Off flavors in sugar wash?

Sugar, and all about sugar washes. Where the primary ingredient is sugar, and other things are just used as nutrients.

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Chops345
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Off flavors in sugar wash?

Post by Chops345 » Wed May 13, 2020 6:14 pm

Hey all I have been running experiments for some time now on basically every aspect of “ novice level “ fermentation. So I would like to start with saying I am more than capable at making basic neutral spirits. My questions arises from the science and self study side of distillation. With that being said. I hope I am asking this question in the correct place, and if I am not please correct me so I can do it properly next time. I do not have a hr to read through everything again.
So here my question. My sugar wash taste slightly of perfume, I cannot find the “Scientific” answer as To why?.
This wash was experimental from the get go. I did not use the normal compounds.
10lb sugar
5 gallons water
3tbls DADY
2tbls lemon juice to bring my ph.5.2
1 1/2 tsp epsom salts- “ experimental” don’t no why !
1 50+multi vit
1/2 small can of tomato paste
Also cuts where not strict. 4shots plus about a cup got pitched. Everything “ mid run” got collected.
Again. This was a experiment to see how those compounds compare to gypsum, and yeast nutrients.
Also before you send me to birdwatchers I’ve made it quite a few times and love it. I cannot find answers as to what through it off to put off the perfume tasts.
I’m running a 16g MH with clean rash rings and clean copper mesh. Also ran a little on the fast side but nothing to extreme. Letting my wife get a feel for it with a wash I’m not Afraid to loose lol.
I’m Hoping one of you experienced guys can give me some scientific insight? Thanks in advance

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acfixer69
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Re: Off flavors in sugar wash?

Post by acfixer69 » Wed May 13, 2020 6:31 pm

If you don't have the hours to read then I don't have them either to explain. Go to tried and true and start there and start your journey there.

Chops345
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Re: Off flavors in sugar wash?

Post by Chops345 » Wed May 13, 2020 7:28 pm

Should have saved your 30 seconds on that post also!
I’m asking a question? Not reading isn’t pointed to “ not having time to do my research” it’s pointed towards not having the next hr to make 100% my questions was asked in the correct place.
I thought I added plenty of helpful hints in my question specified 100% to people like you on what’s my intention was for the question. Hints the more than capable” don’t send me to bird watchers etc. since you cannot understand or aren’t getting the helpful hints I’ll elaborate! I’m not looking for a recipe, I may be new but I’m not a idiot. I’ve read it all 20 times over! “ not saying I no it” Incase you want to run with that one also.
It was a simple question with the basis of the science aspect as of what pulled the off perfume smell in my “experimental mash”
So save your negative comments. Re-read my question and take into context of the way it was asked. Because the hints where for you.
Second off if you don’t no the answer than simply keep scrolling.
Or if this is reg procedure, or taking my questions out of context and turning them into some sort of “ a#% chewing “ than then forum is not for me.

Chops345
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Re: Off flavors in sugar wash?

Post by Chops345 » Wed May 13, 2020 7:52 pm

:thumbup:
Last edited by Chops345 on Thu May 14, 2020 7:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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NZChris
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Re: Off flavors in sugar wash?

Post by NZChris » Wed May 13, 2020 8:44 pm

Are you doing one run and done?

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Re: Off flavors in sugar wash?

Post by Stibnut » Wed May 13, 2020 9:21 pm

I'm a newbie doing a bunch of sugar wash experimenting too, so maybe I can shed some light as someone in roughly the same place as you - or at least ask some questions to help point us both in the right direction.

The 2 lb per gallon ratio is a bit higher than most people here like - they seem to prefer about 1.5. It's not high to throw things off seriously, but perhaps a slight reduction in sugar may help if you try this again.

Are you just running it through once, or did you do a stripping run and then a slower spirit run? And here I'll show my newness: I'm not sure what an MH is. Is it a reflux still or a pot still? If it's not a reflux still with a relatively long packed column, you probably won't get enough separation to keep all the off flavors out without at least two distillations including a slow and careful spirit run. Most if not all sugar washes will produce at least a few off flavors, and you said you went through kind of fast as well, so perhaps you don't have the separation you want.

