This is driving me nuts

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PANMAN1965
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This is driving me nuts

Post by PANMAN1965 » Fri Feb 10, 2017 1:49 pm

I have posted about this already but here goes again. Why am I getting a different volume of finished product every run? Same OG same FG same volume in the pot but varying in final proofed product by a lot. Today after proofing 2.5 qts of 80 proof from a 6.5 gallon 10% wash. I do not care about volume other than the inconsistencies. The ONLY variable is volume in the thump keg. We seem to be getting into tails much sooner than what seems normal. This last run we were at 100 proof and started getting tails. We are running fast. Maybe need to split the difference between our slow runs and our fast runs. But even running the same we are very inconsistent in volumes. Can the amount of water in the thumper make that mich difference.

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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by greggn » Fri Feb 10, 2017 1:56 pm

Tighten up your fermentation protocol and you'll see more consistent results from your still.
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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by PANMAN1965 » Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:10 pm

greggn wrote:Tighten up your fermentation protocol and you'll see more consistent results from your still.
I have made beer for years. We are pretty consistent. Our recipe at this moment is my sweet feed mix and sugar. 8 pounds of sweet feed and 7 pounds of sugar. We melt the sugar in water then pour that over the sweet feed. Stir it around and let it set for a bit then add water to 5 gallons. Our OG is 1.070 or there abouts and we let it ferment dry. Once it is stable I siphon 2 of these into a big carboy which usually nets us betwesn 6 and 6. 5 gallons. Once that settles out I siphon that into the pot. So it is pretty rigid and consistent. Again the only variable I can come up with is the volume in the thumper. This last run I measured a gallon in it. Always before I just dumped in some water.

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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by StillerBoy » Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:13 pm

PANMAN1965 wrote:The ONLY variable is volume in the thump keg.
The question bears to be asked.. why are you varying the level the the thump ? :problem:

If you want consistence in your results, you need to do tighten up on the thumper levels, and fermentation protocols.. different levels in the boiler, different abv levels in the boiler, and different levels in the thumper will all change the output figures..
greggn wrote:Tighten up your fermentation protocol and you'll see more consistent results from your still.
+1

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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by StillerBoy » Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:22 pm

PANMAN1965 wrote:We are pretty consistent.
PANMAN1965 wrote:Our OG is 1.070 or there abouts
That is not language that speaks to be of consistent protocol.. there is a need to be more mindful of duplicating the fermenting and still practice..

The different of .070 and .072 one would say it is not much, but once the stripping process starts, there is quite a different in the alcohol output.. just saying..

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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by greggn » Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:23 pm

How are you heating ... gas or electric ? If electric, are you running a power controller with a meter in order to quantify your settings ?
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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by Pikey » Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:35 pm

Why are you using Water in the thumper ? I thought the object was to increase the alcohol concentrate ? Surely Water just absorbs some of teh alcohol and probably - the more water, the more absorption ? Most use wash or feints in the thumper I believe - I would !

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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by rad14701 » Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:53 pm

You're going to drive yourself crazy until you realize that you get what you get... Far too many variables to think you should be able to get the exact same amount of spirits from the exact same recipe... I gave up on that concept many many years ago... Repeat after me, "You get what you get!"...

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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by PANMAN1965 » Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:26 pm

Electric stovetop still.... I put water in the thump because I was fearful of getting tails smeared into the liquor. I varied the amount because I didnt think it was a big deal. As for 1.070 vs 1.072. There is not enough difference in those to explain 2. 5 qts one run and 4 qts the next...... Yeah you get what you get seems to be a good motto. I am very happy with the quality at this point but the variances in finished product volumes just has me stumped

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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by ShineonCrazyDiamond » Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:46 pm

PANMAN1965 wrote:Electric stovetop still.... I put water in the thump because I was fearful of getting tails smeared into the liquor.
That's like screwing a donkey because your tired of getting ass.

The cycling of the electric stove top is doing the smearing, while the thump (whether water or fients) is actually trying to help clean it up. You should think of the thumper as if it is a single page. That's essentially what it is.
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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by jb-texshine » Fri Feb 10, 2017 8:16 pm

Thats a hell of a difference...
Did you by chance keep notes on the amount of heads on those two runs?

Tell us about your ferment protocol? Ferment size? Temp control?

If you collected more heads and less hearts its because the yeast took a shit in your drink due to stress. Running your still too fast will pull tails in to the later hearts also.

