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Re: Making whisky

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  • jamesonbeam1
    In 100% agreement there Bob, I always mix alot of heads in with the middle run for the right taste. Its just kinda sad though that a few folks here dont
    Message 1 of 28 , Mar 2, 2008
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      In 100% agreement there Bob,

      I always mix alot of heads in with the middle run for the right taste.

      Its just kinda sad though that a few folks here dont understand or
      appreciate some of the benifits of them "ancient, old fashioned,
      simple pot stills".

      ToddK, pretty much stated it in the previous posting on this subject:

      "I admire and respect Smiley for much of his book on corn whiskey,
      but when it comes to his method of reflux still and cuts, I never
      could do it either. So I tried simple pot stilling and have never
      gone back.

      Good Luck,
      Todd K."

      BTW, my father was in the Navy in WWII and used to tell stories of
      how the sailors would bribe them submariners for their
      famous "torpedo juice" (believe it was the Type 42s that ran off of
      ethanol), mix it with orange drink powder and have "TP parties" lol.

      A Votra Sante Aussi.

      Vino es Veritas,
      Jim.


      --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Robert Hubble <zymurgybob@...>
      wrote:
      > To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
      > From: jamesonbeam1@...
      > Date: Sun, 2 Mar 2008 03:48:53 +0000
      > Subject: [Distillers] Re: Making whisky
      >
      > Hey, Jim,
      >
      > I hear ya, but I'm ok with the fact that some large percentage of
      us are using
      > whiz-bang engineering to produce what's essentially V2 rocket fuel.
      It's just that
      > it seems like a whole lot of work to make something I don't want;
      vodka is my
      > *least* favorite booze. True, I use my "neutral" stuff to make gin
      and liqueurs,
      > but mostly I can get that from redistilled feints.
      >
      > The only times the refluxers get just a *bit* of my goat is when
      they assume we
      > are all refluxers, and that it's the *only* sensible thing to do.
      >
      > Also it cracks me up to hear that, even when tuned to the gills to
      produce the
      > azeotrope, some have to carbon filter to remove bad flavors. My
      hearts, and I'll
      > bet yours also, are smooth and sweet right out of the condenser,
      with *zero*
      > bad flavors, even if they*do* get better with time, oxygen, and
      oak. I don't
      > know how many times I've had newbies with me on a still run,
      especially a spirit
      > run, express amazement at how that white stuff at the outlet
      compares so well
      > with their favorite booze.
      >
      > So, let's just suffer the slings and arrows, and tip a glass of
      that gorgeous
      > brown stuff to each other.
      >
      > Here's lookin' up yer old address.
      >
      > Zymurgy Bob,
      > a simple potstiller
      >
      >
      > Sigh Zymurgy Bob,
      >
      > Looks like folk such as us are in the wrong world here... Maybe
      > they should change the name of this forum to "Distillers - For
      Reflux
      > Beverage Ethanol Distillers" :(:(:(
      >
      > Vino es Veritas,
      > Jim.
      >
    • abbababbaccc
      I ve noticed this too and it makes me wonder, is heads cut really necessary at all? Now those traditonal distilleries in Scotland recycle their heads over and
      Message 2 of 28 , Mar 2, 2008
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        I've noticed this too and it makes me wonder, is heads cut really
        necessary at all? Now those traditonal distilleries in Scotland
        recycle their heads over and over again. Eventually they should get
        so concentrated with lower boiling point components that in practise
        all the stuff from the mash gets to the middle cut. Of course the
        final product won't have that taste as lot's of heads from the
        whiskey evaporates as angels share. As we all know low temperature
        evaporation hits heads components the hardest. Another thing is that
        the oak itself converts many unwanted congeners to more palatable
        compunds.

        This made me remember, I have somewhere two quarts of whiskey on oak
        that I madde without the heads cut. I may have to sample that one of
        these days, maybe even apply the low temperature evaporation
        principle to that and see how it turns out.

