Basic Distillation 101

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Re: Basic Distillation 101

Postby mrmagoo » Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:46 pm

i made the sac run.i stopped it after it wouldnt light anymore.it came out at a nice steady flow.tasted good ( i spit it out)after the first pint and started tasting bad again just before i turned off the heat.i will probably run it a little longer next time to get some tails.am i on the right track.i also put the backset back in and had it bubblin he next mornin.should be ready any day again.
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Re: Basic Distillation 101

Postby Uncle John » Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:18 pm

All good stuff here to read on for sure, I'm starting to see why the repeated mantra of "read..read..and then read some more keeps on repeating itself.
The good thing is that I get to re-hash what I thought I understood and find that I didn't really!
Back to the grind!
And yes... a good summary definitely, you've caught the drift of things looks like, good post.
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Re: Basic Distillation 101

Postby Uncle John » Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:48 pm

Hmmpfh, I just read what I wrote,
Sounds like I've been distilling for years! Never meant to come from that angle at all cause that'd be just plain wrong. I wanted rather to compliment you.
Guess I better stick to readin.
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Re: Basic Distillation 101

Postby Butch7 » Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:29 pm

This was and is great information

Thank you for your sharing
Blessings from us to you,
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Re: Basic Distillation 101

Postby segaskin » Sun Jul 13, 2014 1:52 pm

I've seen recipes that use tomato paste instead of enzymes, is this good for all washes or just certain bases (honey/sugar, etc)?
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Re: Basic Distillation 101

Postby Tokoroa_Shiner » Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:14 pm

Tomato paste is used as a nutrient. Not instead of enzymes. It's used general in washes that don't have grains or such for the yeast to eat other than the sugar. Enzymes are what convert the starches in the grains to sugar for the yeast to then turn into alcohol and CO2.
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Re: Basic Distillation 101

Postby segaskin » Sun Jul 13, 2014 5:12 pm

That clears that. Other than malting my own malted grain is there a home or grocery store available enzyme sub? I live in east BF and some things are to come by.
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Re: Basic Distillation 101

Postby Prairiepiss » Sun Jul 13, 2014 6:42 pm

Malting our own grains. Or ordering them online. Are about your best options.
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Re: Basic Distillation 101

Postby segaskin » Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:27 pm

Drat. Is there a conversion factor from malted grain to malt extract/liquid? I've seen either/or on recipes but haven't seen a way to translate between the two.
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Re: Basic Distillation 101

Postby Prairiepiss » Mon Jul 14, 2014 6:57 pm

LME is not the same as malt. It is a condensed version of what you would get from the mashing of malted grains. It doesn't have enzymes available for converting starches to sugars.

But this is getting off topic a little for this thread. You mite be better off and get better answers. If you start a thread in the proper place about this.
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Re: Basic Distillation 101

Postby JHNagel06 » Sat Oct 04, 2014 3:44 pm

Hey gang! I am a total newb here and haven't started distilling yet. I am however gathering info in preparation to starting my own distillery in Indiana.

One thing I have a question on is after fermenting do you put the entire mash into the still, solids and all or to you filter the solids out and only put the liquids?

I would imagine you only put the liquids in the still and pull the solids out, but I just wanted to make sure.

I tried to find that info out in the forum but didn't see anything on it... Maybe its such an obvious question that it hasn't needed addressed!

Thanks for your help, guys!! I look forward to reading up and sharing my experiences as I go forward!

Cheers!
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Re: Basic Distillation 101

Postby Hound Dog » Sat Oct 04, 2014 7:31 pm

If you did a wash (mixed sugar and grains or fruit or cereal to ferment with yeast) then you should let it ferment out, rack it off (siphon the liquid) into another container and let it clear (let yeast and solids settle to the bottom) for a few days to a week then rack the cleared liquid into your boiler. Distill away.

If you did a mash (cooked grains and added enzymes to convert starches to sugar without adding processed sugar) then you can distill on the grain (dump it all in the boiler and pray you don't burn it) or off the grain (see racking above).

Good luck.
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Re: Basic Distillation 101

Postby JHNagel06 » Sun Oct 05, 2014 3:26 pm

Thanks, Hound Dog!!

So I would assume then that the "slow and low" rule is the best when distilling the mash on the grain to ensure you don't burn the grains.

