Distilling home made beer.

Production methods from starch to sugars.

Moderator: Site Moderator

Post Reply
Carolina Coon
Novice
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:57 pm
Location: Mayberry, North Carolina

Distilling home made beer.

Post by Carolina Coon » Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:14 pm

Howdy folks,

I'm not sure if this is posted in the proper section. But I am all antsy with the damned if I do damned if I don't situation.

I attempted to make a home made beer to suit my bud lite drinking friends while it was still cool enough for lagering. The beer turned out darker than I wanted and has too much hops to suit some folks. It tastes great to me, almost a schwartz beir. I'm ready to start bottling and lo and behold, I've used up all my bottles already.

Now for the big if...

I can't drink that much myself so why not run what is left over in the still? I've been told that the hop flavor can't be distilled out and will leave a lot of bitter flavor. On the other hand, I do have a VM rig that can strip out a lot of smell and flavor if I run it slow and use plenty of cooling and reflux. Rowley's book on moonshine mentions distilling wine and I've done that. He makes a passing mention of distilling keg leftovers but not real experience.

Has anyone tried to distill a hopped beer? What was the results. Will the hop oils damage anything or skunk up my rig? Any experiences shared would be appreciated.

respectfully,

Coon
"Those doggone fireflys... They knock me down." Otis Campbell

ty-tek
Novice
Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2010 12:34 am
Location: Yorkshire, UK

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by ty-tek » Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:42 pm

I was thinking about this myself as I brew my own beers, ales and stouts at home.
The strength of your original brew will dictate what you get out.

As for the alcohol you get - it might taste 'intresting'.
Tom
I'm a country member...

blanikdog
Angel's Share
Angel's Share
Posts: 4545
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2005 11:55 pm
Location: Bullamakanka, Oztrailya

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by blanikdog » Wed Apr 21, 2010 3:18 am

Yairsss, we remember. :)

blanik
Simple potstiller. Slow, single run.
(50 litre, propane heated pot still. Coil in bucket condenser - No thermometer, No carbon)
The Reading Lounge AND the Rules We Live By should be compulsory reading

Cumudgeon and loving it.

rad14701
Master Distiller
Posts: 20866
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:46 pm
Location: New York, USA

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by rad14701 » Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:37 am

Members have had mixed results with distilling beer... I'm guessing that you would need to run it pretty slow to insure that you don't pull over too much off tastes or smells... Perhaps a very slow run in pot still mode and then a run through a reflux column would clean it up nicely...

Bob421
Bootlegger
Posts: 132
Joined: Thu Sep 03, 2009 4:55 am

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by Bob421 » Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:11 pm

I hope you haven't tried it yet. Because it made a horrible smell in my reflux still(it was Budweiser left in the keg I used for a boiler). It takes the smell of beer and does something horrendous to it and it fills the still area with it. The distillate has a disgusting smell even at 92 percent. Made the still stink and I had to eventually replace the copper mesh in it even after vinegar and water and two gerber wash runs I could still smell it in the column. Didn't seem to affect the distillate but it was there in the column.
I still have bad dreams about it.

xx7777xx
Novice
Posts: 79
Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 6:08 am

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by xx7777xx » Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:27 pm

+1 to Bob's experience.

I highly recomend againt it. I have a VM, and ended up scrubbing it several times to gt rid o the smell. It especially hard to remove the smell from the copper packing in the column.

x7
Good spirits are like the weather, some like it clear and some like cloudy...

Carolina Coon
Novice
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:57 pm
Location: Mayberry, North Carolina

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by Carolina Coon » Fri May 14, 2010 7:51 am

Why o why don't I check this site more often?

I finally got the chance to run my home made beer last night. I don't remember where I heard it from but was told the hop oils can be a bearkat. It was a good beer but a little off the mark for what I wanted. A little darker and hoppy for my bud light friends. Lacking the extra bottles I decided to just squeeze the alcohol out and toss the remainder.

