Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

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bridwell52
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by bridwell52 » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:01 pm

I fool around with different grains using a sugar wash just like the sweet feed one. What do you all think about mixing the feints from different washes together. Would cuts be harder or just like normal?

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by thecroweater » Sun Jul 30, 2017 4:14 pm

You can but the product will not be the same. As per normal you'd start somewhere around centre hearts so you and get ya bearings the flavour ya chasing.
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by Danespirit » Mon Jul 31, 2017 5:08 am

+1 Crow

I'd say it's like a wheel of fortune, either it turns out good or not.
You won't have the option of repeating the process as there are too many variables in it.
The good thing is..if it fails to impress your taste buds, throw it in a reflux still and get the best out of it.
Cuts shouldn't be any harder to make.

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by MadDigitalScience » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:35 am

Can someone help me understand the safety margins involved in making cuts?

I'm a homebrewer of wine and beer and just started distilling in an attempt to turn my not-so-great batches of wine into decent brandy.
I'm *VERY* new at this.

I did a small 3L run last night and I'm a bit paranoid about drinking it even though I read a lot of the "how-to" here on the board.

I could not use a hydrometer to measure cuts because the amounts were too small to fill my column!
I'm too new at this to determine by taste.
So I basically used rule-of-thumb measurements as follows:

Discarded the first 75ml as foreshots and heads.
Ran and kept the next ~600 ml.
Discarded the remainder.

I understand that there are better ways to may good brandy. Those will come in time.

But did I make SAFE brandy?
How can I know for sure?

Thanks in advance!

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by Tapeman » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:18 am

That was a small charge friend. You run the real chance of smearing heads into hearts. (assuming you have already done a cleaning run on your new equipment) take what you just made and put it in a pan on the electric stove. Slowly bring the temp up to 170°F and leave it there for 15 minutes. That should clear out the lower cuts but Will leave any hearts and tails in there. It should be safer to consume, but I'd suggest a small taste first. Might just be that bad wine made bad brandy.

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der wo
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by der wo » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:27 am

MadDigitalScience,

any wine which is safe to drink will result in a safe distillate too even if you don't make any cuts.
A good brandy should be double distilled. Stripping runs and a spirit run.

Here is the best place to start for beginners:
http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopi ... 5#p7271807
In this way, imperialism brings catastrophe as a mode of existence back from the periphery of capitalist development to its point of departure. - Rosa Luxemburg

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Danespirit
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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by Danespirit » Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:37 pm

+1 der Wo

Safety margins..?
Well, there are no real safety margins involved doing the cuts.
I can give you some ease of mind by telling you there is no deadly poison involved with natural ferments, neither distilling pre made wine or beer.
I did a small 3L run last night and I'm a bit paranoid about drinking it even though I read a lot of the "how-to" here on the board.

I could not use a hydrometer to measure cuts because the amounts were too small to fill my column!
I'm too new at this to determine by taste.
So I basically used rule-of-thumb measurements as follows:

Discarded the first 75ml as foreshots and heads.
Ran and kept the next ~600 ml.
Discarded the remainder.
Please have a look at the link in my signature, it will shed some light onto the subject about what you can and cannot use a hydrometer for (you can't use it for cuts).
That's exactly what you should...determine it by taste (and smell). If it smells like nail polish, obviously you don't want to taste it.
When you take a sample for tasting, water it down so you don't try to taste high ABV spirits. A tea spoon with some of the liquor and a little water will be fine.
You are really making life hard for yourself, by trying to determine cuts on such a small batch when you are still new to distilling.
My rule of thumb is...10% of your batch will be heads. That is when the foreshots are thrown.
So as you see by now your 75 mL hardly make it for the combined amount of foreshots and heads.
An educated guesstimate on your batch (don't rely 100% on this, do as I wrote above)...80 mL of foreshots to be thrown...250-300 mL of heads...the rest is hearts AND tails.
Please start a new thread and show us your equipment...cause I suspect some pressure cooker contraption there...hopefully I wrong.

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by MadDigitalScience » Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:08 pm

Wow!
Great information. I really appreciate you guys for taking the time to point me in the right direction. This is gold.
Thanks all.

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by jon1163 » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:09 pm

Appreciate the tutorial. Working hard to uncover the mystery of cuts

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by Wouter » Tue Sep 19, 2017 2:32 am

Great tutorial and topic! Read through it all and learned quite a lot.

I do have one thing on which I would like to ask for some spoon feeding.
Is there a general rule on a pot still on how many fractions you take when running a certain volume of a certain ABV %.

For instance, I have a 10L still. If I fill this with 8L of 40% low wines to make whiskey.
Should I then take 20 fractions of 250 ml for instance?
And let's say the answer is yes. Does that mean if you have a 20L still and fill it with 16L of 40% low wines, you should take 20 fractions of 500ml?

I understand the exact amount is of course dependant on how fast the tails and such are coming. But is there a certain rule for how big each fraction should be?

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by der wo » Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:06 am

Wouter wrote:For instance, I have a 10L still. If I fill this with 8L of 40% low wines to make whiskey.
Should I then take 20 fractions of 250 ml for instance?
I would use smaller jars. I have a small still, I can fill it with max 15l low wines or 12l wash. My jars are 80ml and I fill them max half and dilute 50:50 with water. But I only collect small jars at the beginning and at the end. It's risky, in earlier days I sometimes started too late with the tails jars. It needs experience not to miss this point. Perhaps it sounds stupid for you, but I find this point not only with smelling or tasting the distillate, I find it with going out the room where I distill a few seconds, breath fresh air and then enter it again, take a breath, and when it smells a bit yeasty-musty, it's time to collect jars. I think the room smells bad before the distillate smells bad. I often start too early with jars, that I run out of them, before I am sure, that I am in the tails. Then I add the early ones of them to hearts already while running the still.
In this way, imperialism brings catastrophe as a mode of existence back from the periphery of capitalist development to its point of departure. - Rosa Luxemburg

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by NZChris » Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:34 am

Firstly, making flavored products, I would never turn the still off with my low wines above 40% and then add water for the spirit run. Shutting down early and adding water is better used for neutral products.