        Cheers, Riku

        --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "jamesonbeam1" <jamesonbeam1@...>
        wrote:
        >
        >
        > I always mix alot of heads in with the middle run for the right
        taste.
        >
        > >
      • duds2u
        If my merory serves me correctly the orange juice powder was called limers . Tasted like shite but would overpower any known to man flavour that sailors
        Message 3 of 28 , Mar 3, 2008
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          If my merory serves me correctly the orange juice powder was
          called "limers". Tasted like "shite" but would overpower "any known to
          man" flavour that sailors would mix it with.
          Cheers
          Mal T.

          BTW, my father was in the Navy in WWII and used to tell stories of
          > how the sailors would bribe them submariners for their
          > famous "torpedo juice" (believe it was the Type 42s that ran off of
          > ethanol), mix it with orange drink powder and have "TP parties" lol.
          >
          > A Votra Sante Aussi.
          >
          > Vino es Veritas,
          > Jim.
          >
        • duds2u
          Take a dram of Glenmorangie and I defy anyone that has not been making their own Whisky for a period of time to say that there is not an acetone (read - heads
          Message 4 of 28 , Mar 3, 2008
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            Take a dram of Glenmorangie and I defy anyone that has not been
            making their own Whisky for a period of time to say that there is not
            an acetone (read - heads flavour) as a subtle flavour adjunct.

            --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "abbababbaccc" <abbababbaccc@...>
            wrote:
            >
            > I've noticed this too and it makes me wonder, is heads cut really
            > necessary at all? Now those traditonal distilleries in Scotland
            > recycle their heads over and over again. Eventually they should get
            > so concentrated with lower boiling point components that in
            practise
            > all the stuff from the mash gets to the middle cut. Of course the
            > final product won't have that taste as lot's of heads from the
            > whiskey evaporates as angels share. As we all know low temperature
            > evaporation hits heads components the hardest. Another thing is
            that
            > the oak itself converts many unwanted congeners to more palatable
            > compunds.
            >
            > This made me remember, I have somewhere two quarts of whiskey on
            oak
            > that I madde without the heads cut. I may have to sample that one
            of
            > these days, maybe even apply the low temperature evaporation
            > principle to that and see how it turns out.
            >
            > Cheers, Riku
            >
            > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "jamesonbeam1" <jamesonbeam1@>
            > wrote:
            > >
            > >
            > > I always mix alot of heads in with the middle run for the right
            > taste.
            > >
            > > >
            >
          • duds2u
            Sorry Members but somehow I managed to split the reply post. Bugger Cheers Mal T.
            Message 5 of 28 , Mar 3, 2008
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              Sorry Members but somehow I managed to split the reply post.
              Bugger
              Cheers
              Mal T.
            • mavnkaf
              Harry, your a smart ass!! And I like it,.. just those two names opened a whole lot of reading for free, no illegal stuff here. I like your way of thinking.
              Message 6 of 28 , Mar 3, 2008
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                Harry, your a smart ass!! And I like it,.. just those two names
                opened a whole lot of reading for free, no illegal stuff here. I like
                your way of thinking. Just one link I found which I'm trying to get my
                head around.

                http://tinyurl.com/ynn7wh

                My head hurts!!

                Cheer

                Marc


                --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Harry <gnikomson2000@...> wrote:
                >
                > Mssrs. McCabe & Theile musta been talking through their hats. :)
                >
                > Slainte!
                > regards Harry
                > http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/
                > =======================================
              • Sherman
                Yes the liquid vapor equilibrium is hard to understand. I made a graph using some equations from HD that gives a practical application of that concept as
                Message 7 of 28 , Mar 3, 2008
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                  Yes the liquid vapor equilibrium is hard to understand.
                  I made a graph using some equations from HD that gives a practical
                  application of that concept as related to ethanol and water.
                  here is an example with instructions.
                  http://tinyurl.com/ytxwre
                  here is the graph in F http://tinyurl.com/28xnt9
                  and one in C http://tinyurl.com/ywfw2l