How fast were you running,stream size wise?
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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by PANMAN1965 » Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:55 pm

Amount of heads not counting foreshots is about a quart on both. On this I am not using temp control. I have a temp controlled ferment room for the beer but its outta commission at ths moment

we are fermenting in 7 gallon buckets on my kitchen counter. Ambient temp in the mid to upper sixties so actual temp should never have gotten high enough to stress the yeast. Buckets are covered by towels. We are using a big heaping tablespoon of distillers yeast (not turbo) and a tablespoon of yeast nutrient. We are letting this ferment dry and making sure the fg is stable.

Oh yeah each bucket has 8 lbs sweet feed, 7 lbs of sugar and enough water to get it to 5 gallons. We heat the sugar in water until if clears then that is poured over the sweet feed and allowed to set a few minutes and cold water is then added to 5 gallons which gets us to between 75 and 80 degrees. The yeast and nutrient is then added. As I said that gets uz to 1.070 give or take a point and that is allowed to ferment dry. Then I siphon 2 of these into a carboyto let it settle and the yeast to drop out. It is then racked into the boil pot.

I tudn the stove on high, attach the arm between the pot and the thumper... Attach the liebig to the thumper and paste up the seams. I turn on some low heat to the thumper until it begins to thump pretty good then I turn that off and turn on the water. We collect about 200 mils and toss that then start collecting. We collect in jelly jars which I thought were half pints but they are a hair under that. We are filling one about evsry 4 minutes. We run into those until we notice tails then I collect a qt of tails to add into a feints run later.

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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by PANMAN1965 » Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:56 pm

Forgot to add we are using a proofing parrot.

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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by NZChris » Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:35 pm

I can't think of a good reason to put water in the thumper for a flavored product. Who told you that was a good idea?

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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by ShineonCrazyDiamond » Sat Feb 11, 2017 4:07 am

NZChris wrote:I can't think of a good reason to put water in the thumper for a flavored product. Who told you that was a good idea?
Whats the difference when you strip, dilute with water,, and rerun on a spirit run? That's essentially what you're doing with a thump, just one run.
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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by PANMAN1965 » Sat Feb 11, 2017 6:40 am

NZChris wrote:I can't think of a good reason to put water in the thumper for a flavored product. Who told you that was a good idea?
No one said it was a good idea but if you read on here you get everything from plain water to feints to wash to whatever. I am learning by reading asking questions and trial and error.... Mainly error lol

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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by rad14701 » Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:22 am

PANMAN1965 wrote:
NZChris wrote:I can't think of a good reason to put water in the thumper for a flavored product. Who told you that was a good idea?
No one said it was a good idea but if you read on here you get everything from plain water to feints to wash to whatever. I am learning by reading asking questions and trial and error.... Mainly error lol
When are you going to come to the realization that trial and error isn't the best way to learn this hobby...??? Your choice of trial and answer makes it more difficult on all of us because we have to keep advising you to do ample research, all because you aren't doing enough research to understand the entire process before diving in head first... Do you have any idea how many times I've had to say essentially the exact same advice to multiple relative novices just this morning alone...??? I'm trying to give you and the others a helpful nudge but it really gets old... But I'm not going to stop because the information is there for the taking if you put forth some more effort...

Slow down, do the research, and maybe start using a simpler recipe until you have your ducks in a row... You're not those whack-jobs on Moonshiners that seemingly knock every recipe out of the park on their first attempt... That's a fantasy show... This here is real reality, not reality TV that is far from being real...

If you're constantly stumbling and having to ask questions, let that be your sign...

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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by PANMAN1965 » Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:57 am

Ok another question. On reflection I think feints in the thumper is a good idea. BUT I also like making a feints run. If I recycle feints into the thumper, I won't have any for an all feints run. OR can you somehow recycle the thumper liquid? Or even (I cant think of the term) save some of whats left in the pot after the run and fill the thumper with that next time? This is the most confusing thing to me. As I said I am very happy with the quality at this moment. Ibhave a very good friend whose grandma used to run a still and he helped her when he was a kid. His granny raised him.... Anyway he tasted some of ours and told me his granny woulda been proud of that lol. Anyway.... What is the best thing to use for the thumper? Running sweet feed making whiskey.