Is the perfume-like smell something you could describe as fruity? If so, it could be an ester. One trick I've started using is to add sodium carbonate to the low wines before a spirit run. Sodium carbonate (aka soda ash or washing soda) is chemically very closely related to sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), but it's a stronger base. Esters will break apart in alkaline environments, so this really helps at getting rid of them. If you don't have sodium carbonate, I've read that bicarbonate can work too although it's much slower.

Chops345
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Re: Off flavors in sugar wash?

Post by Chops345 » Wed May 13, 2020 9:30 pm

with this particular wash, yes.

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NZChris
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Re: Off flavors in sugar wash?

Post by NZChris » Wed May 13, 2020 9:33 pm

I wouldn't.

Chops345
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Re: Off flavors in sugar wash?

Post by Chops345 » Wed May 13, 2020 9:56 pm

Stibnut, yes it’s a reflux, Ive been experimenting with the sugar ratios a bit this month on smaller levels studying how well the yeast do with different levels and different compounds, as far as nutrients, ph and different gravity’s and a ugar washes go I’ve had predictable results. Not saying it’s tasty by no means, but as far as the ratios, speed , and cuts I have roughly done the same process with the end result not carrying this taste and smell over.

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Re: Off flavors in sugar wash?

Post by Chops345 » Wed May 13, 2020 10:07 pm

NZchris, the bird watchers and other sugars wash’s I’ve tried have not produced this perfume type taste and smell. I no that running my pot still slow with strict cuts will make a superior finished product. But doing the same process with the other sugar wash’s I’ve done have turned out fine or I’ll say at , Ive got away with it at least lol ” as far as a neutral to flavor” .
Do you Think that one of the ingredients, on top of teaching/and letting my wife make the run was all it took to give such off flavors?

Chops345
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Re: Off flavors in sugar wash?

Post by Chops345 » Wed May 13, 2020 10:22 pm

The biggest difference in my normal SW and birdwatchers was.
I Epsom salts.” Again why, Just a experiment.
2 I used Lemmon juice to drop the ph.
3 I’ve never used multi vitamins
4. I added the half can tomato paste in place of My normal yeast nutrient or plain old boiled yeast.” A red neck BW” per-say
. Gypsum, DAP and Fermax are my normals but I’ve been experimenting with other methods.
So process wise not much has changed in terms of the single distillation ,simple sugar wash’s I’ve done
I feel my poor process and over all quality control “ in this situation” has caused a reaction with a new ingredient. I just don’t understand how or what?

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NZChris
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Re: Off flavors in sugar wash?

Post by NZChris » Wed May 13, 2020 10:52 pm

All of my sugar washes get stripped before the spirit run so I get two opportunities to remove undesirables.

In my time on this forum, I've read enough of other distiller's experiences to deduce that, now that I have finally gotten around to building a reflux still, I'm doing the right thing by following what what my initial research had already told me and stripping first.

My first fermenter held enough wash for four stripping runs and is still my most used fermenter thirty odd years later. It's full now :D

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Re: Off flavors in sugar wash?

Post by Stibnut » Wed May 13, 2020 10:56 pm

Chops345 wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 10:22 pm
The biggest difference in my normal SW and birdwatchers was.
I Epsom salts.” Again why, Just a experiment.
2 I used Lemmon juice to drop the ph.
3 I’ve never used multi vitamins
4. I added the half can tomato paste in place of My normal yeast nutrient or plain old boiled yeast.” A red neck BW” per-say
. Gypsum, DAP and Fermax are my normals but I’ve been experimenting with other methods.
So process wise not much has changed in terms of the single distillation ,simple sugar wash’s I’ve done
I feel my poor process and over all quality control “ in this situation” has caused a reaction with a new ingredient. I just don’t understand how or what?
It's really hard to tell what specifically happened in this case, or what compound caused the off odor.

My day job is as a lab tech in a large industrial ethanol plant. We're trying to ramp up the amount of higher-quality (hand sanitizer-grade) alcohol we produce while ramping down the fuel-grade stuff. The market for fuel crashed while the market for the quality grade that goes into hand sanitizer has skyrocketed, so you can imagine the payoff if we can do this. We also produce a little beverage-grade alcohol that gets rebottled and sold as vodka and Everclear, and also aged and sold as whiskey or other liquors.