                  --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "mavnkaf" <mavnkaf@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Harry, your a smart ass!! And I like it,.. just those two names
                  > opened a whole lot of reading for free, no illegal stuff here. I like
                  > your way of thinking. Just one link I found which I'm trying to get my
                  > head around.
                  >
                  > http://tinyurl.com/ynn7wh
                  >
                  > My head hurts!!
                  >
                  > Cheer
                  >
                  > Marc
                  >
                  >
                  > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Harry <gnikomson2000@> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > Mssrs. McCabe & Theile musta been talking through their hats. :)
                  > >
                  > > Slainte!
                  > > regards Harry
                  > > http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/
                  > > =======================================
                  >
                • mavnkaf
                  Thanks Sherman, Thats not the only thing that is confusing me at the moment. I m trying to work out the best way to use a 1 inch full bore ball valve in a
                  Message 8 of 28 , Mar 3, 2008
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                    Thanks Sherman,

                    Thats not the only thing that is confusing me at the moment. I'm
                    trying to work out the best way to use a 1 inch full bore ball valve
                    in a side draft arm VM still?

                    I better post that in a thread of it own:))

                    Cheers
                    Marc

                    --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Sherman" <pintoshine@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Yes the liquid vapor equilibrium is hard to understand.
                    > I made a graph using some equations from HD that gives a practical
                    > application of that concept as related to ethanol and water.
                    > here is an example with instructions.
                    > http://tinyurl.com/ytxwre
                    > here is the graph in F http://tinyurl.com/28xnt9
                    > and one in C http://tinyurl.com/ywfw2l
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "mavnkaf" <mavnkaf@> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > Harry, your a smart ass!! And I like it,.. just those two names
                    > > opened a whole lot of reading for free, no illegal stuff here. I
                    like
                    > > your way of thinking. Just one link I found which I'm trying to
                    get my
                    > > head around.
                    > >
                    > > http://tinyurl.com/ynn7wh
                    > >
                    > > My head hurts!!
                    > >
                    > > Cheer
                    > >
                    > > Marc
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Harry <gnikomson2000@> wrote:
                    > > >
                    > > > Mssrs. McCabe & Theile musta been talking through their
                    hats. :)
                    > > >
                    > > > Slainte!
                    > > > regards Harry
                    > > > http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/
                    > > > =======================================
                    > >
                    >
                  • Harry
                    ... ... Good charts, Sherman. That shows the result of one (1) simple distillation with a given starting mash percentage (proving
                    Message 9 of 28 , Mar 3, 2008
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                      --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Sherman" <pintoshine@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Yes the liquid vapor equilibrium is hard to understand.
                      > I made a graph using some equations from HD that gives a practical
                      > application of that concept as related to ethanol and water.
                      > here is an example with instructions.
                      > http://tinyurl.com/ytxwre
                      > here is the graph in F http://tinyurl.com/28xnt9
                      > and one in C http://tinyurl.com/ywfw2l

                       

                      Good charts, Sherman.  That shows the result of one (1) simple distillation with a given starting mash percentage (proving that mash %age is relevant).

                      Now draw in a second, and third, and fourth set of lines using the resulting yield strength of each simple distillation (in the interests of education, I temporarily borrowed your diagram to illustrate, Sherman.  Hope you don't mind).

                       

                       

                      What you have is the beginnings of a McCabe-Thiele diagram.  It begins to look like a flight of stairs.  Each 'step' is a simple distillation.  Also equivalent to a 'theoretical plate'.  See where this is going?

                      It takes more & more 'plates' (simple distillations) which are closer & closer together in terms of starting point to yield strength, to increase the ethanol percentage and eventually arrive at azeotrope.

