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96% Alcohol

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  • smudge311065 <smudge@bigpond.net.au>
    Can someone explain to me why they want to store alcohol at such a high concentration? Dry ethanol has a high affinity for water. There is a chemical reaction
    Message 1 of 27 , Jan 30, 2003
      Can someone explain to me why they want to store alcohol at such a
      high concentration?

      Dry ethanol has a high affinity for water. There is a chemical
      reaction when they mix which is why heat is given off. It doesn't
      seem to carbon filter well at that purity and I don't believe it ages
      well either.

      Drinks mixed from 40% spirit seem to taste smoother than higher
      strengths, even when mixed to equivalent proportions. I thought it
      was all in my head until I read that some cognac producers take years
      to dilute barrel strength down to 40% because of its affect on
      flavour.

      I think this whole 96% thing is a "my still is better than your
      still" pissing competition. I also question the accuracy of hobby
      hydrometers, but that's not the point. This hobby is about making
      good, drinkable alcohol. Off flavours can be detected in ppm (parts
      per million) and it doesn't matter what % it comes out of a still at
      if it tastes like shit.

      A still that can produce a high % output helps, but lets not lose
      sight of our main objective. We are trying to make something that
      mixes well with Coke, not something that mixes well with petrol.


      Smudge
    • bob johnson
      smudge you make a good point but im after strength. i make it as strong as possible then mix it. i just run it through my water distiller until i build a
      Message 2 of 27 , Jan 30, 2003
        smudge you make a good point but im after strength. i make it as strong as
        possible then mix it. i just run it through my water distiller until i build
        a still. i got most of the parts now 1 or 2 more checks should do it.
        thanks for reading
        - paul





        >From: "smudge311065 <smudge@...>" <smudge@...>
        >Reply-To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
        >To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
        >Subject: [Distillers] 96% Alcohol
        >Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2003 01:39:47 -0000
        >
        >Can someone explain to me why they want to store alcohol at such a
        >high concentration?
        >
        >Dry ethanol has a high affinity for water. There is a chemical
        >reaction when they mix which is why heat is given off. It doesn't
        >seem to carbon filter well at that purity and I don't believe it ages
        >well either.
        >
        >Drinks mixed from 40% spirit seem to taste smoother than higher
        >strengths, even when mixed to equivalent proportions. I thought it
        >was all in my head until I read that some cognac producers take years
        >to dilute barrel strength down to 40% because of its affect on
        >flavour.
        >
        >I think this whole 96% thing is a "my still is better than your
        >still" pissing competition. I also question the accuracy of hobby
        >hydrometers, but that's not the point. This hobby is about making
        >good, drinkable alcohol. Off flavours can be detected in ppm (parts
        >per million) and it doesn't matter what % it comes out of a still at
        >if it tastes like shit.
        >
        >A still that can produce a high % output helps, but lets not lose
        >sight of our main objective. We are trying to make something that
        >mixes well with Coke, not something that mixes well with petrol.
        >
        >
        >Smudge
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >


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      • bob johnson
        i forgot to ask what is the best type of reflux stil is it just a basic one with ss scrubbers and a cooler? -thanks for reading ...
        Message 3 of 27 , Jan 30, 2003
          i forgot to ask what is the best type of reflux stil is it just a basic one
          with ss scrubbers and a cooler?
          -thanks for reading






