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Re: [Distillers] Re: How do I polish? I'll tell

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  • Chris
    polish is (my understanding) the process in which you carbon treat your spirit....most people generally used a large grit carbon and soke for as long as
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 29 4:20 PM
      polish is (my understanding) the process in which you carbon treat your spirit....most people generally used a large grit carbon and soke for as long as possible(6 months?/how ever long you can wait)....(packet says 2 weeks) then run it through a z filter full of fine grit carbon....this process takes away some/most of the bad smells and flavours you might have...this is what i call polishing my spirit....

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: woof117
      To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Tuesday, March 30, 2004 9:43 AM
      Subject: [Distillers] Re: How do I polish?

      --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Rutger Amons"
      <rutger@a...> wrote:
      > Should we be able to read and understand this actually?
      > Rutger

      Only if you can read english. I said I was new at this........

      > > -----Original Message-----
      > > From: K&J [mailto:macandjo@p...]
      > > Sent: Tuesday, March 30, 2004 6:55 PM
      > > To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
      > > Subject: Re: [Distillers] How do I polish?
      > >
      > >
      > > -------Original Message------- From:
      Distillers@yahoogroups.com Date: 03/29/04 12:16:11 To:
      > > Distillers@yahoogroups.com Subject: [Distillers] How do I
      polish? I'm new to the hobby and I have about ten liters of
      > > weak vodka (about 130%) I made with a pot still and wish to
      boost it up. How do I go about polishing it with my new
      > > reflux still, do I ad water to the boiler with the vodka if so how
      much? What temp should I run it at? Is there anything
      > > else I should do? All help appriciated VERY much...
      Thanks...... Distillers list archives :
      > > http://archive.nnytech.net/ FAQ and other information at
      http://homedistiller.org Yahoo! Groups Links Read
      > > the attached FAQ and visit http://homedistiller.org should
      > > most of your questions the term polishing usually relates to
      > > filtering what you are wanting to do is to redistill to improve
      purity. For
      > > that simply cover the elements in your boiler with water then
      add you
      > > alcohol...see below the method for running a reflux still.
      Hope this helps Cheers Ken Mc From:
      > > Distillers@yahoogroups.com Date: 11/02/03 18:27:47 To:
      new_Distillers@yahoogroups.com Cc:
      > > biofuel@yahoogroups.com; dbd@h... Subject: [Distillers]
      New Distillers Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) "NEW
      > > DISTILLERS" Frequently Asked Questions (last modified
      Feb'03) Posted near the 1st of each month, to the
      > > newsgroup at www
      > > yahoogroups.com Please email any additions, corrections,
      clarifications required, etc
      > > regarding the FAQ to Tony Ackland (Tony.Ackland@c...),
      > > however please direct any general questions to the
      newsgroup itself.
      > >
      1) Is distilling hard to do ? 2) Is it legal ? 3)
      > > Will it make me blind ? 4) Whats the difference between a pot
      still, reflux still, and fractionating
      > > column ? 5) How do I get or make a still ? 6) How do I make
      a whisky / rum / vodka / gin ? 7) Should I use sugar or
      > > grains ? 8) Can I use fruit wine ? 9) How do I make a
      Turbo-all-sugar wash ? 10) How do I run a Pot still ? 11) How do
      > > run a Reflux still ? 12) Can I use a reflux still to make rum or
      whisky ? 13) How do I measure the strength of it &
      > > dilute it ? 14) How do I get rid of that "off-taste" ? 15) Why do
      my spirits turn cloudy when diluted ? 16) How do I
      > > flavour/turn the vodka's into something else ? 17) What web
      resources are there ? 18) How do I contact the NEW
      > > news group ? 19) Can I run my car on it ? 20) How do I
      convert between gallons and litres and .... 21) What is a
      > > "Thumper" ? 22) Can methylated spirits be made safe to
      drink ?
