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First Ever Stripping Run (peated whisky)

Posted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 9:31 pm
by Mattmmmax
Hey All - posting my first - first distillation experience. Coming from an all grain brewing bg on my grainfather setup with an alembic pot still. I decided to up the ante and get into home distilling during these heady times.

Decided to dive head long into a heavily peated ‘single-ish’ malt whisky for my first go.

Grain bill:
28 lbs Heavily peated malt
8 lbs DME
Ended with about 12 gal a 8.5% abv wash.

Now for the magic. First ever stripping run. Ran the still down to ~20% abv with a yield of about 2gal of smoky peaty goodness.

Spirit run is on deck for next week! Wish me luck. Looking for any advice going into the spirit run and/or spiral aging and time. I have 2 charred 12” American oak spirals and 2 medium roast 12” American oak spirals on hand.

Re: First Ever Stripping Run (peated whisky)

Posted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 10:01 pm
by NZChris
Before you chuck the backset out... 20% where? at the spout, or for the total low wines collection? There is a very big difference.

Re: First Ever Stripping Run (peated whisky)

Posted: Wed Nov 04, 2020 11:26 pm
by Mattmmmax
It was 20% at the spout. Should I have run it down further to the point where the total of the lows were at 20%? I had read to cut the stripping run off at 208F or 20%abv.

It’d be too bad if I wasted a whole bunch of potential from the ethanol remaining in the backseat that went down the drain. I suppose this is how we learn.

Re: First Ever Stripping Run (peated whisky)

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 12:16 am
by SaltyStaves
Mattmmmax wrote:
Wed Nov 04, 2020 11:26 pm
I had read to cut the stripping run off at 208F or 20%abv.
You should take your cues from the people that make the spirits you are trying to emulate.

Re: First Ever Stripping Run (peated whisky)

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 12:20 am
by zapata
You didn't ruin it, and you didn't waste much alcohol. But along with the little alcohol you wasted went a good bit of flavor, especially peat. 20% out the spout is a cut off that some people use, usually on the basis that the remaining alcohol isn't worth the time or money (?) to get out. But the Scotts find it worth their time and their money to go a lot lower, as low as 1% out the spout or more specifically to leave less than 1% in the pot. Generally that means their low wines will be 20-23%, but then they add feints from the previous batch for about 28ish% on the spirit run. Since you don't have feints on your first run, stopping earlier actually makes a bit of sense.

But yeah, learning experience. And just because the Scotts, or me or everybody does one thing, you don't have to follow. A mistake is not a mistake until you attach your emotions and judgement to it. I did several of my early scotch batches stopping around 20% out the spout. I like to think I make better whisky now for a variety of reasons, but I did not judge those early batches as mistakes. Quite the contrary.

Re: First Ever Stripping Run (peated whisky)

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 12:29 am
by NZChris
Mattmmmax wrote:
Wed Nov 04, 2020 11:26 pm
I had read to cut the stripping run off at 208F or 20%abv.
There is good and bad advice on the net and there is nobody policing it, so be careful. A clue that advice may be from a beginner is if they quote a temperature, or give a target abv without saying if it is for at the spout or for the total low wines collection.

Re: First Ever Stripping Run (peated whisky)

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 6:59 am
by 8Ball
Mattmmmax wrote:
Wed Nov 04, 2020 11:26 pm
It was 20% at the spout. Should I have run it down further to the point where the total of the lows were at 20%? I had read to cut the stripping run off at 208F or 20%abv.

It’d be too bad if I wasted a whole bunch of potential from the ethanol remaining in the backseat that went down the drain. I suppose this is how we learn.
You misread the 208F cut off, it is done during the spirit run (while collecting feints) — NOT during the strip.

After lots of reading on how Scots make whiskey, I noted a general process for stripping and spirit runs. This is how I interpreted and applied the process to my 5G copper pot using propane. My target SG is 1.067 & 8.5% abv max for ferments.

Strip Run
1. Do not take foreshots, they are included in the LW.
2. Collect everything up to 208F as low wines (LW).
3. Continue to strip and collect the rest up to 212F as Feints (F). This will be around a quart or less. This last little bit contains concentrated flavor and most of the smoke phenols desired.
4. 3.5G strip charge = 1G minimum of collected LW+F @ ~27%.
5. Save 1.0 quart backset & add to next ferment.

Spirit Run
1. Collect foreshot up to 171F as cleaning solvent.
2. Collect heads down to 75% as high feints (HF) to be added to next spirit run.
3. Collect the hearts at 75%-62% abv.
a. Using a parrot and Proof & Tralles alcometer, the readings for temperature compensation are:
i. 80%-65% / 162-136 proof (indicated)
ii. 75%-62.5% / 150-125 proof (actual)
4. Collect <62% as low feints (LF) until the vapor temperature is 208F & <20%/40 proof. Dump the rest.
5. Combine your heads & tails as Feints for the next spirit run. These feints should be no more than 40% of your total spirit charge, the remaining 60% are your low wines and feints from the strip run.

