Clean Sugar Wash Necessary?

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

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dmachura
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Clean Sugar Wash Necessary?

Post by dmachura » Thu Sep 10, 2020 4:11 pm

Using a reflux still I can produce 93% product using birdwatcher's sugar wash. The product I produce seems quite clean to me, so my question is; can I get even cleaner product using a different sugar wash recipe?

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Re: Clean Sugar Wash Necessary?

Post by DAD300 » Thu Sep 10, 2020 4:43 pm

Maybe, but cleaner taste comes with getting further from the yeast.

Water what you got to 40% and distill it again.
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Re: Clean Sugar Wash Necessary?

Post by Demy » Fri Sep 11, 2020 8:55 am

Great advice from dad. I don't have much experience but a good neutral is usually obtained with fairly neutral ingredients in fermentation, a stripping run (before reflux) and not being rushed into the final distillation. Just my opinion.

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NineInchNails
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Re: Clean Sugar Wash Necessary?

Post by NineInchNails » Fri Sep 11, 2020 12:12 pm

If you're not getting 95% it's usually either how you're running it or perhaps an inadequate column.

I have a 3" VM with 5' to 5.5' of copper mess packed relatively tight and I get 95% consistently. Strip down to 10%. Do a spirit run until you hit 205F and shut down.

I always make Simple Syrup with my sugar first. I dump it into my fermenter while it's still hot. I add water & other ingredients and it usually works out to be a good temp to pitch yeast. 10 lbs sugar, 5 cups water and 0.25 tsp Citric Acid. Boil to 20 min and it's done.

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Re: Clean Sugar Wash Necessary?

Post by Bushman » Fri Sep 11, 2020 2:16 pm

VM stills are easier to get 95% than a CM (I have both). I agree with Dad’s comments I also have started making kale washes, a little more work chopping up the kale as opposed to using tomato paste but so far I am liking the results. Just put up my first infusion using it to make gin.

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Re: Clean Sugar Wash Necessary?

Post by dmachura » Fri Sep 11, 2020 3:41 pm

So what I gather from what has been said is; you are better off double distilling than worrying about the sugar wash ingredients? Are both runs at 95% product? or can you run the first one faster at a lower %? Also going from 23l in the still to 6l in the second distillation does this affect how you run the still?

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Re: Clean Sugar Wash Necessary?

Post by Yummyrum » Fri Sep 11, 2020 3:49 pm

Always dilute down to less than 40%ABV when redistilling .

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Re: Clean Sugar Wash Necessary?

Post by jonnys_spirit » Fri Sep 11, 2020 4:10 pm

The first run is a stripping run in pot still mode hard and fast. Strip three to four boiler charges down to 30-40%abv total and fill the boiler with the low wines then reflux it on a spirit run.

The ingredients and initial ferment environment do matter though since that’s where the alcohol is actually produced by the yeast.

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Re: Clean Sugar Wash Necessary?

Post by NineInchNails » Sat Sep 12, 2020 1:15 pm

dmachura wrote:
Fri Sep 11, 2020 3:41 pm
So what I gather from what has been said is; you are better off double distilling than worrying about the sugar wash ingredients? Are both runs at 95% product? or can you run the first one faster at a lower %? Also going from 23l in the still to 6l in the second distillation does this affect how you run the still?
Yes, at least 2 runs. For vodka, some do multiple spirit runs.

1st strip the ferment at full power, I remove foreshots, collect everything in one big container, collect down to 10% then shut down.

Now dilute what you collected to at least 40%. Dilute more and it will reduce flavor.

Spirit run should be run slow and barely a trickle. More like fast drips. Taste it often and you'll notice that it is as smooth as can be, no bite. Speed it up just a little bit and the take-off will have bite. Discard foreshots. Collect in small jars or quantities. Once you're into the hearts I use larger jars. When I'm nearing 2/3 of a run I start to collect in smaller jars/quantities, smelling and/or tasting looking for tails. Once I am into the tails, I open her up and rip the last bit down to 10%. Let your product air out overnight, coffee filters on top. I cut coffee filters into disks and secure them using jar rings. One filter can make 3 wide mouth filter disks.

The next day make your cuts. Dilute the good stuff to your preferred proof. Toss all heads & tails into a big container, those are your feints. Once you've collected enough feints you can do an all feints spirit run. Just dilute down to at least 40% first.

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Re: Clean Sugar Wash Necessary?

Post by Saltbush Bill » Sat Sep 12, 2020 1:30 pm

NineInchNails wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 1:15 pm
Spirit run should be run slow and barely a trickle. More like fast drips.
That will depend on the type and size of the reflux still.
Smaller stills will be slow.........3 inch and bigger will run at 2- 3 and possibly more L an hour and still produce good clean product.

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Re: Clean Sugar Wash Necessary?

