Pot still, single run.

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Dancing4dan
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Pot still, single run.

Post by Dancing4dan » Tue Oct 27, 2020 8:30 pm

Hey guys, I have been making corn whiskey in my pot still. Have only done single runs. Five runs so far.

I have been doing a lot of reading and guys make a comments about “off flavors” or yeast flavors doing it this way. I’m not getting that. Am I missing something?

I don’t ferment on the grain. My wash is very clear before it goes into the boiler. You can see the bottom of the pot through the 20 L wash. It looks like clear beer. I had a few discerning tasters try what comes out. The only criticism from one of them was that I need to jack up the flavor a bit, as in more oak.

I Collect in 250 ml jars and make conservative cuts, eliminating any heads that have “bad” flavors. I don’t know what else to call it. Smells and tastes like solvents, like acetone and burns like hell. When what is coming out of the still doesn’t burn my nose or taste like I would drink it ,I consider that it’s running hearts. Nothing gets blended that I wouldn’t drink full strength from the still. Tails cut is based on Taste. I don’t get wet dog or anything like that it just tastes kinda flat to me around 60 proof. Oily later on as proof drops.

I blend everything that smells and tastes good, throw in a couple oak spirals, 3/4 inch vanilla bean and wait... One gallon wide mouth jar with the lid off and a layer of cheese cloth to let it breath. Ended up at 100 proof last two times. Add some glycerine to give mouth feel when It seems ready. Last two batches were left at 100 proof for drinking.

There is a sweet feed clearing to be run this weekend. Will see if it comes out the same as far as no bad flavors.

One other thing, I added heads and tails to the cleared mash about a week before It went through the still the last two times. Seemed to really knock down the yeast.

Thanks for any thought.

Plastic is gone.

I understand the temperature thing better after the recommended readings. I creep up on temp through fors and into heads for about 500 ml then increase to wide open. If I run it wide open through fors they smear bad and actually would not wash off sharpie ink. So I slowed down at the start again and all was well after that. Still makes a steady Thin pencil lead size stream until it’s done Once power is full on.
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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by zapata » Tue Oct 27, 2020 10:33 pm

Dancing4dan wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 8:30 pm
Am I missing something?
Yes, you're missing the part where your whiskey is gross. :lol:

Sorry to be so blunt, but that's pretty much the shakes. You aren't doing anything special. People been making hooch for centuries, and 99% come to the same exact conclusion. There's 1 wee jar in the middle that is good, and the rest is gross. But you aren't singing the praises of the magic center jar, you're collecting down to 30%. Bro, them's low wines. Your discerning tasters are being nice, or you just managed to gather the 3 people in your county who can abide singlins.

Seriously though, I get it. I trust you that you think it's good. Drink what makes your soulshine. But we all know exactly what it tastes like. And all but like 2 or 3 of us run that shit again. Turns out you can actually polish a turd.

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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by Corsaire » Tue Oct 27, 2020 11:17 pm

One way to find out what method you prefer:
Make enough of your recipe to fill your boiler 3 times, do 3 stripping runs and one spirit run.
See which one you like best.

Have you figured out how much power goes to the element yet?

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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by 8Ball » Wed Oct 28, 2020 5:10 am

zapata wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 10:33 pm
Dancing4dan wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 8:30 pm
Am I missing something?
Yes, you're missing the part where your whiskey is gross. :lol:

Sorry to be so blunt, but that's pretty much the shakes. You aren't doing anything special. People been making hooch for centuries, and 99% come to the same exact conclusion. There's 1 wee jar in the middle that is good, and the rest is gross. But you aren't singing the praises of the magic center jar, you're collecting down to 30%. Bro, them's low wines. Your discerning tasters are being nice, or you just managed to gather the 3 people in your county who can abide singlins.

Seriously though, I get it. I trust you that you think it's good. Drink what makes your soulshine. But we all know exactly what it tastes like. And all but like 2 or 3 of us run that shit again. Turns out you can actually polish a turd.
+1

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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Wed Oct 28, 2020 5:28 am

If you are tossing what doesn't taste good to you, and your final blend tastes good to you, you're good to go.
For now. I'm guessing that if you stick with this your taste will evolve and you will seek out a cleaner spirit.

One and done runs are possible, but I agree that the strip run/spirit run combo will give you a better product, and more of it.
An added bonus is that you will get your abv up to 120-125 proof and it will age better with your oak.