                      If you count the 'plates' (steps), that's how many you need in a plate or tray column (plus a few extra to allow for inefficiencies).  For packed columns, other formulae are used to arrive at an amount and height of packing aka HETP or Height Equivalent of each Theoretical Plate.

                      As you can see, most of the gains are at the low number of distillations (2 or 3).  After that, it becomes a merry-go-round of inputting more energy for not much gain.  Thus two runs in a pot still is usually sufficient for most purposes (brown spirits).  But you need to go all the way if you want purity for Grain Neutral Spirits (GNS) or vodka.

                      This might help people get a handle on why we build our various stills (pot and reflux/fractioning) like we do (see Jim?  We're not just a 'reflux' group).  =P~

                      HTH

                      Slainte!
                      regards Harry
                      http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/

                    • Harry
                      So, now that you ve digested that little bit of info on reading charts, let s put it to something really worthwhile, particularly for pot distillers (you with
                      Message 10 of 28 , Mar 3, 2008
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                        So, now that you've digested that little bit of info on reading charts, let's put it to something really worthwhile, particularly for pot distillers (you with me Jim?)

                        Use such a chart to work out what you should dilute your second run down to, to recover hearts at a pre-determined strength (ain't that neat?)

                        All you gotta do is work backwards & draw in the necessary lines.  To illustrate (again with Sherman's base graph)...


                        It's not absolutely accurate, because you will have small amounts of heads & tails included, but it is close enough to use as a reliable guide or 'rule-of-thumb'.

                        If you want to know a whole lot more about the why's or advantages of diluting the still charge, have a read of my paper in the Library...
                        http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/Diluting_the_still_charge/

                         

                        HTH
                         
                        Slainte!
                        regards Harry
                        http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/

                      • duds2u
                        I think a light just came on for me. Thanks Harry. I had read that chart a number of times and had never considered using it in reverse to work out a dilution
                        Message 11 of 28 , Mar 3, 2008
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                          I think a light just came on for me.
                          Thanks Harry. I had read that chart a number of times and had never
                          considered using it in reverse to work out a dilution to give me a
                          specified final ABV%.
                          I just happen to have something fermenting in the shed that will get
                          a slightly different treatment to my previous efforts.
                          It will be interesting to taste the results.

                          --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Harry" <gnikomson2000@...> wrote:
                          >
                          >
                          > So, now that you've digested that little bit of info on reading
                          charts,
                          > let's put it to something really worthwhile, particularly for pot
                          > distillers (you with me Jim?)
                          >
                          > Use such a chart to work out what you should dilute your second run
                          down
                          > to, to recover hearts at a pre-determined strength (ain't that
                          neat?)
                          >
                          > All you gotta do is work backwards & draw in the necessary lines.
                          To
                          > illustrate (again with Sherman's base graph)...
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > It's not absolutely accurate, because you will have small amounts of
                          > heads & tails included, but it is close enough to use as a reliable
                          > guide or 'rule-of-thumb'.
                          >
                          > If you want to know a whole lot more about the why's or advantages
                          of
                          > diluting the still charge, have a read of my paper in the Library...
                          > http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/Diluting_the_still_charge/
                          > <http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/Diluting_the_still_charge/>
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > HTH
                          >
                          > Slainte!
                          > regards Harry
                          > http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/
                          > <http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/>
                          >
                        • gff_stwrt
                          Hi, Todd and Peter, hi folks, Todd, can you tell me, is your Bokakob still the slant plate one or another of his designs? And have you used a two-inch column?
                          Message 12 of 28 , Mar 3, 2008
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                            Hi, Todd and Peter, hi folks,

                            Todd, can you tell me, is your Bokakob still the slant plate one
                            or another of his designs?

                            And have you used a two-inch column?

                            I am thinking of making the slant plate one some day, after I
                            get better at operating my pot still.

                            And I am thinking of using a small (maybe ten imperial gallons,
                            which I think is fortyseven litres) hot-water system boiler for my
                            pot still, instead of the liquid propane gas one I use now. Perhaps
                            the two-inch column I use now is not big enough for the 3,6oo watt
                            element.

