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Heads, tails, foreshots, middle run??

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  • whriley
    Ok... what is the trick to knowing when to stop collecting the heads and then collect the middle and tails... exactly what are the foreshots?
    Message 1 of 10 , Mar 10, 2008
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      Ok... what is the trick to knowing when to stop collecting the heads
      and then collect the middle and tails... exactly what are the foreshots?
    • Trid
      ... Mostly taste will tell. Really, only doing it over and over will give you a feel for what tastes like what and where to make the cuts (this is art part
      Message 2 of 10 , Mar 10, 2008
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        --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "whriley" <try.it@...> wrote:
        >
        > Ok... what is the trick to knowing when to stop collecting the heads
        > and then collect the middle and tails... exactly what are the foreshots?

        Mostly taste will tell. Really, only doing it over and over will give
        you a feel for what tastes like what and where to make the cuts (this
        is "art" part of the hobby)

        The quick and dirty is:
        Foreshots...the first thing that comes out of the still when you're
        heating up. It consists of the most volatile (lowest boiling
        temperature) compounds. This also contains the highest proportion of
        things that are toxic, not just unpleasant tasting. This is why it's
        encouraged to toss this portion. Plus, it's a small portion of the
        total run, so it's not a large loss in comparison to what you
        keep...it's also why it's better to throw more away than less if in
        doubt. Safety always trumps that extra 20-50 ml.

        Heads...the fraction that comes after the foreshots. This has a lower
        portion of the volatile nasties, the highest fraction of ethanol, but
        other lower boiling point compounds such as amyl acetate (banana
        smell) and things that lead to a very light, sometimes fruity tasting,
        but not quite "right" tasting spirit. Again, taste is where you draw
        the line between heads and hearts.

        Hearts...also known as "middle run" is the good stuff. It has the
        right balance of ethanol, volatiles, water, and fusels (the less
        volatile compounds that show up more in the tails) that lends to the
        best tasting spirit. This is what you want to keep.

        Tails...the final fracton of the run. This is where the ethanol
        fraction of your distillate is getting lower, and the portion of water
        and fusels are increasingly high to the point where the flavors will
        become more and more harsh. Still, there's valuable ethanol in there,
        *and* that's where the lion's share of the distinctive flavors are
        found, particularly in rum. Again, this is where the art is honed by
        repetition. Taste really does determine where you decide to divide
        between hearts and tails.

        Finally, in terms or subsequent runs, the heads and tails (the portion
        that you don't want to keep, but have plenty of usable alcohol), which
        are collectively known as "feints" would be set aside to run with the
        next batch in order to recover the good stuff as well as increase the
        flavor.

        Again, finding where you're happy with drawing the line between
        foreshots, heads, hearts, and tails is part of the art and come with
        practice. A really rough starting point might be to split it 25/50/25
        where the first 25% of the distillate would be heads, 50% is hearts,
        and all that remains would be tails (~50-100 ml per 20L discarded for
        foreshots is considered given and don't figure into your proportions).
        You could try 33/33/33 or even go by %abv if you're using a parrot's
        beak to continuously monitor the state of your distillate. These are
        only rough starting out points, but your own taste is the final judge.

        Trid
        -I'm still working on getting my cuts'just so'...always a work in progress
      • jamesonbeam1
        Hey Whriley, Foreshots are the first part of the distillate that comes out, that contains most of the acetone and methanol in the solution. These usually run
        Message 3 of 10 , Mar 10, 2008
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          Hey Whriley,

          Foreshots are the first part of the distillate that comes out, that
          contains most of the acetone and methanol in the solution. These
          usually run for about the first 100 - 250 mL depending on the size of
          your boiler. They should not be imbibed. For a good discussion of
          Foreshots, Heads, Middle run (Hearts) and Tails, see:

          http://homedistiller.org/dtw.htm

          When to stop collecting the various cuts depends on what your trying to
          make - neutral alcohol or flavored stuff.. As you read the section att
          Tony's site, you will see that these can be determined by temperature,
          hydrometer, percentage or when you get experienced, the best way -
          smell, taste and sight. For example, the foreshots smell like paint
          thinner, the tails will start to get cloudy and have an oily slick on
          top...

          But, thats what makes a master distiller :):):).

          Vino es Veritas,
          Jim.
          --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "whriley" <try.it@...> wrote:
          >
          > Ok... what is the trick to knowing when to stop collecting the heads
          > and then collect the middle and tails... exactly what are the
          foreshots?
          >
        • Sherman
          You know, you two did a lot of explaining as to what these things are but you forgot to tell him about What they are. First of all let me say that it is
          Message 4 of 10 , Mar 10, 2008
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            You know, you two did a lot of explaining as to what these things are
            but you forgot to tell him about "What" they are.

