhere up near the 70-60% range rather than the 50-40% range. Next time I'll slow it down as suggested and try and pick something around cask strength range to save as a single jar.
um. not quite sure if you're getting this, so in case, I'll spell it out, don't be offended if you already know this... if you were collecting a jar of a stripping run, then the abv of hearts wouldn't be even near 70-60%. I doubt the foreshots would be 70%. if you have a lower still charge %, all the % points will change for cuts. this is why we don't like discussing cuts in ABV or temp, because it's so damn finicky.
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by Nightforce » Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:11 am

Not offended at all. Sometimes a smack on the back of the head and a good heart felt "Dumbass!" makes things a lot clearer. :D Fore shots on my still with a low %abv charge comes out at just under 60%, so yep, nowhere near hearts on a spirit run. Dunno what I was(n't)thinking.

I think I've sailed into waters that only experience will help me navigate now. Just gotta keep making washes, fermenting, and stillin' them out. Those who actually had hands on help from an experienced stiller just don't know how lucky they have/had it. The rest of us get to ask an occasional dumb question on the forum. ;)

Thanks again!

---EDIT---

Man-O-Man, what a difference a little oak and a few days make. I opened the jar and smelled it and it miraculously cleared up. I'd added about 2 grams of charred toasted oak chips a day ago and I guess it helped clean up the off smell. I diluted and tasted and it was amazingly good; so good that I filtered it and diluted to 40% to keep as a sipping whiskey. Man, the encouragement a good batch gives you is amazing, even if by complete accident. :D I can't wait to run out a 6 gallon batch of corn/barley/wheat all grain. :D

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by Kiwi-lembic » Tue Jul 13, 2010 1:37 am

Excellent stuff Kiwi .you are an artist at explaining things beutifully simply .just got another notch wiser lol .on ya mate

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by eddie » Sat Jul 17, 2010 1:55 pm

Wow!!! What a great guide!!! The way you explain it is so clear and straightforward. I'm planning a pot still right now and this is going to be a great help when I do my first few runs. Thanks for putting this up for us newbies. :ebiggrin:

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by kiwistiller » Sun Jul 18, 2010 5:15 pm

Cheers guys, but the credit goes to the guys who posted this stuff up in tidbits all over the forum. We owe a great deal of thanks to whoever first said to collect in small vessels and cut later. No idea who it was though...
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Re: Notes from the cutting bench...

Post by Nightforce » Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:09 am

kiwistiller wrote:I ran an UJSM varient a few days ago and I thought I might keep some records of the cuts as a indication of what to expect for cuts on a spirit run.

The Charge: ~40l (hard to see in the keg :) ) of low wines @~45%, from successive ferments of UJSM style corn + rye + barley malt.

The Result:
Untitled.jpg
Anyway thought this might help some folks get a visual of sorts.

QUOTE CLIPPED FOR BREVITY

Kiwi
Although I felt I was getting mildly decent with cutting, I was re-reading cuts to learn more (You can never learn enough). I read Kiwi's post about cuts and my last full spirit run (similar charge volume and %abv) ended up being almost spot on to his, even the volumes kept. I must be doing something right; I only wish now that I'd dropped one of the heads jars and kept a tails instead. Oh well, there's always another run. :)

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by WeeStiller » Tue Feb 08, 2011 8:46 am

Kiwi and others,

First off, thanks for this great tutorial on making cuts.

Is there a rule of thumb as to how large your collection jars should be in relation to your still charge?
E.g. I have a 10 liter still charge, which produces about 6 liters on a 40% spirit run. I use 12 jars of 0.5 liters to collect. So my collection jars each are 5% of a still charge and each contain about 8% of total output (of 6 liters). Am I in the ballpark or do I better use smaller collection jars?

Thanks for your advice.

Mike

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by LWTCS » Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:36 am

Certainly smaller jars gonna help you more presicely isolate your transitions.
Think about this though.
Keep useing the same recipe and the same run methods and learn,,,,say within 300 to 400 ml of where the transitions occur.

So then use the small jars during your transitions. The goal being to get increasingly more familiar with where your transitions are and to move away from the safety net of the jars.

All in good time
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by Bull Rider » Tue Feb 08, 2011 5:28 pm

I'm with LWTCS on this. I've learned when to take small slices of product, and when I'm solidly into the hearts portion and I can upsize my jars.

The bigger the boiler charge the easier it is to find the cut points. A gentle spirit run also makes it easier to make the cuts (pot still).


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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by rtalbigr » Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:41 pm

I've pretty much got away from jar collection entirely. I do use a tastin' spoon alot, especially thru the heads and when I'm expectin' to get into tails. I sample thru my hearts occasionally, more because I love the flavor. I've run enough thru my still to know what I want to keep for agin' and where I'll collect for my feints to re-run. I check every 200 ml and from experience I know where in a run to check more closely. Experience is a great teacher. Pay attention to the details. When I'm going thru heads I taste every 100 ml until I know the hearts are starting to come thru, then when I get to the right balance I start collecting for hearts. Tails are more forgiving but I still play close attention; I want some for the flavor but I don't want to get too deep into the tails. Sometimes I make my tails cut at about 65% abv, but I have gone done as far as 55% abv. It's something you'll get with experience. It's science and it's art, mostly it's doing it a whole bunch of times.

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by LWTCS » Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:45 pm

Bloody hell Big R.......

Sounds like a one man party to me :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by rtalbigr » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:17 pm

Blo
ody hell Big R.......

Sounds like a one man party to me


It may be a one man party but it's a bloody rip snortin' barn burner! 8) :lol:

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by LWTCS » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:34 pm

rtalbigr wrote:Blo
???
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by rtalbigr » Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:35 am

Nothin' intended there LW, the qoute feature messed up.

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by BossFrogg » Wed Apr 06, 2011 7:07 pm

Amazing , I have severe adult add and I actually understood this .( I was dropped as a young tadpole on my head too many times . ) Please feel free to tackle other subjects of distilling . Man I'm glad I found this sight . :D

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