I love this forum... There is just so much information. It really is great.
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Re:

Postby Captb » Tue Dec 23, 2014 9:03 am

As-Ol-Joe wrote:Outstanding piece, GBM


One item I see you didnt touch base on was a Dephlegmater, I have a column type still that uses copper packing in there along with a cooling section just before the top of column, My understanding of this is it is used to cause the reflux due to the vapor being cooled and dropping back down into the mesh to further vaporize and be more purified,
I plan to run a whiskey wash and am looking for the flavor please advise if I should remove all packing and not run cooling water through the Defleg?
I have done lots and lots of reading from recipes/yeast/operation but always look for the reassurance of an opinion.
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Re: Basic Distillation 101

Postby Calsipher » Thu Jun 11, 2015 4:32 am

Hi Guys,

New to the forum and slowly taking all the information in, what i really wanted to know is after doing the stripping run and starting the second run to make the cuts is it ok/safe to just use the stripping run with out diluting it down.

In the past i've just done a stripping run and made my cuts during that first stage and made some questionable gin, now i want to pursue a much cleaner flavour and work solely with hearts but just want to make sure i don't do anything foolish. By the way im using a kitchen stove to heat my pot still, theres no element inside.

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Re: Basic Distillation 101

Postby S-Cackalacky » Thu Jun 11, 2015 5:05 am

Calsipher, if your cooktop is electric, you might have a problem with it cycling on/off. Most kitchen cooktops are controlled by thermostats and don't deliver a constant heat which is important to the distillation process. You can somewhat mitigate this by using some kind of heat defuser. A thick piece of metal (steel/alluminum/copper) would work best. You can find metal disc online that are used to adapt non-induction pots for use on an electric induction hotplate. If you are using a portable hotplate, there are ways of bypassing the thermostat and running it full on. In that case, you would need some kind of voltage controller to adjust the amount of heat you need for your boiler. Power controllers are talked about extensively here on the forums - found with the "HD Google Search" link found up near the top of the page. A better solution would be to install an internal heating element in your boiler - plenty of instruction for that here as well.
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Re: Basic Distillation 101

Postby Calsipher » Thu Jun 11, 2015 5:58 am

Thanks cackalacky,

Going through the construction page now trying to find some blue prints for a pot still using a keg and a heating element. So i'm guessing its fine to collect up the low wines from a few runs and then put them in the still to make cuts, i dont need to dilute with water for saftey
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Re: Basic Distillation 101

Postby carbohydratesn » Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:10 am

So i'm guessing its fine to collect up the low wines from a few runs and then put them in the still to make cuts, i dont need to dilute with water for saftey


As long as you collect your low wines deep into the tails, to a very low %ABV. Everything should average out to about 40%. But this means you'll have to collect a good amount of 20% or lower at the end of each stripping run. If you do this, you don't have to add water.

Adding water isn't just for safety, though. Water traps some fusels and other unwanted compounds - adding water and redistilling actually cleans up your spirit.

You can do it either way.
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Re: Basic Distillation 101

Postby Hound Dog » Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:21 am

carbohydratesn wrote:
So i'm guessing its fine to collect up the low wines from a few runs and then put them in the still to make cuts, i dont need to dilute with water for saftey


As long as you collect your low wines deep into the tails, to a very low %ABV. Everything should average out to about 40%. But this means you'll have to collect a good amount of 20% or lower at the end of each stripping run. If you do this, you don't have to add water.

Adding water isn't just for safety, though. Water traps some fusels and other unwanted compounds - adding water and redistilling actually cleans up your spirit.

You can do it either way.

+1 on the filter factor.
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Re: Basic Distillation 101

Postby Calsipher » Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:45 am

awesome thanks guys that's what i wanted to read.

Trying to avoid the tails as the last gin batch had a slight oily mouthy feel to it which was me being greedy and running in to the tails to much.

edit* Forgot to ask, so if im not collecting to much of the tails i need to dilute my low wines down to about 40% to make cuts
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Re: Basic Distillation 101

Postby carbohydratesn » Thu Jun 11, 2015 7:41 am

You need to dilute your low wines down to 40% to do the spirit run.

Cuts should made after the spirit run.