      > >
      1) Is distilling hard to do ? Nope - if you
      > > can follow instructions enough to bake scones, then you can
      > > sucessfully distil. To distil well however, will require you to
      > > what you're doing, so read around and get a bit of information
      under your
      > > belt before you begin. 2) Is it legal ? Probably not. It is only
      legal in New Zealand, and some European countries
      > > turn a blind eye to it, but elsewhere it is illegal, with
      punishment ranging
      > > from fines to imprisonment or floggings. This action against
      it is usually
      > > the result of either religous beliefs (right or wrong), but more
      > > due to the great revenue base it provides Governements
      through excise taxes.
      > > So if you are going to distil, just be aware of the potential
      > > ramifications. 3) Will it make me blind ? Not if you're
      careful. This pervasive question is due to moonshine lore,
      > > which abounds with myths of blindness, but few actual
      documented cases. The
      > > concern is due to the presence of methanol (wood alcohol),
      an optic nerve
      > > poison, which can be present in small amounts when
      fermenting grains or
      > > fruits high in pectin. This methanol comes off first from the
      still, so it
      > > is easily segregated and discarded, and easily observed via
      changes in the
      > > vapour temperature. A simple rule of thumb for this is to
      throw away the
      > > first 50 mL you collect (per 20 L mash used). Probably the
      greatest risk to
      > > your health during distilling is the risk of fire - collecting a
      > > liquid near a heat source. So keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
      The cases where you do hear about people poisoned by
      > > "illict spirits" have
      > > been the terrible situations where adulterants such as
      methanol, antifreeze,
      > > battery acid etc have been added to the spirits afterwards by
      > > sellers (for what misguided reasons ??). If you have had a
      > > fermentation take place, it is infact very difficult to make
      methanol. The
      > > other problems have been lead poisoning when people have
      used lead-based
      > > products (ie lead solder) when constructing their still, instead
      > > something more appropriate for food-grade vessels. The
      rules should infact
      > > be "dont buy spirits from an unknown supplier" - but its very
      safe to
      > > distill for yourself. 4) Whats the difference between a pot
      still, reflux still, and fractionating
      > > column ? A pot still simply collects and condenses the
      alcohol vapours that come off
      > > the boiling mash. This will result in an alcohol at about
      40-60% purity,
      > > with plenty of flavour in it. If this distillate were put through the
      > > still again, it would increase in purity to around 70-85% purity,
      and lose a
      > > bit of its flavour. A reflux still does these multiple distillations =

      in one single go, by having
      > > some packing in a column between the condensor & the pot,
      and allowing some
      > > of the vapour to condense and trickle back down through the
      packing. This
      > > reflux" of liquid helps clean the rising vapour and increase
      the % purity.
      > > The taller the packed column, and the more reflux liquid, the
      purer the
      > > product will be. The advantage of doing this is that it will
      result in a
      > > clean vodka, with little flavour to it - ideal for mixing with
      flavours etc. A fractionating column is a pure form of
      > > the reflux still. It will condense
      > > all the vapour at the top of the packing, and return about 9/10
      back down
      > > the column. The column will be quite tall - say 600-1200mm
      (2-4 foot), and
      > > packed with a material high in surface area, but which takes
      up little space
      > > (pot scrubbers are good for this). It will result in an alcohol
      95%+ pure
      > > (the theoretical limit without using a vacuum is 96.48 %(by
      volume)), with
      > > no other tastes or impurities in it. 5) How do I get or make a
      still ? If you're after a pot still, these are
      > > generally home made using what-ever
      > > you have at hand - say copper tubing and old water heaters
      or pressure
      > > cookers. You don't really need any plans for these - just
      follow any of the
      > > photos about. Reflux stills can be made from plans on the
      net, or bought from several
      > > manufacturers. For reflux still plans see The photos section
      at http://homedistiller.org/photos-ns.htm for "Offset
      > > head" designs, and http://homedistiller.org/photos-reflux.htm
      for general
      > > reflux stills. Alex's designs at
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Distillers/files/OFTS/ StillCookers
      > > http://us.geocities.com/stillcooker/ Stillmakers "Build a World
      Class Distillation Apparatus" at http://www
      > > Moonshine-Still.com (Free!) or Gert Strands :
      http://partyman.se/Engelsk/default.htm (US$5). Ian Smileys
      "Making Pure
      > > Corn Whisky" at http://www.home-distilling.com ,
      > > with full design details. For an excellent book on all aspects
      of still design, see "The Compleat
      > > Distiller" at http://www.amphora-society.com. See the list of
      "web resources" below for links to sites selling ready-made
      > > stills. For fuel alcohol stills see the Mother Earth Alcohol Fuel
      manual at
      > >
      > > and the The Manual for the Home and Farm Production of
      Alcohol Fuel by S.W.
