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groenspookasem
23rd June 2019, 17:17
I'm toying with the idea to pickup an alembic or T500 still for the GF. I don't drink hard tack though and am not sure if it's worth the effort. Going the alembic route, would mean a 7 hour distillation day after a brew / fermentation effort. The yield is low 3 or 6 litres, which would then need to sit in a wood barrel for at least a year for all grain whiskey. The t500 strips off any flavor profiles, so a sugar wash is sufficient, but you then flavor the spirit with essences, which is a bit of a cheat in my view, except for gin perhaps? T500 is a 5hour distillation day.

On the odd occasion when I drink hard tack I prefer to drink it neat and not a lot of it, like Marca Negra Mezcal or single malt peaty whisky anything from Islay. I abhor any sweet tasting spirit. My missus enjoys her craft gin which is in abundance in Cape Town.

Has anyone here had a go at it? Recommendations or advice appreciated.

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jakeslouw
24th June 2019, 09:04
I've done hundreds of sessions using either a small pot still or the T500.

My opinion:
If you don't often drink hard tack, and prefer good stuff, I'd say save your money for high quality stuff from the shop. You'll be much happier and save some money.

The Flying Brew
24th June 2019, 09:42
A friend of mine played around with a potstill to make some whiskey. It's not as easy as one might like it to be. If I were to seriously consider something like this, I'd go for the T500 rather than a Potstill.

Not sure what you would want to make but the ultimate is always a good whiskey. Many whiskeys are distilled to a very high abv and most of the flavour then comes from the oak. From what I've gathered, Bains for example is a 100% corn mash, distilled in a massive reflux column. Most likely distilled to over 90% abv.

groenspookasem
24th June 2019, 14:55
@TheFlyingBrew Would using the alembic copper still not impart more grain flavor? I'd be keen to attempt a rye, a smoked malt and a "vienna single malt" whisky and barrel age for at least a year. I do get the impression it's quite an art, I need to do more research.

@jakeslouw That's exactly my worry too. A couple of decent 'grogs' can easily fund the cost of an alembic / t500 still and accessories. Having said that, I struggle to finish a bottle of the strong stuff, takes me quite a while !

JIGSAW
24th June 2019, 16:45
^ You're doing it wrong :p

many a time I find myself "double fisted" ... whisky on the rocks in on hand and a beer in the other :lol:

groenspookasem
24th June 2019, 18:16
I can't mix different kinds of alcohol, if I do then bedtime is accelerated by a good few hours. Sometimes when I pour a dram of whisky, I'd splash a few drops of water in to change the flavor profile. Those frozen metal cubes instead of ice if I feel the need to cool it.

I don't like the feeling of overdoing it nor the headache the next morning

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camsaway
24th June 2019, 20:15
I have a copper T500 for my Grainfather - gotta admit, a lot of work for a little out. Prefer the brewing but hey, every now and again I can do away with a bad batch of beer or some old wine that doesn't taste nearly as good at home as on the farm...

groenspookasem
24th June 2019, 20:30
I was wondering, using an urn in lieu of the GF with and stc or similar controlling the temperature putting a probe on the neck, would it not alleviate a lot of dialing up and down? Catch the methanol first, run 2l head, hearts and tails (approximately 1 hour each)

I'm still (lol) researching this, but surely there must be a way to make it less hands on?

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camsaway
25th June 2019, 19:27
You could link some sort of PID to a solenoid valve on the water inlet, but.... a still that isn't watched can explode if something goes wrong unchecked.

groenspookasem
25th June 2019, 19:56
I saw some of those theoretical automation mentioned in online. Thinking about not constantly turning temp or flow up / down.

If all goes according to plan, my alembic will arrive soon. Pressure is on to get knowledgeable... Planning to kick a few double brew days to keep the kegs filled, then attempt a single grain whiskey, perhaps Vienna or Marris Otter.

Do you need recipes or just seat of the pants? Thinking to do a reiterated mash to hit high as possible OG. Voss kveik and perhaps enzymes to turn the mash into wash in double time

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jakeslouw
26th June 2019, 08:05
I'm still (lol) researching this, but surely there must be a way to make it less hands on?


On my urn based alembic pot still, I'm there to catch the methanol and then I dump everything into a drum for the stripping run and even the second run. I don't sit and watch it, the reverse chiller on the lyne arm simply does its job.

I only bother with heads tails and hearts on the 3rd distillation.

If I use the T500, I constantly have to sit and tune that bloody water supply for the cooling jacket, you can't walk away.

jakeslouw
26th June 2019, 08:06
I saw some of those theoretical automation mentioned in online. Thinking about not constantly turning temp or flow up / down.

If all goes according to plan, my alembic will arrive soon. Pressure is on to get knowledgeable... Planning to kick a few double brew days to keep the kegs filled, then attempt a single grain whiskey, perhaps Vienna or Marris Otter.

Do you need recipes or just seat of the pants? Thinking to do a reiterated mash to hit high as possible OG. Voss kveik and perhaps enzymes to turn the mash into wash in double time

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Plain old Anchor yeast from the grocery store. Anything else is wasting money.

groenspookasem
26th June 2019, 08:54
That does sound easier, I would be able to tune the GF temp which would affect the distillation process and adjust for volume loss and drop the temp accordingly. Do you need temp control though? Also, I understand that multiple runs increase ABV and clears the spirit - do you lose a lot of the malt flavor each run? I'm not too worried about hitting a high ABV on the first run - 70% is perfectly okay with me, not too worried about end volume. Have you ever done a single run, dumping the ethanol and heads, hearts, tail blending from there?


On my urn based alembic pot still, I'm there to catch the methanol and then I dump everything into a drum for the stripping run and even the second run. I don't sit and watch it, the reverse chiller on the lyne arm simply does its job.

I only bother with heads tails and hearts on the 3rd distillation.

If I use the T500, I constantly have to sit and tune that bloody water supply for the cooling jacket, you can't walk away.

jakeslouw
26th June 2019, 11:02
That does sound easier, I would be able to tune the GF temp which would affect the distillation process and adjust for volume loss and drop the temp accordingly. Do you need temp control though? Also, I understand that multiple runs increase ABV and clears the spirit - do you lose a lot of the malt flavor each run? I'm not too worried about hitting a high ABV on the first run - 70% is perfectly okay with me, not too worried about end volume. Have you ever done a single run, dumping the ethanol and heads, hearts, tail blending from there?

1) temp control is needed for purity
2) yes, multiple runs increase ABV, and the first stripping run always removes most flavours and aromas
3) first run @ 70 is optimistic, I'd say around 55-60% unless you have a high ABV beer/mash
4) yes, when I do something like mampoer, I stay with one run and split off every 200ml into individual bottles and then taste and smell everything once it is all cooled down

groenspookasem
26th June 2019, 16:45
1) temp control is needed for purity
2) yes, multiple runs increase ABV, and the first stripping run always removes most flavours and aromas
3) first run @ 70 is optimistic, I'd say around 55-60% unless you have a high ABV beer/mash
4) yes, when I do something like mampoer, I stay with one run and split off every 200ml into individual bottles and then taste and smell everything once it is all cooled down

Thanks for your knowledge sharing @jakeslouw !

How high (OG) do you usually start your typical mash/wash? Would you supplement with DME / sucrose if the OG is too low and would that have an effect later on (thinning out the taste using more sucrose than maltose?)

I'm thinking I can get a 1.1 or thereabout from a double/reiterated 10kg mash and possibly drop this down to an FG of 1.008 or lower if enzymes are involved. 12% to 13% ABV

The Flying Brew
26th June 2019, 17:59
@TheFlyingBrew Would using the alembic copper still not impart more grain flavor? I'd be keen to attempt a rye, a smoked malt and a "vienna single malt" whisky and barrel age for at least a year. I do get the impression it's quite an art, I need to do more research.

Hi Groenspookasem, probably best to follow Jakes' advice as he has much more hands on experience in this. My understanding is that the extra flavour you get from the potstill is not always a plus and might make it more difficult when making whiskey, especially for someone starting with distillation. I wouldn't know about the cooling issues with the T500 and it's a pity to hear this because I was thinking to some day go that route. Things like yeast selection doesn't really seem to get through in the final product so I'd agree with jakes and not go for any fancy beer yeast. At most i'd go for something like turbo yeast to reach a higher abv than what I can get from beer yeast, which could help if you have a relatively small still. Even grain selection doesn't really come through as much as you might think so I wouldn't splash for expensive marris otter. SAB malt should be fine to start with. Could even add some simple sugar to boost abv. We did some with wheat but didn't try rye.

A large part of the whole whiskey thing is not so much the yeast and grain selection but rather the use of back-set from previous distillation in next, knowing how to do your cuts (which is an experience thing), knowing how to oak or age it appropriately and having the required patience. And yes, you certainly can over-oak a spirit. Most of this comes with experience and doing it often enough. It is a bit of an art that you can't really learn in a text book because every setup is a bit different and I'm not sure what volume of a kettle is really required to make all of this a feasible/enjoyable hobby. Still hope to do more of it some day though. When I do, I'll probably go for a reflux still and first hone my skills on doing a really clean spirit that doesn't need as much aging time. Something like schnaps or mampoer. Once I'm comfortable with all of that, I'd be more willing to invest the time into making a Whiskey.

groenspookasem
26th June 2019, 19:37
I agree, I'm hanging on Jake's knowledge here. I'm a complete noob and a bit out of my depth with distilling. Bulk Marris isn't that expensive, not sure if what you guys upcountry pay though, under R20 a kg here. SAB is cheaper though and if it doesn't matter, then why waste money right! I'm planning to do a few double brew days to have beer waiting on kegs, so I can devote some time on the distillation experience

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Toxxyc
27th June 2019, 06:33
Thanks for your knowledge sharing @jakeslouw !

How high (OG) do you usually start your typical mash/wash? Would you supplement with DME / sucrose if the OG is too low and would that have an effect later on (thinning out the taste using more sucrose than maltose?)

I'm thinking I can get a 1.1 or thereabout from a double/reiterated 10kg mash and possibly drop this down to an FG of 1.008 or lower if enzymes are involved. 12% to 13% ABV

I was actually more interested in mead and distilling before I started brewing beer. As such, I read up A LOT about stills, how they work and what you need to keep in mind. Now, the things I read up on (no experience) matches exactly with what Jakeslouw said above. To clarify on what he said:

1. Temp control is CRUCIAL. It's not only nice and whatnot, but the different alcohols evaporate (boil) at different temperatures. The alcohols you don't want (the heads) are boiled off first, at a certain temperature. I can't remember the exact temperature, but you will see a decrease in the still's output if you keep the top of the column (where you take the temperature) at that specific temperature. It is one way of knowing roughly where to cut from your heads into your hearts. To boot, a good temperature control gives you a lot cleaner and more pure run. I went hunting on a farm the other day where the farmer is popular in the area for making mampoer. Now I'm talking on SCALE. He could take on some commercial places, I'm certain. Anyway, he gets 70% ABV from his first run, because he closely controls the temperature. IT also means a lot of the flavour he's brewed is sticking in his mampoer, and after he waters it down slightly to 65% ABV you can really take a sip and go "wow, this is mango" or "can definitely taste the lemon in here".
2. I agree. The more times you run it, the more flavour you'll lose. Alcohol doesn't have a flavour.
3. I agree. If you're distilling a botched batch of beer, you should be happy with a very low ABV in the first run, specially if you're still learning your still and getting your temperatures right.
4. It's a good way if you can't control the column temp accurately enough.

Now, if you just want to make alcohol, or actually something drinkable, I would HIGHLY recommend starting off with Rum. In all my research it seems to be the easiest and cheapest choice for a beginner. Spiced rums are popular, make great gifts and are cheap to make. Essentially you have a wash of sugar and molasses. You don't even need to buy that expensive molasses from the supermarket - you buy those 5l bottles for horsefeed at you local co-op.

You mix it to a high gravity (around 1.14), get a distilling yeast (or any yeast with a very high ABV tolerance, around the 18% ABV mark), distill it (no need to be too clean about it, and don't put it in a fermenter with an airlock if you use turbo yeasts). Rums don't need too much aging in oak, so you can ferment, get a decent distilling yield because of the high ABV and age it for a few months with oak chips or blocks, even in the bottle. Spice if you want to (after distilling, before aging) using a hop bag to keep it clear and enjoy. It's a coarse and rough method, but man I want to try it one day. I've even got a pressure cooker already that I want to convert into a still sometime soon. Sounds like a December project for me.

jakeslouw
27th June 2019, 07:53
I should be getting my 100L pot still back soon.

Maybe we should do an exBeeriment? :cheers:

As for whiskey and other grain-based products: I wouldn't use expensive malts to boost my ABV.

Use the cheapest you can find. Boost with plain sugar.

JIGSAW
27th June 2019, 10:44
I agree, I'm hanging on Jake's knowledge here. I'm a complete noob and a bit out of my depth with distilling. Bulk Marris isn't that expensive, not sure if what you guys upcountry pay though, under R20 a kg here. SAB is cheaper though and if it doesn't matter, then why waste money right! I'm planning to do a few double brew days to have beer waiting on kegs, so I can devote some time on the distillation experience

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Where exactly is this at that nice price? :confused:

jakeslouw
27th June 2019, 11:36
Where exactly is this at that nice price? :confused:

Beer Guevara probably.

groenspookasem
27th June 2019, 12:21
Beer Guevara probably.


Correct, beerguevara. I confirmed on my email, I made a mistake, it's R24/kg. Sorry for the slip up
I can't recall if Beerplus stocks MO...I recall them punting Viking malt a few months ago, but their bulk prices aren't bad.

100l stil? Holy smokes, how much spirit do you get out of it?

jakeslouw
27th June 2019, 15:32
100l stil? Holy smokes, how much spirit do you get out of it?

