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introduction and a few questions

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  • Henry Stamp
    Hi all, i m very new to distilling (about 1 month) and am really loving it so far... this list and homedistilling.org are really helpful. a few friends and i
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 2, 2005
      Hi all, i'm very new to distilling (about 1 month) and am really loving
      it so far... this list and homedistilling.org are really helpful.

      a few friends and i did one test run with some cheap wine we bought and
      ran it though our small homemade pressure cooker pot still, shockingly
      the results were acutally drinkable!

      now i have a few questions:

      1) any general tips on how to operate a small pot still to make brandy?

      we made the pot still we have just to see if this was any fun, before we
      look into building a bigger one. its made from a small pressure cooker
      (~6 litre capacity i think). 2 weeks ago we did a run with 4 litres of
      cheap wine just to get used to it. our end result was shockingly good
      for how clueless we were, but definitely has some distinct off smells
      and tastes in it. we found it hard to get exact cutoffs for the
      heads/tails, mostly because we were taking temperatures in the top of
      the pot itself (above the wash), so by the time the vapour that we
      measured has gotten all the way down to the end the condensor and is
      dripping of into our collector the temperature in the pot has already
      risen... i imagine this is also pretty tightly tied to the small size of
      the wash we can use, if we had 20 litre's the time between the sections
      would be longer and easier to determine. i guess the quiestion is, is
      it realisitic to expect we will be able to get a decent product from a
      still like this, or should we just move straight onto planning a larger
      still (which is much more problematic for obvious legal and space reasons)

      2) should we be separating our sections of the distillate as it comes
      out based on temperature readings, exact timing ("every 5 minutes" ...
      our first run only took like 30 minutes), or by volume in the collector?

      3) is there any movement to legalise home distilling in the USA? im
      still kind of awe struck that we arnt allowed to distill the wine or
      beer we make at home here in the "land of the free" ... has anyone
      really tried in the past?

      4) How does one make whiskey/brandy with a reflux/fractionating still?
      i saw references that i was possible on homedistiller.org, but not
      exactly how this works. i imagine that going the pot still route if i
      dont intend to eve rmake neutral spirits makes the most sense, but im
      curious about the other options.

      5) anyone ever thought about forming a legally "registered" distilling
      collective in order to get around the laws in the USA? this thought
      occured to us as we were sipping on our first batch illicit hooch.
      maybe incorperate as a non profit to pay the taxes on the still. Is
      just any person allowed to operate a legally licensed still, or do the
      operators need some form of certification/license. An interesting idea
      at least.

      thanks for any advice you have!

      - "henry"
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