          >From: "bob johnson" <pol123@...>
          >Reply-To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
          >To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
          >Subject: Re: [Distillers] 96% Alcohol
          >Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2003 01:45:39 +0000
          >
          >smudge you make a good point but im after strength. i make it as strong as
          >possible then mix it. i just run it through my water distiller until i
          >build
          >a still. i got most of the parts now 1 or 2 more checks should do it.
          >thanks for reading
          >- paul
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > >From: "smudge311065 <smudge@...>" <smudge@...>
          > >Reply-To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
          > >To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
          > >Subject: [Distillers] 96% Alcohol
          > >Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2003 01:39:47 -0000
          > >
          > >Can someone explain to me why they want to store alcohol at such a
          > >high concentration?
          > >
          > >Dry ethanol has a high affinity for water. There is a chemical
          > >reaction when they mix which is why heat is given off. It doesn't
          > >seem to carbon filter well at that purity and I don't believe it ages
          > >well either.
          > >
          > >Drinks mixed from 40% spirit seem to taste smoother than higher
          > >strengths, even when mixed to equivalent proportions. I thought it
          > >was all in my head until I read that some cognac producers take years
          > >to dilute barrel strength down to 40% because of its affect on
          > >flavour.
          > >
          > >I think this whole 96% thing is a "my still is better than your
          > >still" pissing competition. I also question the accuracy of hobby
          > >hydrometers, but that's not the point. This hobby is about making
          > >good, drinkable alcohol. Off flavours can be detected in ppm (parts
          > >per million) and it doesn't matter what % it comes out of a still at
          > >if it tastes like shit.
          > >
          > >A still that can produce a high % output helps, but lets not lose
          > >sight of our main objective. We are trying to make something that
          > >mixes well with Coke, not something that mixes well with petrol.
          > >
          > >
          > >Smudge
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          >
          >
          >_________________________________________________________________
          >Protect your PC - get McAfee.com VirusScan Online
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        • K & J
          I agree once I have distilled at high purity i then cut to 40% and store i believe it allows it to age prior to adding your flavourings ... From:
          Message 4 of 27 , Jan 30, 2003
            >
            I agree once I have distilled at high purity i then cut to 40% and store i believe it allows it to age prior to adding your flavourings
             
            -------Original Message-------
             
            Date: Friday, January 31, 2003 14:39:54
            Subject: [Distillers] 96% Alcohol
             
            Can someone explain to me why they want to store alcohol at such a
            high concentration?

            Dry ethanol has a high affinity for water. There is a chemical
            reaction when they mix which is why heat is given off. It doesn't
            seem to carbon filter well at that purity and I don't believe it ages
            well either.

            Drinks mixed from 40% spirit seem to taste smoother than higher
            strengths, even when mixed to equivalent proportions. I thought it
            was all in my head until I read that some cognac producers take years
            to dilute barrel strength down to 40% because of its affect on
            flavour.

            I think this whole 96% thing is a "my still is better than your
            still" pissing competition. I also question the accuracy of hobby
            hydrometers, but that's not the point. This hobby is about making
            good, drinkable alcohol. Off flavours can be detected in ppm (parts
            per million) and it doesn't matter what % it comes out of a still at
            if it tastes like shit.

            A still that can produce a high % output helps, but lets not lose
            sight of our main objective. We are trying to make something that
            mixes well with Coke, not something that mixes well with petrol.


            Smudge








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          • Mike Nixon
            smudge wrote: Subject: [Distillers] 96% Alcohol Can someone explain to me why they want to store alcohol at such a high concentration? Dry ethanol has a high
            Message 5 of 27 , Jan 30, 2003
              smudge wrote:
              Subject: [Distillers] 96% Alcohol

              Can someone explain to me why they want to store alcohol at such a high concentration?

              Dry ethanol has a high affinity for water. There is a chemical reaction when they mix which is why heat is given off. It doesn't
              seem to carbon filter well at that purity and I don't believe it ages well either.
               
              Pure ethanol does have that strong affinity, but absorption of water stops when the concentration of ethanol drops to around 96%, the azeotropic point.  After that, if left in the open, ethanol will gradually evaporate in preference to water.  I generally store at the high percentage as it takes up less room.  It's just what I need for making essences, but I always dilute to around 40% before using it for booze, if only because it is easier to measure out a tot at 40% than try and measure out a thimbleful of the undiluted stuff.

              Drinks mixed from 40% spirit seem to taste smoother than higher strengths, even when mixed to equivalent proportions. I thought it was all in my head until I read that some cognac producers take years to dilute barrel strength down to 40% because of its affect on flavour.
               
              I've never noticed any difference myself, but taste is such a personal matter.  Concerning ageing, the chemical changes involved in maturation take place better at lower concentrations. Loss of ethanol over those long periods ... the "Angels' Share"
              ... also reduces proof.

