Lots of heads - is this normal?

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rumbo
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Lots of heads - is this normal?

Post by rumbo » Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:17 am

I ran a batch of 25L rum low wines + some previous tails over the weekend. This is my third spirit run through my pot still. The second batch I think I kept too much tails so wanted to be more careful this time. I ran it slowly over about 4.5 hours. I used a voltage regulator for my pond pump so I could keep the water flow finely adjusted to achieve a smooth temp gradient along the condenser. See graph below.

After the fores, the ABV held at about 83.5% for ages which surprised me. I only started collecting in 750mL containers when it started to drop proof which was after about 6L of distillate came off. Seems like a lot of heads to me. I ended up only keeping cuts 4-10 for the hearts after airing. Cuts 1-3 didn't taste that nice to me even after airing and diluting with water and 11 was quite tailsy tasting. This ended up being a very low yield in my opinion but of course I choose quality over quantity.

It is normal to have a long period without drop of proof from a pot still? Am I right in saying that all of this would be classed as heads?

I had a bit of trouble with the ferment in that is went quite very slowly (too acidic maybe). Could this be the reason for so much heads?

Any opinions on whether keeping cuts 4-10 looks about right for this batch from the graph?
1627_001resized.jpg

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NZChris
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Re: Lots of heads - is this normal?

Post by NZChris » Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:04 am

All you can do is trust your senses on the heads. I usually get less than that, but that might just be my personal preference.

You don't have to blend it all the same. You can play with it to make different rums to see what you like. My last run I did two different blends, one starting at #3 and with a greater share of the hearts to be ready early, the other, that will have to age longer, with half of jar #2 and with an extra jar near the tails.

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Truckinbutch
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Re: Lots of heads - is this normal?

Post by Truckinbutch » Mon Apr 27, 2015 6:12 pm

Double running with a thumper I get unbeliveable spirit runs . Not unusual for me to get 24 half pints at 80%+ . Some heads and a lot of hearts off 4 1/2 gal of low wines cut with 4 gallons of tap water in the boiler and a gallon and a half of tap water in the thumper . Percentage , when it does begin to drop , drops really fast .
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Re: Lots of heads - is this normal?

Post by freshwaterjellyfish » Mon Apr 27, 2015 6:32 pm

cool graph, high yeilds 8)
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Re: Lots of heads - is this normal?

Post by rumbo » Mon Apr 27, 2015 6:37 pm

Truckinbutch wrote:Double running with a thumper I get unbeliveable spirit runs . Not unusual for me to get 24 half pints at 80%+ . Some heads and a lot of hearts off 4 1/2 gal of low wines cut with 4 gallons of tap water in the boiler and a gallon and a half of tap water in the thumper . Percentage , when it does begin to drop , drops really fast .

So is what your saying that even though the ABV is high and constant, it doesn't mean that a portion of this 6 litres at 83% might be considered hearts if is tastes ok?

Being a rum wash I obviously want flavour, it seems to me like most of the flavour is in the part where the ABV is dropping.

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Re: Lots of heads - is this normal?

Post by ranger_ric » Mon Apr 27, 2015 6:45 pm

Rumbo,

First off I am not a "Rum" Drinker. I am going for a bourbon or corn likker flavor, That being said I can tell you that after my spirit runs If all I had to work with were my Hearts, then I would not like the flavor at all. When I do my cuts I will find my hearts and pour them ALL into a pot. I will then start through my tails, usually skipping the first jar or two of tails and come up with about 3 jars that have that corn goodness to them. I start tasting a spoonful of the hearts from the pot with a drop from the selected tails until I get the mix I Like the taste of. I add some or all of those "tasty" jars to my hearts and Voila, i got me some premium Likker.
Dont ignore the tails as most of your "flavour" is hiding in there..
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Re: Lots of heads - is this normal?

Post by freshwaterjellyfish » Sun May 10, 2015 3:10 pm

im glad i read your post. i was ready to do a whiskey spirit run. I usually only did stripping runs. when making the cuts your taste buds are a key factor. A brandy glass and a L of distilled water is always in the tool belt when i still. I agree fully with you regarding the good taste when the abv starts dropping. I ran 72% for 3L until it dropped to 65%. Not near as good numbers as yours. I have a 160oz of 50% ready for chips. I did screw up by using 1L jars for the first 3L instead of 500L. I hope you didnt make that mistake :ewink:
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Re: Lots of heads - is this normal?

Post by Truckinbutch » Sun May 10, 2015 4:46 pm

rumbo wrote:
Truckinbutch wrote:Double running with a thumper I get unbeliveable spirit runs . Not unusual for me to get 24 half pints at 80%+ . Some heads and a lot of hearts off 4 1/2 gal of low wines cut with 4 gallons of tap water in the boiler and a gallon and a half of tap water in the thumper . Percentage , when it does begin to drop , drops really fast .

So is what your saying that even though the ABV is high and constant, it doesn't mean that a portion of this 6 litres at 83% might be considered hearts if is tastes ok?

