PDA

View Full Version : Whisky washes and ideas



Toxxyc
12th October 2020, 14:34
OK so this is the new section, and I'm loving it. I've been fermenting more for whisky recently than for beer, so I've got a ton of questions. Let's get started with my first one.

One of the things I've been doing was adding some caramel malt to the wash in order to boost a bit of the perceived sweetness in the final product. However, I have no idea how it affects the final product. So now I've got something going. I've got a plain pale malt + corn wash going as well as one with a caramalt addition (Brownswaen's Brown Malt). I've got a plain distillate (low wines) in the jar already. I'm now going to distill the other two as well, and then I want to check what the actual difference is in taste and aroma of the low wines before proceeding to the spirit run.

Let's hear it - what's your experiences been with specialty malts on the distillate? I thought first it'll make little difference, because I mean, it's distilled. Then I tasted the massive difference it made when I distilled a cider with Rooibos in it, and the distillate (after second run) tastes still strongly of Rooibos. I saw the second difference when I distilled two sugar washes - one with molasses and one without. The one with molasses was vastly different and actually pretty tasty straight out the still on the second run.

So I simply can't believe it won't make a difference. There HAS to be an impact, right?

Toxxyc
20th October 2020, 12:48
OK so since the responses here are so overwhelming, I'll be testing this myself this week sometime. I made a caramel-rich wash and will see the difference between that one, a plain corn + malt wash and a distilled batch of beer I forgot about. Will give me three flavours (which I'll probably blend anyway), and show me the differences in using different types of malt in the wash.

Toxxyc
23rd October 2020, 07:35
And my wash got an infection. I figured "distilling, so eh" and didn't really sanitize, and just fermented it in a bucket. Opened it today and found a white blanket on top. Smells a tiny bit like naturally fermenting fruit juice. A bit sour. It's busy distilling as I type this and the smell it still pretty good (quite fruity), so let's see how it turns out.

JIGSAW
23rd October 2020, 08:09
Must have been a really bad bucket ....

There's brewers in Australia that haven't sanitized a day in their life :confused: with zero infections.

You must've got that bad luck of the draw :p

Langchop
23rd October 2020, 08:42
OK so since the responses here are so overwhelming, I'll be testing this myself this week sometime. I made a caramel-rich wash and will see the difference between that one, a plain corn + malt wash and a distilled batch of beer I forgot about. Will give me three flavours (which I'll probably blend anyway), and show me the differences in using different types of malt in the wash.

Yea,... only a handful have valid experience to advise ;)

Langchop
23rd October 2020, 08:46
Must have been a really bad bucket ....

There's brewers in Australia that haven't sanitized a day in their life :confused: with zero infections.

You must've got that bad luck of the draw :p

Why would the risk be any less with fermenting a wash versus fermenting wort? (except later with higher alcohol) For a brewer, I have seen distillers seeming pretty blaze about infections and not worried about it.

Toxxyc
23rd October 2020, 09:04
I fermented in that blue boiling bucket, same one I mashed in. The bucket isn't sealed, it has a tiny breathing spot at the top so I guess that's where the infection crept in. Also, the wash is never boiled, so that also makes a difference I guess.

First run produced a pretty flavourful distillate though. I was really worried about vinegar, but it's really not bad. Quite fruity. Reminds me of the run I did that contained cranberry and apple cider that turned out bad.

Langchop
23rd October 2020, 10:31
Sounds like a win in the end. I ferment all my beers in the blue boilbucket, without disinfecting, and never an infection, so probably its your lack of boil. But an hour at 65 deg should be pretty damn close to a good sanitation..

Toxxyc
23rd October 2020, 11:28
I mashed at 62C, and there was little sanitation in the thing. I also opened the lid a lot to check, took a gravity reading and pitched it straight back into the rest, etc. Something got in there. THICK white fluffy layer all over the top.

groenspookasem
23rd October 2020, 13:05
Boil at least 5min :) remember hops contribute some antibacterial properties to your wort

I thoroughly enjoy a 50% munich and 50% 2 row mash. Its a thing of beauty. Im 100% sure specialty malts will attribute to end product.