            First of all let me say that it is "YOUR" sense of taste and smell
            that makes a difference. Whenever you are learning a new skill it
            always takes practice. A trained nose or tongue is a precious thing.
            You cannot train a nose or tongue when it is overwhelmed by something
            as potent to the uninitiated as alcohol is. It literally numbs your
            senses it is so strong an anesthetic.

            So having said that lets start with the procedure that the new can use
            to help identify the parts of the pot still run that are good and
            those that are not. Don't let all this talk about poison and stuff
            scare you off it is just superstition by a bunch of old men who know
            any better. There is nothing in you run that was not in the original
            beer or wine or sugar wash that you are distilling. Yes it is true
            that some parts are concentrated in different sections but the worse
            you will encounter is a bad hangover. And most importantly the really
            nasty stuff is flavorless and odorless anyway. Simple measurement
            doesn't work because the combination of yeast, air, fermentables,
            non-fermentables, pectin and nutrients makes each run different. It
            would be like saying people under 5' should be killed. Generalizations
            are generally wrong.

            In order to tell if something is good or not you have to dilute it.
            Pick a good, clean, bottled spring water that you like the flavor of.
            I pretty flexible and use generic filter tap water. Have a lot of
            small containers such as those 4 oz juice containers or some baby food
            jars on hand because these are going to be your collection jars.

            I always check by watering the spirit down to about 30% anyway. The
            water opens up the bouquet of some of the water soluble fragrances and
            will cause a particular heavy fusel oil tails to louche(turn white
            when water is added). I have learned that sometimes, especially with
            brandy, there is a part around 40 to 45% that is particular nasty but
            40 to 30% is quite tasty and carries the fruit flavors over.

            As far as the heads cut is concerned, it is a banana/pineapple smell
            and a firey sharp sting, and when watered down it has an chemical sort
            of smell and taste. This will break after a small amount of the first
            spirits because the off flavor is because of the acetalhyde which is
            mostly gaseous and dissipates quickly. By watering down you will
            quickly be able to identify this bad smell and taste. After a small
            amount of the first run, it will leave and a more palatable liquor
            will appear. This is the end of the head cut, but you may not want to
            toss it out.

            Now I benefit from running a doubler on both my stripping and
            finishing pots. I get a bit sharper distinction in the tails because
            of the non-lineararity of the run on the doubling run. But I think the
            conclusion that few will tell you is that there are distinct parts of
            the spirit that can be utilized and the best success is through
            knowing how to blend the appropriate parts.

            For instance, pugidog has just discovered where the rum oils are. Buy
            using the appropriate parts in subsequent distillations, he is able
            bring out the buttery rum flavor that is the distinction of a Jamaican
            Rum. It is the flavor that makes a really good bread pudding great
            when there is a really good butter rum sauce.

            When I am teaching blending, I always task the distiller to collect
            the entire run in small containers and fill each with the same amount.

            Taste test each part. You may not like the flavor of the part that
            comes over at 42% or 52% but when added to the part that came over at
            56% it is complimentary. My uncle Leo's corn and malt whiskey had a
            very dish water taste around 42%. He would toss that and wouldn't even
            keep it for tails. He would add the rest from 41 down to 30 because he
            said that is the "sweet corn" flavor that makes the oak sing. So
            depending on what you are making different parts may be better than
            others.

            I have had wheat germ running the second time coming over almost
            flavorless like vodka up around 82%, but the flavor starts kicking in
            around 55% real nice. By the time it gets to 45% it starts tasting
            like white dog(raw and rough corn liquor). It is one that I can keep
            the whole run down to 45% but not below because of the oil content. It
            can have really cloudy tails. Now I have had a lot of runs of corn and
            barley malt have a habit of turning blue at around 40% I don't now
            exactly why but I know it is copper sulfate coming over. Something in
            the tails reacts badly with the copper in the condenser. It is just
            something I expect.

            So you see there is no simple answer and it takes a lot of
            experimentation. Small containers, louche and flavor test with water,
            and careful blending is where the art is.