Depends on the starting ABV..........

JIGSAW
27th June 2019, 18:18
Correct, beerguevara. I confirmed on my email, I made a mistake, it's R24/kg. Sorry for the slip up
I can't recall if Beerplus stocks MO...I recall them punting Viking malt a few months ago, but their bulk prices aren't bad.

100l stil? Holy smokes, how much spirit do you get out of it?

Nope, they dont, but Im eyeing the Weyermann Pale they have for R404/25Kg :thumbsup:

Just waiting on Langchop (http://www.wortsandall.co.za/member.php?1007-Langchop) for a final version on his Roller Mill.

The Brewferm mill from BevPlus also looks like a worthwhile option ?? Any Pro's / Con's that anyone might know about?

groenspookasem
27th June 2019, 19:28
That's the one I got, two roller stainless, goed genoeg. Bought a cheapy ryobi 18v drill to run it. All good. I was going to spring for the mm3 and import it, but meh, if the breferm mills dies then I'll be an old man

I like weyerman and that's good price!

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groenspookasem
27th June 2019, 22:08
Balls, proving a point. Kicked my rye ale keg tonight, missus and I had a dark life celebration (familial death) red wine session. Completely hammered after two red wines and two beers. Absolutely know I'm going to feel like crap tomorrow, I can't stomach mixing booze.

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JIGSAW
28th June 2019, 08:17
That's the one I got, two roller stainless, goed genoeg. Bought a cheapy ryobi 18v drill to run it. All good. I was going to spring for the mm3 and import it, but meh, if the breferm mills dies then I'll be an old man

I like weyerman and that's good price!

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Thanks for the info :cheers:

jakeslouw
28th June 2019, 09:44
Just waiting on Langchop (http://www.wortsandall.co.za/member.php?1007-Langchop) for a final version on his Roller Mill.



I have one for testing. Impressive looking piece of kit. He's put a lot of thought and effort into it.

Next brew day is unfortunately probably only in 2 weeks.

This weekend is Women's Brew Day @ Apiwe and also Winter Solstice, and next weekend is Oom Theo's fairwell party in Dullies.

If I don't over-do Solstice, I might brew something on Sunday, but I still need to wash some fermenters.

JIGSAW
28th June 2019, 10:10
I have one for testing. Impressive looking piece of kit. He's put a lot of thought and effort into it.

Next brew day is unfortunately probably only in 2 weeks.

This weekend is Women's Brew Day @ Apiwe and also Winter Solstice, and next weekend is Oom Theo's fairwell party in Dullies.

If I don't over-do Solstice, I might brew something on Sunday, but I still need to wash some fermenters.

Cool ... I was also given the opportunity to test, but I dont brew often enough to give the unit the testing it might require. Waiting on your update :thumbsup:

Langchop
28th June 2019, 13:11
I have one for testing. Impressive looking piece of kit. He's put a lot of thought and effort into it.

Next brew day is unfortunately probably only in 2 weeks.

This weekend is Women's Brew Day @ Apiwe and also Winter Solstice, and next weekend is Oom Theo's fairwell party in Dullies.

If I don't over-do Solstice, I might brew something on Sunday, but I still need to wash some fermenters.

Kind words. Like I said, run it at your own pace. :cheers:

Stefficat
17th June 2020, 18:10
Hi Groenspookasem, probably best to follow Jakes' advice as he has much more hands on experience in this. My understanding is that the extra flavour you get from the potstill is not always a plus and might make it more difficult when making whiskey, especially for someone starting with distillation. I wouldn't know about the cooling issues with the T500 and it's a pity to hear this because I was thinking to some day go that route. Things like yeast selection doesn't really seem to get through in the final product so I'd agree with jakes and not go for any fancy beer yeast. At most i'd go for something like turbo yeast to reach a higher abv than what I can get from beer yeast, which could help if you have a relatively small still. Even grain selection doesn't really come through as much as you might think so I wouldn't splash for expensive marris otter. SAB malt should be fine to start with. Could even add some simple sugar to boost abv. We did some with wheat but didn't try rye.

A large part of the whole whiskey thing is not so much the yeast and grain selection but rather the use of back-set from previous distillation in next, knowing how to do your cuts (which is an experience thing), knowing how to oak or age it appropriately and having the required patience. And yes, you certainly can over-oak a spirit. Most of this comes with experience and doing it often enough. It is a bit of an art that you can't really learn in a text book because every setup is a bit different and I'm not sure what volume of a kettle is really required to make all of this a feasible/enjoyable hobby. Still hope to do more of it some day though. When I do, I'll probably go for a reflux still and first hone my skills on doing a really clean spirit that doesn't need as much aging time. Something like schnaps or mampoer. Once I'm comfortable with all of that, I'd be more willing to invest the time into making a Whiskey.For the T500 might be worthwhile to look into a waterflow controller that keeps the pressure constant. I have the same challenge

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JIGSAW
17th June 2020, 18:36
@Stefficat Welcome

groenspookasem
17th June 2020, 18:50
Blast from the past, much has changed since last year. I have two 1000l flowbins and recirculate water for both the t500 column and alembic potstill. No worries on wasting water

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Stefficat
18th June 2020, 07:40
@Stefficat Welcome[emoji16][emoji41]

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BeerHolic
13th July 2020, 15:11
Thinking of making Vodka for the wife as she is not really a beer drinker.
Never made spirits before, did a google and have got the basics.
Will most likely construct my own pot still.
How much ingredients will I need for 1 litre of Vodka ?.
Any advise will be apperciated.

Toxxyc
14th July 2020, 08:10
I will say it'll be pretty hard to try and make one litre of vodka on the dot. At 40% ABV you're going to need 500ml of distillate at 80% ABV, or around 6l of wash at 10% ABV. That's not a lot. I'd rather do a full batch, say 20l at 10% ABV, and store the rest. It's effort to make smaller batches, I think.

groenspookasem
14th July 2020, 09:46
Thinking of making Vodka for the wife as she is not really a beer drinker.
Never made spirits before, did a google and have got the basics.
Will most likely construct my own pot still.
How much ingredients will I need for 1 litre of Vodka ?.
Any advise will be apperciated.

for small batches you could use an airstill. i know you get small stills, but the effort is the same in the end.

Langchop
14th July 2020, 10:07
Yea, the proper distillers seem to even frown upon anything less than 50L. On my first 14L experiment, I could kind of see why. Sampling and measuring in small increments is quite fiddly. I say +1 for starting with a standard beer batch size of 20/23L if you are able

RudiC
14th July 2020, 10:33
I'm also looking at the distilling idea, actually my plan was to start there and work my way to brewing beer. Well, at the time I couldn't find a still soon enough, so I started with beer. Now I'm also finding, I only have my little toe in the door and still need lots of equipment to brew if I wanted to move away from extract or kit n kilo.

My current plan is to go either with a 30L or 50L keg and buy some copper or a keg kit. I also looked at a small 7L still when I started looking and doing research and everyone keeps saying that it is a waste, so now I'm leaning towards the 50L. Now with your statement @Langchop I'm leaning even more towards the 50L keg. So if I made a 10% abv wash and filled it 2/3 to about 34L and get close to 10% return, it should be worth the effort I imagine.

groenspookasem
14th July 2020, 11:04
I find distillation extremely boring compared to brewing beer. I'm not a big fan of hard tack, so that might be it, nonetheless I have whiskeys and bourbons on oak and intend to keep them there for at least a year. My wife likes gin, I make a lot of gin, she gifts a lot too. I'm happy to make gin, happy wife = happy life, plus I have free rein on brew gear !
To be fair, I run the neutral on the t500 ( get about 3l at 93% on a single 20l ferment) then filter it through carbon and run through the alembic copper still with the gin basket in and my signature gin recipe. I'm not sharing this one gents. :-D

I wouldn't mind a boiler / urn (with two elements 3000w and 1500w) that I can fit my reflux and alembic on top, two 20l ferments at once sounds better than one. Still waiting on the quote to build one - do you guys have any contacts in CPT to fabricate to spec?

Toxxyc
14th July 2020, 12:42
Stupid question - how do you filter it through carbon? Just a filter paper full of activated charcoal and then pour the booze over?

groenspookasem
14th July 2020, 13:14
@Toxxyc
ideally something like this
https://www.kegland.com.au/activated-carbon-filter-in-line-gravity-kit.html
but i flanged together a copy of this
https://stillspirits.com/products/ez-filter-system
basin trap with extension fitted on those food grade bucket (lid on the bottom on the bucket so that you can attach it to the target bucket), filled with carbon, drilled a few holes through the bottom cap and lined with coffee filter paper to slow the flow. basin plug allows you to fill the thing first then remove with my pigtail meat flipping tool

keep i mind ethanol over 50% and plastic is bad, i usually dilute down to 20% and run through around about 200g of carbon twice. important to activate / clean the carbon before each filtration with boiling water. every now and then you can dry it in the oven or just replace it, cheap enough.. i want my ethanol as neutral and tasteless as can be before running it through the ginbasket on the alembic. would work well for liquers too.

Toxxyc
14th July 2020, 13:56
Yeah that's what I had in mind as well. Charcoal in a coffee filter, stuck into a pipe of sorts to let it cover the whole lot, and then into a container from where I'll use it. Thanks mate!

PaBz0r
17th August 2020, 08:03
Groen, any tips for starting out with the alembic still? I got one over the weekend, but I am not sure where to start for Gin. Should I buy some cheap vodka tomorrow or should I try make a wash and how neutral will I get it?

Toxxyc
18th August 2020, 08:41
Quick Q - I have some industrial alcohol. There's obvious stuff added to make it taste and smell bad. I distilled some for the hell of it (watered it down to 40%, then stuck it in the still) and the product coming out is almost nice. The question is - is it still acceptable to consume? I don't want to drink stuff that's toxic. The product is apparently 98% Ethanol (for lab purposes) and there's no other alcohols added (because it has to be ethanol), but it has that definitive "hospital" smell on it.

So I ran it through the still and the first drippings that came out has a STRONG hospital smell. The same stuff that makes the ethanol stink/taste bad, so I'm making a very generous cut with that in mind. I'm just asking - is the rest fine to drink if I distill it 2 or 3 times? It smells fine and tastes fine, so I'm just asking how would you know?

EDIT: I have to add, the place I got the alcohol from said it should be safe to drink, so there's that.

groenspookasem
18th August 2020, 09:16
Groen, any tips for starting out with the alembic still? I got one over the weekend, but I am not sure where to start for Gin. Should I buy some cheap vodka tomorrow or should I try make a wash and how neutral will I get it?

I haven't stripped a sugarwash through the alembic, it may push flavor through, try to ferment as clean as possible. I don't do TPWs anymore,but here's my fermentation findings after *many* trials and errors;
- correct ph is important, it drops low fast. now is not a bad time to research things like calcium carbonate/chloride or magnesium sulphate.
- nutrients are important, dap helps a lot. After I've distilled a wash, I'll use the previous yeast cake as nutrient. I boil it for the next wash.
- believe it or not, but using a crushed up multivitamin tablet makes a huge difference in yeast health and healthy fermentation
- I use distallamax sr for sugarwashes and do to 1g per l
- I dont chase high abv fermentations, which helps not stressing the yeast and usually gives a clean result. 4kg cheap brown sugar on 17l water gives me 1.08ish fg and ferments out in a week or so at 33C
- I still uses good sanitation practices, most "moonshiners" don't bother, but I guess it's how you approach a craft that distinguishes final product ? I'm disgusted by the shite on some local groups and then it's praised by the hangers on. Gross.

Strip your wash, then run it through a carbon filter twice after diluted to remove flavor (just keep everything during the stripping run). The water aids the filtering as the crap binds with the water molecules and adheres to the carbon. Yet, I've seen people running their high proof ethanol through carbon. \_(ツ)_/

When ginning, keep your spirit run slow (not sure what still you have but a voltage/amperage regulator works a treat on electric). I discard 150ml at least, I dont care if I throw out heads with the foreshots, I dontt use it and it's filled with aldehydes (furfurol and other stuff) London Dry recipes are simple and there are heaps of them on the www. If you bathe it, then your color will be a bit yellow, but the flavor will be there.

Good luck ! Distilling has a learning curve, but like anything, with lots of research and some trial and error you'll be right. I must admit, I'm getting bored with distilling, I'm not a big fan of hard tack and my spirit runs on the alembic eats a lot of my time

groenspookasem
18th August 2020, 09:34
Quick Q - I have some industrial alcohol. There's obvious stuff added to make it taste and smell bad. I distilled some for the hell of it (watered it down to 40%, then stuck it in the still) and the product coming out is almost nice. The question is - is it still acceptable to consume? I don't want to drink stuff that's toxic. The product is apparently 98% Ethanol (for lab purposes) and there's no other alcohols added (because it has to be ethanol), but it has that definitive "hospital" smell on it.

So I ran it through the still and the first drippings that came out has a STRONG hospital smell. The same stuff that makes the ethanol stink/taste bad, so I'm making a very generous cut with that in mind. I'm just asking - is the rest fine to drink if I distill it 2 or 3 times? It smells fine and tastes fine, so I'm just asking how would you know?

EDIT: I have to add, the place I got the alcohol from said it should be safe to drink, so there's that.

Hmmm, you need to know the ingredients, isopropyl (iirc) can't be distilled out, 98% is high and you have no idea what was added to aid azeotropic distillation, likely cyclohexane which will explain the "hospital smell". My 2c, don't do it.

PaBz0r
18th August 2020, 10:50
Good luck ! Distilling has a learning curve, but like anything, with lots of research and some trial and error you'll be right.

True story, still trying to figure everything out.. like TPW I quickly had a google.. :)

I have the GF alembic, I assumed that is what you also have?