              I think this whole 96% thing is a "my still is better than your still" pissing competition. I also question the accuracy of hobby
              hydrometers, but that's not the point. This hobby is about making good, drinkable alcohol. Off flavours can be detected in ppm (parts per million) and it doesn't matter what % it comes out of a still at if it tastes like shit.
               
              For some it may be, but I find it a good inital measure of how well my still is working.  Of course, the product could be laden with ethyl acetate and still give the same high reading, but knowing that this is possible makes me more cautious when I remove the heads.

              A still that can produce a high % output helps, but lets not lose sight of our main objective. We are trying to make something that mixes well with Coke, not something that mixes well with petrol.
               
              Fully agree with you Smudge.  What you say is just good common sense.  In the same vein, I would defend to the death anyone who says they are perfectly satisfied with the taste of their 83% or whatever ... that is their preference and their privilege.  Good grief, if women rated men as some do their booze, just based on percentage strength (and questionable purity), then there would be a hellava lot more lonely bachelors mooching around!
               
              Good on ya Mate!
               
              Mike N
               

              ===============================
            • Harley Daschund
              For starters...95% ABV contains 5% of ?.....40%ABV contains 60% of ?...I would rather have 95%ABV and dilute it,to 40%ABV, with pure water etc ,than have
              Message 6 of 27 , Jan 30, 2003
                For starters...95% ABV contains 5% of ?.....40%ABV contains 60% of ?...I
                would rather have 95%ABV and dilute it,to 40%ABV, with pure water etc ,than
                have 40%ABV and not be sure of the other 60%.....


                >From: "smudge311065 <smudge@...>" <smudge@...>
                >Reply-To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                >To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                >Subject: [Distillers] 96% Alcohol
                >Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2003 01:39:47 -0000
                >
                >Can someone explain to me why they want to store alcohol at such a
                >high concentration?
                >
                >Dry ethanol has a high affinity for water. There is a chemical
                >reaction when they mix which is why heat is given off. It doesn't
                >seem to carbon filter well at that purity and I don't believe it ages
                >well either.
                >
                >Drinks mixed from 40% spirit seem to taste smoother than higher
                >strengths, even when mixed to equivalent proportions. I thought it
                >was all in my head until I read that some cognac producers take years
                >to dilute barrel strength down to 40% because of its affect on
                >flavour.
                >
                >I think this whole 96% thing is a "my still is better than your
                >still" pissing competition. I also question the accuracy of hobby
                >hydrometers, but that's not the point. This hobby is about making
                >good, drinkable alcohol. Off flavours can be detected in ppm (parts
                >per million) and it doesn't matter what % it comes out of a still at
                >if it tastes like shit.
                >
                >A still that can produce a high % output helps, but lets not lose
                >sight of our main objective. We are trying to make something that
                >mixes well with Coke, not something that mixes well with petrol.
                >
                >
                >Smudge
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                to

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              • smudge311065 <smudge@bigpond.net.au>
                A good still is part of the process of producing good alcohol. I m not suggesting % purity is of no importance, but the other steps are of equal importance. I
                Message 7 of 27 , Jan 30, 2003
                  A good still is part of the process of producing good alcohol. I'm
                  not suggesting % purity is of no importance, but the other steps are
                  of equal importance.

                  I just feel that %ABV is easy to quantify, is not representative of
                  quality.

                  If you read the label on a bottle of methylated spirits you will find
                  it is 95% ethanol.

                  Smudge




                  >For starters...95% ABV contains 5% of ?.....40%ABV contains 60%
                  >of ?...I would rather have 95%ABV and dilute it,to 40%ABV, with pure
                  >water etc ,than > have 40%ABV and not be sure of the other 60%.....
                • Harley Daschund
                  Well then,I have absolutely no idea what you are suggesting...suppose you let us in on it ...: ) ...
                  Message 8 of 27 , Jan 30, 2003
                    Well then,I have absolutely no idea what you are suggesting...suppose you
                    let us 'in on it'...:>)


                    >Subject: [Distillers] Re: 96% Alcohol
                    >Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2003 03:45:28 -0000
                    >
                    >A good still is part of the process of producing good alcohol. I'm
                    >not suggesting % purity is of no importance, but the other steps are
                    >of equal importance.
                    >


