Citrus - Its done!
- Hi again everyone,
After all the advice I have recieved from everyone here, I have to
post my results from the citrus wash (unfortunatly I can't post a
taste for you all ;-) )
To refresh your memories, I made a 25L wash from 15 oranges, 2 lemons
and a grapefruit. I took the finely chopped peel (no pith), and half
of this I soaked in 40% alcohol. The rest of the peel went into the
wash. I juiced all the fruit using an electric juicer, and then made
up the wash with the juice, peel, 6kg of sugar, 2 teaspoons of
nutrient, and 2 sachets of LC 1118 champagne yeast. The ferment took
a little over 3 weeks at 25 degrees C. After two and a half weeks
the SG was down to 1000, and it was bubbling at approx 1 bubble/30
seconds. I then put the brew in a 4 degree fridge to aid in
settling, and after 3 days it was reasonably clear. I then
transfered the cleared wash to a new fermenter, and added 1 sachet of
beer finings. This really cleared it up, and after another day, it
was very nice looking, and smelled and tasted like a very dry white.
My idea was to get it as clear as possible before distilling, and I
think it worked well.
I then transfered the wash to the boiler of my N/Stone Still,
filtering the entire wash through a 90 micron filter to ensure any
large bit remaining didn't get through! I then added the liquid from
the soaking peel.
I didn't really know how to go about distilling, as I wanted a lower
purity to get the taste, but wanted a high quality product. I
decided to reduce the number of scrubbers in the column to 12 (from
18) and also run at a higher rate (i.e. head temp). After
equilibrium, I removed the foreshots (80 mL, but I took 100mL),
dropwise, which took 1 hour. I then took the heads (250mL) at 2.6
drips/minute, maintaining a head temp of 78.7 (which is up from my
normal 78.2 I guess due to the removed scrubbers).
I then upped the flow rate until the head was maintaining 79.9
degrees, as I wanted decreased purity to get the flavour through. I
was still getting very tasteless alcohol to start with, but after
1.5L, a real citrus flavour started coming through. At this point I
needed to slow down the outtake to maintain the head temp, and ended
up maintaining a head temp of 79.5. When I decided the taste was too
bitter, I stopped collecting the main run, and collected the rest as
tails to add to my next citrus run with the heads. In all I
collected something like 2.5L of between 76 and 85% alcohol (I don't
know for sure, as I was too impatient to wait for it to cool to do a
After watering it down to 47%, to I ended up adding 1 and 3/4 cups of
white sugar, 100mL liquid glucose, 50mL hot water and making up to 2L
with the 47%. This mixed well, and there was no precipitate or oil
droplets etc etc.
The tasting was a great success - we had a bottle of cointrau to
compare with, and it was quite a favourable comparison. It smells a
little different, but the taste is very similar, and everyone really
liked it... One 750mL bottle is now gone!
The difference in taste (compared to cointrau) was expected by me, as
it has been made very differently to cointrau, using the orange wash
and soaked peel, rather than just redistilled soaked peel. Also, the
type of oranges I used were wrong - Cointrau uses Seville oranges,
where I used a mixture of Valencia and Navel, with of course the
addition of 2 lemons and a grapefruit. When it comes down to it, I
really wasn't expecting to make a cointrau copy, rather a
cointrau "like" citrus liquer.
All in all, I'm happy with it all, and whats more it tastes great!
Thanks again for everyones help, and have a great Christmas and New