            --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "jamesonbeam1" <jamesonbeam1@...>
            wrote:
            >
            > Hey Whriley,
            >
            > Foreshots are the first part of the distillate that comes out, that
            > contains most of the acetone and methanol in the solution. These
            > usually run for about the first 100 - 250 mL depending on the size of
            > your boiler. They should not be imbibed. For a good discussion of
            > Foreshots, Heads, Middle run (Hearts) and Tails, see:
            >
            > http://homedistiller.org/dtw.htm
            >
            > When to stop collecting the various cuts depends on what your trying to
            > make - neutral alcohol or flavored stuff.. As you read the section att
            > Tony's site, you will see that these can be determined by temperature,
            > hydrometer, percentage or when you get experienced, the best way -
            > smell, taste and sight. For example, the foreshots smell like paint
            > thinner, the tails will start to get cloudy and have an oily slick on
            > top...
            >
            > But, thats what makes a master distiller :):):).
            >
            > Vino es Veritas,
            > Jim.
            > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "whriley" <try.it@> wrote:
            > >
            > > Ok... what is the trick to knowing when to stop collecting the heads
            > > and then collect the middle and tails... exactly what are the
            > foreshots?
            > >
            >
          • jamesonbeam1
            As stated Whriley, This is what makes a Master Distller - listen to Sherman... Vino es Veritas, Jim. ... are ... something ... use ... really ...
            Message 5 of 10 , Mar 10, 2008
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              As stated Whriley,

              This is what makes a Master Distller - listen to Sherman...

              Vino es Veritas,
              Jim.

              --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Sherman" <pintoshine@...> wrote:
              >
              > You know, you two did a lot of explaining as to what these things
              are
              > but you forgot to tell him about "What" they are.
              >
              > First of all let me say that it is "YOUR" sense of taste and smell
              > that makes a difference. Whenever you are learning a new skill it
              > always takes practice. A trained nose or tongue is a precious thing.
              > You cannot train a nose or tongue when it is overwhelmed by
              something
              > as potent to the uninitiated as alcohol is. It literally numbs your
              > senses it is so strong an anesthetic.
              >
              > So having said that lets start with the procedure that the new can
              use
              > to help identify the parts of the pot still run that are good and
              > those that are not. Don't let all this talk about poison and stuff
              > scare you off it is just superstition by a bunch of old men who know
              > any better. There is nothing in you run that was not in the original
              > beer or wine or sugar wash that you are distilling. Yes it is true
              > that some parts are concentrated in different sections but the worse
              > you will encounter is a bad hangover. And most importantly the
              really
              > nasty stuff is flavorless and odorless anyway. Simple measurement
              > doesn't work because the combination of yeast, air, fermentables,
              > non-fermentables, pectin and nutrients makes each run different. It
              > would be like saying people under 5' should be killed.
              Generalizations
              > are generally wrong.
              ___snip___

              > > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "whriley" <try.it@> wrote:
              > > >
              > > > Ok... what is the trick to knowing when to stop collecting the
              heads
              > > > and then collect the middle and tails... exactly what are the
              > > foreshots?
              > > >
              > >
              >
            • Andrew Bugal
              Best bit of advice I have seen here in a long time. Trust your force Luke . As regards shooting people under 5....having three kids, there were times the
              Message 6 of 10 , Mar 12, 2008
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                Best bit of advice I have seen here in a long time.  "Trust your force Luke".
                 
                As regards shooting people under 5....having three kids, there were times the thought crossed my mind...especially when they are 2 girls and one boy.
                 
                Happy 'stilling
                 
                Bwyze

                jamesonbeam1 <jamesonbeam1@...> wrote:
                As stated Whriley,

                This is what makes a Master Distller - listen to Sherman...

                Vino es Veritas,
                Jim.

                --- In Distillers@yahoogro ups.com, "Sherman" <pintoshine@ ...> wrote:
                >
                > You know, you two did a lot of explaining as to what these things
                are
                > but you forgot to tell him about "What" they are.
                >
                > First of all let me say that it is "YOUR" sense of taste and smell
                > that makes a difference. Whenever you are learning a new skill it
                > always takes practice. A trained nose or tongue is a precious thing.
                > You cannot train a nose or tongue when it is overwhelmed by
                something
                > as potent to the uninitiated as alcohol is. It literally numbs your
                > senses it is so strong an anesthetic.
                >
                > So having said that lets start with the procedure that the new can
                use
                > to help identify the parts of the pot still run that are good and
                > those that are not. Don't let all this talk about poison and stuff
                > scare you off it is just superstition by a bunch of old men who know
                > any better. There is nothing in you run that was not in the original
                > beer or wine or sugar wash that you are distilling. Yes it is true
                > that some parts are concentrated in different sections but the worse
                > you will encounter is a bad hangover. And most importantly the
                really
                > nasty stuff is flavorless and odorless anyway. Simple measurement
                > doesn't work because the combination of yeast, air, fermentables,
                > non-fermentables, pectin and nutrients makes each run different. It
                > would be like saying people under 5' should be killed.
                Generalizations
                > are generally wrong.
                ___snip___

                > > --- In Distillers@yahoogro ups.com, "whriley" <try.it@> wrote:
                > > >
                > > > Ok... what is the trick to knowing when to stop collecting the
                heads
                > > > and then collect the middle and tails... exactly what are the
                > > foreshots?
                > > >
                > >
                >



                Get the name you always wanted with the new y7mail email address.