Every time I crank up my rig I get a whole new batch of lessons for the learning.

1. Watch your still!
Even if you are otherwise occupied, keep it in the corner of your eye and listen and smell for changes. It was hot and stuffy and taking over 30 minutes for the boiler to heat up, so I stepped outside for a cool breeze. In 10 minutes the temp jumped from 80 degrees to 171 degrees. The smell of hops was breath taking. It seemed like a good thing at the time.

2. Know your equipment.
I've made four runs now with this new equipment. I take detailed notes and try to push the limits each time. The condenser was colder than the drink in my hand and the head was up to temp so I cracked the valve 1/2 turn. Before I could note the time and temp, she has spit out 100 ml of oily green venonm. I switched the catch cup to take a closer look. Lots of alcohol and the hop oil covered the smell of fores. I looked back and the fluid comming out at a drip a second was clean, clear, odorless and high proof. No heads. The cut was as sharp as a knife! I usually collect everything at a drip a second. The fores and heads drag on for a pint and a half. Maybe it was this batch or I haven't been giving enough time to equalize, but I've never made cuts that clean.

3. Take careful notes.
I didn't take proof readings every 250 mls like normally would. It was a one off attempt and I didn't expect much. I eyeballed the bead when each 500ml jar was filled. The alcohol was clean and clear with a slightly different nose than the sugar head I've been running. This morning I tested the proof. The first jar was 190 proof. The last jar was 184 proof. The still head temp stayed rock steady at 171 degrees from midnight until 5:30 a.m. Over the next 30 minutes it climbed to 190 and I shut down at 6a.m. I opened the valve wide open and let the last 40 mls drip in. Watery with a plesant malty-hoppy smell. My first tails! My VM rig usually slams shut after the last drop of alcohol comes out.

Out of 26 liters of beer I collected 1155 mls of alcohol including the oily green fores. It only took 6 hours to do it. I had guessed my beer was only 7 or 8 percent ABV. By my calculations I should have only gotten about 230 mls of alcohol. Can anyone help with the math?


WARNING!! WARNING!! WARNING !! WARNING!!

It was a learning experience and the alcohol is drinkable. However; and this is a big however... there is nothing I can clean my rig with this morning that will get rid of that hop smell. I like the smell of hops, but after a while the metallic hop smell can be a bit nauseating. DO NOT RUN HOPPED BEER UNLESS YOU HAVE SOME MAGICAL CLEANING FORMULA.

Bob and x7: I only wish I had read your post before I got this far. I love my still like I love my dog. I can clean a stinky dog, but I can't afford to re-build a stinky still. If I can't get rid of that smell, it will drive me crack house crazy! My precious rig no longer has that, "new car" smell. Will it have an effect on the neutral alcohol I've been collecting?

respectfully,

Coon
"Those doggone fireflys... They knock me down." Otis Campbell

Bob421
Bootlegger
Posts: 132
Joined: Thu Sep 03, 2009 4:55 am

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by Bob421 » Fri May 14, 2010 11:09 am

Well I am still pretty much a novice, having only done Gerber and all bran washes. I can't detect any flavor or odor associated with hops in the distillate. Seems like there might be a little bit of funky smell to the boiler but I figured it was normal Dunder smell. It's not really remeniscent of the hop smell.

xx7777xx
Novice
Posts: 79
Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 6:08 am

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by xx7777xx » Mon May 17, 2010 2:47 am

I pushed left over bud light from the keg through my VM. After a few runs and plenty of cleaning I don't notice the smell anymore. That said clearly you beer had quite a bit more hops than bud light.