I am very familiar with my rig and how the temperatures and percentages play out during the runs. I also perform several very small taste tests as I approach transition points for cuts. This process works well for me and my small rig.

🎱

Re: First Ever Stripping Run (peated whisky)

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 7:55 am
by Grappa-Gringo
Matmmmax--- how did it turn out? I'm interested in making a peated whiskey...I'd have to divide your recipe by 5 due to space....
My question to you...why did you go with DME? could you have used LME? just curious.... would it have made a difference?

Re: First Ever Stripping Run (peated whisky)

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 2:01 pm
by CopperFiend
Very odd, I ALWAYS take off foreshots in a stripping run. This, to my mind, is the best time to take them, lower ABV and less waste of you miss the cut off point. Plus, safer if you take off a little in each strip and then a proper fores in the spirit run.

Re: First Ever Stripping Run (peated whisky)

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 3:19 pm
by 8Ball
CopperFiend wrote:
Thu Nov 05, 2020 2:01 pm
Very odd, I ALWAYS take off foreshots in a stripping run.A strip run is just that, strip out alcohol and flavor. This, to my mind, is the best time to take them, lower ABV strip till your LW are at the abv you want, in my case, 1/3 of the boiler charge = ~27%and less waste of you miss the cut off pointHuh?? What cut off point?. Plus, safer How so? My narrow heart cut eliminates any possibility of an ‘unsafe’ product. if you take off a little in each strip and then a proper fores in the spirit run.
🎱

Re: First Ever Stripping Run (peated whisky)

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 3:41 pm
by tubbsy
CopperFiend wrote:
Thu Nov 05, 2020 2:01 pm
Very odd, I ALWAYS take off foreshots in a stripping run. This, to my mind, is the best time to take them, lower ABV and less waste of you miss the cut off point. Plus, safer if you take off a little in each strip and then a proper fores in the spirit run.
I never bother with foreshots on a stripping run. Strips are normally done hard and fast so there's a good chance you won't get all the fores unless you take a big cut. Fores on a spirit run are easy as it's done much slower. No chance of it getting in the final product as the heads will take care of the tiny amount of fores that might have made it through.

Re: First Ever Stripping Run (peated whisky)

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 6:59 pm
by Mattmmmax
Thanks all.
1. I don’t cut any fores in the stripping run. Seemed a waste if you’re going to do cuts on the spirit run.

2. I think I’ll go ahead and do one more wash just to be able to collect some of the late feints from the stripping run to make sure I’m maximizing the peat here. I’ll also save some of that backset for a future ferment.

3. Any tips on aging? This is what I have on hand:
https://www.homebrewing.org/American-Oa ... _9763.html

https://www.homebrewing.org/White-Ameri ... _7574.html

I also would like to impart a sherry finish. I have a bunnahabhain amontillado that’s to die for. Should i soak a one of the spirals or some un toasted white oak?

Cheers!



I spent a week touring Islay distilleries last year and while I know I won’t get near that level as a first timer, one can dream.

Re: First Ever Stripping Run (peated whisky)

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 7:41 pm
by SaltyStaves
Mattmmmax wrote:
Thu Nov 05, 2020 6:59 pm
I also would like to impart a sherry finish. I have a bunnahabhain amontillado that’s to die for. Should i soak a one of the spirals or some un toasted white oak?

I spent a week touring Islay distilleries last year and while I know I won’t get near that level as a first timer, one can dream.
For the most part, Scotch whisky is matured long and slow on used oak. The spirals you have will be virgin oak, so you won't get anything resembling Scotch out of their first use.
Thats not to say you won't like the result, but you should at least be prepared...

This is how I have been prepping my oak https://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtop ... =4&t=79912
Its a bit of work and there is a little waste, but its paying off in the glass.

Did you do the Warehouse 9 tasting? I was there the previous year, so wonder if some of the same barrels were still in the tasting.

Re: First Ever Stripping Run (peated whisky)

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 10:59 pm
by Mattmmmax
Thanks saltystaves! Yes we did the warehouse 9 tour with a wonderful woman who’s name escapes me from bunnahabhain. Had a great barrel tasting and we spent nearly an hour with her after the tour picking out some small 300ml bottles of px and moine. Wonderful experience.

This was the tour we did, not usually keen on these types of tours. This one was A+.

https://www.scottishroutes.com/tours/5- ... isky-tour/

Re: First Ever Stripping Run (peated whisky)

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 11:14 pm
by SaltyStaves
There were two PX casks on my tasting. Cask 555 14YO PX Noe 54.8% ABV and cask AR13000005 14YO Moine PX 53.4% ABV.