Post by NineInchNails » Sat Sep 12, 2020 1:34 pm

Saltbush Bill wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 1:30 pm
NineInchNails wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 1:15 pm
Spirit run should be run slow and barely a trickle. More like fast drips.
That will depend on the type and size of the reflux still.
Smaller stills will be slow.........3 inch and bigger will run at 2- 3 and possibly more L an hour and still produce good clean product.
I'm going to have to fiddle around with that to see just how fast I can go without sacrificing quality. Mine is 3" and plenty tall. Does that 'bite' go away when you air it out overnight? If so, I can take-off a lot faster than I am now. I just know that it comes out absolutely smooth at fast drops, but when I take-off faster it has bit.

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Re: Clean Sugar Wash Necessary?

Post by Saltbush Bill » Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:20 pm

Id be inclined to try a different wash if I was getting to much bite.
A 3 inch reflux should do better than a drip rate imo.

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Re: Clean Sugar Wash Necessary?

Post by shadylane » Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:59 pm

dmachura wrote:
Fri Sep 11, 2020 3:41 pm
So what I gather from what has been said is; you are better off double distilling than worrying about the sugar wash ingredients? Are both runs at 95% product? or can you run the first one faster at a lower %? Also going from 23l in the still to 6l in the second distillation does this affect how you run the still?
There's many ways to skin the cat.

For a neutral spirit from a sugar wash. Flavor is usually a dirty work :lol:
Begin with a wash, that yeast will happily make clean alcohol out of. :wink:
After it's done fermenting, it doesn't hurt to let it settle and rack the liquid off the sediment.
This really helps if attempting making a neutralish with a potstill
But isn't that necessary with a reflux still.

Stripping run's are often done at a fast rate, then redistilled at a much slower take off rate.
I wouldn't worry too much about getting the highest ABV from the stripping runs.
Get as much alcohol out of the sugar wash, while leaving behind the peppery, cardboard flavored tails.

Don't worry about
"going from 23l in the still to 6l in the second distillation"
You will be adding enough water to top off the boiler for the second run :wink:

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Re: Clean Sugar Wash Necessary?

Post by dmachura » Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:38 am

Thanks for all in info, I was under the impression that when using a reflux still that stripping and spirit runs were not necessary. Thanks again!

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Re: Clean Sugar Wash Necessary?

Post by Legba » Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:37 am

I use an LM still and I always do stripping runs before the spirit run. The final product comes out of the still at 95%.

A few months back, I was wondering the same as you and I tried to test it. I made something that looks like uncle Remus rice vodka. It was very clean after fermentation compares to a birdwatcher. After the stripping run, the low wine was also cleaner than the low wine I get when I do birdwatchers. After the spirit run, the product was at 95% as usual and I diluted it to 40%.

When I compared it with vodka made from birdwatcher, I wasn't able to differentiate them reliably. For me, they were tastings exactly the same. Another thing that surprised me is that the volume of products collected was the same. I would have expected to get more from the clean fermentation since there are fewer congeners created during fermentation. My conclusion was that if someone is making neutral at 95% with an LM or VM still, they won't get a better a product by using a "cleaner" wash... At least to my taste!

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Saltbush Bill
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Re: Clean Sugar Wash Necessary?

Post by Saltbush Bill » Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:43 am

We all have opinions.....mine is that a cleaner wash will always end with a cleaner spirit.....Ive experimented with using different washes enough to have tasted the differemce.

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Re: Clean Sugar Wash Necessary?

Post by MartinCash » Sun Sep 13, 2020 2:53 pm

Ditto cleaner spirit if you use low wines, but I also find it a time efficiency. Given the speed I run mine at, I'd rather dedicate a whole day to make a large amount of neutral from low wines than waste multiple days doing slow spirit runs on wash.

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Re: Clean Sugar Wash Necessary?

Post by dmachura » Sun Sep 13, 2020 3:27 pm

When you say "I'd rather dedicate a whole day to make a large amount of neutral from low wines than waste multiple days doing slow spirit runs on wash" if you were to do a slow spirit run how slow is slow? Also how fast would you go on a stripping run? And how quick do you distill on low wines?

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Re: Clean Sugar Wash Necessary?

Post by MartinCash » Sun Sep 13, 2020 5:01 pm

I strip as fast as my still can run without puking too much. With a sugarhead or sugarwash that rarely pukes, I strip ~40L in 2-3 hr.

I combine 3-4 x 10L strips (at ~40% ABV) for my spirit run. My VM still has an optimal take-off rate of just over 1L / hr, so I then dedicate a looong day to produce a batch of neutral. As in start at 7 am and go till past midnight, but I end up with 10-12 L of 96% neutral, which lasts me for a while.

Eventually I'll go to a wider column (mine is 2"), which should improve my take-off rate substantially.

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Re: Clean Sugar Wash Necessary?

Post by shadylane » Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:41 pm

Saltbush Bill wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:43 am
We all have opinions.....mine is that a cleaner wash will always end with a cleaner spirit.....I've experimented with using different washes enough to have tasted the difference.
That's also my opinion for making neutral spirits
Use all the tricks of the trade, to let the yeast make the cleanest alcohol possible. :thumbup:

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