For cut jar sizing, I do a rough estimate to get at least a dozen jars to choose my final blend from. Sizing to get to choose from more than twenty jars is a PITA for little reward.

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by jon1163 » Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:05 am

Thank you!

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by Wouter » Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:31 am

der wo wrote:
Wouter wrote:For instance, I have a 10L still. If I fill this with 8L of 40% low wines to make whiskey.
Should I then take 20 fractions of 250 ml for instance?
I would use smaller jars. I have a small still, I can fill it with max 15l low wines or 12l wash. My jars are 80ml and I fill them max half and dilute 50:50 with water. But I only collect small jars at the beginning and at the end. It's risky, in earlier days I sometimes started too late with the tails jars. It needs experience not to miss this point. Perhaps it sounds stupid for you, but I find this point not only with smelling or tasting the distillate, I find it with going out the room where I distill a few seconds, breath fresh air and then enter it again, take a breath, and when it smells a bit yeasty-musty, it's time to collect jars. I think the room smells bad before the distillate smells bad. I often start too early with jars, that I run out of them, before I am sure, that I am in the tails. Then I add the early ones of them to hearts already while running the still.
NZChris wrote: For cut jar sizing, I do a rough estimate to get at least a dozen jars to choose my final blend from. Sizing to get to choose from more than twenty jars is a PITA for little reward.
Hey guys, thanks for your reply!

It's still not quite clear to me. If you are taking 40ml cuts, wouldn't you need an insane amount of jars?
Also it's directly the opposite of what NZChris is saying?

Or are you saying to collect the end of the heads and the beginning of the tails in very small fractions and to do the rest in larger one's?

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by der wo » Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:46 am

Wouter wrote:It's still not quite clear to me. If you are taking 40ml cuts, wouldn't you need an insane amount of jars?
Also it's directly the opposite of what NZChris is saying?

Or are you saying to collect the end of the heads and the beginning of the tails in very small fractions and to do the rest in larger one's?
Yes. That's what I want to say. Only small jars at the cut points.
The fores-heads cut I decide normally during the run. Then I collect either in a heads container and then in a few small jars or when I want to age it with evaporation I collect directly a few jars. Normally only 4 jars, because I compress the heads with reflux, and two of them I normally add to the hearts already during the run. For the hearts-tails cut I need 10-15 jars and don't decide anything during the run.
In this way, imperialism brings catastrophe as a mode of existence back from the periphery of capitalist development to its point of departure. - Rosa Luxemburg

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by NZChris » Tue Sep 19, 2017 1:08 pm

This is the novice guide to cuts. Once you have good records to refer to and no longer consider yourself a novice, you will probably graduate to only collecting in your preferred sample size until you are confident you are in hearts and then again when you are expecting tails.

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by Wouter » Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:26 am

Thanks for the information guys.
I hope to do the spirits run this week!

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by TDick » Sun Sep 24, 2017 1:21 pm

Dunderwear wrote:Thank you for this - trying to learn on a 3gal pot still!

I'm with you Dunder, I have a 5 gallon with thumper.
Even thought it's a small kit (see I'm picking up some of y'alls shit) I have figured out it's a whole lot better to make a much bigger wash.
I read it's no harder to do a 20 gallon wash than a 5, then just do multiple runs and it makes a whole lot of sense.

It also makes sense that this is right at the top of what's important to learn. As a NOOB, it's one thread that's important to read from beginning to end.
If you can' make good cuts, sounds like you might as well go buy a bottle of Popov vodka or Nasty Stuff Bourbon

It SEEMS simple, lot's of jar's then deciding what's good. I'm just as sure I'm being VERY naive.
:mrgreen:

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by The Baker » Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:23 pm

Bamaberry said, "I read it's no harder to do a 20 gallon wash than a 5, then just do multiple runs and it makes a whole lot of sense."

I had a maybe 6 litre pot, and it was a pain to keep emptying it and starting again.
So I changed the boiler to a 20 litre cook pot. About a third of the changeovers.
No problem with heat source, I use the natural gas wok burner next to the grill.
No real problem with the liebig condenser, it was a bit oversized for the little boiler and may be a tad undersized for the 20 litre but as long as I am careful not to run the spirit run too fast...

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by BKHunter » Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:45 pm

Just read this from beginning to end and I will say it was extremely informative, thanks all for all the info. I am however extremely overwhelmed, and will have to do another read and take some notes. Like anything you won't figure it out until you do it a few times in real life. Looking forward to it!

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by Fishwhisperer13 » Fri Apr 27, 2018 3:35 pm

Awesome read and guide for my 1st run. Thanks so much for the guidance and your time!

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Re: Novice Guide for Cuts (pot still)

Post by fizzix » Fri Apr 27, 2018 9:44 pm

Fishwhisperer13 wrote:Awesome read and guide for my 1st run. Thanks so much for the guidance and your time!
BKHunter wrote:Just read this from beginning to end and I will say it was extremely informative, thanks all for all the info. I am however extremely overwhelmed, and will have to do another read and take some notes. Like anything you won't figure it out until you do it a few times in real life. Looking forward to it!
You guys will have this down after the first or second time.
Think simply: "I'm spreading my distillate out in shallow jars and keeping the best ones."
Good luck to you both!

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