And yet it's close to impossible to tell what is causing off odors when we get those at work. We get those from time to time even in beverage grade alcohol where the impurities we do test for are at far lower levels than home distillers are able to get, despite having gas chromatographs and a bunch of other chemistry equipment at our disposal. It would be easier if we could get our mass spectrometer to work, but even then it would be tough. The human nose is ridiculously sensitive to a lot of compounds such as esters and sulfur-containing molecules, so much so that a nose can beat out a moderately-equipped lab in detecting a lot of stuff. Sulfur compounds in particular can often be detected at less than one part per billion.

To figure out what process caused it is even harder because fermentation takes place in a very complex environment. We can come up with some general rules but biological systems have a way of surprising us!

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Re: Off flavors in sugar wash?

Post by kimbodious » Wed May 13, 2020 11:38 pm

Chucked the fores and kept the rest after running a little fast, yeah that would do it.
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Thebigbrewbowski
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Re: Off flavors in sugar wash?

Post by Thebigbrewbowski » Thu May 14, 2020 12:10 am

Chops345 wrote:The biggest difference in my normal SW and birdwatchers was.
I Epsom salts.” Again why, Just a experiment.
2 I used Lemmon juice to drop the ph.
3 I’ve never used multi vitamins
4. I added the half can tomato paste in place of My normal yeast nutrient or plain old boiled yeast.” A red neck BW” per-say
. Gypsum, DAP and Fermax are my normals but I’ve been experimenting with other methods.
So process wise not much has changed in terms of the single distillation ,simple sugar wash’s I’ve done
I feel my poor process and over all quality control “ in this situation” has caused a reaction with a new ingredient. I just don’t understand how or what?
Im just as new to this but very familiar with the scientific method. It sounds like you changed too many variables at once. I dont add any vitamins or other products to the sugar wash or ujssm aside from the basic ingredients and prescribed backsets and my runs turn out great according to multiple sources. Maybe you need to dumb it down next time and add one chemical or process change at a time and see what is making the difference. Running a pot still ujssm only adding: Sugar, corn, water, rum yeast and fleischmanns yeast that is cultured. Nothing else I dont check PH anymore, and my ratio after spirit runs are just as prescribed. Start off simple again, it works.




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Saltbush Bill
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Re: Off flavors in sugar wash?

Post by Saltbush Bill » Thu May 14, 2020 12:52 am

Chops345 wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 6:14 pm
Also ran a little on the fast side but nothing to extreme.
Chops345 wrote:
Wed May 13, 2020 6:14 pm
Also cuts where not strict. 4shots plus about a cup got pitched. Everything “ mid run” got collected.
I think you have your answer right there.
Try running your still properly and making decent cuts.

Chops345
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Re: Off flavors in sugar wash?

Post by Chops345 » Thu May 14, 2020 7:53 am

Thank you for the answers. Changing every thing was A little extreme worst part being, I cannot pin point the culprit now!
I will never double run or really be crazy on a sugar wash, there’s just not many flavors in them I’m crazy about carrying over, or up until this last run that worried about removing .They go to fuel or Occasionally get flavored. A better grain bill gets the Time and proper care it requires, my neutrals process is a lot less strict. Again.. I guess the newb in me has just got away with it.
My hole goal with experimenting and constantly trying new things is aimed towards the curiosity of trying to use more readily available ingredients to get the same results with my fuel or neutral wash.

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Re: Off flavors in sugar wash?

Post by Beerswimmer » Thu May 14, 2020 10:41 am

My guess is: 1. Vitamins, 2. The cuts.
1. The multi vits might have some mineral/vitamin that causes the perfumey esters. I'd ditch them for dead yeast plus a pinch of epsom.
2. Try to collect your run is as many jars as possible, that way the cuts can be more precise. There might be a jar in the hearts that's not good, you'll never know until you find it.
Ut Alii Vivant!!!!

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Re: Off flavors in sugar wash?

Post by kimbodious » Thu May 14, 2020 12:34 pm

Double distillation and making cuts are standard distilling practises because it is widely regarded that they result in a better product. Sure you don’t have to, you can do single runs and you can simply ditch the fores and keep the rest, but as you’ve found out sometimes you end up making a poor quality product.
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