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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by PANMAN1965 » Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:06 am

Rad, I have read and read and read. Look at my profile at my sign up date and then the date of my first attempt. I spent a long time reading. I have made beer and wine for a long time so the fermentation part I know. I am not actually stumbling I am making what to me is pretty good liquor but I always try to be better at whatever I do. If you take the time to read on here you can research one question and get 10 answers. I had an uncle that was pretty well known for his liquor and I have asked him questions. But he died before I started actually running so I can't ask him anymore.... And as far as an easier recipe, how much easier can a recipe be ? 7 lbs of sugar. 8 pounds of feed. Water to 5 gallons. Other than a plain sugar wash it couldn't be much easier. But I apologize for asking questions. Take care.

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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by NZChris » Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:57 am

ShineonCrazyDiamond wrote:
NZChris wrote:I can't think of a good reason to put water in the thumper for a flavored product. Who told you that was a good idea?
Whats the difference when you strip, dilute with water,, and rerun on a spirit run? That's essentially what you're doing with a thump, just one run.
No difference, that's why I don't do that either. For flavored products it's better to strip until you don't need to dilute.
I also don't see the point in putting the stinking tails from your last run in the thumper and bubbling the hearts from your fresh wash through it. Just coz some dudes on forums or youtube do it, doesn't make it the right thing to do.

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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by HDNB » Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:04 am

it makes sense to me that charging a thum with water would strip flavour. i don't use one tho.

the variation in get... is likely explained with the variation with %abv which would be explained with heat in. heat varies my output dramatically (and the abv%). calculate your litres of absolute alcohol in the wash and in the get. alcohol cannot be created nor destroyed, just changes form.

if you got 5 gallons at 7% there is .35 gallon of booze in there, the question is how much dilution is there?
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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by PANMAN1965 » Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:13 am

See what I mean.... Just in this thread use water... Don't use water.. Use tails, don't use tails..... I appreciate all of your answers and input.

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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by PANMAN1965 » Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:23 am

HDNB wrote:it makes sense to me that charging a thum with water would strip flavour. i don't use one tho.

the variation in get... is likely explained with the variation with %abv which would be explained with heat in. heat varies my output dramatically (and the abv%). calculate your litres of absolute alcohol in the wash and in the get. alcohol cannot be created nor destroyed, just changes form.

if you got 5 gallons at 7% there is .35 gallon of booze in there, the question is how much dilution is there?
so 6 gallons at 10% would be. 6 gallons of alcohol if I got every speck out.... So 1.2 gallons at 100 proof... 1.5 gallons at 80 proof. Take out heads and tails... Factor in the alcohol we are leaving behind and I guess We are doing ok on average.

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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by HDNB » Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:50 am

zacktly. :wink:
PANMAN1965 wrote:See what I mean.... Just in this thread use water... Don't use water.. Use tails, don't use tails..... I appreciate all of your answers and input.
i think you got to read into this a bit. if you use water, you strip flavour. good if you makin' pot vodka. bad if you make whiskey.
tails...i'd say no, it would add tails to the whole run :sick:
clean spirit..heart strips from a previous run or fresh wash make the most sense to me...but i don't run one. there is a whole thread on running a thumper that is bound to have knowledge base that can be applied.
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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by rad14701 » Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:47 am

PANMAN1965 wrote:Rad, I have read and read and read. Look at my profile at my sign up date and then the date of my first attempt. I spent a long time reading. I have made beer and wine for a long time so the fermentation part I know. I am not actually stumbling I am making what to me is pretty good liquor but I always try to be better at whatever I do. If you take the time to read on here you can research one question and get 10 answers. I had an uncle that was pretty well known for his liquor and I have asked him questions. But he died before I started actually running so I can't ask him anymore.... And as far as an easier recipe, how much easier can a recipe be ? 7 lbs of sugar. 8 pounds of feed. Water to 5 gallons. Other than a plain sugar wash it couldn't be much easier. But I apologize for asking questions. Take care.
If you have the running of your still down then use whatever recipe suits your needs... But if you are still working the kinks out as far as fermenting and distilling I'd suggest a simpler recipe without actual grains... Tossing more grain that sugar into a recipe like the one discussed here has very little effect, primarily because it adds virtually nothing as far as fermentable sugars and very little to the flavor profile if the grains are tossed in whole... So the grain just complicates things...