As already suggested, just try it out once and see if you like the difference a spirit run makes. Then you will know for yourself if you're missing something.
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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by Dancing4dan » Wed Oct 28, 2020 2:55 pm

OK. I think to assist me with my education some of you could send me what you make. :lol: I will do some comparison drinking and be the better for it. :crazy:

Two of the guys who tasted are not very forgiving. One being my father in law. The other guy drinks JD all the time and thought this was pretty good :lol:

I appreciate the feed back guys and will try the strip run/ Spirit run for sure. Just trying to get one part of this down at a time. Its time :)

Did not measure the amps going to the element yet. Need to build a split wire so I can isolate one lead. Probably safer than opening the controller box and doing the clamp meter there. No big deal just time.

Once I get the sweet feed run this weekend I will put together another mash and give the strip run / spirit run a try. I have a bunch of malted barley, about 30 pounds of flaked barley and maybe 10 - 15 pounds of cracked corn. I can mash enough for three 20 L carboy distillers.
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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by v-child » Thu Oct 29, 2020 5:21 am

I can imagine your single run tastes like the liquid left in a can of sweetcorn with a dash of Everclear for kick. Go get a pint of George Dickel and do some comparisons. How many people know about your stilling? Up to two people is OK, but only if one is dead and the other is you. Some of these cats are giving you a hard time. Trust me, it's for your benefit.

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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by still_stirrin » Thu Oct 29, 2020 8:25 am

Dancing4dan wrote:
Wed Oct 28, 2020 2:55 pm
Two of the guys who tasted are not very forgiving. One being my father in law. The other guy drinks JD all the time and thought this was pretty good.
Well, that says a lot!

Jack Daniels is not a “good paradigm” to shoot for. It’s an inexpensive, consumer-grade bourbon. As a hobbiest, we can far exceed a “bottom shelf” bourbon. JD is terribly “headsie”, and once you’ve learned proper cuts, you will want to eliminate them from all of your products. A walk through their “activated carbon filtration room” will teach you quickly about the “heads”. Incidentally, no flash photography is allowed in there for obvious reasons!

I used to think Woodford Reserve was a very good bourbon. And at $42 USD for 750ml, it was above the bottom shelf of bourbons. But now, even the Woodford is inferior to my 5-grain bourbon. Again, commercial producers must focus on production and profit, so they are not diligent with proper cuts, just getting as much alcohol in the barrels as possible (and the greatest profit margin). Small batch producers can focus better on their quality, however, and often do. But the difference is the cost to the consumer, so they can get significantly more expensive.

And a father-in-law who gets “free whiskey” will always tell you it’s great....it’s free!

Sorry, your “measurement sticks” are too short.
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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by Setsumi » Thu Oct 29, 2020 8:30 am

As to your tasters, i get your farther in law may be a tough nut. BUT Jack D is not something i want my product to taste like. same for jim beam and makers mark...
press https://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=79008
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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by Twisted Brick » Thu Oct 29, 2020 1:57 pm

Dancer,

Sorry you have had to endure the rath of experienced distillers, but that's how it is around these parts. The one thing we all don't get a do-over on is time, and life is too short to make inferior booze when the knowledge is out there and freely taken.

Its probably not lost on you, but to 'jack up the flavor' and make a good-tasting, competent (I didn't say JD) whiskey, one needs to consider and optimize the ingredients and processes according to what they need. These are not secrets and described in the majority of threads here. Things like:
  • grinding your corn to meal
  • employing temperature-correct yeast (no turbo!)
  • fermenting on grain and developing/enduring a squeezing regime
  • double pot-distilling
  • oak-aging
Yes, this list isn't even near complete, and no, not everyone does it exactly this way, but many explored these options (and many more) and determined that their skills, inclination, or distilling space didn't accommodate/justify them all and modified them accordingly.
Last edited by Twisted Brick on Thu Oct 29, 2020 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by Dancing4dan » Thu Oct 29, 2020 3:43 pm

I'm new to this and appreciate the feed back and advice. Even when guys give a hard time I learn and gain valuable insight. Gotta have thick skin when I know most of the questions are likely dumb. But I only know what I know. Just want to know more so I read and read then ask some dumb questions. Hopefully the questions will get less dumb.
  • grinding your corn to meal
    employing temperature-correct yeast (no turbo!)
    fermenting on grain and developing/enduring a squeezing regime
    double pot-distilling
    oak-aging
Thanks for that list. More on grain and double distilling to come.