                            If so I will either have to use a bigger-diameter column, or
                            replace the element with a lower-rated one.

                            What do you more experienced distillers think?



                            --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "toddk63" <toddk63@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > I run a 48" BOK as a pot still for my corn. I leave just a couple
                            of
                            > scrubbers at the top ( about 6 to 8" of scrubbers). For the
                            strip, I
                            > run it wide open and about 3200W (measured at the condenser) until
                            > about 211°F at the top. The strip cuts the volume and increases
                            > strength 4x. Theoretical is about 3x to give you an idea of any
                            > natural reflux going on. For the spirit run, same hardware setup.
                            Run
                            > it about half the power as the strip (1600W). I may pinch the
                            > off-take valve back a bit just for the foreshots, then open it wide
                            > and just watch my cuts. No intentional reflux...none! This run
                            brings
                            > my 30% low wines up to about 75% in the main cut.
                            >
                            > So lose all but a bit of packing and leave that off take valve open
                            > and you'll be fine.
                            >
                            > I admire and respect Smiley for much of his book on corn whiskey,
                            but
                            > when it comes to his method of reflux still and cuts, I never
                            could do
                            > it either. So I tried simple pot stilling and have never gone
                            back.
                            >
                            > Good Luck,
                            >
                            > Todd K.
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "peter442737" <peter.coleman20@>
                            > wrote:
                            > >
                            > > Hi Mason
                            > > The 3 stripping runs were done without the packing and they were
                            fine
                            > > they produced 50% no problem. In the final run I tried to make
                            the
                            > > cuts as per Smiley's Corn book but obviously failed miserably.
                            The
                            > > Two Cup Bok still is great. No probs with that can produce 95%
                            > > fine. I think like you say I will have to try without packing.
                            > > Worked out the ratios of the cuts from the Corn Book and it did
                            seem
                            > > that the smell and the taste had guided me in the right
                            direction.
                            > > Ah well thats inexperience for you. Will try again.
                            > > Thanks PC
                            > >
                            > >
                            >
                          • jamesonbeam1
                            Yes Harry, Right with ya boss. As a matter of fact, I studied this chart way before I found this forum and started distilling and posting here. I found
                            Message 13 of 28 , Mar 3, 2008
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                              Yes  Harry,

                              Right with ya boss.  As a matter of fact, I studied this chart way before I found this forum and started distilling and  posting here.  I found this by accident, (not as concise of course)  and the theory behind it on a site of  Tony Ackland's - HomeDistllers.com: http://homedistiller.org/theory.htm#strong 

                              It took me a while, but finally figured out what  them red and blue lines ment.  However, being the lazy  SOB (self-made of course :) distiller that i am, ended up using that self-calculating table below it, instead of trying to extrapolate the lines.

                              I also studied the theory behind reflux still design and theoretical plates (believe it was developed by McCabe-Thiele)  at: http://homedistiller.org/refluxdesign.htm and finally figured out that a pot still is one plate, and each additional plate equals a second, third or 4th distillation on a pot still, till azerotrope is reached (impossible on a pot still of course).

                              (and BTW Sherman and Harry, what a great job ya'll did on improving and connotating that chart, im really impressed - wish i'd had it a year ago - would a kept me sober a bit longer and been so much simpler :):):).

                              Im very sorry if  offending anyone by my comments, but the point I was trying to make, is that i still cant understand why folks would do stripping runs on a reflux still, without taking the packing out and running it wide open like a pot still, then doing the spirits run with cuts the same way (as Todd K stated), and I appologize.

                              Vino es Veritas,

                              Jim.