- - - Updated - - -



EDIT: I have to add, the place I got the alcohol from said it should be safe to drink, so there's that.

This is what freaks me out.

JIGSAW
18th August 2020, 10:53
Quick Q - I have some industrial alcohol. There's obvious stuff added to make it taste and smell bad. I distilled some for the hell of it (watered it down to 40%, then stuck it in the still) and the product coming out is almost nice. The question is - is it still acceptable to consume? I don't want to drink stuff that's toxic. The product is apparently 98% Ethanol (for lab purposes) and there's no other alcohols added (because it has to be ethanol), but it has that definitive "hospital" smell on it.

So I ran it through the still and the first drippings that came out has a STRONG hospital smell. The same stuff that makes the ethanol stink/taste bad, so I'm making a very generous cut with that in mind. I'm just asking - is the rest fine to drink if I distill it 2 or 3 times? It smells fine and tastes fine, so I'm just asking how would you know?

EDIT: I have to add, the place I got the alcohol from said it should be safe to drink, so there's that.


\_(ツ)_/

:confused:

Toxxyc
18th August 2020, 11:21
Yeah so while I was running that stuff through the still, I figured "why risk it". I decided against it.


\_(ツ)_/

:confused:


I have a "tongue tip no swallow" thing I do. Helps me to know where to cut methanol during regular runs. The final distillate that was produced from the industrial alcohol smelled and "tongue tip tasted" fine (smooth, slightly sweet, mellow) but I figured "screw it" and dumped it all back. Going to make hand sanitizer with it instead.

Will rather make another regular all grain mash. Got plenty of pale malt anyway, so eh.

groenspookasem
18th August 2020, 11:58
True story, still trying to figure everything out.. like TPW I quickly had a google.. :)

I have the GF alembic, I assumed that is what you also have?


Yep, I have the alembic dome for the GF, you can put the GF into "power" mode by holding the heat button a few seconds, this allows you to control the power output of the element. When stripping - full power is fine, for the spirit run I start the water ( I recirc into a flowbin with a pump ) at around 40c on head temp, then drop power to around 25-30% for the remainder, it goes slow, but the product is excellent. I cut on temp and taste, I posted it somewhere on here I think. I do have a parrot but..meh makes it easy to smear the cuts imho. Just check that the seal on the lyne arm when at temp, it does have a tendency to loosen up a bit, which sucks.

I'd highly recommend you do a rum and whiskey on the alembic - great end result! You can also get the botanical basket and do a proper gin/spirit run. I like doing reiterated mashes for whiskey, rum is stupid easy and doesn't taste like the flavored "rum" you buy, it's waaaaaaay better and ferments easy.

Cleaning tip, I use barkeepers friend (catering outfit in jhb ...north i think, has it, culinary.co.za) and wet the dishsponge with vinegar ( but you can buy bulk citric / tartaric ) from bake shops for cheap. Make a paste, let it sit and lightly scrub with the sponge, no need to use the scrub side. Citric works great too, ensure you dry the lyne arm and dome before storing.

PaBz0r
18th August 2020, 13:02
Thanks for the tips!



I'd highly recommend you do a rum and whiskey on the alembic - great end result! You can also get the botanical basket and do a proper gin/spirit run. I like doing reiterated mashes for whiskey, rum is stupid easy and doesn't taste like the flavored "rum" you buy, it's waaaaaaay better and ferments easy.
.

I got the last basket, as I wanted to make the wife some gin.. so that she can leave my beer alone. Also keen to give the whiskey a try, got some rye and roasted barley with my existing beer malt should be okish. How important is the yeast with Whiskey, or is the turbo type distillers fine?

groenspookasem
18th August 2020, 14:30
Thanks for the tips!



I got the last basket, as I wanted to make the wife some gin.. so that she can leave my beer alone. Also keen to give the whiskey a try, got some rye and roasted barley with my existing beer malt should be okish. How important is the yeast with Whiskey, or is the turbo type distillers fine?

I've used kveik on the whiskey and bourbon and it worked well, both are still aging, other than that distillamax mw does the trick. Steer clear of the turbo stuff - it's overpriced, it's nutirent and yeast in one pack, not difficult to achieve the same result with distillers yeast. I used bakers yeast on sugarwashes with success, but bought some "proper" yeast to try out and it works pretty well actually.

Toxxyc
18th August 2020, 14:44
Yeah I just like to use distillers' yeast for one reason - speed. I've made a sugar wash with regular beer yeast before and it took literally a month to finish. Never again. Distiller's yeast, same OG, 4 days, boom, done.

I'm starting to distill everything I have around me. Old ciders that doesn't taste lekker? STILL. This beer's flavour is a tad off and I want the bottles back? STILL. Some old wines that I'm never going to use for cooking (cooking wine, mind you, not drinking wine)? STILL.

I love it. I dumped some whisky distillate on oak this morning. Watered it down to 45% ABV and dumped in 45 grams of oak in a 750ml jar. Yes, it's a lot, I'll keep an eye on it. I used a few sticks of oak, one charred (lightly charred), two medium toast and two light toast. Want to see what I end up with.

Toxxyc
19th August 2020, 11:17
OK so I'm learning a TON. Following advice from here, I'm doing 1-degree temp cuts on my whiskies and the flavours I'm picking up are incredible. I used to just still until methanol goes, keep that aside and then the rest all the way to 95C is all blended together. It produces a ~45% ABV distillate that tastes well enough and all that. However, now I'm doing cuts. My still starts producing at around 77C and I didn't want to have THAT many bottles, so I kept the first lot up to 90C and did 1C cuts after that. It's amazing how the smell and taste changes from degree to degree. I think I'll be able to make some really nice stuff with this. Already have some distillate on oak, and I can't WAIT to see how it turns out!

EDIT: Oh yes, and I also set my still on fire. I'm using an OLD pressure cooker so the tolerances are, well, let's just say "generous". Sometimes the seal doesn't kick in lekker and you have to twist the handle a bit. So the seal wasn't taking and as the methanol started producing, it dripped out the side onto the stovetop. Right next to the open gas flame. Pretty damn scary. Luckily I'm running my still in a relatively open space.

Toxxyc
21st August 2020, 11:43
Just pitched yeast into another 15l or so of wash. I stuck some whisky on oak and the developing flavours are AMAZING, so I think I might be developing a new addiction. Distillation. Is it odd that I find it slightly more satisfying than making beer?

groenspookasem
21st August 2020, 15:57
Just pitched yeast into another 15l or so of wash. I stuck some whisky on oak and the developing flavours are AMAZING, so I think I might be developing a new addiction. Distillation. Is it odd that I find it slightly more satisfying than making beer?

Yes, you're weird :) The allure faded for me with the amount of time I spend on an alembic spirit run. Beer is a lot more fun ! Keep it on wood for as long as possible, 90 days minimum. Some people add glycerin to their distillate to smooth it out, but the very same people care not for quality. I've tried nuclear aging (yt it) once, it works...kind off, but it's no replacement for aging. Sonic aging is a thing too, I think american barrels does it with their bourbon and it shows, blunt taste to it. Nice bottle though.

Toxxyc
24th August 2020, 09:47
I stuck mine on the oak for a week (sources said a week). I added way more oak than the recommended amounts though (which is why I shortened the time), and the taste is pretty damn awesome. I'm busy fermenting another batch I'll distill sometime this week probably, and with that one I'll do a bit more "bulk" aging. Larger volumes for longer. Most sources said a week or two on the oak. Strange you say 90 days. What's the oak to spirit ratio you use? I used probably like 50g of oak in a mason jar (750ml) of spirit. Beautiful colour and great taste. I used a mixture of light, medium and dark toast White Oak sticks. I got some raw oak offcuts that I split into "shards" with a small axe and used those.

groenspookasem
24th August 2020, 10:26
The longer it ages the better the taste, at 1 week on wood I wont even sample it. These sources, are they the same guys that add coke to the distillate as it runs out of the still at 78%?
It's a lot of time and effort to make a decent whisky, there should be no rush, it should mature and derive complexity from the wood aging process. If you think of any good aged whisky, do you think that was on wood for a week and just called a 16y or 24y old or made 16/24 years ago and left in the barrel before bottling?

3 months is a bare minimum for me to take a sample. I'm leaving my product on wood for at least 12 months, perhaps longer I'm in no rush. You can test this theory easily, pull some of your product on 1 week, leave some on the wood for another 3 weeks - taste the difference, continue this until you find a sweet spot.

Oak to spirit ratio, considering a barrel is made of wood, I'll leave that for you to decide :-) In my view, it's a personal taste thing, how much char, which oak - american or french is a bit style specific, but not much, dark oak,med oak, light oak - combinations of all of them? Aging will extract and smooth facets of flavors to your end product. Experiment, it's fun !

If you are rushed, stick so sugarwashes, add oros or whatever essences you can buy, chuck in some glycerin and forego wooding. It's how many local "distillers" produce "whisky", but we both know that their goal isn't quality, as a discerning whisky drinker yourself you know what to do

Toxxyc
24th August 2020, 12:59
Oh for sure, I know mine isn't "decent" yet, I'm trying to put out something to dump with coke (for now). I've got a wash fermenting as we speak now and I'm actually treating even the wash better for this upcoming batch. I made a low gravity wash, kept the yeast temps low and hope to get better flavours this way. I'll probably distill the wash three times this time around and age it on a bit less oak, but for a lot longer. I don't mind sticking it in the cupboard for 3 months or more just to get better quality.

I'll be perfectly clear again - I'm really just doing this now to get something drinkable on the short run. I also want to make an oaked spirit "for now" to turn into a spiced dark rum for myself, so that's what I'm busy doing now. I guess best would be to do a proper rum wash but I've got pale malt and it tastes amazing (much nicer than the sugar wash spirit I've made before), so I guess it's OK?

PS: I love light, sweet whiskies, so that's what I'm going to aim for with this next batch. Light toast (french oak this time), with a little bit of char just for colour and smoothness, for a longer time. I need to buy more (big) glass bottles, by the way. I'm running out of everything.

groenspookasem
24th August 2020, 13:13
Righto, we're talking rum :-) you can churn these out fast, but aging helps. Silver rum is aged iirc, but not very long and can be made fast. If you use backset on your spirit run then you're already pushing flavors. To get some product fast, a clean sugarwash, filtered a few times and stilled again will create a base for liqueurs or even a gin if you use the bath method. I have a decandent spiced rum method somewhere, will take a look, but work quite well.

Toxxyc
24th August 2020, 13:27
Yeah I'm looking to copy something like The Kraken. Most recipes in that line looks like it requires a quickly oaked distillate that doesn't have to come from a sugarwash as you add molasses to it anyway (flavour), so that's what I'm trying to do right now. I bought some of those "syrups" you add to a neutral spirit to flavour it like whisky or rum and the whisky one sucked (tasted like caramel and vanilla essense), but the rum one was pretty damn good. Tasted just like Spiced Gold when mixed with coke, but missed that specific foamy head that I want, so I'm making one from scratch now.

groenspookasem
24th August 2020, 14:55
I do recommend that you ferment and distill molasses, either treacle 1 ( more fermentables) or treacle 3 ( less fermentables, more flavor) or a combination of the two, if you do a blackstrap or feed molasses, do add some brown sugar to bump your og. You wont regret it.
I've never added molasses to my end product, where are you getting these "tips"? If you want a nice rum to compare against, don papa is pretty good also mount gay. Most commercial rums are well, not for me. If I do drink hard tack, it's always neat, doesn't matter what it is

RudiC
24th August 2020, 15:05
I've made a few rum washes with molasses as well as molasses and brown sugar. Love it. Just started playing around and also looking to make some nice rums.

This weekend I took some distillate, probably about 100ml about 65-70% abv and put about 20g french oak medium in a jar. Heat it up to about 50 deg and shake it a bit, let it cool a bit and repeated. When I open the jar the smell was seriously intense. Took a few ml and added that to another mix I was playing with. Let's just say it's an interesting smell, smells like it's been on oak for years hahaha, maybe not to a true expert, but to me

Like you Toxic, I also firstly need something to go with coke. My plan is to get a nice rum recipe and stick to that, then fill a 10L or so vat or 2 and see how that ages.

Been reading a bit about methods of producing rums, very interesting history indeed. Would love to get a nice white rum, spiced and dark one like Captain Morgan.

RudiC
24th August 2020, 15:07
The molasses I used was treacle 3, will try the treacle 1 as well as blackstrap to see what differences it gives, maybe even mix them up too.

Toxxyc
24th August 2020, 15:20
I do recommend that you ferment and distill molasses, either treacle 1 ( more fermentables) or treacle 3 ( less fermentables, more flavor) or a combination of the two, if you do a blackstrap or feed molasses, do add some brown sugar to bump your og. You wont regret it.
I've never added molasses to my end product, where are you getting these "tips"? If you want a nice rum to compare against, don papa is pretty good also mount gay. Most commercial rums are well, not for me. If I do drink hard tack, it's always neat, doesn't matter what it is
Random Googling. Several of them said to add molasses with the spices to boost flavour and colour. I guess I'll just leave it from mine :P

groenspookasem
25th August 2020, 09:59
My 2c again, if you're making rum - stick to simple methods, save 20% or 30% of the backset or stillage (stuff left over in the still after stripping) add this with water when diluting your product for the spirit run. The result may surprise you, the white rum with backset vs the white rum sans backset is a world apart in flavor.

I save the rest of the stripping runs backset/stillage for the next gen fermentation. Add your treacle,molasses or brown sugar combinations to the hot runoff, top up volume if needed and no chill cube it until your ready to pitch your yeast. Free nutrients right there, but a rum wash ferments clean and fast anyway.