You'll want to dilute some to 40% (or lower!) then as well, so you can taste the liquor instead of just burning your mouth with it.

This is all covered in Cranky's wonderful thread - viewtopic.php?f=15&t=52975 - and at least one very good process for making cuts is detailed in one of the linked threads.

Now, when the time comes to makes cuts, or do any further blending, you have to remember that the spirit will smell & taste different when watered down. The tails in particular seem to come out with dilution. To get around this, when tasting for blending, dilute a small sample with some very clean water in a clean glass, swirl around and mix well. Aim for a %ABV of between 35-40%.
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Re: Basic Distillation 101

Postby The flint stones » Sat Aug 15, 2015 7:41 am

Had a question about spirit run? I made three sripping runs and unfortunately I got my jars mixed up. How will it be if I make two spirit runs if I have more tails or more heads? I will try to distinguish by smell beforehand but how will it affect the run if at all? I still have trouble making final cuts but hav been happy with what I've been making.
Thanks in advance for information!
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Re: Basic Distillation 101

Postby still_stirrin » Sat Aug 15, 2015 5:29 pm

The flint stones wrote:Had a question about spirit run? I made three sripping runs and unfortunately I got my jars mixed up. How will it be if I make two spirit runs if I have more tails or more heads? I will try to distinguish by smell beforehand but how will it affect the run if at all? I still have trouble making final cuts but hav been happy with what I've been making.
Thanks in advance for information!

No need to do cuts on stripping runs. Just pull the foreshots. Put all your low wines in for the spirit run. That's where you'll take the jars to make your heads/hearts/tails cuts. Return the heads and tails to the feints for the next run.

Enjoy the hearts.
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Re: Basic Distillation 101

Postby The flint stones » Mon Aug 17, 2015 12:35 pm

Thanks SS,
I wasn't clear on my original post, I ran 3 separate stripping run(s) probably 6 gallons total before diluting to 40% in many jars that have since been shuffled in move to garage and can't do a spirit run with all of it because its to much for my 8 gallon boiler. So my question is what result will I have if say I have mostly heads combined with early tails in one run and then say heads, hearts to late tails in second spirit run or can I just spit in two runs and not worry about whats combined with what?
Until now I have always run spirit run imediatley following stripping runs and have had consistent results tossing fores, then collecting 20 or so jars 300 ml each then making cuts from there.
thanks
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Re: Basic Distillation 101

Postby Essayons » Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:39 pm

Great read!
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Re: Basic Distillation 101

Postby Wolf » Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:29 am

Hello All
this is a great place to read and learn and each time I log in and start reading I always find something new. I was just reading here and seen where I should turn down the burner on my pot still to bring it up slow to get more of the forshots off first but does this really manner when running through a thump keg then to the worm/condenser? I have been running this 15 gal still for awhile n do a all grain mix that you can get from the co-op in horse feed with no additives or vitamins. I was taught this by a old friend in Arkansas and was a still hand for a couple years n took notes LOL on how he did things, it was always the same and we as I do now turn out a product at 140-160 proof drink and will get about two and a half gallons before things start turning hazy kind of a blueish tint then will collect about another gallon and shut it down. That last gallon I will save for the next run and it goes in the thump keg with about a gallon of the mash liquid. I use well water as he did, I had mine tested and its clean with a bit of calcium in it but very little to no iron or other minerals but I do run it through a charcoal water filter anyway before heating it for my mash, I have not done the numbers nor will probably ever do them as I learned by smell n taste so if it doesn't smell or taste good dump it and start over. I do a thirty gallon fermentation which is about 30 pounds of all grain run through a grain mill to crack all the grains, then about 25 pounds sugar all heated to 150 degrees poured into a 50 gallon plastic food grade barrel, I have to do the heating process a couple times to get to the 30 gallon mark but thats part of the process, when I have 30 gallons I the barrel I let it cool naturally and stir it several times while its cooling. When the mix has cooled to about 90deg. I will add the yest put a piece of burlap over the top then the lid but don't set it on tight or it will build pressure. In the summer at temps above 85 it will take about 3 or 4 days to be ready to run. This year I would like to run apples or cranberries just to try something different. Hope this will help some folks here but this is what has worked for me and my old mentor for years.
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