@ Harry and Zymurgy Bob, thanks for the input. it's all good stuff. I used both an alco-meter and sp.gr. calculation to get my guess of 4%. I did a stripping run of about 3.5 gallons and got 20 oz. of 90 proof out of it. It was a lot of work for a very small return, but, I'm kinda hard headed about things like that. I seem to "know" there is something there to discover and really want to know what it is....hope it's more than just re-proving something doesn't work, lol. I guess I'm just a purest at heart, I'd like to grow my own
fermentables, build my own still and do it all off the grid some place as a hermit. Potatoes seemed and easy thing to grow. I know the best loaf of bread I ever made was with hand ground flour and baked in a rock and foil oven next to a camp fire; hoping potato vodka gets me the same feeling (been a loafer myself for a few moons, Harry). I like the nut's and bolt's approach to distilling, how things work...just open a few packages isn't going to teach me much. I've been married twice, so following directions doesn't come easy to me.
As all my potato mashes have failed to various degrees, I am going to a corn mash (crack it myself with a hand grinder) and see what that makes. Potatoes will still be with me, as will trying to get the starches to
convert...may be there is a particular mold I can find that produces the right enzymes...might be as simple as putting sour dough bread on the mash in a hooch fashion. I got more time and toys than talent (at present) so why not experiment? what ever alcohol I can tease out I can save and redistill a time or two...may get a nice neutral spirit or something better suited to an alcohol stove; either way it's the journey not the the destination, right?