-x7
Good spirits are like the weather, some like it clear and some like cloudy...

kiwistiller
Master Distiller
Posts: 3215
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 4:09 pm
Location: Auckland, NZ

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by kiwistiller » Mon May 17, 2010 12:49 pm

When I had beer to get rid of I stripped with the pot still, carbon filtered, stripped again, filtered, then added to my neutral low wines. lot of hassle but the beer was free, plentiful, and disgusting to drink.
Three sheets to the wind!
My stuff

airhill
Swill Maker
Posts: 287
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2009 7:42 pm
Location: Fourecks

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by airhill » Mon May 17, 2010 4:40 pm

My first attempt at distilling was with 20l of homemade stout :roll:
I don't normally throw alcohol out, but that went down the drain after numerous attempts to mask the taste. Had to strip the still, toss the scrubbies and it took a lot of cleaning to get rid of the smell.
Its amusing to look back on but nearly made me give it away.

Edit
Forgot to add it also puked

Carolina Coon
Novice
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:57 pm
Location: Mayberry, North Carolina

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by Carolina Coon » Fri May 21, 2010 7:19 pm

Howdy folks,

I was just reading some of the additional posts on this topic and wondered if anyone wanted to see what hoppy heads and fores look like. This afternoon a friend of mine examined the sample and said it looked and smelled like the leftover brine in an olive jar.

I've tried to photograph the distinct green color and the lovely swirl of slime floating in the 100 ml sample. The piquant aroma is something only a mother shiner could love. A picture can tell more than I can say. I hope this helps.

Coon
hoppy heads
hoppy heads
"Those doggone fireflys... They knock me down." Otis Campbell

Gravel
Novice
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2010 2:42 pm
Location: Qld, Australia

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by Gravel » Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:23 pm

It seems a lot of people have not had a lot of success with distilling home made beer mainly due to the hops, but what about wheat beer? i assume the hops have been replaced with wheat. Has anybody tried this?
Cheers

kiwistiller
Master Distiller
Posts: 3215
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 4:09 pm
Location: Auckland, NZ

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by kiwistiller » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:15 pm

pretty sure there is still hops in wheatbeers.
Three sheets to the wind!
My stuff

blanikdog
Angel's Share
Angel's Share
Posts: 4545
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2005 11:55 pm
Location: Bullamakanka, Oztrailya

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by blanikdog » Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:27 pm

Gravel wrote:It seems a lot of people have not had a lot of success with distilling home made beer mainly due to the hops, but what about wheat beer? i assume the hops have been replaced with wheat. Has anybody tried this?
Cheers
Why bother?

blanik
Simple potstiller. Slow, single run.
(50 litre, propane heated pot still. Coil in bucket condenser - No thermometer, No carbon)
The Reading Lounge AND the Rules We Live By should be compulsory reading

Cumudgeon and loving it.

Carolina Coon
Novice
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:57 pm
Location: Mayberry, North Carolina

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by Carolina Coon » Fri Jun 11, 2010 7:00 am

Gravel,

Hops acts as a preserative in beer. I've never seen a beer without hops. I have read about some make due recipes from colonial times that use spruce and other items, but hops is still prevalent in all modern beers. Wheat beers contain hops just like the rest.

If you have a low cost quanity of hop beer and are like me, (too cheap to toss alcohol), run your rig as best you can and record your results. Just be prepared for one stinky clean up.

Coon
"Those doggone fireflys... They knock me down." Otis Campbell

leiothrix
Novice
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2009 1:23 am
Location: Slightly South of Sydney

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by leiothrix » Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:28 am

Gravel wrote:It seems a lot of people have not had a lot of success with distilling home made beer mainly due to the hops, but what about wheat beer? i assume the hops have been replaced with wheat. Has anybody tried this?
Cheers
In a wheat beer some of the barley has been replaced with wheat. Hops are still there.

Rob.