Sent from my SM-N970F using Tapatalk

Toxxyc
23rd October 2020, 13:16
Yeah I finished the distillation and the distillate tastes clean, at least, even with some puking. I'll spirit run it later on. Smells and tastes vastly different to the regular wash. Will experiment a bit with other malts, because I'm not getting as much caramel as I'd hoped for. It's more fruity, actually, but that can also be pointed to the infection. And yes, it's definitely been an infection.

JIGSAW
23rd October 2020, 13:26
I fermented in that blue boiling bucket, same one I mashed in. The bucket isn't sealed, it has a tiny breathing spot at the top so I guess that's where the infection crept in. Also, the wash is never boiled, so that also makes a difference I guess.

First run produced a pretty flavourful distillate though. I was really worried about vinegar, but it's really not bad. Quite fruity. Reminds me of the run I did that contained cranberry and apple cider that turned out bad.

If the element is still in this bucket and you didn't do a boil, I will put my c0ck on a block and say that's where the kak started :p

Toxxyc
23rd October 2020, 13:28
Yep, probably. I'm not too phased about it though, because distillation :P

Langchop
21st November 2020, 18:37
I had a nice whiskey wash brew day today. It was very satisfying not having to do any calculations or measurements, and just dumping and squeezing limits and seeing how much of everything I could fit in. At the end of the day it looked like it all worked out pretty well.

I initially milled 7.5kg of pale and filled the boilbucket with about 15l of water. It was getting a bit stiff when mashing in so added another 1.5 l of water and then some more malt. In the end about 6.5kg grain with however much water for about 20L mash.
Did just a 5 minute sanitation boil, and it gave me a very suitable 1.074 in 20L which I also cubed for the first time. Nice not worrying about hops and bittering either.
2799
2800
2801

After doing just an experimental distill previously with a sugar wash, I am looking forward to this one.

JIGSAW
22nd November 2020, 11:19
Nice :thumbsup:

groenspookasem
22nd November 2020, 11:26
Looking good, I decided to strip that sugarwash today instead of brewing.

Sent from my SM-N970F using Tapatalk

Langchop
22nd November 2020, 12:58
So this sounds like a lockdown post... apologies for that, but I cant remember how I did it last time (sugar wash and cider), and some advice would be appreciated...

19.7L wort at SG 1.074 (100% pale malt) and I have Goldstar Instant Yeast for it

Intend running it at 25 deg. I think this worked well for cider. Is this ideal for this too?
One sachet or two? (weird that they dont give instructions on the bread yeast packet, regarding how much to use for brewing!?:lol: )
Do I need to hydrate or not?
Nothing else I need to add is there? (such as nutrients)


TIA


And in other news...
Jeez Louise, I cant believe how much a cube shrinks!. And here I squeezed it so it wouldnt explode from initial handling. I think my 20L has shrunk to 15L. Maybe the angels are taking their share early.

groenspookasem
22nd November 2020, 13:11
pitch kveik if you have it, works well for whiskeys.
sugarwash is pretty much a g/l, no need to hydrate. your ag brew has heaps of nutrients, but it wont hurt. whiskey mash is really just like your beer wort

Langchop
5th December 2020, 13:53
Doing a run today.

Had to fix my SCR on the little single plate stove so that delayed things. Getting very low yield ATM with a max of 60% out the spout. May be cos my block of ice was still mostly water when I started so not condensing as much as last time. I guess that means it's just alcohol lost as it has pumped out and not been collected.

This is just the first half of the wash, so well see how the second goes.

Quite surprised how similar this all grain wash and distill vapour smells versus the previous birdwatchers. I expected to detect as lot more graininess. Especially with the low ABV. Has been tasting pretty nice tho and not harsh at all.