Re: First Ever Stripping Run (peated whisky)

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2020 11:44 pm
by CopperFiend
8Ball wrote:
Thu Nov 05, 2020 3:19 pm
CopperFiend wrote:
Thu Nov 05, 2020 2:01 pm
Very odd, I ALWAYS take off foreshots in a stripping run.A strip run is just that, strip out alcohol and flavor. This, to my mind, is the best time to take them, lower ABV strip till your LW are at the abv you want, in my case, 1/3 of the boiler charge = ~27%and less waste of you miss the cut off pointHuh?? What cut off point?. Plus, safer How so? My narrow heart cut eliminates any possibility of an ‘unsafe’ product. if you take off a little in each strip and then a proper fores in the spirit run.
🎱
Taking fores off spirit runs is clearly a safer option. Yes if you take tight heart cuts then all the nasties should be in the heads but it's clearly safer if theres less nasties to be got in the spirit run in the first place. Do what makes you happy but this is the way I can be as sure as possible that I'm not poisoning my friends and family so I'll continue to do so.

Re: First Ever Stripping Run (peated whisky)

Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2020 8:20 pm
by zapata
Bit dramatic don't ya think? If pot stilled fores from malt washes were poisonous I wouldn't have lived past 15 and all of Scotland would be populated only by sheep and foreign royalty slumming it at their hunting estates. 99% of all fores in a malt whisky wash eventually makes it into the final distillate, they only recycle as much as they do to clean the fatty acids from tails off the condensers. Of course, do what makes you happy (and I happen to think tastes better than young headsy scotch), but the ethanol in whisky is at least as poisonous as any amount of fores mixed into a batch.
Mattmmmax wrote:
Thu Nov 05, 2020 6:59 pm
1. I don’t cut any fores in the stripping run. Seemed a waste if you’re going to do cuts on the spirit run.
Agreed. This is the most typical procedure for hobbyists and pros.
2. I’ll also save some of that backset for a future ferment.
Do as you please, but backset isn't really a scotch thing. They boil it down to syrup and feed it to the cows.
I'd put both of those in a jar of bourbon and give it a couple microwave cycles. (search "nuclear aging" for the protocol). I'd suggest something cheap and strong and not very good anyway, like Evan Williams Bottled in Bond, it might actually end up decent.

A couple years ago there were a bunch of young virgin oak scotches, and they were fine, but a bit bourbony. And I suspect they only existed because the industry needed a way to bring some younger juice on the market faster as that fad mostly passed without much ado. Virgin charred oak is the essence of bourbon flavor. If you want scotch flavors rather than bourbon flavors you really want to leach that wood first. Or not, but expect it to have that virgin oak flavor.
I also would like to impart a sherry finish. I have a bunnahabhain amontillado that’s to die for. Should i soak a one of the spirals or some un toasted white oak?
I'd just add whatever wine you want by drops. I've gone through the trouble of wine flavoring oak, and there really isn't much point IMHO. There is no magic to sherry wood that you don't get from sherry and wood separately. IMHO most sherry barrels are just the Scotts way to cheat their own rules. Canadians and Americans regularly favor whiskey with wine. The Scotts pretend not to, but anybody who has tasted much scotch knows, they do indeed sneak it in there.

Re: First Ever Stripping Run (peated whisky)

Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2020 9:05 pm
by OtisT
All this peated whiskey talk has me wanting to go sample both of my 2+ year old barrels of peated whiskey in the basement. Unfortunately I only had first use barrels at the time but when I bottle this stuff a year or two down the road, the next batch that goes in them should come out a little closer to what I buy in the store. The oak prep suggestion from Saltystaves sounds like a good option for you if you are looking for something closer to a scotch.

I have to ask you mattmmax, how did you like that smell after your stripping run with that heavy peat ferment? What a wonderful smell. My first time stripping a heavy peated whiskey (only 50% for me), I thought I was stilling bacon and it lasted for days. Mmmmm.

+1 to stripping longer next time. Get all that goodness into your LW you can. Don’t worry about pulling heads on the strip. Waste of time on a whiskey strip, but it don’t hurt either.

Otis

Re: First Ever Stripping Run (peated whisky)

Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2020 10:49 pm
by Mattmmmax
Im so thankful that my ‘first’ has garnered so much attention and I greatly appreciate all of the feedback! Keep it coming!

1. Saltystaves - thank you so much Uber deep info on... well everything!

2. Zapata - Salty’s work is is bar none, but I think I’ll start with your approach to eeeeasse into this. As it stands, I’m a first timer and I need something aspire to eventually
(Lookin at salty).

3. OtisT - the smell of the stripping run immediately took me back to islay! The sweet and peated odors lingering in the air. Nothing else like that smell. *chefs kiss*

Can’t wait for ya’ll to weigh in on my next distillate. I plan to use a small amount of lows from this + tffv for a hint of peat in an earthy gin.

Cheers!