Just thought I'd share my Boxing Day experience of trying to make
a Double distilled whiskey, as per the instructions posted here
in a digest several months back.
I brewed up a simple draught beer, using a Brewtech Draught
malt kit, no sugar, and 15L of water, and got a 5% beer (
tasted good too!). Let it settle for a few days. Re-plumbed my
Spirits Unlimited 20L reflux still so that the reflux cooling section
was by-passed, but the condenser would still work.
The beer took about 3.5 hours to distill, giving me around 5L
of 10-15% alcohol. (Remembered this time to strap the head of
the still down, given my last experience where it blew off with all the
foam, etc, broke the thermometer, then the beer went off/tasted foul
after sitting in the still for 4 days when trying to buy a new
thermometer (should have just done it without a thermometer - they're
not critical in a pinch)).
The distillate smelt "odd" (certainly not clean like the regular
reflux product) - sort of like apple/faint cardboard. Hard to describe.
Also had wee floaty bits in it - i suspect some of the initial foam
got pushed up through the condenser (i had ignored the guidelines to
leave 35% headspace free).
Cleaned out the still, and loaded the 5L into it. This heated up
quite quick, and I got about 1L of 40% alcohol off it, within 3/4 hour.
Looks reasonably clear, but still has a smell of its own. Still had
some floaters (from inside the condenser ?). I wouldn't describe it as
whiskey. I've passed this through a paper filter to clear the floaters
out of it, and have it sitting with about 2 teaspoons of toasted
oak chips. I'll taste it at one month intervals to track its progress.
I'm not sure if i would do it again ... it takes longer (5 hours vs 4),
costs more ($9 for the beer kit vs $6 sugar), and produced less (
1L @ 40% vs 4L @ 75%), for a somewhat dubious product. I think
I'll stick to playing with the neutral spirits & commercial flavours
Questions for the combined masses ...
1) was i doomed before i started because of an inappropriate still ?
2) was a draught beer kit ever going to make anything resembling
a whiskey ?
3) what should a whiskey distillate taste/smell like before it is aged ?
4) did i do the first cut too late ?
5) how long before it should taste ok (if ever ?)
6) did i get what i deserved, having ignored most guidelines posted
here previously ?