2818

Langchop
6th December 2020, 06:33
Doing the second half stripping run today, hopefully, if the ice block has frozen up properly and not just an exoskeleton like yesterday.

I know it's common practice to add tails from previous runs into a current run (not sure if this applies if previous run was a sugar wash) but nonetheless, does one really want to dump something in there that smells like dogs arse and stinky shoes!? Does it not contaminate your flavours or maybe just give you more tails in the new run?

groenspookasem
6th December 2020, 11:35
i'd usually add both heads and tail to the next run (but keep the mash/wash similar, so whisky heads and tails into a whiskey run) the idea is that each distillation is cleaner than the first, so adding the h&t into a strip means a "2nd" run for it.

my 2c, do run your stripping run through a carbon filter after dilution, a lot of horrible shite is removed.

Langchop
6th December 2020, 23:03
Thanks for that.

Pushed my still to it's capacity limit so wouldn't have had space to add old tails anyway.

I actually bought some activated carbon but since learned that the aquarium AC is nasty shyte that your can't use for alcohol. So I might just need to make safe cuts and/or triple distill to keep it cleaner.

Still had a hell of a time maintaining a steady temp increase with continuous fluctuations of temp at the top of the column despite pretty steady temps at the pot.

Edit: oh, and this happened:
2819
I believe it will be as awful as theory predicts, but I would just like to know what a whiskey beer tastes like

Toxxyc
14th January 2021, 16:03
OK so I've got a few white spirits here at home. One is a bastard "bourbon" wash with a bit of sour corn that went into the ferment, and it was then mixed with an all-grain wash so it's not technically "bourbon", the corn content is too low.

I also have an all-grain one here that's gone through two slooooow spirit runs, pure single malt, and all that.

I have no idea what to do with these two jars. It is 3l per jar, and if I remember correctly they're clocking in at around 75% ABV each. I want to do a whisky with the one, but my patience is a problem and I don't know how it'll turn out. I want a SWEET whisky (maybe with the corn batch), but I'm not sure how to treat my oak to get a sweet finish. I got a pretty sweet finish on a previous whisky I made, but it also turned out REALLY harsh. As in, I don't want to drink the rest, harsh. I'm thinking of adding that to the aging spirit just to do something with it. Or include it in my next spirit run. I dunno.

Anyway, how do I make my oak impart a "sweet" flavour, and less "oak"?

Langchop
15th January 2021, 08:40
2973

150 deg seems to be the sweet spot for sweet. Not sure why this table indicates 3 hours. I did all mine at 3 hours but I since found that 1 hour seems to be the average recommended toasting time.

Maybe increasing the char or including more charred pieces will help with the harshness.

I had a sugarwash tails/ whisky tails redistill put through aquarium activated carbon (yes, a crime), then 195deg / 3h toasted oak, half charred, and it was pretty damn good and smooth after just 2 weeks, much to my surprise.

I would kind of expect the vanilla range would also give a sweet perception?

Toxxyc
15th January 2021, 13:40
Yes I would love the sweet vanilla range. I toasted mine in the oven to hit that spot (even using a probe thermometer because the oven temps are horrible), but I got STRONG oak flavours even after a month on the oak. Still harsh.

I'll run it through aquarium charcoal before I age on it a bit. I did buy a box, might as well use it. Other option is to add the carbon powder I have here (bought for purpose) and then just re-distill both batches together, with some water diluted down to about 30% ABV. Might work best. Then I have triple distilled new age spirit that was put on proper carbon.

I can then do the oaking to taste. It's just so much work. Maybe I should cheat and add the Irish Whisky syrup I have lying around here. That being said I need to make a rum again. Soon. Sommer this weekend.

groenspookasem
18th January 2021, 10:30
yep charring it will sort that out, you do need time too - at the very least a year. nuclear aging works, but at what cost? have to tried a drop of glycerin? cheap trick to smooth out harsh ethanol, does imbue a bit of sweetness

edit: activated carbon - get some from a water / ro shop, it's cheap. dont use the aquarium grade, subpar quality. i tend to filter neutrals only

Toxxyc
15th February 2021, 13:18
OK so I'm going to be working on my whisky a bit this week. I have to distill a 20l wash to get a good quantity of new make I can start aging.