Next run will be from an on grain sweet feed.

Time for a mop squeezer. Looks like the easiest option.

I have been using Fleishman's Bread Yeast.

As I said I will try double distilling, Strip / spirit runs next time.

Thanks for the help guys. :thumbup:
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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by nerdybrewer » Thu Oct 29, 2020 4:06 pm

Good on you for taking in all the 'advice' and keeping a cool clear head.
Bread yeast is great for making rum, it's made from molasses after all.
It's not necessarily the best for making whiskey / whisky.
Think beer, think ale, think of a style of whiskey that you want to emulate and find out what yeast is used.
Then think about aging.
Yes taking the heart of hearts for short term glory is tempting, but what about complexity? What about character?
There's a lot of good in everything surrounding hearts, especially aged in an oak barrel a few years.
Cranky's spoonfeeding:
http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=52975

Time and Oak will sort it out.

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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by Dancing4dan » Thu Oct 29, 2020 4:24 pm

Squeezer!
wringer.jpg
:sarcasm:

Probably have a dirty diaper after taste! :mrgreen:
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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by The Baker » Thu Oct 29, 2020 4:28 pm

You are not much of a washerwoman if the diapers are not well rinsed before you wash them,
and well washed before they go through the wringer.

A friend used to hang them on the back fence and hit them with the hose before washing...

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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by rubberduck71 » Thu Oct 29, 2020 4:47 pm

Hey Twisted, anything wrong with the 1.5 technique vs 2x distilling? To bring through some more flavors of the mash?

Reason I ask is I'm about to embark on working through my first AG attempt, which happens to be SCD's CROW bourbon.

Thanks,
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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by jonnys_spirit » Thu Oct 29, 2020 4:57 pm

I like to double distill and do a heart of the hearts cut for a very clean flavored white as well as a wider barrel/oak cut plus a feints cut for the feints carboy and a fores/early heads for the solvent firestarter jug. Sometimes i’ll keep certain feints separate and macerate or oak to add back into next spirit runs. Takes plenty of glass lol.

I went the mop wringer route and find that i actually don’t press in the wringer like you’d think but i do use paint strainer bags and just squeeze the grain in the bag with my hands and that works better for me.

Cheers!
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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by Dancing4dan » Thu Oct 29, 2020 6:05 pm

“A friend used to hang them on the back fence and hit them with the hose before washing...“

Huh, Mom did that to us, not just the laundry :D
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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by Deplorable » Thu Oct 29, 2020 7:48 pm

Dancing4dan wrote:
Thu Oct 29, 2020 6:05 pm
“A friend used to hang them on the back fence and hit them with the hose before washing...“

Huh, Mom did that to us, not just the laundry :D
We always got the Hotwheels track, or a spatula.
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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by rubberduck71 » Fri Oct 30, 2020 7:02 am

Deplorable wrote:
Thu Oct 29, 2020 7:48 pm
Dancing4dan wrote:
Thu Oct 29, 2020 6:05 pm
“A friend used to hang them on the back fence and hit them with the hose before washing...“

Huh, Mom did that to us, not just the laundry :D
We always got the Hotwheels track, or a spatula.
Sometimes I got the fly swatter... :evil:
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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by Twisted Brick » Fri Oct 30, 2020 8:23 am

Wood coat hanger.
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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by jonnys_spirit » Fri Oct 30, 2020 8:31 am

Bare handed for the shed ass-istant... Good stilling practices are highly encouraged lol..
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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by Twisted Brick » Fri Oct 30, 2020 8:49 am

rubberduck71 wrote:
Thu Oct 29, 2020 4:47 pm
Hey Twisted, anything wrong with the 1.5 technique vs 2x distilling? To bring through some more flavors of the mash?

Reason I ask is I'm about to embark on working through my first AG attempt, which happens to be SCD's CROW bourbon.

Thanks,
Duck
There's no problem with it - it's a viable option for many. I am a big fan of classic double distilling, being careful with my strips and spirit runs. Most of all I rely on strict mash and ferment protocols (temps, pH, quick cool down, yeast starters, etc) to ensure maximum flavor potential while reducing the likelihood of off-flavors. With this approach the results have been full, rich, complex (bourbon) spirits that I've been really pleased with.