Being a rum wash I obviously want flavour, it seems to me like most of the flavour is in the part where the ABV is dropping.
I don't have a discerning palate or sense of smell . I have to rely on what burns the front of my tongue is heads and what has oils floating on top is tails . Mebbie not top shelf but quite drinkable out of the jar or aged or flavored .
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Re: Lots of heads - is this normal?

Post by wtfdskin » Tue May 26, 2015 6:28 pm

Butch, I was planning on single run with thumper until I read your post. I kike a heavy dark rum. Would I still carry over enough flavor for that on a double run thumped? Would adding wash dunder ir rum oils to thumper help?

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Re: Lots of heads - is this normal?

Post by DAD300 » Wed May 27, 2015 9:24 am

ABV has nothing to do with fores, heads, and hearts. I can run an entire 13 gallon charge and collect all at 90+% from beginning to end. Eventually tails will get nasty as the ABV drops and then get better...
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Re: Lots of heads - is this normal?

Post by Truckinbutch » Wed May 27, 2015 8:51 pm

wtfdskin wrote:Butch, I was planning on single run with thumper until I read your post. I kike a heavy dark rum. Would I still carry over enough flavor for that on a double run thumped? Would adding wash dunder ir rum oils to thumper help?
I really couldn't advise you on that . One of the first things I learned in life is that you don't know what you are talking about the best thing you can do is keep your mouth shut .
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Re: Lots of heads - is this normal?

Post by rumbo » Wed May 27, 2015 10:15 pm

DAD300 wrote:ABV has nothing to do with fores, heads, and hearts. I can run an entire 13 gallon charge and collect all at 90+% from beginning to end. Eventually tails will get nasty as the ABV drops and then get better...
I'm guessing that you are not running it through a pot still though...

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Re: Lots of heads - is this normal?

Post by RevSpaminator » Thu May 28, 2015 4:20 am

I think you missed the point. You really can't make good cuts based on abv. You need to rely on taste and smell. Don't underestimate the sensitivity of that organic neural network inside your skull. :)
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Re: Lots of heads - is this normal?

Post by DAD300 » Thu May 28, 2015 7:07 am

If you had been doing this and the same recipe to lab standards for 10 years...you might be able to use abv or temp for cuts...maybe...

Collect in small containers, air out at least over night and blend the ones that taste reasonable to good. If you get close, time will fix the rest!
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Re: Lots of heads - is this normal?

Post by rumbo » Sat May 30, 2015 1:01 am

RevSpaminator wrote:I think you missed the point. You really can't make good cuts based on abv. You need to rely on taste and smell. Don't underestimate the sensitivity of that organic neural network inside your skull. :)
Yeah you're right. I didn't mean to sound like a dick. I am focusing on ABV as one measurement to help me, not focusing only on it. Although I must say that some of the most influential literature does use ABV as a standard reference - Arroyo for example - and the general acceptance of the "bad" cut from 50% to 38% and then the good rum oils from 38% on to be added back in. I have seen this referenced many times in the forums.

I am having a lot of trouble getting my cuts right, or otherwise I am doing something else wrong. I taste the cuts (after airing) but without a lot of experience, it is very difficult to know what the flavour will translate to 2 months later after aging on oak. I have had a couple of very ordinary batches and although everyone's still is different, I was hoping to get a ballpark idea of the general hearts ABV range. Maybe the variation in people's stills and process makes this irrelevant, I don't know. I was hoping for some general direction like "where I generally commence my hearts cut is after about a 2% drop in ABV", or "my hearts cut is finished before the ABV starts to drop at all and then I keep a later cut with average ABV of x%". For the run I recorded above, I was tasting constantly throughout the first 6 litres and it tasted very rough to me. But people say that the heads flavour ages out quicker than the tails flavour. Now after 1 month on oak, it still takes your breath away a bit when you taste it, yet I feel like I waited for ages for the heads to pass and kept well into the lower ABVs as a consequence. Maybe this ferment was the problem. I find it a lot easier doing cuts on neutral as you know instantly whether the flavour (or lack of) is there.
DAD300 wrote:ABV has nothing to do with fores, heads, and hearts. I can run an entire 13 gallon charge and collect all at 90+% from beginning to end. Eventually tails will get nasty as the ABV drops and then get better...
So DAD you are saying that you collect most hearts at your stabilised initial take off ABV, then ditch some of the cuts and then keep a later cut at a lower ABV - kind of like the Arroyo method of adding the late tails back in? I have tried adding the tails below 37.5% back into my hearts, aging with medium toasted oak dominos and then diluting with purified water and leaving for a week. To me it just tastes like the tails flavour, not the complex rum flavour of fine commercial rums that i'm used to drinking. I realise that aging for years on oak cannot be replicated in a short space of time, but I am no where near the ballpark flavour even with pure molasses washes so must be doing something wrong. A little bit frustrated...

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Re: Lots of heads - is this normal?

Post by freshwaterjellyfish » Tue Jun 02, 2015 12:32 am

i wouldnt be frustrated. seems to me you have good handle on things (for the most part). maybe its your recipe. are you using dunder? what kind of commercial rum is your standard?
Man goes to doctor. Says he's depressed , feels alone in a cruel world. Doctor says, "Treatments simple. The great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. That should pick you up." Man bursts into tears."But doctor. I am Pagliacci." 

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