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                  • mwmccaw <mikemccaw@earthlink.net>
                    Smudge, The main reason for storing at 96% (besides reduced volume to store) is that it gives you the freedom to make up any percent you need for a particular
                    Message 9 of 27 , Jan 30, 2003
                      Smudge,
                      The main reason for storing at 96% (besides reduced volume to store)
                      is that it gives you the freedom to make up any percent you need for
                      a particular recipe. Just today there was a discussion of noccio,
                      and the fact that soaking the immature walnuts in 95% gave the best
                      results. To make a proper absinthe, you need 75% spirits, etc.

                      I agree with you absolutely that % alcohol is NOT the final measure
                      of purity, but it is a starting point. A still that can make 96%
                      will not necessarily make a good tasting spirit, because the
                      congeners and tails are harder to separate from the ethanol than the
                      water - HOWEVER, a still that is not capable of making 96% spirits
                      can NEVER make a pure, tasteless spirit.

                      It has always been a puzzle to me why people spend so much time
                      trying to push stuff through their stills rapidly - then have to
                      spend hours or days mucking about with activated carbon. If they'd
                      just slow down the takeoff and increase their reflux ratios, they
                      could make spirits that require no carbon at all.

                      (Of course, the previous paragraph does not apply to people using a
                      pot still or trying to make flavored spirits!)

                      Best regards,
                      Mike




                      --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "smudge311065 <smudge@b...>"
                      <smudge@b...> wrote:
                      > Can someone explain to me why they want to store alcohol at such a
                      > high concentration?
                      >
                      > Dry ethanol has a high affinity for water. There is a chemical
                      > reaction when they mix which is why heat is given off. It doesn't
                      > seem to carbon filter well at that purity and I don't believe it
                      ages
                      > well either.
                      >
                      > Drinks mixed from 40% spirit seem to taste smoother than higher
                      > strengths, even when mixed to equivalent proportions. I thought it
                      > was all in my head until I read that some cognac producers take
                      years
                      > to dilute barrel strength down to 40% because of its affect on
                      > flavour.
                      >
                      > I think this whole 96% thing is a "my still is better than your
                      > still" pissing competition. I also question the accuracy of hobby
                      > hydrometers, but that's not the point. This hobby is about making
                      > good, drinkable alcohol. Off flavours can be detected in ppm
                      (parts
                      > per million) and it doesn't matter what % it comes out of a still
                      at
                      > if it tastes like shit.
                      >
                      > A still that can produce a high % output helps, but lets not lose
                      > sight of our main objective. We are trying to make something that
                      > mixes well with Coke, not something that mixes well with petrol.
                      >
                      >
                      > Smudge
                    • Leonard D
                      Sounds good to me - Smudge you are the man! Leonard D blueprince@earthlink.net Home of The Gilbert Guru ... From: To:
                      Message 10 of 27 , Jan 30, 2003
                        Sounds good to me - Smudge you are the man!

                        Leonard D
                        blueprince@...
                        Home of "The Gilbert Guru"
                        ----- Original Message -----
                        From: <smudge@...>
                        To: <Distillers@yahoogroups.com>
                        Sent: Thursday, January 30, 2003 8:39 PM
                        Subject: [Distillers] 96% Alcohol