              • whriley
                thanks guys... i guess I was hoping for a simple measurement.. I have a feeling I am going to be lit the first few runs tasting this stuff every few minutes...
                Message 7 of 10 , Mar 13, 2008
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                  thanks guys... i guess I was hoping for a simple measurement.. I have
                  a feeling I am going to be lit the first few runs tasting this stuff
                  every few minutes...

                  i guess the phrase "the artist needs to suffer to improve his art is
                  true..." ;-)



                  --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Andrew Bugal <bwyze44@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Best bit of advice I have seen here in a long time. "Trust your
                  force Luke".
                  >
                  > As regards shooting people under 5....having three kids, there
                  were times the thought crossed my mind...especially when they are 2
                  girls and one boy.
                  >
                  > Happy 'stilling
                  >
                  > Bwyze
                  >
                  > jamesonbeam1 <jamesonbeam1@...> wrote:
                  > As stated Whriley,
                  >
                  > This is what makes a Master Distller - listen to Sherman...
                  >
                  > Vino es Veritas,
                  > Jim.
                  >
                  > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Sherman" <pintoshine@> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > You know, you two did a lot of explaining as to what these things
                  > are
                  > > but you forgot to tell him about "What" they are.
                  > >
                  > > First of all let me say that it is "YOUR" sense of taste and smell
                  > > that makes a difference. Whenever you are learning a new skill it
                  > > always takes practice. A trained nose or tongue is a precious
                  thing.
                  > > You cannot train a nose or tongue when it is overwhelmed by
                  > something
                  > > as potent to the uninitiated as alcohol is. It literally numbs
                  your
                  > > senses it is so strong an anesthetic.
                  > >
                  > > So having said that lets start with the procedure that the new
                  can
                  > use
                  > > to help identify the parts of the pot still run that are good and
                  > > those that are not. Don't let all this talk about poison and stuff
                  > > scare you off it is just superstition by a bunch of old men who
                  know
                  > > any better. There is nothing in you run that was not in the
                  original
                  > > beer or wine or sugar wash that you are distilling. Yes it is true
                  > > that some parts are concentrated in different sections but the
                  worse
                  > > you will encounter is a bad hangover. And most importantly the
                  > really
                  > > nasty stuff is flavorless and odorless anyway. Simple measurement
                  > > doesn't work because the combination of yeast, air, fermentables,
                  > > non-fermentables, pectin and nutrients makes each run different.
                  It
                  > > would be like saying people under 5' should be killed.
                  > Generalizations
                  > > are generally wrong.
                  > ___snip___
                  >
                  > > > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "whriley" <try.it@> wrote:
                  > > > >
                  > > > > Ok... what is the trick to knowing when to stop collecting
                  the
                  > heads
                  > > > > and then collect the middle and tails... exactly what are the
                  > > > foreshots?
                  > > > >
                  > > >
                  > >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > ---------------------------------
                  > Get the name you always wanted with the new y7mail email address.
                  >
                • Robert Hubble
                  Whriley, When I toured the Clear Creek distillery in Portland, OR last year, I noticed that the 3 small potstills had no obvious instrumentation. When I asked
                  Message 8 of 10 , Mar 13, 2008
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                    Whriley,
                     
                    When I toured the Clear Creek distillery in Portland, OR last year, I noticed that the 3 small potstills
                    had no obvious instrumentation. When I asked the lady guiding the tour, she said the owner/founder
                    made his cuts entirely by nose and taste. She paused and then added, with a small smile, "By 2:30,
                    he's about tasted out".  I can just bet.
                     
                    Sorry about all the old text, f**kin' Hotmail just took that ability away. Why oh why do I ever get
                    suckered into Microsoft upgrades?

