Following is some emails I've received, which you should find interesting.
I've edited them a little, putting some replies/explanation from the second
one to where it fitted against the first. Know how you should one new thing
a day ? These have got me ahead for about a week and a bit.
************ snip *************
From: Donald R. Outterson [SMTP:beerwine@...
Sent: Thursday, January 04, 2001 4:06 PM
To: Tony Ackland
Subject: Distillation Issues
I enjoy your website and would like to add some additional distilling
information for you and your site.
Here's a few things I thought you'd like to know.
1) Tequila can be made at home usuing agave nectar, water yeast nutrient
and yeast. Additional sugar may added (Jose Cuervo Gold uses 50% sugar).
Agave nectar may be obtained from Crosby & Baker, Westport CT, USA.
2) Malt (unhopped) extract makes great whiskey, never boil the extract just
stir it into warm water. Boiling can carmelize the malt extract (which has
already been boiled once) making more non-fermentable sugars. Obtain the
lightest all malt non-pasturised extract possible for the best results.
Mixed extract (50% wheat 50% malt) with or with out corn sugar, produce
flavorful products which are greatly inhanced by yeast strains.
3) When making thin worts for distillation achieve higher alcohol yields by
"stepping up" the fermentation, usuing yeast nutrient and real distilers
yeast. To "step up" simply add (50%-100%) more fermetables after primary
fermentation and repeat until yeast is maxed out. Do not use this
procedure if you want to re-use yeast. You may however, harvest enough
yeast (1/4 of total) to re-ptich then step up the rest.
>About stepping up the fermentation. Let me see if I've got this right ....
>start out with the regular routine of say 5 kg sugar in 20L of water, to
>get an SG of around 1.07. Ferment down until about 1.0 or 1.1 (ie starting
>to slow down), then add another 3-5 kg and see what happens.
A-Yes, but keep those yeast nutrients in there & make sure it includes
>Question 1) will the unfermented sugar affect the distilling ? I've had
>some washes that haven't fully fermented, and they tended to foam up heaps.
>Other people have commented that it carmelises on their heating element.
A-With proper yeast strain & yeast nutrient a complete end fermentation is
common past 20% so getting 17%-20% at home is only a matter of watching the
hydrometer. Adding too much sugar or adding too much all at once will
result in the situations you describe.
>Question 2) how will it affect the yeast re repitching ? Does it become
>more dormant, or have you multiplied up some mutant strain that only likes
>the high alcohol content in doing so.
A- For yeast re-pitching & yeast washing applications the alcohol should
not go above 6%. This is so the yeast will not become stressed and start
to reproduce sexually (causing off flavors & mutations) rather than
asexually. Please note that at the end of primary fermentation there is
enough yeast for four re-pitches. So, one can harvest 1/4 for re-pitch
unstressed yeast before stepping up with the remaining 3/4. Also if you
want to change your yeast strain by harvesting: Repitch of the bottom 1/3
will be more flocculent, repitch of the middle will be moderate 1/3 and
re-pitch of the top 1/3 will be hardley flocculent. It is suggested to take
1/3 top, 1/3 middle & 1/3 bottom to assure yeast character. What you want
the yeast to do now is up to you.
4) Distillers' yeast is now sold in slurry form in the major homebrewer's
yeast banks. Unless you are making neutral spirits, do not use a
distiller's "fuel yeast". The Tennessee whisky yeast, Highland Scotish
yeast, Fruit Brandy/Eau de Vie yeast, ect. all add extra oganoliptics that
fuel yeast cannot.
A-They are flavors, flavor yielding components & flavor aspects of
5) Ryzopus derived Ryzozyme (Alltech Biotechnology) is a "cold mash" koji
(not aspergillis as used in Sake) now for sale from Alltech, Inc. Ryzozyme
step converts starch to sugar at room temp. I achieved a yield of 23.6%
alcohol (yes that's right) in 40 hours with 100% corn mash this fall at the
Alltech Alcohol School. (1 week for $950.00 US$). The entire Alltech
Biotechnology line is sold through Crosby & Baker in the USA. Alltech,
Inc. products are sold world wide, so check the web. if your local
suppliers don't carry this yet. They also have great distillers yeast,
yeast nutrient and other biotech fermentation supplies. The brave new
worlds' bright side is here at last!
6) Oaking- Several different flavors can come from a single type of oak if
alcohol strength is adjusted during maturation. 55%-53% will give
vanillins, 40%-50% will give a mix of vanillins and sugars, 40%-49% will
What I like to do is start at 55%-53% for first phase (1 to 12 months) then
dilute to 40% (3- 12 months). In this manner I am adding sugar from the
cells of the wood while I marry the dilution water to the whiskey. This
results in rich vanilla oak charater with silky legs that cling to the side
of the glass. The procedure works well with all types (chips or BBL) and
varieties of Oak.
7) We are on the verge of a new boutique distilling era. The varietals of
spirits soon will be a reality for same reason they are found in wine.
That is because there are positive flavor benifits from usuing the best raw
materials. 87' California, Cabernet Sauvignon vs 87' Winter Floor Malted
Two Row Golden Promise Single Barrel Single Malt Summer aged on Medium
Toasted French Oak chips in charred American oak barrels. I like the sound
Do you have any information on hydrometer cuts for pot stills (1x,2x)? I
want to compare notes.
>Sorry, I don't have any info on pot still cuts. I don't have a pot still
>myself (though I've been tempted a couple of times to use my reflux as one
>by removing the packing & cooling water, without great success), and the
>data seems to be quite proprietary information that no one really shares,
>other than the hand-wavy sort of 40-60% could-be-anywhere sort of answer
A-That would good be a 1x brandy, but poor for malt whiskey. Try 1x-to
18%, 2x-85%-58% for grains & 1x to 25%, 2x 85%-60% for fruit. Use a
great hydrometer with .5% or greater calibrations for best results.
I also sell new and used stills of all sizes, but my interest here is that
of a distilling advocate.
I'm open to your questions, as well.
Donald R. Outterson, President Outterson, LLC
Outterson, LLC DBA Woodstone Creek Winery
Outterson, LLC DBA Woodstone Creek Distillery
7747 Woodstone Drive
Cincinnati, OH 45244-2855 USA
Tel 513-474-3521 Fax 513-474-9384