Gravel
Novice
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2010 2:42 pm
Location: Qld, Australia

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by Gravel » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:59 pm

Yep, Your right. Wheat beer does still have hops in it. Still worth the discussion though :D
Without starting another topic, I'm not going to use a beer base to start withm it just seemed an easy option! Can any one recommend a decent beginers mash that will still produce a good whiskey(bourbon) base?

kiwistiller
Master Distiller
Posts: 3215
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 4:09 pm
Location: Auckland, NZ

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by kiwistiller » Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:33 pm

UJSM, and chuck some other grains in with it like you'd do with a bourbon mash - maybe 20% barley, bit of rye or wheat depending on your tastes. after this gets some age on it, it'll treat you very well indeed.
Three sheets to the wind!
My stuff

Gravel
Novice
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2010 2:42 pm
Location: Qld, Australia

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by Gravel » Tue Jun 15, 2010 3:08 am

Thanks, That looks like a good recipe with plenty of info. Just what i was looking for :D

King Of Hearts
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 1503
Joined: Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:09 pm

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by King Of Hearts » Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:20 am

Use Oxyclean or Powdered Brewery Wash to clean you system. You will need to soak it over night and rinse well with clean water. I had an old keg with beer in it. It came out sparkling clean.

NGICA
Novice
Posts: 39
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:45 pm

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by NGICA » Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:43 pm

So basically, beer distillate is nasty and stinks up the place?

rubber duck
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 3452
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:33 am
Location: brigadoon

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by rubber duck » Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:12 pm

NGICA wrote:So basically, beer distillate is nasty and stinks up the place?
That about sums it up.
Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen. John Steinbeck

loneswinger
Swill Maker
Posts: 413
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:25 pm

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by loneswinger » Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:41 pm

rubber duck wrote:
NGICA wrote:So basically, beer distillate is nasty and stinks up the place?
That about sums it up.
I am not big on generalities. So I won't totally agree with the above statement.

I have a buddy who loves distilled beer. I have on more than one occasion ran homebrew, with hops, through the pot still. The distillate is not really to my liking, but he loves it. The hops do come through, but some people like the taste of hopped whiskey. After reading this thread however, I might refrain from ever running it through the VM.

So my advice is, if you happen to have some extra beer around, give it a try. Maybe you will like it, maybe you won't. Can't hurt to try.

-Loneswinger
It's better to learn from other people's mistakes than your own.

rubber duck
Site Donor
Site Donor
Posts: 3452
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:33 am
Location: brigadoon

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by rubber duck » Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:53 pm

If the shoe fits...
Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen. John Steinbeck

oynutter
Novice
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2010 12:28 pm

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by oynutter » Sat Dec 04, 2010 8:49 am

Hi peeps, just thought I'd mention, I often distill batches of beer, but I use mugwort in my beer instead of hops--- mugwort was used in old English ales before hops came into use-- makes nice beer and it will distill without stinking--- result is a kind of whiskey not unlike Irish poteen, but comes out pretty neutral if distilled twice

aknewb1s
Novice
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:22 am

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by aknewb1s » Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:01 am

Plans were to do the sacrificial run on a new VM still with bud light? After reading this thread, perhaps this is a bad idea due to the hop oil?

Devonhomebrew
Swill Maker
Posts: 194
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:58 am

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by Devonhomebrew » Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:14 pm

Bude and hops hahahahaah doubt they put much hops in bude it tastes sooo shite but still dont distill that rubbish make a turbo for your cleaning run and throw it because lets face it turbos are rubbish (the only use ive found for turbos so far) and you dont wanna be drinking flux and copper infused flux do you mixed in with a bit of loose solder hahahahaha

rad14701
Master Distiller
Posts: 20866
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:46 pm
Location: New York, USA

Re: Distilling home made beer.

Post by rad14701 » Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:44 pm

Devonhomebrew wrote:Bude and hops hahahahaah doubt they put much hops in bude it tastes sooo shite but still dont distill that rubbish make a turbo for your cleaning run and throw it because lets face it turbos are rubbish (the only use ive found for turbos so far) and you dont wanna be drinking flux and copper infused flux do you mixed in with a bit of loose solder hahahahaha
I wouldn't even dick around with turbos for a sacrificial run unless it's already on hand... Practicing making a sacrificial sugar wash would be more beneficial in the long run and would be cheaper...

Post Reply