^^ tips is a result of heaps of trial and errors and research. Free for you :-)

You're free to run your still how you like and trial and error things, if you naked taste treacle 3, then pop a small amount in neutral, it should give you an idea. You'll certainly get a faux aged look, maybe give it a go. I could be completely wrong and tend to rely on my own mistakes and research to guide me

Toxxyc
25th August 2020, 11:29
That makes sense. Thanks for those! I've got some yeast nutrients I'm probably not going to use, so I think just getting some molasses and making a proper rum wash is a good idea. I took some neutral whisky (unaged) that I stuck on oak and put it on spices this morning before work. I added allspice berries, cinnamon, anise, vanilla extract (the good kind), a few cloves and a piece of charred oak to the wash. The smell from that jar right now is simply amazing. You get a hint of cinnamon, before the subtle anise and allspice comes to the front. The colour is starting to move from the golden colour it was all the way to a rich amber. I'm going to leave it there for 2 days or so and then give it a smell/taste to see where it's at. Then I'm filtering it and bottling it. I LOVE this, it's amazing. I'm busy stripping a whisky now that I'll age for a good while on Light + toast virgin American Oak.

Toxxyc
27th August 2020, 10:46
Alright master mate here, what's the easiest way to get a high-gravity mash? I think I'm way too stuck in my beer ways and I keep diluting it down to beer levels with sparge water. What's a good recipe for about 12 litres or so of a good, high-gravity whisky wash? I keep making washes and when I test it at the end I get around 5% ABV in like 15 litres of wash, meaning I have to run it through the still 3 to 4 times (got a small still) for a tiny return (like 2 litres of useable distillate). I want to make a bit more in one go so I can age it for longer.

As a PS: Double or triple distilling is awesome. Product ends up WAY more smooth and a metric crapton stronger. I do methanol cuts on all three - the first one by volume, and the second and third ones by tounge-tip-taste. Usually by the third it's like half a shotglass I have to discard, which is nice.

groenspookasem
27th August 2020, 13:37
I usually do reiterated mashes with about 8kg of malts for a whiskey in the GF. It has limitations to volume and efficiency when doing large mashes, so split 'em and mash again in your wort
- 1st mash half the bill and sparge as normal OR mash half the bill and , sparge half the vol
check volume before 2nd mash adjust with sparging more if needed
- 2nd mash the rest of the bill and sparge 30% of initial vol OR sparge whatever you need to bring the preboil volume back

I usually get around 1.085 - 1.092 for a 23l batch, I have a dark lord I still need to make with multiple reiterated mashes, iirc around ~17kg of grain for 1.175, but that's for a double ris, not a whiskey mash ;-)
If you're mashing adjuncts, rye is b*tch and should be left for the 2nd mash, but wheat and barley works as per normal. Corn goes into my now defunct sparge water heater / urn. Mashing corn is a right pita, but this should help:
Gelatinization temperatures: I'd suggest a cereal mash for cracked corn
maize 70-75
sorghum 70-75
rice 68-75
wheat 52-54
barley 61-62
potato 56-69

Mulitple distillations; technically it's not getting stronger as you're not adding ethanol, you're removing impurities so it does get purer ;-) You can only work with whats in the mash/wash/still, think of distillation as "compressing the volume of ethanol in your product". Azeotropic distillation can only do so much to ethanol before other 'adjuncts' are needed to punt the proof. I lol when I see 'boets' post their 96% or 98% ethanol with a stock still. They've probably tasted too much or have inaccurate equipment or don't know how to read it the alcometer and adjust for temperature...or a combination of all of the above.

Toxxyc
27th August 2020, 15:01
Oh yes, I hear what you're saying about the "getting stronger". What I mean is on my stripping run I basically just let 'er rip. I turn up the heat and let the still run pretty hot, just to get a clear distillate out of the still. I don't do cuts (except for methanol) and the resulting stuff is usually around 40% ABV or so, depending on how fast I run. I found faster = less ABV, more water.

So I take that entire solution and distill it again, undiluted, just as it is. The second time around though I distill it VERY slowly. I push the temps in the still very hard until my thermometer (at the top of the column) hits 50C and then I turn down the heat to the minimum the stove can go and let it sit there for a good 2 hours or so. The still then produces slowly, but I notice three things this way:

1. The column temp is WAY lower during production.
2. The distillate that drips out is WAY stronger, and stronger for longer (as temps rise).
3. The distillate that drips out is easier to keep cold.

So I then make cuts on temps as needed, but with the last one I kept all in one container up to 95C. It all still tasted really good, and had a proper alcohol kick still in it. I ended up with a good amount of distillate at 72% ABV that I then watered down to 60% ABV, and I just stuck it on (store bought) Medium toast American Oak. The oak's only sat in there for a few hours and it's already colouring the distillate beautifully, so I think I might be a bit low on my oak toasting.

That brings me to a question - how do you toast your oak?

Onto the high-gravity wash, that sounds great. I'll try something like that. Maybe a super thick mash with a tiny bit of a sparge and a shitload of squeezing the bag in between. Wait - am I supposed to use the bag at all? I mean it's not like you care for a bit or piece in there, right?

groenspookasem
27th August 2020, 16:50
Righto, I follow. Still efficiency could be a problem, do work out power/time and running cost

The T500 reflux produces around 92% on a single run, always full power on it. I get about 70% from the alembic on a single run, but that's very low and slow. I guess I could punt it a bit harder to shorten the time running it, but the product is good. Here a parrot could help you, it'll show when proof drops and water/steam is introduced in your spirit. Never run it so hard that you can see your jar steaming up
I do recirc cooling water in the flowbin for the duration of my runs, so no water is wasted.

Toast, check google - charring is great too, the flavor extraction from charred oak is great. Effectively caramelized wood.

I'd still use the bag, clean ferment = clean end product. I have however stripped the flavor from a stillspirit essence mix once with success before on the reflux still no doubt.

Toxxyc
28th August 2020, 07:19
Yeah I have a small 5l bucket that I fitted the coil to. The bucket is filled with water and a frozen 2l water bottle is placed in there, and rotated with other bottles as time goes along. I use around 3l of water per still run, so that's pretty nice as well. I keep my dripping tube ice cold (cold to the touch), not just cool or "slightly warm". With the stripping run sometimes it hits "cool", but for the rest it's literally ice cold. That's how I like it.

Regarding the power/time/running cost I don't really care. I'm more focused on getting nice a nice spirit I can enjoy in the end, without paying R1k for a bottle like some bland whiskies cost. Regarding rums - I've also decided I'm going to do a proper sugar/molasses wash this week. I'm going to see if I can find some raw molasses today at the local feed store.

Considering the oak toast... So I took my distillate from yesterday, watered it down to 60% ABV and chucked it in a big-ass jar, and dumped in some American Oak - Medium Toast. This one here: https://brewmart.co.za/shop/index.php?route=product/product&path=20_74&product_id=156 I bought it a while ago while struggling to get proper oak and finally decided to crack the pack (it's cheaper now), and dumped in a piece I just chopped up small. The whisky is now taking on a rich amber colour. I took a tiny bit out with a shotglass right now and the colour is a bit light, but definitely going toward the red side. Wait lemme take a pic... Here we go. The picture doesn't show the real "redness" of it though, but it is a little bit exaggerated because it's a biggish jar. Still pretty red:

https://i.imgur.com/o3H9n3h.jpg

Is this normal? I've made a few whiskies before and the colour was vastly different. I've always used my own oak and seeing how quickly the colour leeched out of these staves I'm thinking my oak wasn't toasted NEARLY high enough. I've stuck a bunch of oak fingers in the oven just now, and will go with a higher temp this time to see if I can get more colour and flavour.

Oh yes, another thing. I tasted the above jar just now as well. It's getting a superb flavour. It made me realize my 1-week-whisky is shit, so I'm going to be adding it to this big bottle (got some headspace) after adding the new toasted oak to get a bit more, and then store it for a while. Want to see what I can get out of it. The 1-week-whisky is definitely not up to scratch.

As a PS: Doing a 1-week-whisky and then spicing it with cinnamon, cloves, allspice, anise, vanilla and another properly charred oak finger turns it into a fantastic pseudo-spiced-whisky-rum thing. I think I slightly overdid the cinnamon (half a teaspoon into 750ml), but MAN it's good. Super, super good!

Toxxyc
31st August 2020, 11:14
Oi, me again. I have a problem. Anyway.

The whisky above has been...altered. The oak I added wasn't enough (for my tastes) so I added some toasted french oak and also a bunch of charred french oak to it last week. At first I thought "it doesn't do much", but oh my, yesterday I gave it a whiff. The oak's coming in now and it's really starting to smell like a proper whisky. I can't wait to see how this turns out, but I promised myself at least 3 months, so for an interim fix I bought some cheap-ass molasses (animal feed molasses, R30 for 2l) and started a rum wash:

1.3kg animal feed molasses (tastes amazing)
1.3kg brown sugar
10l of boiling water

I used an old brew drum I bottled out of yesterday for a friend, poured the sugar into there and poured the 10l of boiling water straight onto the yeast cake and sugar mix. Idea was to kill the yeasties to provide nutrients for the new yeast I'll pitch probably tomorrow. I then poured in 1.3kg of the molasses. Shook up the drum to dissolve everything and it's cooling as we speak.

Interestingly, the smell reminds me A LOT of a kit-and-kilo can, when you just open it. That's where that smell came from - it smells like that concentrated wort.

Anyway, I have no idea what the OG of this will be, but calculators tell me it should be around 1.085. I wanted to go a tad higher, but eh, don't want to stress the yeast. The smell is awesome and the colour is a nice dark, almost-almost black liquid. Will test the OG tomorrow before pitching the yeast just so I have an idea of what I'm working toward.

Planning on keeping it at 30C for the fermentation time, and then I'll distill it probably twice, same as my whiskies. I find a fantastic combination of flavours and ABV when I do it this way. Stripping run is done, methanol is dumped off and the rest is all kept and distilled again slowly for a nice high-ABV distillate. I can't wait!

groenspookasem
31st August 2020, 12:37
Sounds good to me, I have some distilamax sr and rm yeast, higher temperatures works well for ester production. You actually want those in a rum, but don't fret too much about it now. I've made rum with bakers yeast and it was good.

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Toxxyc
31st August 2020, 13:11
I've got some distiller's yeast, yes, and it's actually for whisky but I guess it'll work for rum as well. I'll source some proper rum yeast in the future. I know whisky yeast and sucrose aren't the best buddies, so eh.

Toxxyc
1st September 2020, 10:26
It seems like black/dark rum is sometimes spiked with molasses post-distillation to give it colour and flavour. Think I'mma try it with a tiny bit with this batch...

groenspookasem
1st September 2020, 10:56
Do it, you only have things to gain, I do enjoy the white/silver/aged/spiced rums without the molasses addition. Perhaps that why my rum tastes vastly different from the store bought stuff (which I don't like at all). I've only been distilling for about a year now, so I'm pretty new at the whole thing. The cool thing with distilling is that your mistakes never goes down the drain, you re-distill it :-)

RudiC
1st September 2020, 11:38
Hehehe I love this discussion on rum. Something I really love drinking, like beer.

Toxxyc I made a french oak medium roast extract or concentrate. Took some of my rum distillate (probably 100ml) put it in a jar (prob 1L) and added about 20 or 30g of the oak. Put the jar on the stove in a pot with water, took the water up to about 50 degrees. Then shaked it around a bit, let it cool an bit, and repeat the process about three times. Took about an hour or so. Then when I opened it up, the smell of oak was seriously intense. I've put a few ml's in a mix and it had a very nice smell and taste. It's still soaking and the liquid is almost black now lol.

I've also made a rum with some backset and other essences and for me it's a very nice rum. Then made another with the french oak concentrate which was also very interesting. Getting very close to something I prefer to may old time favourite Captain Morgan dark rum.

Been trying to fill my bottles, so up to now I haven't done a second run and just do one run low and slow. Will do the double distil soon.

Toxxyc
1st September 2020, 12:20
The cool thing with distilling is that your mistakes never goes down the drain, you re-distill it :-)
This. So much this.

One question - how many times do you distill something you "hate"? I made a cranberry and rooibos cider a year or so ago and it was horrible. I aged it and it was still horrible. So I distilled it. Now I have this sharp rooibos-scented alcohol. Not a lot (was a small batch), but I hate it, but I don't want to toss it...


Hehehe I love this discussion on rum. Something I really love drinking, like beer.

Toxxyc I made a french oak medium roast extract or concentrate. Took some of my rum distillate (probably 100ml) put it in a jar (prob 1L) and added about 20 or 30g of the oak. Put the jar on the stove in a pot with water, took the water up to about 50 degrees. Then shaked it around a bit, let it cool an bit, and repeat the process about three times. Took about an hour or so. Then when I opened it up, the smell of oak was seriously intense. I've put a few ml's in a mix and it had a very nice smell and taste. It's still soaking and the liquid is almost black now lol.

I've also made a rum with some backset and other essences and for me it's a very nice rum. Then made another with the french oak concentrate which was also very interesting. Getting very close to something I prefer to may old time favourite Captain Morgan dark rum.

Been trying to fill my bottles, so up to now I haven't done a second run and just do one run low and slow. Will do the double distil soon.

See I want my rum to have oak, but not THAT much. To me, rum should be sweet, rich and dark. I made a VERY beautiful spiced "rum" the other day from some whisky distillate I had lying around and it came out REALLY nice. A tad heavy on the cinnamon, but REALLY nice nonetheless. And it took the minimum amount of spices. I oaked it for a week, and then added 3 allspice berries, 2 cloves, a dash of vanilla extract (not essense, the proper stuff), half a teaspoon of anise and half a teaspoon of cinnamon, all in 750ml. At first I thought the anise might be too much and the cinnamon not enough, but it was the other way around. It's a bit cinnamonny. I'll half the cinnamon next time around.