If you haven't done a simple sugarhead like All Bran I would implore you to give them a try, whether they are what you are ultimately after or not... I've watched novices, for well over a decade that I've been here, struggling because they jump right into grain based recipes... Those who nail down a single or even several sugarheads seem to have far fewer problems as they transition to grains...

As far as finding 10 different answers, that's more of an issue of there being more than one way to do things... It is up to you, however, to determine which of those 10 answers gets you where you want to be... Experimentation garners knowledge, but only if you're ready and able to distinguish the differences in the results... If you aren't learning something new every day it's more likely that you've become stuck in a rut than that you have learned it all...

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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by corene1 » Sat Feb 11, 2017 2:23 pm

I have been reading this over and over again. As far as the variation in the total output. You have said you fermented it out dry on all occasions. What is the FG of the wash compared to the SG , Have you temperature corrected the numbers for accuracy? This is the only way to get accurate results from your wash. starting gravity minus ending gravity times 131 will give you the accurate ABV of your wash. Are you using the same sweet feed every time? The amount of molasses between brands or even bags of the same can vary. You said you are preheating your thumper . Are you preheating it to a point where you are losing alcohol from your initial charge of feints as opposed to using water?
When running a thumper I charge it with the same wash that is in the boiler. No matter what I mix for the boiler charge , be it straight wash , Diluted low wines , wash with feints in it., doesn't matter I scoop directly from the boiler and fill the thumper to just above the intake port every time and let the boiler vapor heat the thumper.

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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by jb-texshine » Sat Feb 11, 2017 2:46 pm

PANMAN1965 wrote:Rad, I have read and read and read. Look at my profile at my sign up date and then the date of my first attempt. I spent a long time reading. I have made beer and wine for a long time so the fermentation part I know. I am not actually stumbling I am making what to me is pretty good liquor but I always try to be better at whatever I do. If you take the time to read on here you can research one question and get 10 answers. I had an uncle that was pretty well known for his liquor and I have asked him questions. But he died before I started actually running so I can't ask him anymore.... And as far as an easier recipe, how much easier can a recipe be ? 7 lbs of sugar. 8 pounds of feed. Water to 5 gallons. Other than a plain sugar wash it couldn't be much easier. But I apologize for asking questions. Take care.
Can you disconnect from the thump to run as a simple pot? If so, do a stripping run collecting till the output is around 20%. Reconnect the thumper and Use the stripping run to charge the thumper .
On that run tails will showup around 50%, collect down to 20%. The late heads and all tails go in to the thumper from that run ,for the next.
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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by PANMAN1965 » Sun Feb 12, 2017 2:08 pm

OG is 1.070..FG is 1.000 to. 999....corn is cracked... Oats are rolled barley is crimped. The way my still is designed I cannot remove the thumper without some fabrication.

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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by Shine0n » Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:35 pm

Are you doing strip runs or are you running semi fast for all the runs? If doing only spirit runs I'd be sure to run as slow as a steady twisted stream, sometimes breaking into drips but in my experience the small twisted stream works well.

As for water in the thumper, the only reason I know is to smooth out the spirit. I personally use feints with some wash. Mostly wash though.

With a thumper and a good steady protocol on ferments and stillin I see no reason to do a strip run. Some swear by it and some dont. Imho a slow steady run with a thumper has produced a quality drink for me and repeated results when I do it the same time after time best I can with my facilities.

The only times my volume changes is when I run hotter/lower. A few degrees hotter can mean more tails, less hearts and smeared collection.

The only way to get the exact same volume is to have everything the same and not change anything. Same ambient temp, same % wash, same oven temp, same condenser temp, same thump charge, same thump volume. As hard as I try I can't keep up with all that, i just don't have the facility to do it. But it's damn close and good nuff and it's a fine sippin likker.

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Re: This is driving me nuts

Post by PANMAN1965 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:25 pm

Thanks... We are not doing stripping runs. I am happy with the taste of what we are making. But as I posted earlier I want to learn as much as I can. Yeah we are running fairly fast. A pint about every 8to9 minutes. At first we were running about half as fast and not really seeing a benefit quality or volume wise plus the time involved kinda took the fun out of it. I rarely drink so this hobby for me is about learning a new craft and trying to get good at it. Plus its cool to do something that has been in my family on both sides for generations. No one is left though. We joke that if my dad was still living he would just lay under the stream wifh his mouth open lol.

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