                        > Can someone explain to me why they want to store alcohol at such a
                        > high concentration?
                        >
                        > Dry ethanol has a high affinity for water. There is a chemical
                        > reaction when they mix which is why heat is given off. It doesn't
                        > seem to carbon filter well at that purity and I don't believe it ages
                        > well either.
                        >
                        > Drinks mixed from 40% spirit seem to taste smoother than higher
                        > strengths, even when mixed to equivalent proportions. I thought it
                        > was all in my head until I read that some cognac producers take years
                        > to dilute barrel strength down to 40% because of its affect on
                        > flavour.
                        >
                        > I think this whole 96% thing is a "my still is better than your
                        > still" pissing competition. I also question the accuracy of hobby
                        > hydrometers, but that's not the point. This hobby is about making
                        > good, drinkable alcohol. Off flavours can be detected in ppm (parts
                        > per million) and it doesn't matter what % it comes out of a still at
                        > if it tastes like shit.
                        >
                        > A still that can produce a high % output helps, but lets not lose
                        > sight of our main objective. We are trying to make something that
                        > mixes well with Coke, not something that mixes well with petrol.
                        >
                        >
                        > Smudge
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > To unsubscribe from this group send an email to
                        distillers-unsubscribe@onelist.com
                        >
                        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                        >
                        >
                      • oldfart60@fastmail.fm
                        On Fri, 31 Jan 2003 01:39:47 -0000, smudge311065 ... Regards, OLD ... -- oldfart60@fastmail.fm -- http://fastmail.fm - Or how I learned to stop worrying and
                        Message 11 of 27 , Jan 31, 2003
                          On Fri, 31 Jan 2003 01:39:47 -0000, "smudge311065
                          <smudge@...>" <smudge@...> said:
                          > This message only has an HTML part -- this is a text generated
                          > representation
                          >
                          >
                          > Can someone explain to me why they want to store alcohol at such a
                          > high concentration?
                          > Who can defy natural laws ...and make 96% ethanol???
                          Regards,
                          OLD
                          > http://rd.yahoo.com/M=233351.2876045.4223503.2848452/D=egroupweb/S=1705041694:HM/A=1341247/R=0/*https://www.gotomypc.com/tr/yh/grp/300_mapG/g22lp?Target=mm/g22lp.tmpl
                          --

                          oldfart60@...

                          --
                          http://fastmail.fm - Or how I learned to stop worrying and
                          love email again
                        • bob johnson
                          the reason i store it at high concentration is so i have the freedom to do what i want with it (mix with coke, use essences, and stuff like that. - paul ...
                          Message 12 of 27 , Jan 31, 2003
                            the reason i store it at high concentration is so i have the freedom to do
                            what i want with it (mix with coke, use essences, and stuff like that.
                            - paul






                            >From: oldfart60@...
                            >Reply-To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                            >To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                            >Subject: Re: [Distillers] 96% Alcohol
                            >Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2003 00:37:43 -0800
                            >
                            >On Fri, 31 Jan 2003 01:39:47 -0000, "smudge311065
                            ><smudge@...>" <smudge@...> said:
                            > > This message only has an HTML part -- this is a text generated
                            > > representation
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > Can someone explain to me why they want to store alcohol at such a
                            > > high concentration?
                            > > Who can defy natural laws ...and make 96% ethanol???
                            >Regards,
                            >OLD
                            > >
                            >http://rd.yahoo.com/M=233351.2876045.4223503.2848452/D=egroupweb/S=1705041694:HM/A=1341247/R=0/*https://www.gotomypc.com/tr/yh/grp/300_mapG/g22lp?Target=mm/g22lp.tmpl
                            >--
                            >
                            > oldfart60@...
                            >
                            >--
                            >http://fastmail.fm - Or how I learned to stop worrying and
                            > love email again