      > > Mathewson at http://journeytoforever
      > > org/biofuel_library/ethanol_manual/manual_ToC.html
      Regarding the choice of heating for the still - if you have 240V
      > > it is usually easiest to control & safer (particularly with
      > > elements). Gas can be used, but more care is needed to
      keep the collection
      > > container further away and not letting it overfill. For more
      details on design, see http://homedistiller.org/designs.htm and
      > > http://homedistiller.org/refluxdesign.htm. 6) How do I make
      a whisky / vodka / rum / gin ? Whiskey : Heat 4 kg
      > > cracked or crushed malt with 18 L of water to 63-65 °C,
      > > and hold there for 1-1.5 hours. Heat to 73-75 °C, then strain
      off and keep
      > > liquid, using 250 mL of hot water to rinse the grains. Cool to
      below 30 °C
      > > (should have an initial specific gravity of 1.050). Add hydrated
      yeast &
      > > leave to ferment (maintain at 26 °C) until airlock stops
      bubbling and final
      > > SG of around 1.010. Let settle for a day, then syphon carefully
      into a pot
      > > still. Discard the first 50 mL's, collect the next 2-3L of
      distillate or
      > > until you start noticing the tails coming through. Many people
      also have
      > > sucess starting with a beer-kit instead of using grains.
      Vodka : dissolve 5 kg of sugar & 60 g of nutrients in 20 L of
      > > water, cool to
      > > below 30C and add hydrated yeast. Leave to ferment at 25 °C
      until below an
      > > SG of around 0.990, then settle for a day. Syphon into a reflux
      > > fractionating still, and collect as per usual. Rum : as per
      vodka, but use some brown sugar or mollasses, to give an
      > > initial specific gravity (SG) of around 1.060 - 1.070. Run
      through either a
      > > pot still, or a de-refluxed reflux still. Gin : make a very pure
      vodka, then add the following essence. Simmer 35 g of
      > > juniper berries in 350 mL of 50% vodka for ten minutes with
      the lid on, let
      > > cool overnight, then filter through coffee filters. Use 5-10 mL
      of this
      > > essence per bottle of vodka. When doing any fermenting,
      take a lot of care to ensure that any items used
      > > are clean/sterile (soaking them in a water + bleach (10 mL
      per litre) ), or
      > > else the wash can start growing other things. Use a closed
      fermenter with an
      > > airlock too, to let the CO2 out without letting wild yeasts, bugs
      etc in.
      > > For more information about fermenting, see beer or wine
      homebrewing sites. 7) Should I use sugar or grains/fruit ? It
      > > depends on what sort of still you have, and what you are
      trying to make.
      > > If you have a reflux or fractionating still, only use whatever is
      > > (usually sugar), as the refluxing will strip out all the flavours
      anyhow. If
      > > you have a pot still, and are after a bourban or whiskey, then
      you need to
      > > go the grain route, or mollasses if after a rum. If you are trying
      to make a
      > > neutral spirit for flavouring, go for sugar. Basic guidelines
      for using them are .. SUGAR. Wine yeast can use no more
      > > than 2.5lbs of sugar/1imp gal or 2.2lb/1U
      > > S.gal or 1.25kg/5litres of must. This will produce 14%a.b.v.
      Honey and
      > > liquid malt extract are 80% sugar so you need 1.5kg/5l must
      or mash.
      > > Molasses is 50% sugar so you need 2.5kg/5l must or mash.