That said, I have tested from time to time, adding a gallon of fresh wash to a spirit run here or a gallon or two of low wines to a strip there, but haven't hit yet on a combination that gives me a noteworthy improvement. I do understand that allowing fresh wash to rest a bit with low wines can create new esters or flavor compounds. I just haven't experienced that 'aha' moment with it yet.

You might start out with a double distillation and reserve the 1.5 for later so you can experience the difference firsthand.
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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by still_stirrin » Fri Oct 30, 2020 9:15 am

To add to what TB said, the 1-1/2 run is a great way to get some product to the aging vessel quicker, especially if your fermenter will only hold enough for 2 strips.

Adding the low wines back to the boiler for the 2nd strip will boost the proof offstill high enough to get some stock ready for the cask, and running this with the fresh wash boosts the flavor components you put into the cask. Again, this is a good method for getting to a full-flavored spirit as quick as possible.

But remember, the “time on wood” is NOT foreshortened with the 1-1/2 run....you still have to wait for it to “oak” properly.

I’ve used the 1-1/2 method when I didn’t have enough ferment to get to a full spirit run with 3 strips. It allowed me to recharge the cask quicker and the product was (and is) still very tasty.
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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by rubberduck71 » Fri Oct 30, 2020 12:14 pm

Thanks for the replies! I've had good experiences with Odin's Rye Bread recipe utilizing the 1.5 technique, but was hesitant to apply it to an AG wash before getting some veteran feedback.

Lots more time, effort, & $$$ in an AG vs a sugar wash with inexpensive rye bread as the flavor adjunct.
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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by Twisted Brick » Fri Oct 30, 2020 1:02 pm

rubberduck71 wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 12:14 pm

Lots more time, effort, & $$$ in an AG vs a sugar wash with inexpensive rye bread as the flavor adjunct.
Yes.... but it is so worth it! You decide the spirit profile, you select the grains and mash protocol required, you pick the yeast for the style, you control the distillations, cuts and aging method/duration.

And best of all, after you did everything to make it, you get to call it yours. And, with the help from the folks here on HD, it won’t be long before you’re sipping on something damn good.
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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by ShineonCrazyDiamond » Fri Oct 30, 2020 1:45 pm

In my experience, sugar from bulk grains is cheaper than sugar in a bag. Especially if you use liquid enzymes and unmalted grains.
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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by jayka » Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:24 pm

a 25kg sack of malted barley will cost me $75AUD
that 25kg will easily make me 5lt of barrel proof finished product. (not including the heads and tails which will go towards an all feints run)
once proofed down to 43% you will have 7.5lt of top shelf quality whiskey.
Thats $10 per LT for top shelf product.
You just cant beat that, let alone the pride that comes from creating it.
Sooner or later the people who run the planet all end up choosing one drink....

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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by Deplorable » Fri Oct 30, 2020 8:44 pm

jayka wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:24 pm
a 25kg sack of malted barley will cost me $75AUD
that 25kg will easily make me 5lt of barrel proof finished product. (not including the heads and tails which will go towards an all feints run)
once proofed down to 43% you will have 7.5lt of top shelf quality whiskey.
Thats $10 per LT for top shelf product.
You just cant beat that, let alone the pride that comes from creating it.
I dont know off hand the exchange rate but to fill my 20L barrel with single malt I used 59kg of barley. That was $130 US. If I get even 17l out of that barrel after a year, that works out to $7.65/liter for cask strength single malt whiskey. Damn good bargin if you ask me, but Id still be pissed if the angels share was 3l :lol:
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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by jayka » Fri Oct 30, 2020 8:48 pm

Yes that exchange seems pretty close to me.
You definitely cant complain with top shelf for $7.5 especially when you consider a cheap sugar head will cost almost the same and not taste anywhere near as good.
Sooner or later the people who run the planet all end up choosing one drink....

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Re: Pot still, single run.

Post by Deplorable » Fri Oct 30, 2020 9:43 pm

jayka wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 8:48 pm
Yes that exchange seems pretty close to me.
You definitely cant complain with top shelf for $7.5 especially when you consider a cheap sugar head will cost almost the same and not taste anywhere near as good.
75 pounds of sugar and a 50 pound sack of sweet COB was about $80. It's drinkable and will get better in the coming months on oak sticks. It's good enough for mixing and sipping for the next year while the good stuff ages, but Im seeking out high quality all grain whiskey. The small amount of extra effort, and small price difference is worth it to me.
Use all your senses, and its not that hard. You just have to pay attention.

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