Onto my whisky - I just keep adding oak to it. I dunno why. I added a little bit and it got nice. Then I added some more toasted oak, and it got nicer. Then I added charred oak on groen's recommendation, and it lifted quite a bit. Today I took a smell and I LOVE what the charred oak is doing, so I added even more. I kept on smelling/tasting between additions, and the oakiness is really coming along now. It's FAR from overpowering, which brings me to my next question:

How do you guys toast your oak? I've seen a HUGE difference in my own oak and the store bought oak I've used as well. Store bought works amazing. Mine, well, doesn't.

StevenD (Slainthe)
1st September 2020, 12:43
One question - how many times do you distill something you "hate"? I made a cranberry and rooibos cider a year or so ago and it was horrible. I aged it and it was still horrible. So I distilled it. Now I have this sharp rooibos-scented alcohol. Not a lot (was a small batch), but I hate it, but I don't want to toss it...


I've just done exactly the same thing on my first alcohol run. A cider I made for the wife from plain old shop-bought LiquiFruit juice had turned (left too long in the bottle), so I figured "whut thuh hell" and ran it through a stripping run. Lots of flavour, but very similar to the cider off-taste. I will flavour it with a bit of vanilla or something just to make it a bit more palatable.

On a 5L run, I got about 100ml heads, 200ml hearts and 100ml tails. Does that sound about right to those of you with more experience in distilling volumes?

Dewald Posthumus
1st September 2020, 13:12
Distilling sounds like a lot of effort for little reward, when I make 50 liters of beer, I get 50 litres of beer! :cheers:

jannieverjaar
1st September 2020, 13:44
Distilling sounds like a lot of effort for little reward, when I make 50 liters of beer, I get 50 litres of beer! :cheers:This.

I'll just drink the beer. Why distill it and then dilute with water/ice/coke whatever.
I do appreciate a nice pot still brandy every now and then but I dont think I'll be able to produce something close to my favorite "die mas" that does not require dilution

JIGSAW
1st September 2020, 14:13
True :lol:

...............

groenspookasem
1st September 2020, 14:36
lots of effort, small reward for sure. Take Limoncello as an example, it's a delicious Italian liqueur and runs at about R325 for 500ml. On a 20l sugarwash I get about 2 to 2.5l of distilate at 92%/93% run through the reflux column, if I only make limoncello from it and dilute to 28%. I'll sit with 8.3l of the stuff. So that means 8l of limoncello would drop at around R5k if I had to buy it.
I really dont drink a lot of hard tack, but a liqueur is a neat aperitif/digestif, which brings me to the next bit - I can't find certain liqueurs I like in this country, so I'm making it instead. I love Cynar, I can get fresh artichokes...easy. The reflux column does run heaps faster than the alembic copper dome, it also strips all the flavor and it way more efficient doing so, both time and end result. I've redistilled one thing so far it was neutral mixed with still spirit essences, vile stuff.

If I do a whiskey mash with 8kg of grains and running a reiterated mash, I'll likely end up with 1.5l hearts diluted to 43% Heads and tails go into the next run to boost ethanol compression on the reflux and so the cycle runs. If I make gin I get up around 4.5l of hearts at 39%, but that combines both stills and starts of with a super clean neutral.

I do enjoy brewing beer waaaaaaaay more than distillation....much less effort, but also more involved and exciting. I also don't dilute my hard tack, am I the only person that hates coke or diluted *anything*?

Toxxyc
2nd September 2020, 07:52
Depends on how you view it. I LOVE drinking a whisky/rum and coke. I've also found it's cheaper (MUCH) cheaper to make my own than to buy store bought stuff. The other day I worked out with a sugar wash I can make rum at something ridiculous like R30 or R40 per bottle. And then it's a really nice rum.

Whisky even more savings. I'm busy oaking a whisky (heavily oaking it) to see if I can mimic one of the cheaper whiskies on the market these days (Auchentoshan American Oak), but the difference is it'll cost me about 1/5th of the price to make. And I'm getting there. This whisky is young still, but the developing flavours is getting there.

I'm LOVING this. Also think this will make wicked presents. Just need to get some labels printed up.

groenspookasem
2nd September 2020, 09:54
I don't really distill for the savings, it's for quality and the reward of doing something well yourself which is greater than saving a buck or two. Learning a craft, researching it to the nth degree and then some more, implementing theory into practice, realizing mistakes and correcting it - this is what I find alluring the end result is just a sipper in a years time or making the missus happy with a gin or two. If you haven't noticed any gin is a lot cheaper than the accompanying fever tree.

I've always had the notion that quality wins over quantity. I can buy many cheap spirits for the price I'd pay for a single perceived 'good' spirit, but my aim is to savor it. I do enjoy some average bourbon now and then like bulleit or knob creek, my last bourbon is still aging and I'm looking forward to try it, proofed it at 92 or 46%, should be about 6 months now.

my setup isn't the best but it works, I could have probably found something bigger/cheaper/better, but I'm familiar and content with it. Tiny batches to my liking on my time. I have a bunch of spirit in various stages of completion, I just couldn't be arsed to finalize it, I do think I'm drifting away from distilling it's boring af.

PaBz0r
2nd September 2020, 10:09
I do appreciate a nice pot still brandy every now and then but I dont think I'll be able to produce something close to my favorite "die mas" that does not require dilution

First thing I did was order a case of Die Mas when the first ban was lifted, missed it too much.. damn fine brannas.

It is on my list to try distill one in the next couple of weeks, but yes.. won't come close to it.

Have you tried "Drie Berge"? Also not bad and well priced

Toxxyc
2nd September 2020, 10:49
@groen that's why I want to make more "quick" spirits, like rums. Whisky takes time, and I think if I put down 20 litres of so and let it age for however long, I'm going to kick myself. That's why rum is the one I want to try and perfect for now. It's quick, easy and cheap. Same as gin, I suppose, but we're not gin people. So rum it is, for now.

And yes, I'm definitely not in it for the money, but the financial side does make a lot of sense (for me).

jannieverjaar
2nd September 2020, 11:07
Never heard or drie berge before
I'll have to get some and try

jannieverjaar
2nd September 2020, 11:09
Have you tried the mystic boer. Potstil? It's a collab with valiant swart. It's not bad bat Die mas spoiled me

PaBz0r
2nd September 2020, 11:21
Have you tried the mystic boer. Potstil? It's a collab with valiant swart. It's not bad bat Die mas spoiled me

I haven't, will also look into it!

RudiC
3rd September 2020, 08:43
We're on the same journey with rum. The wife and I love rum, so we are doing plenty of experiments to find a few nice ones. My next experiment will include feed molasses (Voermol) which is about 1/3 of the price of the Treacle 3 I got last time.

RudiC
3rd September 2020, 08:49
I don't really distill for the savings, it's for quality and the reward of doing something well yourself which is greater than saving a buck or two. Learning a craft, researching it to the nth degree and then some more, implementing theory into practice, realizing mistakes and correcting it - this is what I find alluring

This is what I love about this craft, love making things and learning the finer details. But unlike you, I enjoy the end product a bit more.

These days I would start my afternoons with a home brewed beer, then I switch and have a few rums. Lovely way to unwind :D :cheers:

Toxxyc
8th September 2020, 15:08
So I made a sugar wash with molasses for the first time over this past week. I used 50/50 molasses (animal feed molasses, R30 for 2l) and brown sugar (bought a bulk bag) for an OG of 1.080. I added some distiller's yeast and it tapped out after 3 days at 30C. Pressure in the can dropped drastically, so I did a "taste test" after this time and it was still pretty sweet. So I added a tablespoon of bicarb. Made a HUGE fizz and then fermented again for another day. After that the sweet taste was gone, I did a gravity check and found it at 1.007.

This I ran through the still today. Got a nice yield, and the flavour is AMAZING. I ran it all the way up to 96C in my still (pretty much where I can stop tasting alcohol in the distillate), and then distilled it again. I got quite a nice amount of white rum. Will be spicing and flavouring it tomorrow. Just need to find a big enough container to put it all in... Got maybe around 2l of white rum, but I have no idea at what ABV. I'll test it tomorrow.

Oh yes, and I can see why people say you have to use molasses. The flavour is just different. It's sweeter, rounder and fuller than just a plain sugar wash. Think I'm going to start using more and more molasses. It's pretty cheap here at the feed store anyway/

Treeman
8th September 2020, 23:39
I also don't dilute my hard tack, am I the only person that hates coke or diluted *anything*?
**************
I too can not understand the mixing of cool drinks into good alcohol. Neat or on ice, if I add water its to stretch a drink in company.

Treeman
8th September 2020, 23:49
^ You're doing it wrong :p

many a time I find myself "double fisted" ... whisky on the rocks in on hand and a beer in the other :lol:
*******************
pretty much my standard at home not going anywhere drink. I really love drinking a quart of beer with a in between sipper of whiskey on ice - usually with things to eat.
Drinking makes me want to snack - much!

Toxxyc
9th September 2020, 07:11
OK so my rum. I decided to cut the rum with some raw whisky wash I had lying around, not enough to do anything else with. So I ended up with:

1 jar at 78% ABV
1 jar at 70% ABV
2/3 jar at 41% ABV

I have no idea what the actual volume is. I'll have to measure so I can dilute it down to 50%. I'm also going to add my over-cinnamonned rum thing I made last time, which is already at 50% ABV.

Flavour of the raw spirit is GREAT. I can't wait to blend this up.

EDIT: OK mixing up the lot I got 2l of spirit at 66% ABV. I'll be adding 640ml of water to dilute it down to 50% ABV. With the addition of the other mix I have, I'll end up with around 3.4l of spirit. I already added the oak fingers to the jar (I used a big-ass jar this time) to give it some oak for now, and I'll blend in the spices probably tomorrow or later today. The flavour is GREAT.

Toxxyc
14th September 2020, 07:51
And me again. I've been tasting the rum as time went along and decided to pull it off the spices this morning. I think I might have overdone it a bit with the aniseed, but the allspice seems to have caught up a bit and it's hiding it nicely. I added allspice, cinnamon, aniseed, vanilla extract, oak, brown sugar and molasses, for a very dark brown, very sweet rum. It has a really dark brown (still not black) colour, with a strong, spicey kick. It's still missing that "dark rum" essence I like though, and I don't know how to get that in. It tastes great, very liquorice-forward (which I love), but I'm not sure I'll do that much aniseed again. It seems to be a bit of an acquired taste among some. It's at 50% ABV (maybe bit below with the added stuff, around 49% ABV, and packs a kickass punch. It's lovely. Can't wait to try it as a mixer with coke.

The whisky is still sitting. I think having something else to put my focus on really helps this. I HATE waiting for something and that's why I started distilling a bunch of alcohol so I can play around while the whisky sits. It's starting to develop a really rich oaky flavour and sweetness that I love. Colour is SPOT on for a whisky, and I'm actually supremely impressed with myself that I managed to get that dark a colour with nothing but different toasts and chars of oak.

groenspookasem
14th September 2020, 09:26
i live by the, "you can always add but cant remove" mantra, especially spices. Here's my tried and tested spiced rum recipe - wood aged rum works best, i also do try to steer clear of 'baking' essences.
3 allspice berries
3 cloves
1 cardamom pod
1 segment of star anise
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
4 2.5cm strip of orange peel (no white pith)
1/2 vanilla bean
let it sit for 3 days max on 50 abv, strain through coffee filter. dilute down to 43 or not.

i sampled my bourbon this weekend past, still a bit young at 6 months but coming along nicely

26352635

JIGSAW
14th September 2020, 09:45
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2633

i give up with this hit/miss pic posting, you can see it on mobile/tapatalk, i'm not arsed to fix it

Yeah, cant see it at all my side ....

groenspookasem
14th September 2020, 14:57
fixed it, should be visible now - i cant however see the "inline" code, so its doubled up

Toxxyc
14th September 2020, 17:52
That bourbon looks fantastic. Much nicer than mine...

On a related note - my rum looked quite green, literally, in the glass until I looked at it today. It had this unappealing green tinge to it I couldn't figure out, but today I filtered the spices out of the rum and it's a VERY nice, dark amber colour. Sure, I hoped for black, but this is really nice. I'll take a pic tomorrow. It's a very anise-forward rum and I love it. It's GREAT in a Coke. Even if it's just a mixer for me, getting 4 bottles of this stuff was worth it (I got 4 and a bit spare from my batch).

I'll also check on my whisky tomorrow again. I like leaving it alone for a bit now, since I opened to let it breathe daily for almost 2 weeks. Flavour and smell has really improved during this time. I also pulled most of the oak I placed in there. I was starting to get a slight tinge of astringency (which I DON'T want) from the tons of oak in there, and I started getting that dry oaky hit on the tip of my tongue that I dislike in cheaper whiskies (looking at you, Auchentoshan American Oak). Left only some American in there, as the flavours seem to stem from my lighter toast French I stuck in there. It's mellowed out a bit since I pulled the oak so I'm happy about that. Sweetness is starting to build now, and I'm REALLY happy with how it's coming along. Will take a pic tomorrow as well!

Treeman
14th September 2020, 19:37
Every time I saw GF on this thread I read "Girl Friend" took a few post to figure out that the distillers were were NOT besotted types.

PaBz0r
14th September 2020, 20:22
I made a tpw over the weekend for the sacrifice run, did follow the recipe for practice and seeing what it is all about. Seems to be fermenting nicely.

groenspookasem
14th September 2020, 20:31
No need for a sacrificial run, clean with citric and tartaric mix or run vinegar

Sent from my SM-N970F using Tapatalk

Toxxyc
15th September 2020, 07:37
I just distill a little bit of vinegar through the still slooooowly, while cooling the column and lyne arm. I then just rinse it with a good run of plain tap water to get rid of the vinegar flavour. I don't do it often though.