      Maple syrup is 32%
      > > sugar. Carob beans are 45% sugar. Sugar beets are 15%
      sugar Grain malt is
      > > 60% sugar (starch converted to sugars) so you need 1.5kg/5l
      mash. Cooked
      > > grain contains 60% convertible starch so you need 1.5kg/5l
      mash FRUIT - Grapes contain the ideal sugar, water, acid
      > > balance. A sugar content
      > > of 17-23% and a water content of about 80%. 8kg of grapes
      produces 5l of
      > > wine. Most common fruits (apples, plums, apricots) contain
      about 10% sugar and 85%
      > > water. Cherries and figs contain 15% sugar. A fruit mash
      could be 4kg fruit,
      > > (400g sugar content), 2l water (3l in pulp already), 800g
      additional sugar. Bananas are 17-24% sugar, 75% water. Acid
      > > content 0.3%. A banana mash could
      > > be 4kg of cooked bananas, 2l water (3l in pulp already),400g
      sugar. Add
      > > 3lemons/5l for correct pH. Dates are 70% sugar, 20% water.
      Add acid to a date mash. Raisins and sultanas have a water
      > > content of about 15% and a sugar content
      > > of 60%, grapes have a water content of 75% and a sugar
      content of about 20%,
      > > so using 1.5-2kg/5l of water appears about right if we want to
      > > them. ACID - 5g of citric acid (1tsp)/5l must raises acidity by
      0.1%. 3g of
      > > calcium carbonate powder lowers acidity by 0.1%. A pH of 5
      is 0.4% acidity.
      > > Winemakers aim for 0.6% acidity. Most common fruits are
      about 0.6% acid
      > > content. For distilling, a higher acidity in the mash helps to
      > > bacteria. A high tannin content doesn't matter as we are not
      making wine.
      > > Meaurements are logarithmic, so a pH of 4 is 10 times more
      acidic than a pH
      > > of 5. YEAST - Brewers (& possibly baker's yeast) can
      tolerate only 8% alcohol. A
      > > bottom fermenting lager yeast ferments out all the sugars
      better than a top
      > > fermenting ale yeast. A good wine yeast (Champagne, in the
      right conditions,
      > > can tolerate 15%a.b.v. (up to 18%a.b.v. in optimal conditions
      - no need to
      > > use expensive turbos). Wild yeasts vary, but some are very
      low - this is a
      > > risky path. Whisky distillers often use a combination of
      yeasts - initially
      > > a brewer's yeast because they believe it effects the flavor. 8)
      Can I use fruit wine ? Sure, if you have it
      > > available. Again, using a pot still will result in a
      > > brandy/grappa/schnapps, whereas a reflux still will just strip
      it down to
      > > neutral spirit. 9) How do I make a Turbo-all-sugar wash ?
      The first trick is to locate the "Turbo" yeasts - either
      > > try the New Zealand
      > > sites, or www.brewhaus.com. Then, dissolve 5-6 kg of sugar
      with 2-3 L of
      > > boiling water, top up to 25 L with cold water, wait until its
      cooled below
      > > 24 °C, and then stir the yeast in, and close the lid with an
      airlock. Keep
      > > at 24 °C until the SG has dropped below 1.010 Its then
      possible to add extra
      > > sugar (1 kg at a time, dissolved in a little water) each time the
      SG has
      > > dropped below 1.010. You should be able to add an extra 3-4
      kg this way over
      > > a week. It should finish around 0.980 - 0.990 10) How do I
      run a Pot Still ? See
      > > http://homedistiller.org/dtw.htm#use_pot for details. A pot still
      > > fairly straight forward to use. Turn it on. Once the temperature
      is up to
      > > about 60 °C turn on the cooling water to the condensor. Make
      sure you throw
      > > away the first 1 00 mL per 20L wash, as this will contain any
      methanol that
      > > might be present. Segregate the distillate into 500 mL lots as
      it comes off.
      > > Only keep (for drinking) that which doesn't contain fusels
      (smell off) -
      > > probably below about 92 ° C, however you should keep
      distilling past here,
      > > untill about 96 ° C, as this fraction, although high in tails and
      not good
      > > for drinking this time, can be added back to the next wash
      and cleaned up OK
      > > then. 11) How do I run a Reflux / Fractionating Still ? See
      http://homedistiller.org/dtw.htm#use_reflux for details
      > > +/or variations.