On a related note, a client ordered single malt whisky washes this week and I make him two kits so long. I used a shitload of malt, LOTS of effort but in the end managed to get to a 1.092 OG wash in the can. 75% effieciency. Smell is incredible, and it's super sweet. Cheated a bit and added spraymalt, but it's still in his scope so we're both happy. Can't wait to hear his feedback on it.

groenspookasem
16th February 2021, 10:21
I haven't made a whiskey in ages, I'm stuck on gin and neutral. I guess if I actually drank the stuff frequently I'd make more, but I couldn't be arsed. I still have a bottle of Bulleit from before the first lockdown in 2020 tucked away somewhere.

Toxxyc
22nd February 2021, 13:08
Made a few washes lately. Got around 10 of spirit post stripping that I'm running now. Doing more fine cuts in an effort to not be a stingy bastard, and it's helping. Currently in the hearts and it tastes and smells amazing. Very happy right now.

groenspookasem
22nd February 2021, 15:23
that's the ticket, if you're going to make the effort, make something you're happy with / proud of.

Toxxyc
22nd February 2021, 15:42
Yeah exactly. I used to be stingy and made VERY wide cuts, essentially just cutting foreshots, and then saving everything from there all the way down even into the tails. Result was safe to drink after a few runs, but tasted pretty strongly of too wide cuts.

Now I'm cutting foreshots and then placing a very strict cut between the heads and the hearts, and then a few cuts in between down to tails. I'm not sure what the yield will be, but I can't wait to age it.

EDIT: Oh yes, and a question - in an effort to get more alcohol out, I'm saving everything except the foreshots. Everything except the hearts goes into the next run, where I then separate the hearts out again. That's fine, right? It seems to work right now.

groenspookasem
22nd February 2021, 21:50
EDIT: Oh yes, and a question - in an effort to get more alcohol out, I'm saving everything except the foreshots. Everything except the hearts goes into the next run, where I then separate the hearts out again. That's fine, right? It seems to work right now.

indeed, works a treat and you pump your volume and clean the heads/tails with each run

Langchop
23rd February 2021, 00:22
To date my feints runs have actually been my nicer whiskey/Brandy's. It says something for the triple distilling it gets

Toxxyc
23rd February 2021, 07:29
Yeah I was a bit sad over the actual, useable volume I got from all that distilling, but then I looked up and saw all those heads, tails, feints, leftover bits and bobs that I'll just distill again. There's less loss if you look at it that way.

Anyway, the yield I got after measuring and tasting and blending and watering down was 1 litre of white spirit at 43% ABV, and 3 litres of white spirit at 55% ABV. The 3 litre bottle got some oak and the 1 litre bottle got some cheat rum flavouring, to see how it tastes (previous one I made wasn't bad, but I ended up having to use A LOT more flavouring to get where I wanted to be). This one is spot on, the smell at least seems to be exactly where I want it, so I can't wait to taste it. Letting it sit for a bit first though.

I'll be making a new rum wash as well hopefully this weekend still. Brown sugar, molasses, water, yeast. I'll probably pop by the brew shop here on Thursday to pick up some yeast to use for rum, as the yeast I had is more for grain whisky and didn't work very well for the rum I made. I'll get some rum yeast and get it over with.

I'll also be using the dunder from that batch of rum to start the next one. Apparently it's a thing, where you can create "generations" of rum using the dunder from the previous batch, similar to how sour mash whisky is made, and it apparently boosts the flavour a lot. Sugar and molasses is cheap, so there's no harm in trying, and I like me some rum. Want to get a good hearts cut to make a smooth few rums, people are asking me "how much per bottle" already. I need to get my license.