EDIT: Oh yes, and a pic of my whisky as it is currently. It's starting to get richly oaky, but not overly so. It's still pretty hot, and it's VERY evident that it is very young (it's like 2 weeks or something now, so yeah). I think I'll just let it scoot into the pantry for a few months from here on out:

https://i.imgur.com/7LsVwn2.jpg

PaBz0r
15th September 2020, 08:11
No need for a sacrificial run, clean with citric and tartaric mix or run vinegar

Going to do a vinegar run first then was thinking to do the tpw to clear everything out. Just for practice.. will do cuts as well.


I just distill a little bit of vinegar through the still slooooowly, while cooling the column and lyne arm. I then just rinse it with a good run of plain tap water to get rid of the vinegar flavour. I don't do it often though.

Yes I heard that some people only do this annually or so. I am thinking the TPW should clear out the vinegar smell? Or should I also do some water?

groenspookasem
15th September 2020, 09:03
I clean my alembic after each run, I dump some oxalic acid / bar keepers friend on a pink dish sponge, then wet it with acetic acid (vinegar) a quick scrub and she's gleaming. Use some saran wrap to close the little thermometer hole, squeeze foam from the sponge into the lyne arm, top it up with vinegar and let it sit for a few hours. Remember to dry off the alembic dome well. I use the missus's hairdryer to blow out the water from the lyne arm. The T500 column is easy too, take out the saddles, the copper ones go into a citric/acetic bath (bottle) for a few hours. The s/s saddles goes into a colander in the dishwasher. Invert the column and top it up with citric acid mix, leave for a few hours, refill as needed and plug the holes. Done. You can buy some citric acid from a bake shop for next to nothing, mix with water - voila.

Sacrificial runs came from "cleaning" diy builds from solder etc.

You can cut on your first run, but you're going to mix it anyway for the second run. On the alembic, I put the GF into power mode on 100% and drop it down to 30% at around 45c head temp, gives it some time to equalize. I'm at the coast, so I boil faster than upcountry, I'd wager about +2c variance is needed in joburg and surrounds. Anyway, ethanol boils at 78.7c, but with azeotropic distillation your results will vary, methanol has a lower boiling temperature and the reason it comes off first.
I can't comment on running a tpw through the alembic and what the results will be, I'll assume that you have a rum like spirit or whatever is made with sugar...cane maybe? Activated charcoal filtering does remove aldehydes and unwanteds from diluted spirits, it could also strip away some flavor, wanted or not. Jack Daniels does this with their "bourbon" and sell it as "Gentlemen Jack", how bad is it that a single filtration improves your product?

I run the reflux column on 100% from start to stop, but ensure that I don't exceed 55c on the outlet temp.

Unrelated note, the limoncello is coming along nicely and I made some cream liqueurs for the missus - she's happy as. Speaking of which, I'm looking into essential oil distillation, possibly do a gin botanical extraction from my own recipe and see how that works in a neutral. From research, it seems like a hit and miss though, you're removing the botanicals from the gin run and doing a separate distillation entirely. <- It's more from an interest point of view than a necessity \_(ツ)_/

Toxxyc
15th September 2020, 09:13
Groen, what's your experience been with multiple distillations? I've done a two and three times distilled spirit and I'm VERY impressed with the result after each distillation. I want to do a fourth as well on a future batch, it's just a tad hard because the workable alcohol gets less and less each run (obviously). However, my triple distilled all-grain distillate was superbly smooth. When I do it this way I do a stripping run and don't make any cuts except methanol.

Second is the same - I just water down the distillate a bit to give it some volume in the still and then run it again (with another methanol cut, but a much smaller and slower cut the second time). The third run is watered down again, and another cut is made, but VERY carefully with smell/taste playing the important role here. I usually get away with only a few ml on the small batch that's kept aside as methanol.

I also run the third one super slow, from the start, resulting in a very clean (clear and high ABV) alcohol in the end. I want to do the same again, but with a fourth one at the end. I keep being impressed with how much methanol you can keep getting out with each distillation, and how much smoother the spirit ends up. I haven't seen a big decline in the good flavours between a 2 and 3-run distillation, so I want to see how a fourth will affect it.

groenspookasem
15th September 2020, 09:59
Groen, what's your experience been with multiple distillations? I've done a two and three times distilled spirit and I'm VERY impressed with the result after each distillation. I want to do a fourth as well on a future batch, it's just a tad hard because the workable alcohol gets less and less each run (obviously). However, my triple distilled all-grain distillate was superbly smooth. When I do it this way I do a stripping run and don't make any cuts except methanol.

Second is the same - I just water down the distillate a bit to give it some volume in the still and then run it again (with another methanol cut, but a much smaller and slower cut the second time). The third run is watered down again, and another cut is made, but VERY carefully with smell/taste playing the important role here. I usually get away with only a few ml on the small batch that's kept aside as methanol.

I also run the third one super slow, from the start, resulting in a very clean (clear and high ABV) alcohol in the end. I want to do the same again, but with a fourth one at the end. I keep being impressed with how much methanol you can keep getting out with each distillation, and how much smoother the spirit ends up. I haven't seen a big decline in the good flavours between a 2 and 3-run distillation, so I want to see how a fourth will affect it.

In short, depends on what you're making and how you're making it. How focused you are during the runs plays a role, but generally two stilling runs and some filtering...or not. If I do rum/whisky/bourbon on the alembic only, double distillation and zero filtration is enough for me. I stop at about 40% abv and generally pull a 80%-85% spirit. The second run is done dreadfully slow, usually about an 8 hour affair. All cuts incl methanol/foreshots are made on the second run. This is where all your senses/research comes into play, including temperature or parrot readings (although I've never used the parrot), smell, taste and cuts. At the coast I found it a bit challenging, as the boil rate quickly exceeds the efficiency of the cooling in the lyne , I'm slowly increasing the heating and gauging the result, no quick fixes unfortunately.

If I make a neutral, a strip with the reflux (already pretty clean at this point) double filtration run and a second run through the reflux results in a tasteless neutral at 92%-93%. Excellent for liqueurs. When doing gin, strip through the reflux, double filtration run and the final run through the alembic with the botanical basket in place, dreadfully slow again. Clean neutral and a pronounced gin. I recently swopped juniper berry brands only and the result was astoundingly different. Not bad, just different.

Technically each activated carbon filtration run could be seen as a "distillation" as you're removing impurities, but not compressing ethanol.

A lot of drivel here, but if I'm going to make something worth the effort I'm putting into it, it has to reflect that effort and not be for naught, I have done triple and more runs through the still, but there's a point where the fractional increase in quality is not worth the effort or perceived quality increase, not mentioning my time and electricity consumption.

You could actually get away with two filtration runs, the difference between run once vs none is vast, difference between once and twice run is large, but the difference between twice and thrice run is small. I just leave the third filtration run to complete overnight, so zero effort and small gain is fine.

You do need to weigh up all these factors though, what's it all worth?

I forgot to add, I only use the hearts when doing whisky/rum/bourbon, it's in the sweet spot and no worries with additional furfurol/aldehydes. Heads and tails go into a collection jar for a reflux strip at some point.
I'd blend some when making gin, as I started off with super clean neutral.

Toxxyc
15th September 2020, 10:31
See, that's where I differ. I've made a few whisky washes to date, but on all of them I found my favourite being a mix of everything combined. I don't like just the hearts, I include quite a bit of the tails as well. It contains malt flavour I'm very fond of.

Regarding the cuts, I also do it strictly on smell and taste. Temperature is useless to me when making cuts, and I only use temperature to gauge how fast my wash temp is rising, and when to stop (when the top of my column hits 96% ABV). I usually cut my spirit as described before - one lot at around 80% ABV, another at around 60% ABV and then the last lot up to 96C. When I have to work out my ABV before oaking and whatnot, I mix these first, before adding water. It gives me more end product.

Also, I don't do any filtration. I've tried it before but found the result uninspiringly boring. I think I'll try it again sometime, now that my palate has adjusted a bit to spirits as well. It's not impossible that I just could not smell or taste the difference back then yet, but there's more to look for now that I know.

groenspookasem
15th September 2020, 11:06
I use backset for whisky,rum,bourbon on the second run, works well enough to punt the flavor. The content of the the heads and tails is the reason I discard it. I'm not worried about volume and prefer to grab ethanol at the peak of purity. Head/tails or blends is a guaranteed headache inducer for me, there's a lot more taste in tails, but also some other things...Looks like I was spot on with the 2c temp variance between the coast and upcountry. I stop at 94C.

Temperature is a good indicator, but you dont have to use it. I like making decisions using all of the available data, blend some science into art, but I'm biased when it comes to my methods ;-) Do keep in mind that wood aging hearts also imparts flavor over time. Good becomes best but mediocre can only become good.

I filter neutrals only, I dont really need to as the reflux produces a clean end product, but the difference in taste (or lack thereof) is big enough that I swear by it. High proof ethanol with no taste is odd, but I prefer a blank canvas when making other things. Do note that super clean neutrals are ready for immediate usage.

Toxxyc
15th September 2020, 12:50
OK so see, that I didn't know. I know about the unwanted crap in the heads/foreshots or whatever they're called, so I keep them aside (I don't know what I'm planning to do with it, but anyway). I didn't know there's crap in the tails as well. What sort of stuff is in there? I'm not someone who gets hungover easily, but I don't want to make other people sick with my stuff.

I found quite a bit of alcohol still in my wash when I hit 94C in the column. Maybe it's a thermometer thing or something, still design, I dunno. At 94C though what drips out of the cooler is still pretty damn strong. Like 35% ABV strong. I've tested it before. It only starts dropping off once I hit around 95C, which is why I go all the way to 96C.

jakeslouw
15th September 2020, 14:00
If I use the T500, I constantly have to sit and tune that bloody water supply for the cooling jacket, you can't walk away.

Update on this: sorted out my process now I don't need to baby-sit.

jakeslouw
15th September 2020, 14:02
Went through the thread and I really need to ask why you guys : apart from the foreshots, why discard anything?

Commercial distillers certainly don't. Nor do I.

groenspookasem
15th September 2020, 14:03
Update on this: sorted out my process now I don't need to baby-sit.

you can't just drop a bomb like that and not expand, I clipped a clothes peg to the damn needle valve, works better, but still babysitting the thing.

- - - Updated - - -


Went through the thread and I really need to ask why you guys : apart from the foreshots, why discard anything?

Commercial distillers certainly don't. Nor do I.

discard = reuse in another run in my books

Toxxyc
15th September 2020, 14:29
Ah, so reuse, that's cool. I can get with that. Think I'll try the same in the future. I found my tails being a tiny bit cloudy, and tasting a little bit "dusty", if that makes sense. So if I can just redistill them in a next batch - why not. Think I should start a nice whisky wash again this week. Sommer tomorrow. Got like 50kgs of malt around here anyway.

jakeslouw
15th September 2020, 14:54
you can't just drop a bomb like that and not expand, I clipped a clothes peg to the damn needle valve, works better, but still babysitting the thing.

Aha. I use the GF2 controller. I set the initial temp to 80degC and let it get there on it own. I then manually step by 2 degrees until the foreshots start at around 84 degrees if I recall. Once the foreshots are done (the trickle stops), I then step another 2 degrees at a time until the heads start. Then 2 degrees every time the dribble stops, and each step set gets put into its own container. When I'm at around 94 degrees, I'm usually pretty much into the tails (I do taste and measure ABV each step set though) and that goes straight into my tailings drum.


discard = reuse in another run in my books

Indeed. The tails often go into the next fermented wash to boost the ABV slightly.

groenspookasem
15th September 2020, 15:33
Aha. I use the GF2 controller. I set the initial temp to 80degC and let it get there on it own. I then manually step by 2 degrees until the foreshots start at around 84 degrees if I recall. Once the foreshots are done (the trickle stops), I then step another 2 degrees at a time until the heads start. Then 2 degrees every time the dribble stops, and each step set gets put into its own container. When I'm at around 94 degrees, I'm usually pretty much into the tails (I do taste and measure ABV each step set though) and that goes straight into my tailings drum.



Indeed. The tails often go into the next fermented wash to boost the ABV slightly.

I'm going to give that a twirl, I've been running in "power mode" on the bluetooth/connect controller, but it does make sense to step it on pot temp to equalize to head temp whilst in full reflux. I'm assuming that your water flow is adjusted to take it out of full reflux after you've reached the end of each step? Do you keep outlet temp at it at around 55c?

groenspookasem
15th September 2020, 15:45
OK so see, that I didn't know. I know about the unwanted crap in the heads/foreshots or whatever they're called, so I keep them aside (I don't know what I'm planning to do with it, but anyway). I didn't know there's crap in the tails as well. What sort of stuff is in there? I'm not someone who gets hungover easily, but I don't want to make other people sick with my stuff.

I found quite a bit of alcohol still in my wash when I hit 94C in the column. Maybe it's a thermometer thing or something, still design, I dunno. At 94C though what drips out of the cooler is still pretty damn strong. Like 35% ABV strong. I've tested it before. It only starts dropping off once I hit around 95C, which is why I go all the way to 96C.

It's a rabbit hole, enlightening though ! I'll look for the papers and my research of the fractional components in each stage of distillation. From memory, lots of unwanted acids and esters of which aldehydes and ketones form larger fractions proportionate to heads and late stage hearts. Furfural was one I remember, carcinogenic in nature (as is everything these days) The biggest elephant in the room is that with *any* commercial/craft distillation is the inability to completely remove these harmful things. It's just impossible. You'll find trace amounts of methanol at each stage on each run and varying amounts of fractions in each stage, but foreshots/heads and tails is the worst.