      > > It is best to first equilibriate the column under total reflux for
      > > minutes or so. This will concentrate up the foreshots so that
      they can be
      > > removed first. Collect them one drip at a time, for approx 50
      mL per 25L
      > > wash, and throw away. You can then collect the remaining
      run at a quicker
      > > rate. Adjust the reflux ratio (the ratio of how much of the total
      vapour is
      > > returned as reflux) by varying either the rate of collection or
      rate of
      > > cooling water (depending on still design) to maintain the
      purity you want.
      > > You can judge the purity by measuring the vapour
      temperature. Target around
      > > 78.2 - 78.4 °C . Towards the end of the run it will be hard to
      get a high
      > > enough reflux ratio to maintain the high purity / low
      temperature. When the
      > > temperature has nudged up to around 80 °C quit collecting
      for drinking, and
      > > collect the remainder as tails (for redistillation in the next run)
      up to
      > > around 96 °C . 12) Can I use a Reflux Still to make Rum or
      Whisky ? Yes you can. To do so, you need to carefully
      > > monitor the various transitions
      > > between the foreshots, heads, middle run, and tails, and
      time the collection
      > > of the middle run precisely. The reflux still allows you to more
      > > judge the changes between the various stages, and hence
      target them
      > > accurately. A typical rum or whisky would be obtained by
      discarding the
      > > foreshots, then collecting the heads, middle run, and then
      begin the tails,
      > > until the purity has dropped to around 58-60% (82 °C). By
      altering when to
      > > start collecting, and how late to time the final "cut", various
      > > profiles will result. You'd collect it faster and at a slightly
      lower reflux
      > > ratio than for a neutral spirit, as you want the flavour present.
      13) How do I measure the strength of it & dilute it ?
      > > You need a hydrometer. This is a wee float, with a scale
      inside it. The more
      > > alcohol that is present, the lighter the density of the liquid, so
      > > hydrometer sinks a bit lower. You then just read off the scale
      how much
      > > alcohol is present. You need a seperate hydrometer for
      measuring the density
      > > of the mash, as this is generally > 1.0, whereas the spirit is <
      1.0, and
      > > they can't accurately do both ends of the scale. 14) How do I
      get rid of that "off-taste" ? That "rough moonshine
      > > edge" or "off-taste / wet cardboard smell" is due to
      > > impurities such as the higher order alcohols, known as
      cogeners or fusel
      > > oils. These will be present more when using a pot still, less
      if using a
      > > reflux still, and just about absent if using a fractionating
      column. So one
      > > way is to use a taller packed column and increase the
      amount of reflux
      > > occuring. They can also indicate that you've tried to collect too
      much of
      > > the alcohol, and have run into the "tails"; so finish collecting a
      > > bit earlier next time. Soaking tainted alcohol with activated
      carbon for a
      > > week (or even months) will help remove some of this flavour
      - this is known
      > > as "polishing" the spirit. I'm also suspecting that you need a
      little bit of
      > > copper somewhere in the still where it can come in contact
      with the vapour.
      > > The copper helps catalyse some of the sulphur, esters &
      organic acids,
      > > reducing their odour & taste. 15) Why do my spirits turn
      cloudy when diluted ? With neutral spirits, either you have
      > > pushed 'tails' into your product (eg
      > > collected too much product from the still - quit earlier next
      time), or you
      > > are using poor tap-water (high in calcium carbonate). If it
      happens when
      > > diluting your gin, sambuca or the like, its because there is
      too little
      > > alcohol/too much oil present and the oils are no longer
      dissolved. Either
      > > drink it cloudy or increase the % alcohol present. 16) How
      do I flavour/turn the vodka's into something else ? There
      > > are now many commercial flavourings available, which turn
      vodka or
      > > neutral alcohol into pretty decent gin or whiskey, or all manor
      of liqueurs.
      > > See the commercial sites, like Des Zines
      > > nz/~topkiwi or Ray Toms http://moonshine.co.nz/ for details.
