Ray/Brian - The magic number of 129 ? It all comes down to how much
the volume increases when sugar is disolved into the water.
If 200g of sugar was disolved into 1L (1000g) of water the density
would be (1200g/1000mL=1.200) IF the volume didn't increase. But,
from experience, we actually obtain a SG of about 1.05-1.06 g/mL.
This would infer that the volume actually increases to about 1140 mL.
(This is the bit I'm guessing - but it works out !)
Assuming you get TOTAL (51.1%) conversion of the sugar to ethanol,
this would mean that you had produced 102 mL of ethanol (200x0.511).
The volume would now be 1102 mL, and have a weight of (102*0.789
+1000) = 1081g. Hence a final SG of (1081/1102=0.980 g/mL). The
purity would be 102/1102 = 9.27%
Hence SG went from 1.055 to 0.980 resulting in 9.27% alcohol
So the magic number is 9.27/ (1.055-0.98) = 124 (not bad, huh!)
For those who missed the start of this thread ... to calculate the
strength of your wash, multiply the difference in specific gravity
(density) from start to finish, by 129 (or 124), eg
Brian - to make this work at all %alcohol, would require knowing the
volume increase due to dissolution, at the different %.
Not a difficult thing to measure.
The other variable is also whether or not you get total
conversion of the sugar. Unreacted sugar would inflate the final SG.
Life here in Southland aint too bad. Just had a very enjoyable
afternoon fly-fishing for brown trout on the Mataura river, in
the lee of the Hokanui hills. Last weekend the local town of Gore
had a Moonshine & Food festival - local
bands playing, and plenty of fares to sample. Managed to taste a
dram of 'shine purported to be of the original McRaes (local family)
recipe. They also had few bottles of "Moon water" - not distilled,
but still packed a punch. They've also just opened a m$1.3 Moonshine
muesem - proudly recording the local history here - will need to
visit it soon.
I've just started a wee experiment. Have started fermenting 3kg of
Australian grapes (pulped in the blender), along with 3kg of sugar &
15 L of water. Started
with an SG of 1.09 ! If the yeast (cheap beer stuff) survives, I'll
replumb the still next week to pretend its a pot still, and see what
comes out. Hopefully something in the vein of a Grappa. (Methinks
i may need to add some real yeast to it to get some action, but the
shops are closed for the weekend)
Tom J - starting brew & still design all depends on what you are
after. I usually just make up a sugar/water wash, ferment it, and
then pass it through the reflux still, to get a very pure, absolutely
tasteless product, so that i can flavour it using the commercial
essences, and dabble with adding smoke/oak/prunes/old socks etc.
Because the purpose of the
reflux still is to strip out all the flavours etc, it doesn't really
matter what you start with - because you aren't going to taste it.
Ethanol is ethanol, regardless of what it was brewed from.
You could toss in failed beer batches, bad wine, etc, and just get
the alcohol off them. So i just go for whats easy & cheap - sugar
and water for me. If you have a surplus of corn or honey or molassass
or whatever, sure use it. The only time you worry about what you're
using is when you are after a particular flavour - eg whiskey,
bourbon, tequila, etc. This is when you read up on the tradition,
follow it strictly, and use a pot still. The art then comes in
knowing when to divvy up the distillate into heads/tails etc -
getting the flavour, but not the crap. Getting an exact recipe for
each is usually vague.
If just doing a sugar/water wash, it all depends on what yeast you
are using - eg whether to add 4-8 kg of sugar to 20L, because you
shouldn't add more than what the yeast can handle. But the yeast
usually comes with instructions, or ask at your homebrew shop. For
grain recipes, check out beer-making sites. As for when to do the
cuts, thats usually a trade secret of the commercial distillers - but
I've got a couple of pointers on my site, under "double distilling".
Mike - congrats on the book (http://www.gin-vodka.com/)
. Its great !
What a variety we have in this newsgroup - where the stills run from
beast working hard at the very high purity end of things, thru
to the simple 'shine pot stills hidden out there.
Brian - glad to hear the sample was of a suitable standard. Thanks
for your time - greatly appreciated. The drive from Bernie
the title of "road-kill state".