                               

                              --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Harry" <gnikomson2000@...> wrote:
                              >
                              >
                              > So, now that you've digested that little bit of info on reading charts,
                              > let's put it to something really worthwhile, particularly for pot
                              > distillers (you with me Jim?)
                              >
                              > Use such a chart to work out what you should dilute your second run down
                              > to, to recover hearts at a pre-determined strength (ain't that neat?)
                              >
                              > All you gotta do is work backwards & draw in the necessary lines. To
                              > illustrate (again with Sherman's base graph)...
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > It's not absolutely accurate, because you will have small amounts of
                              > heads & tails included, but it is close enough to use as a reliable
                              > guide or 'rule-of-thumb'.
                              >
                              > If you want to know a whole lot more about the why's or advantages of
                              > diluting the still charge, have a read of my paper in the Library...
                              > http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/Diluting_the_still_charge/
                              > <http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/Diluting_the_still_charge/>
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > HTH
                              >
                              > Slainte!
                              > regards Harry
                              > http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/
                              > <http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/>
                              >

                            • Harry
                              ... No offence taken Jim, so you ve got nothing to apologise for. There s too much fun happening here for molecule-sized things to be rocking the boat. Re
                              Message 14 of 28 , Mar 3, 2008
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                                --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "jamesonbeam1" <jamesonbeam1@...>
                                wrote:
                                >
                                > Im very sorry if offending anyone by my comments, but the point I was
                                > trying to make, is that i still cant understand why folks would do
                                > stripping runs on a reflux still, without taking the packing out and
                                > running it wide open like a pot still, then doing the spirits run with
                                > cuts the same way (as Todd K stated), and I appologize.
                                >
                                > Vino es Veritas,
                                >
                                > Jim.



                                No offence taken Jim, so you've got nothing to apologise for. There's
                                too much fun happening here for molecule-sized things to be rocking the
                                boat.

                                Re stripping & reflux stills: The main reason for doing it (or should
                                be) is to rapidly separate most of the water, AND any residual
                                unfermented sugars (some sugars, like dextrins, are non-fermentable
                                normally as you will be aware). If you were to reflux these for a
                                prolonged period (some reflux stills apply heat for 8-10 hrs or more)
                                then there's a REAL chance that you'll end up with a burnt taste
                                through your distillate, which no amount of post-treatment (carbon or
                                otherwise) will remove. Rapid stripping to separate these non-
                                fermentables followed by a second slow distillation of the strippate
                                will always result in an improved (not burnt) product suitable for GNS
                                or vodkas. Of course if brown spirits is the goal, then a pot still is
                                a more sensible option, but it can be achieved with a de-tuned reflux
                                still, in which case the burnt issue might actually be an advantage (as
                                in some rums).

                                Hope this explains it.

                                Slainte!
                                regards Harry
                                http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/
                              • toddk63
                                Its the SR (Single Reducer) design. Yes 2 column 2 column would be perfect with your 3600W element so long as you have a variac or other temp controller.
                                Message 15 of 28 , Mar 4, 2008
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                                  Its the SR (Single Reducer) design. Yes 2" column

                                  2" column would be perfect with your 3600W element so long as you have
                                  a variac or other temp controller. It may be a bit much without the
                                  temp controller.

                                  Todd K.


                                  --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "gff_stwrt" <gff_stwrt@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > Hi, Todd and Peter, hi folks,
                                  >
                                  > Todd, can you tell me, is your Bokakob still the slant plate one
                                  > or another of his designs?
                                  >
                                  > And have you used a two-inch column?
                                  >
                                  > I am thinking of making the slant plate one some day, after I
                                  > get better at operating my pot still.
                                  >
                                  > And I am thinking of using a small (maybe ten imperial gallons,
                                  > which I think is fortyseven litres) hot-water system boiler for my
                                  > pot still, instead of the liquid propane gas one I use now. Perhaps
                                  > the two-inch column I use now is not big enough for the 3,6oo watt
                                  > element.
                                  >
                                  > If so I will either have to use a bigger-diameter column, or
                                  > replace the element with a lower-rated one.
                                  >
                                  > What do you more experienced distillers think?
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
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