      Or you can soak
      > > it with oak chips and make whiskey, or soak fruits in it to
      make your own
      > > liqueurs. There are many websites describing how to make
      liqueurs - see
      > > http://homedistiller.org/liqueurs.htm or
      http://www.guntheranderson.com for
      > > a starting point. 17) What web resources are there ? For
      more details, see : Tony Ackland's http://homedistiller.org
      > > Aaron Smiths's http://www.go.to/distillation Steve Spence's
      http://webconx.green-trust.org/ethanol.htm StillMaker's
      > > http://www.Moonshine-Still.com Biofuels Library
      http://journeytoforever.org/biofuel_library.html 18) How do I
      > > the NEW DISTILLERS news group ? Both the NEW
      DISTILLERS and the DISTILLERS news groups are available via
      > > YahooGroups, at http://www.yahoogroups.com . NEW
      DISTILLERS is, as the name
      > > suggests, intended for those of you new to distilling and after
      > > straight-forward answers to questions, whereas the
      DISTILLERS group
      > > discussions are a bit more advanced, throwing in bits of
      design philosophy,
      > > theory, and alternative ways of achieving the results. Both
      tend to overlap
      > > to some extent. 19) Can I run my car on it ? You can run
      your car on alcohol over about 80% purity. Because any water
      > > present will seperate out in the presence of the gasoline
      (and become a
      > > problem), you either need to exclusively use the alcohol, or
      dry it right
      > > out (eg 99%+ purity) if using it to mix with gasoline. See Steve
      > > site for more details, the Mother Earth Alcohol Fuel manual,
      or the The
      > > Manual for the Home and Farm Production of Alcohol Fuel. In
      addition, in the
      > > USA, you can get a "small fuel producer" permit, which
      allows small scale
      > > distilling for "motor fuel" purposes. A nice advantage is that
      they don't
      > > require denaturing for "fuel" used on the premises. The
      regulations are
      > > posted at http://webconx.green-trust.org/ethanol.htm 20)
      How do I convert between gallons and litres and .... To
      > > convert between SI & Imperial units, multiply the first unit by
      > > conversion factor to get the second. Divide back to do it in
      reverse .eg 1L
      > > = 0.264 US gal, so 20 L = 20 x 0.264 = 5.28 US gal, and 20
      US gal / 0.264 =
      > > 75.76 L 1 L = 0.264 US gal = 0.221 UK gal 1 L = 1.057 US qt
      = 0.880 UK qt 1 kg = 2.204 lbm = 32.15 oz (troy) = 35.27 oz
      > > (av) deg F = ((9/5) x deg C )+ 32 1m = 1000 mm = 39.37 inch
      = 3.28 ft = 1.09 yd 21) What is a "Thumper" ? A "thumper"
      > > is an extra chamber sometimes fitted to a pot still. It can be
      > > as simple as a glass jar with two holes in the lid. The off-take
      from the
      > > still is fed into it, with the pipe running almost all the way to
      the bottom
      > > of the jar; the jar is half filled with liquid (water or mash or
      tails) so
      > > that the vapour from the still will bubble up through it; then the
      > > coming off it is collected & cooled as per normal. It acts as a
      > > distilling chamber using just the heat from the vapour, and
      lifts the purity
      > > from 50-60% to 70-80%, hence improving what might
      otherwise be a very
      > > mediocre design. Don't make the thumper too small, and
      start it off with
      > > liquid already high in alcohol. 22) Can Methylated Spirits be
      made safe to Drink ? No. Methylated spirits (aka meths)
      > > is a mixture of ethanol and (poisonous)
      > > methanol, with a denturant added to make it foul tasting.
      There is no
      > > effective way of seperating them, be it by distilling, using
      carbon, or
      > > filtering through bread (old wives tale). Do not add meths to
      anything you
      > > ever intend to distill or drink, and don't try using it in any form -
      > > will still be poisonous. Keep it for cleaning and starting the
      BBQ with.
      > > Likewise, you cant "clean up" antifreeze in your still.
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