I'm of the idea to only take the cleanest (hearts) from alembic runs and filter to death all neutral. It does go without saying that fruit distillation carries higher quantities of harmful compounds, but dont quote my patchy memory

I wanted to add; you could extract everything that put in, but the cost of gas/electricity or time is your decider. I'm usually gatvol after hearts and run the tails a lot hotter/faster and to hell with the rest

Toxxyc
16th September 2020, 06:52
Heh I'm the same. During the peak production I run pretty slow but as time goes along I tend to bump the temp a tiny bit just to get all the way to 96 in my column :D

jakeslouw
16th September 2020, 10:29
I'm going to give that a twirl, I've been running in "power mode" on the bluetooth/connect controller, but it does make sense to step it on pot temp to equalize to head temp whilst in full reflux. I'm assuming that your water flow is adjusted to take it out of full reflux after you've reached the end of each step? Do you keep outlet temp at it at around 55c?

I get a decent flow on the water supply (using the needle valve on the little inline pump but I could use the standalone needle valve), let's say around a 50% flow through the column (you can see the flow on the transparent outflow pipe), and then I mostly ignore the outlet temp, because I realised the nature of reflux means the temp will go up & down all the time depending on the amount of distillate vapour in the column. If the outflow temp climbs too high (80 deg) then I tweak the flow, but NEVER lower than around 66 degrees.

JIGSAW
16th September 2020, 14:16
I see THIS (https://www.beerlab.co.za/products/pot-still-malt-simpsons) is new at BeerLab


Simpsons' number one selling distilling malt.

The main ingredient in Single malt Whiskey production.
2 – Row Spring, high yielding and what most Scotch/Japanese Pot Still Distillers use.





Min
Max


Moisture %

4.5


Extract lt/kg (7Dry)
315



Colour EBC
2
4


Total Nitrogen %

1.40


Total Soluble Nitrogen %
0.45
0.6


Soluble Nitrogen Ratio
35
39


Friability %
92



Homogeniety %
98



Glucan in Wort (ppm)

120


NDMA (ppb)
0.3



Fermentability % (un-boiled)
87



Predicted Spirit Yield "as is basis" lt/tonne
410



Predicted Spirit Yield "dry basis" lt/tonne
430

groenspookasem
16th September 2020, 15:40
I get a decent flow on the water supply (using the needle valve on the little inline pump but I could use the standalone needle valve), let's say around a 50% flow through the column (you can see the flow on the transparent outflow pipe), and then I mostly ignore the outlet temp, because I realised the nature of reflux means the temp will go up & down all the time depending on the amount of distillate vapour in the column. If the outflow temp climbs too high (80 deg) then I tweak the flow, but NEVER lower than around 66 degrees.

i found the element does not keep the heat constant enough and you have small peaks and troughs which accounts for the variance of vapor in the column. i should actually hookup that voltage controller i have. i never go over 55c on outlet though, i've seen oN tHe InTeRnEt blokes keep stable at 63c, 66c is too high for me, but that could be a coast thing. the product is hot with a 'wash' taste to it at higher temps. i use the flowbin and a choked submersible pump behind the needle valve. still a pita though, but keen to try your 'step' method.

Toxxyc
17th September 2020, 07:08
Outlet - you mean your dripping distillate is never higher than 55C? Because I keep mine ice cold. Literally. If I feel the dripping tube and it's not cold (like fridge water) to the touch, I either swap out the ice bottles or turn down the heat, or both.

groenspookasem
17th September 2020, 09:14
Not quite, the reflux is a bit different than the pot. On the t500 reflux you're measuring your water outlet temp, not vapor/head temp. I keep mine constant at 55c , the older t500s had an extra temp guage. It's a love hate relationship, it's fairly quick and very efficient but the cooling is a bit iffy.

Toxxyc
17th September 2020, 09:28
Ah, I see, so you measure your water outlet temp as well. I guess that's not applicable to someone who runs a coil cooler in an ice bucket :D

jakeslouw
17th September 2020, 09:52
Ah, I see, so you measure your water outlet temp as well. I guess that's not applicable to someone who runs a coil cooler in an ice bucket :D

oh God no, we're not cave men Wynand :p

Toxxyc
17th September 2020, 10:42
I think there's a certain appeal to doing things "caveman style". Think of a braai. MEAT. ON FIRE. EAT MEAT OFF FIRE. Hmmmm...

jakeslouw
17th September 2020, 15:01
I think there's a certain appeal to doing things "caveman style". Think of a braai. MEAT. ON FIRE. EAT MEAT OFF FIRE. Hmmmm...

TURN MEAT WITH FINGERS, LICK FINGERS, REPEAT :thumbsdown:

Toxxyc
17th September 2020, 16:05
Then your fire isn't hot enough. To get a lekker Maillard reaction you need a HOT fire. Sizzling fat. Can't turn that shit with fingers.

jakeslouw
17th September 2020, 16:30
Then your fire isn't hot enough. To get a lekker Maillard reaction you need a HOT fire. Sizzling fat. Can't turn that shit with fingers.

after enough dop anything is possible :cheers:

Toxxyc
7th October 2020, 10:10
Great. Found this thread again. Going to be posting a bit more, I hope. This bug has bitten and I really need to get a bigger still!

groenspookasem
7th October 2020, 11:43
Great. Found this thread again. Going to be posting a bit more, I hope. This bug has bitten and I really need to get a bigger still!

i'm on the opposite side, i'm bored with distillation and am tapering down my efforts. it doesn't help that i dont drink a lot of the stuff either. i still have bourbon i bought in jan, and it's not the good stuff just a plain old makers mark sipper. i have been fortunate to have been gifted quite a few whiskys over the years and have a cupboard full of the stuff.

i'm keen to try the limoncello im busy with, it has about 2 weeks to go before the simple sugar syrup is added and diluted down to 28%. but the fire is flickering....

Toxxyc
7th October 2020, 12:18
I think that's the big difference. I was heavily into whiskies before I started brewing beer, so this is like a renewed love for me. Being able to make the thing I've been loving for so long is fantastic.

Anyway, my next big thing (beside the whiskies, obviously) will be a distilled honey drink. I'm not sure how I'm going to get there purely because of the price of honey, but I guess we'll see someday. Hopefully sooner rather than later. I plan on making a distillate and then backsweetening it with honey, similar to the Jack Daniels Tenessee Honey. Maybe that's a good place to start - an all-grain distillate, placed on charred oak to sweeten out, proofed down to around 40%, maybe a bit less, and then sweetened with honey. I want it to be a relatively sweet "on the rocks" sipper.

Rocket-Boy
7th October 2020, 16:52
i'm on the opposite side, i'm bored with distillation and am tapering down my efforts. it doesn't help that i dont drink a lot of the stuff either. i still have bourbon i bought in jan, and it's not the good stuff just a plain old makers mark sipper. i have been fortunate to have been gifted quite a few whiskys over the years and have a cupboard full of the stuff.

i'm keen to try the limoncello im busy with, it has about 2 weeks to go before the simple sugar syrup is added and diluted down to 28%. but the fire is flickering....

Oooh limoncello is great stuff.
I have been making it for years but using a bit of a cheat.
I just use normal vodka as a base for it and dont dilute it down at all.

Toxxyc
9th October 2020, 06:19
OK I'm going to continue here. @Groenspookasem I like the idea of a reflux column on my still. As I have it, it's pretty easy to make a still that can do both, so that's what I'm planning with my next still build. I want to encapsulate a part of the column in a larger diameter pipe (just like the condenser) and then I can choose to run water through it or not. With water, it's a reflux. Without water, it's a pot still. Seems legit?

groenspookasem
9th October 2020, 06:56
You could also pack the column with copper wool, not sure what it's called. The trick is to have control over the amount of water you're pushing.

I liked the plate stills, but the little t500 is ample for me. Again, you can get them on the cheap if you import.

Sent from my SM-N970F using Tapatalk

Toxxyc
9th October 2020, 08:57
Yeah I need to get a proper still, and soon. The pressure cooker works (it actually works really well) but it's so small that I have to run it 4 times just to complete a stripping run of a single 20l batch. I'm just quite platsak though so spending a few thousand on a still won't attract kind looks from anyone right now. That's why I want to build my own, and I'm still not over the idea of just converting my urn into a still. I just need to find a way to seal the lid down onto the rim. Then at least I can do 2~3 times the volume I do now, I have temp control, there's no gas and I can move it around on it's own (and it's double-use equipment).

groenspookasem
9th October 2020, 09:49
Yeah I need to get a proper still, and soon. The pressure cooker works (it actually works really well) but it's so small that I have to run it 4 times just to complete a stripping run of a single 20l batch. I'm just quite platsak though so spending a few thousand on a still won't attract kind looks from anyone right now. That's why I want to build my own, and I'm still not over the idea of just converting my urn into a still. I just need to find a way to seal the lid down onto the rim. Then at least I can do 2~3 times the volume I do now, I have temp control, there's no gas and I can move it around on it's own (and it's double-use equipment).


the gf is just a fancy urn, the t500 and alembic clips on (rubber insert on the lid) with four clips welded on the side. shouldn't be too difficult to mimic. the okes at brewcraft used to stock the t500 boiler, but they cant run an online store anymore so lost my support

Toxxyc
9th October 2020, 10:06
Yeah I used silicone sealant (supposed to be able to hold the heat) and made a thick silicone "seal" on the edge of the lid where it makes contact with the lower part of the urn. I've been thinking of using those "canopy clips" to pull it down, but to fasten it...? I'm guessing poprivets, which should work, I'll just have to seal up the holes properly when fitting the hook parts. I was thinking 4 of them spaced around the lid would work well.

The knob/handle on the lid screws off just fine and I have the column and everything that can just screw into there. I just need a 15mm hole, and that should be simple with the Dremel. It's a SS lid and the whole urn works perfectly. Will do well for slow runs because it can hold temp quite well (it was opened a few years ago and insulated between the two double walls - the outside doesn't heat up even with boiling water in it).

It's not a huge urn, I think it holds 18l comfortably (and about 20 to the rim) but I'm sure I'll be able to add 10 or 12l of wash to it. It's really just the initial "puke" that annoys me. The wash foams up as it heats up and then pushed into the column, getting a lot of crap out of the condenser and that annoys me.

groenspookasem
9th October 2020, 10:15
Yeah I used silicone sealant (supposed to be able to hold the heat) and made a thick silicone "seal" on the edge of the lid where it makes contact with the lower part of the urn. I've been thinking of using those "canopy clips" to pull it down, but to fasten it...? I'm guessing poprivets, which should work, I'll just have to seal up the holes properly when fitting the hook parts. I was thinking 4 of them spaced around the lid would work well.

The knob/handle on the lid screws off just fine and I have the column and everything that can just screw into there. I just need a 15mm hole, and that should be simple with the Dremel. It's a SS lid and the whole urn works perfectly. Will do well for slow runs because it can hold temp quite well (it was opened a few years ago and insulated between the two double walls - the outside doesn't heat up even with boiling water in it).

It's not a huge urn, I think it holds 18l comfortably (and about 20 to the rim) but I'm sure I'll be able to add 10 or 12l of wash to it. It's really just the initial "puke" that annoys me. The wash foams up as it heats up and then pushed into the column, getting a lot of crap out of the condenser and that annoys me.

i bought 2l of boil conditioner from distilique - but a few drops of evoo does the same

PaBz0r
9th October 2020, 11:10
brewcraft used to stock the t500 boiler

The boiler is in stock again, went there a few weeks back.

Toxxyc
9th October 2020, 14:32
i bought 2l of boil conditioner from distilique - but a few drops of evoo does the same
EVOO - as in extra virgin olive oil? I guess it's the same principle as adding oil to the water when boiling anything then? Huh.

jakeslouw
9th October 2020, 14:34
i bought 2l of boil conditioner from distilique - but a few drops of evoo does the same

yep, just reduces foaming

Toxxyc
9th October 2020, 16:08
Great. Will try it next time. I have some left over here that I rarely use.

groenspookasem
9th October 2020, 16:28
The boiler is in stock again, went there a few weeks back.

i want one to get one, but i'm not going to phone around get emails, do transfers where a simple online transaction could sort all of that out. they've cut off the rest of the country, i'm just reciprocating.

Toxxyc
10th October 2020, 17:13
Alright, done the reiterated mash thing, got an efficiency of 75% (mash and sparge efficiency, not doing boil) with an OG of 1.085. Lots of work, but it works like a charm. I'll definitely do this again in the future. Hopefully this wash will hit around 10% ABV. More than double what I've been distilling to date. Double the yield, all grain, can't wait! Maybe I'll actually be able to fill up the 8l jug and age in there...

groenspookasem
10th October 2020, 17:36
Sounds good! Yea, reiterated mashes is a right pita.

I ran the second wash today, late start and still going. Doing my famous mothers ruin tomorrow, nearly 5l of neutral at 93%. I'm ensuring a large window until I have to do this again...

Planning a delicious pilsner for next weekend
2701

Sent from my SM-N970F using Tapatalk

Toxxyc
12th October 2020, 08:08
Reiterated mash is a PITA, but I'll definitely do it again. I'm fermenting this one sommer with S-04 ale yeast, because I have it around, so eh. It's bubbling nicely. I'll probably do a strip on my corn wash tomorrow. IT ended up being something like 10% corn in terms of sugars (I got TERRIBLE efficiency for some reason), but the smell is still out of this world. It soured a bit (natural fermentation, it seems) before I added the yeast, which smelled amazing and that smell just stuck and kept at it. I'll keep it aside post distillation and see how it turns out. If it's nicely flavoured I'll probably blend it with the rest of the grain washes I have around now. Can't wait!

