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  • I'm also interested in distilling some not so good beer that I have made. Was going to dump it down the drain until I read about distilling it

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    • OK so a few things to get started.

      First, welcome to the world of distilling.

      Second, keep in mind that this is a dangerous hobby. It's not like skydiving, but people have gotten hurt, kettles have exploded and stuff have been set on fire before.

      Third, read up before you start distilling. There's A LOT to learn and you can avoid a ton of bad mistakes that other people have made. For one, don't try to make a whisky on the first run. I would recommend a rum. It works well on a pot still like the one you have there, and doesn't require a lot of finesse to get right.

      Fourth, beer doesn't distill very well. I have distilled sugar washes and all-grain washes and corn washes and and and. The batches made with beer has always been OK, but disappointing. Beer has a lot of hop compounds in there that's not normal in an all-grain wash, and that causes funk in the distillate I'm not fond of.

      To point you in the direction I would take if I were you at this stage, I would recommend the following:

      1. Get a rum wash under way. Use 50/50 brown sugar and the cheapest feed store molasses you can find. Around 2kg sugar and 2kg molasses per 20l of wash works well. Ferment it with a large packet of regular bread yeast at 30C until it's done.
      2. While you wait for the sugar wash to complete, distill your bad batch of beer. Call it a sacrificial run to clean your still (it's necessary). That looks like a 10l pot, so you're going to have to do at least 3 stripping runs on a 20l batch, filling the pot to around 6l each run. I would do 4 x 5l runs, to be honest, to prevent puking.
      3. When you're done with the stripping runs, clean the still well and do a spirit run. You can run it warm, and discard the alcohol. Sacrificial run booze is not to be consumed.
      4. When this is all done, distill the rum wash. You'll get a decent white spirit you can either oak, spice, or flavour.

      That's what I would have done if I had started now. I wouldn't have wasted beer on the distillation run. I now make sugar washes 90% of the time. I buy sugar in bulk bags (20kg I think) and have a few cubes fermenting at any point in time.

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      • Perfect. Thats what I'll do then. Thanks

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        • SA home distillers competition results hosted by Distillique - Whisky

          Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk
          https://www.wortsandall.co.za/images/smilies//drunk.gif I value your personal experience more than the BS that you have read or googled on the w.w.w. https://www.wortsandall.co.za/images/smilies//drunk.gif

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          • Congrats to the boys.

            The Problem With The World Is That Everyone Is A Few Drinks Behind.!

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            • Awesome. I'd love to join one like that one day...

              Currently running a rum, single run. No stripping, no spirit, just one straight-up distillation from the wash directly. The flavour and aroma coming off the still is amazing, this is definitely the way to do rum going forward!

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              • Originally posted by Harhm View Post
                SA home distillers competition results hosted by Distillique - Whisky

                Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk
                Congrats Harm, well done.

                If I may ask, what is "Modern Style (Alternative)" whiskey?

                Been reading a lot about making whiskey and the different types and it's a very interesting drink to make. Not for the noobs from what I've read.

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                • I'm guessing it's a whisky that doesn't fit the traditional rules - in other words, not aged in certain sized barrels over a minimum time. Most homebrewers and shiners age in glass on chips or oak fingers, as it's more accessible on a small scale. That wouldn't be specifically "whisky" according to our laws, so they make up a new category for these. Same as beers.

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                  • Pitty this thread has been heavily edited, planning to do a whisky mash tomorrow. Have 2kg rye I want use, not sure which direction to go with ratios, was thinking 3kg MO, 2kg rye, 500g roasted barley.

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                    • Why the roast barley, if I might ask? It doesn't contribute flavours you want in a final product, IMO. If you want smoke, get a smoked or peated malt. Roasted barley present bitter and astringent in a distillate, as I have it. I won't let it touch my whiskies.

                      Regarding the rye, you should just be careful of a stuck mash. Rye is a huskless grain and stuck mashes is common (similar to wheat). Regarding MO - it's a delicate malt. I'd just use a distiller's malt (or the cheapest pale malt I can find), with a small amount of specialty that'll mimic the flavour you're looking for instead, save some money.

                      I've decided after this weekend that whisky might not be for me. I'm OK with it, but it's a lot of work for very little return, specially without a large enough barrel to try and fill up. From now on I'm going to perfect my rum first. I came third overall at a beer competition this weekend with my rum and coke premix in a keg, and I got A LOT of attention because of it. The rum is easy, quick and very foolproof to make, so I'm sticking to it for now. I'll do whisky a bit later again, but first I want to whack out a brandy and a gin as well.

                      I need to get around to designing a gin basket, actually.

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                      • Originally posted by Toxxyc View Post
                        Why the roast barley, if I might ask? It doesn't contribute flavours you want in a final product, IMO. If you want smoke, get a smoked or peated malt. Roasted barley present bitter and astringent in a distillate, as I have it. I won't let it touch my whiskies.
                        I concur with the choice of malts, especially a peated malt, particularly if you want to get the kind of aromas of an Islay malt.

                        Originally posted by Toxxyc View Post
                        I've decided after this weekend that whisky might not be for me. I'm OK with it, but it's a lot of work for very little return, specially without a large enough barrel to try and fill up.
                        I found this too. After distilling 38L of beer, I ended up with only around 1.5L of whisky spirit. Not a good yield at all. And yet, here I am about to ferment a peated malt just so that I can fill up the 5L barrel I ordered from Ketelkraal and received last Friday.

                        Originally posted by Toxxyc View Post
                        From now on I'm going to perfect my rum first. I came third overall at a beer competition this weekend with my rum and coke premix in a keg, and I got A LOT of attention because of it. The rum is easy, quick and very foolproof to make, so I'm sticking to it for now. I'll do whisky a bit later again, but first I want to whack out a brandy and a gin as well.
                        Congrats on the third place....nice achievement!!

                        I've developed a bit of a following in my circle of friends for a gin I make which is very heavy on the juniper side, but nothing much else. And it is high yield too, like rum and other sugar-based spirit fermentations. Winner.
                        Slainte Mhaith!!

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                        • @Toxxyc Congrats on that 3rd place
                          The Problem With The World Is That Everyone Is A Few Drinks Behind.!

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                          • Distillation

                            The roasted barley idea came from nothing else that is smokey on hand. Im actually not sure where to start to be honest.

                            I have flaked corn, was thinking a bourbon at some stage.

                            I want to use what I have on hand, going out to buy distillers malt to save bucks is not worth the effort. Carry over the things that are good from beer and try making something drinkable is where I want to be. I have some hulls for the rye.

                            The yield also bothers me, what abv should you aim for realistically? Think pushing past 7kg is going to get interesting with the GF.
                            PaBz0r
                            Senior Member
                            Last edited by PaBz0r; 6 December 2021, 19:27.

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                            • So the general consensus is to keep it under 10% ABV, but going under, say, 7% ABV is also not really worth it. Then you have to run your still for all that time just to get a small yield. I like to get mine around 8%, sometimes even a bit more, and if I make spirit for longer aging I even add sugar to boost the ABV (typically around 10~15% of the gravity points). It's just to make it a bit more worth the effort.

                              Corn is a bit of a pain to work with as well. If it's flaked in the sense of cooked, hot or steam rolled or pre-gelatinized, it'll be fine. Otherwise you'll have to cook it, and that's a pain in the ass on it's own.

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