                    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller



                    To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                    From: try.it@...
                    Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2008 00:21:55 +0000
                    Subject: [Distillers] Re: Heads, tails, foreshots, middle run??

                    thanks guys... i guess I was hoping for a simple measurement. . I have
                    a feeling I am going to be lit the first few runs tasting this stuff
                    every few minutes...

                    i guess the phrase "the artist needs to suffer to improve his art is
                    true..." ;-)

                    --- In Distillers@yahoogro ups.com, Andrew Bugal <bwyze44@... > wrote:
                    >
                    > Best bit of advice I have seen here in a long time. "Trust your
                    force Luke".
                    >
                    > As regards shooting people under 5....having three kids, there
                    were times the thought crossed my mind...especially when they are 2
                    girls and one boy.
                    >
                    > Happy 'stilling
                    >
                    > Bwyze
                    >
                    > jamesonbeam1 <jamesonbeam1@ ...> wrote:
                    > As stated Whriley,
                    >
                    > This is what makes a Master Distller - listen to Sherman...
                    >
                    > Vino es Veritas,
                    > Jim.
                    >
                    > --- In Distillers@yahoogro ups.com, "Sherman" <pintoshine@ > wrote:
                    > >
                    > > You know, you two did a lot of explaining as to what these things
                    > are
                    > > but you forgot to tell him about "What" they are.
                    > >
                    > > First of all let me say that it is "YOUR" sense of taste and smell
                    > > that makes a difference. Whenever you are learning a new skill it
                    > > always takes practice. A trained nose or tongue is a precious
                    thing.
                    > > You cannot train a nose or tongue when it is overwhelmed by
                    > something
                    > > as potent to the uninitiated as alcohol is. It literally numbs
                    your
                    > > senses it is so strong an anesthetic.
                    > >
                    > > So having said that lets start with the procedure that the new
                    can
                    > use
                    > > to help identify the parts of the pot still run that are good and
                    > > those that are not. Don't let all this talk about poison and stuff
                    > > scare you off it is just superstition by a bunch of old men who
                    know
                    > > any better. There is nothing in you run that was not in the
                    original
                    > > beer or wine or sugar wash that you are distilling. Yes it is true
                    > > that some parts are concentrated in different sections but the
                    worse
                    > > you will encounter is a bad hangover. And most importantly the
                    > really
                    > > nasty stuff is flavorless and odorless anyway. Simple measurement
                    > > doesn't work because the combination of yeast, air, fermentables,
                    > > non-fermentables, pectin and nutrients makes each run different.
                    It
                    > > would be like saying people under 5' should be killed.
                    > Generalizations
                    > > are generally wrong.
                    > ___snip___
                    >
                    > > > --- In Distillers@yahoogro ups.com, "whriley" <try.it@> wrote:
                    > > > >
                    > > > > Ok... what is the trick to knowing when to stop collecting
                    the
                    > heads
                    > > > > and then collect the middle and tails... exactly what are the
                    > > > foreshots?
                    > > > >
                    > > >
                    > >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > ------------ --------- --------- ---
                    > Get the name you always wanted with the new y7mail email address.
                    >




                    Climb to the top of the charts! Play the word scramble challenge with star power. Play now!
                  • Harry
                    ... away. Why oh why do I ever get ... Switch to Yahoo! email. There s a facility for redirecting all your elsewhere mailboxes (including your private
                    Message 9 of 10 , Mar 13, 2008
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                      --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Robert Hubble <zymurgybob@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Sorry about all the old text, f**kin' Hotmail just took that ability
                      away. Why oh why do I ever get
                      > suckered into Microsoft upgrades?Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller
                      >


                      Switch to Yahoo! email. There's a facility for redirecting all your
                      elsewhere mailboxes (including your private machine) into one account
                      for viewing. Good editing facilities also.

                      Or read & post at our website.

                      Slainte!
                      regards Harry
                      http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/
                    • Tom Smith
                      ... Whriley, I have a post in new distillers #26636 that address s this. when the run starts the first 50ml is forshots in a 5gal batch of all grain wash there
                      Message 10 of 10 , Mar 14, 2008
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                        --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "whriley" <try.it@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > thanks guys... i guess I was hoping for a simple measurement.. I have
                        > a feeling I am going to be lit the first few runs tasting this stuff
                        > every few minutes...
                        >
                        > i guess the phrase "the artist needs to suffer to improve his art is
                        > true..." ;-)
                        >
                        >
                        Whriley,
                        I have a post in new distillers #26636 that address's this. when the
                        run starts the first 50ml is forshots in a 5gal batch of all grain wash
                        there will only be about 2 liters of pure alcohol Max. so the cuts you
                        want are appx heads 17.4 Main run 57.1% tails 22.5% if you water and
                        taste the output you will find that it will start out tasting very
                        solvent like. then this will gradually fade away and it will taste real
                        sweet and smooth the it will start to lose the sweetness and the you
                        will start to get a really strong flavor of what ever it is you
                        fermented. then just as this flavor gets really strong it will all of a
                        sudden turn very bitter..anything after this shoud be tails. the number
                        that I used are for a middle third cut but I like to use a middle fifth
                        cut and I recycle the feints.

                        Youngblood
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