I'll do who whiskies this time. Large batch for time, and a small one I can age quickly again, like the past one. I'll just turn down the lighter oaks and stick to getting as much sweetness in there as possible, because I want to play with it a bit in backsweetening with honey (think JD Tennessee Honey).

groenspookasem
12th October 2020, 09:24
weekends like the past one is a great example why i'm sick and tired of distilling, stripped a wash on saturday on the t500 - took it apart and cleaned it, started another wash. combined it with a previous strip and filtered it twice. ran a low and slow through the alembic resulting in a sterling gin. cleaned out all the kit and called it a day. doesn't sound terrible right? sunday alone was over a 10h run and here's the rub. it takes time to create an exceptional end product, i can easily sacrifice the quality and save time, but my pedantic ass wont have it. i'm actually considering bathing the next one and adding pink food coloring to hide the urine yellow you get from bathing. the t500 is quick and efficient for neutrals, the alembic is slow, not so efficient, but the product is top notch.

i dont really drink gin either, i make it for the missus. so after all this work i decided i'll try one and guage/award my effort with a g&t, missus pours me a single, proceeds to add pink (?!?) tonic and slice in strawberries. couldn't even taste the gin. dumped it all in her glass and poured myself an english ale. fts.

making beer is better, faster, more enjoyable, dead easy and in the long run better for your health than distillates.

Toxxyc
12th October 2020, 10:34
LOL. I guess there's the difference. I don't mind running my still the whole day to get through the stripping. And then another half a day to do the cuts. And then repeat because it's a small still and it's stupid to age 2l at a time. I like it.

And yes, I enjoy a beer or two while I'm busy doing all that :D

Toxxyc
12th October 2020, 11:12
Different topic - Beerguevara is getting stock of peated malt at the end of the month, or the start of November. They'll stock it on the retail side, but I've got an in at the bulk side, and I'm contemplating a 25kg bulk bag. Would anyone be interested in splitting a bag with me, maybe 3 ways or so? I don't need 25kgs of peated malt. I don't even need 10kgs of peated malt, but maybe 7 or 8kgs can come in handy to make a nicely peated malt whisky to someone else as well? Otherwise I can just buy smaller amounts, but that drives up the cost per kg.

RudiC
13th October 2020, 06:42
Different topic - Beerguevara is getting stock of peated malt at the end of the month, or the start of November. They'll stock it on the retail side, but I've got an in at the bulk side, and I'm contemplating a 25kg bulk bag. Would anyone be interested in splitting a bag with me, maybe 3 ways or so? I don't need 25kgs of peated malt. I don't even need 10kgs of peated malt, but maybe 7 or 8kgs can come in handy to make a nicely peated malt whisky to someone else as well? Otherwise I can just buy smaller amounts, but that drives up the cost per kg.I was thinking of making a single malt whisky, this might be an option.

Please send me info, maybe I can take 1/2 or 1/3 for a batch or two if not too expensive. I still have to order my urn as well, but I'm not done procrastinating yet[emoji2958]

Toxxyc
13th October 2020, 07:00
Yeah I want to get pricing on a bag, because it's usually a few bucks per kg cheaper, and they seem to be the only ones I know of who's getting stock soon. I'll keep you updated on the price. If it's too expensive though, I'm just going to order a few kilos loose and blend it with pale malt to at least get some smoke in there. I can't afford malt running into the thousands for a few litres of whisky that may or may not be nice.

RudiC
13th October 2020, 07:16
I hear you, also feel like that. Whisky isn't something I drink, would just be nice to try and see how it comes out.

If you only order a few kilos, let me know. Maybe we can split the shipping costs and I'll be able to make an ok single malt. Will have to get my urn for this probably

PaBz0r
13th October 2020, 08:49
Maybe we should have a whiskey making day.. week.. month.

Toxxyc
13th October 2020, 08:55
Yeah you're in PTA and while I LOVE BG, their shipping is a bit expensive. I'll let you know.

On the "OK single malt", it's not hard to make one with just plain pale malt either. It's just not going to be a peated whisky, but I want to specifically try a whisky made with 100% peat malt to see how it turns out. Too strong and I'll blend it back with other single malt new make spirit I have around to mask the smoke a bit. I love a good peat, but it must not be overwhelming.

Toxxyc
13th October 2020, 08:57
Maybe we should have a whiskey making day.. week.. month.
Actually a great idea. We can all make a whisky of our choice and then age it, bottle samples and send it around for tastings.

groenspookasem
13th October 2020, 09:00
bg's bulk cost is pretty much 1:1 to their small volume. but im, still working through my lockdown stash. i usually get around 8kg of peated malt for a lip pursing ag whisky but i mix that with 8kg of 2 row. 50/50 x4 mashes for a decent amount of end product for your mashing efforts. <- I dont share my whisky, have at the gin and other stuff - the whisky is mine.

it's a ton of effort though.

PaBz0r
13th October 2020, 10:11
Yeah I want to get pricing on a bag, because it's usually a few bucks per kg cheaper, and they seem to be the only ones I know of who's getting stock soon. I'll keep you updated on the price. If it's too expensive though, I'm just going to order a few kilos loose and blend it with pale malt to at least get some smoke in there. I can't afford malt running into the thousands for a few litres of whisky that may or may not be nice.

https://brewmart.co.za/shop/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=466

Seems they have in stock

Toxxyc
13th October 2020, 11:25
https://brewmart.co.za/shop/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=466

Seems they have in stock
Thanks, must be new. Their site was off for weeks again and I just actually stopped looking there. Might be cheapest option to do here, since I can just pop over and collect. I think a 10kg bit should be sufficient for now, no?

EDIT: I see on their site their Peated malt is in the 15-25ppm phenolic range. That's actually a bit low. I was hoping for a lot more, since my favourite peaty drams are in the range of Damn, I see even the Chataeu one that BG stocks is between 5 and 10ppm. I guess I'll just have to use more malt, and make better cuts. Eish. Ardbeg's malt they use is peated to around 55ppm IIRC.

I wonder on those ppm numbers, how much will end up in the final product?

EDIT2: Brewmart apparently only has 3.5kg in stock. Yay.

PaBz0r
13th October 2020, 11:59
EDIT2: Brewmart apparently only has 3.5kg in stock. Yay.

That sucks

Toxxyc
13th October 2020, 13:07
Yeah I'm in two minds about it. Pop over and buy all their stock, or "screw it" and just wait for the other to come in stock. Or ask them when they'll get more. I guess that's also an option.

PS: It's odd to me that BeerPlus doesn't have any stock of peated malts, for some reason. Smoked I think I found there before, but not peated.

Toxxyc
13th October 2020, 14:52
OK nevermind. Beerguevara is getting stock of the exact malt I want. That's the one I'm going to go with. 35 to 40ppm peat phenols. NOICE.

Toxxyc
15th October 2020, 10:23
Alright. So my corn wash thing is busy distilling. I'd LOVE to hear people's opinions on it who's done it before. I know I was expecting it to be different, but I didn't know what to expect so I'm a bit confused. I expected a bourbon-type note, but instead I'm getting corn bread, sweetcorn notes. The grain bill was only around 30% corn (because my efficiency was shit) and the wash started fermenting/souring all on it's own before I could pitch the yeast, but it's still a flavour I'm not familiar with.

I have to be clear it's not bad, it's just different. I want to know if that's about the flavour you can expect from a corn wash?

As a PS: Never making a corn wash again. It's a pain in the arse. From the milling to the cooking and getting the mash done properly, it's just a damn nightmare. Bourbon is cheap enough.

Toxxyc
15th October 2020, 15:35
Corn wash is done. The yield (low wines) is 3l at 38% ABV. That's not too bad. I'll give this a good slow spirit run in the near future. Going to blend it with the single malt low wines I have around here (and plan on making soon) as well. Will probably run the still again on Saturday for the day, to strip another 20l of wash.

On the flavour - it's odd. Since the foreshots and heads are now off (mostly), I collected all the low wines in one container. The flavour is sweet, but it's a different kind of sweet. The single malt low wines has a more "subtle" sweetness, if that makes sense. Like malt sweetness, with more of a malty backbone. The corn wash's low wines is more of a "sharp" sweetness. I'm just going to blend the 3l of corn spirit with the 6l of single malt spirit I should have at the end of this, and then run a quick spirit run, followed by a third slow spirit run, just to make sure it's properly smooth. Probably on Sunday or something. I'm planning on sticking this one on a bit less oak than the previous whisky, but for longer. I'm also going to add more charred oak and less heavily toasted oaks, sticking to the sweet/vanilla flavours across the board. Looking forward to it.

I'll run the caramel wash I have now (probably around 11% ABV) sometime in the future. I've got special plans for that one. Triple distilled, on charred french oak only, for a long time. Plan on sticking 3l of that in the roof for a long time, with just a tiny bit of oak. Roof, because the temp variance is quite high up there. Think it'll help it along nicely.

Toxxyc
20th October 2020, 12:46
OK so I managed to mod my urn by fitting canopy clips to the lid and sides. It's inelegant as hell, looks bulky and clunky but it seems to seal pretty well with the self-made silicone ring I stuck to the inside of the lid. I tried riveting the hooks onto the lid, but that failed because the rivets pushed against the inside of the urn, lifting the lid up and preventing a seal. I then wanted to glue it in place with Pratley Steel, but only after opening the box I noticed the sales guy gave me the Pratley Steel Putty, and not the epoxy I wanted.


So I spent 15 minutes playing with the putty, getting it "workable" and then clunked the hooks on the lid with the putty. It worked.


Until I put too much stress on the one hook 3 hours later (it takes 2 days to cure) and I broke it off.


Queue another 15 minutes of playing with the putty and it seems like (after 48 hours) the hooks are stuck properly. I can clamp them down and they sit.


Now I need to cut the lid to fit my distilling column, and I can give it a test run. Actually can't wait. I'm a bit over running my pressure cooker 4 to 5 times for a single batch just to complete the stripping run.

jakeslouw
20th October 2020, 13:12
To cut the lid you have 2 options:

- a cutting die or dimple die, also called a punch die
- a proper hole saw

Don't scrimp on quality on either. Bosch and DeWalt is best for the hole saw. SS is a SOD and will kill a standard steel hole saw very quickly. You need tungsten carbide or bi-metal.

https://za.rs-online.com/web/p/hole-saws-core-drill-bits/1875318?cm_mmc=ZA-PLA-DS3A-_-google-_-PLA_ZA_EN_Power_Tools_%26_Soldering_%26_Welding_Wh oop-_-(ZA:Whoop!)+Hole+Saws+%26+Core+Drill+Bits-_-1875318&matchtype=&pla-301872104521&gclid=CjwKCAjwlbr8BRA0EiwAnt4MTrT3svrTzWuLiDgvX2Cf j_DK14NCygPqDDTaOwaphvoK-EmmBWRxFxoCDpEQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

Been there and bought the T-shirt.

Toxxyc
20th October 2020, 13:44
Was actually thinking I'll just take the Dremel and work it out. It doesn't need to be big - 15mm for now, just to fit the 15mm compression fitting. Also comes with a seal that works well, so a bit more rough cut is fine.

groenspookasem
20th October 2020, 19:28
Limoncello 28% finally bottled after more than 40 days on the zest. Just popped it in the freezer, that's the natural color. Looking forward to taste this
2723

Sent from my SM-N970F using Tapatalk

Toxxyc
21st October 2020, 07:33
That looks pretty neat. I'd love to see the recipe for this? Seems like a simpler thing to make...

groenspookasem
21st October 2020, 09:50
liqueurs are stupid easy to make if you dont still you can use off the shelf vodka too. i made a super clean neutral, reflux strip then 3x through the filter and used the reflux for the spirit run. i diluted some of this from 93% to get to 2l at 50%. carefully peel or zest lemons, about 13, ensure no pith. add lemon peel/zest to your 2l and leave for 40 days. i forgot about it and left it for about 55. diluted with a simple sugar syrup to 28% then bottled and into the freezer. that's it.

i'm sure if i left it at 93% the extraction from the lemon would have taken a few days only, but i also made galliano and some cream liqueurs from the neutral. i still have about 400ml at 93% left so a little goes a long way

Toxxyc
21st October 2020, 10:17
Yeah 93% is a pretty number. I don't think I've stilled over 80% yet. Then again, I'm not big into neutrals. Got some neutral vodka at home. Maybe I'll try this, but perhaps with a different fruit. Sweeter fruit, like orange or naartjie. Guess it'll be the same thing. Not too big on lemon, so I was more wondering about the process.

groenspookasem
21st October 2020, 10:36
that t500 reflux column is pretty efficient. keep i mind the sugar syrup is thick viscous and sweet af. pretty much 50% sugar 50% water. have you had limoncello before, it's delicious and summer is coming. the missus loves limoncello lemonade on a hot day, it's pretty good.

i'm keen to make a grapefruit version of this for a pampelmuse, but use the juice to dissolve the sugar instead of water for the syrup. but yeah orangecello is a thing and mandarin will work well too. i'm also mad keen to make some cynar, love that stuff and it's not available safrica

Toxxyc
21st October 2020, 11:54
As I said I'm more interested in the process than anything else. I'm actually looking at making a honeyed one, maybe with a tiny dash of cinnamon. I woulnd't mind pairing it with a specific fruit as well, but I'm still in two minds

groenspookasem
21st October 2020, 12:36
i'm into liqueurs right now, it's easy and i'm bored with distilling so there's that.
i have an unopened bottle of glenfiddich malt somewhere, but iirc i wasn't overly impressed with it back then. the jack daniels honey liqueur is a bit sweet for my liking, but cinnamon could help make it more fireball-y. i'll pull some of my bourbon that's aging and make some bourbon liqueur with it, could be nice - could be rubbish