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                          • peter_vcb <viciousblackout@yahoo.com>
                            Hi Smudge like the 2 Mikes said, i like to keep mine at 95% for storage reasons. what nobody mentioned is that it is more of a fire hazard to keep it at 95%.
                            Message 13 of 27 , Jan 31, 2003
                              Hi Smudge
                              like the 2 Mikes said, i like to keep mine at 95% for storage
                              reasons. what nobody mentioned is that it is more of a fire hazard to
                              keep it at 95%. if it is pure enough that it doesnt need carboning i
                              wouldnt dilute it ever. i prefer more coke/fruit juice in my drink
                              than adding additional water, i normally drink doubles so i just
                              measure out 1 in a shot glass. i can keep a small bottle in my
                              (small) freezer which doesnt take up much room but will last all
                              week. i find smirnoff blue (50%) tastes better than smirnoff red
                              (37.5%) when in lemonade to the same strength (maybe smirnoff blue is
                              better quality and not just stronger though).
                              you say "I'm not suggesting % purity is of no importance, but the
                              other steps are of equal importance." i would not equate purity to
                              percentage, many on these forums tend to use the terms strength and
                              purity interchangeably. for instance, i would describe Johans bucket
                              still as making a "low strength" but "high purity" distillate which
                              requires little or no carbon treatment. you can have a still making
                              96% alcohol but if you dont make the correct cuts when collecting
                              your distillate you will end up with poor quality spirits. i think
                              many people measure percentages when still hot which gives readings
                              which are too high, i did this myself when i started and thought i
                              was getting 95% alcohol but now i reckon it was more like 93%. there
                              is truth in the "pissing competition" statement, "my columns bigger
                              than yours" yes but "its what you do with it that counts!". we have
                              nothing else really to compare our stills performance. we cant
                              describe taste or smell in numbers, all are subjective to the
                              individual. somebody may make spirits and say they are so good they
                              need no carbon, another may think the same spirits are low quality.
                              if there was a way of turning my 18% wash into a 10% beverage that
                              tastes good then i want to know about it. another reason for keeping
                              it at high %- smuggling it into music festivals or events which have
                              massive queues at the bar!

                              cheers

                              Peter

                              --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "smudge311065 <smudge@b...>"
                              <smudge@b...> wrote:
                              > Can someone explain to me why they want to store alcohol at such a
                              > high concentration?
                              >
                              > Dry ethanol has a high affinity for water. There is a chemical
                              > reaction when they mix which is why heat is given off. It doesn't
                              > seem to carbon filter well at that purity and I don't believe it
                              ages
                              > well either.
                              >
                              > Drinks mixed from 40% spirit seem to taste smoother than higher
                              > strengths, even when mixed to equivalent proportions. I thought it
                              > was all in my head until I read that some cognac producers take
                              years
                              > to dilute barrel strength down to 40% because of its affect on
                              > flavour.
                              >
                              > I think this whole 96% thing is a "my still is better than your
                              > still" pissing competition. I also question the accuracy of hobby
                              > hydrometers, but that's not the point. This hobby is about making
                              > good, drinkable alcohol. Off flavours can be detected in ppm (parts
                              > per million) and it doesn't matter what % it comes out of a still
                              at
                              > if it tastes like shit.
                              >
                              > A still that can produce a high % output helps, but lets not lose
                              > sight of our main objective. We are trying to make something that
                              > mixes well with Coke, not something that mixes well with petrol.
                              >
                              >
                              > Smudge
                            • BOKAKOB
                              if you get higher consentration ethanol at the manufacturing stage you get less byproducts. you can dilute it later. smudge311065
                              Message 14 of 27 , Jan 31, 2003

                                if you get higher consentration ethanol at the manufacturing stage you get less byproducts. you can dilute it later.

                                 "smudge311065 <smudge@...>" <smudge@...> wrote:

                                Can someone explain to me why they want to store alcohol at such a
                                high concentration?

                                Dry ethanol has a high affinity for water. There is a chemical
                                reaction when they mix which is why heat is given off. It doesn't
                                seem to carbon filter well at that purity and I don't believe it ages
                                well either.

                                Drinks mixed from 40% spirit seem to taste smoother than higher
                                strengths, even when mixed to equivalent proportions. I thought it
                                was all in my head until I read that some cognac producers take years
                                to dilute barrel strength down to 40% because of its affect on
                                flavour.

                                I think this whole 96% thing is a "my still is better than your
                                still" pissing competition. I also question the accuracy of hobby
                                hydrometers, but that's not the point. This hobby is about making
                                good, drinkable alcohol. Off flavours can be detected in ppm (parts
                                per million) and it doesn't matter what % it comes out of a still at
                                if it tastes like shit.

                                A still that can produce a high % output helps, but lets not lose
                                sight of our main objective. We are trying to make something that
                                mixes well with Coke, not something that mixes well with petrol.


                                Smudge









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                                I can be wrong I must say.
                                Cheers, Alex...



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                              • BOKAKOB
                                agree on that completely. while at full speed my still can produce more than 2liters per hour the actual take off lingers around 300 - 500 mL the resulting
                                Message 15 of 27 , Jan 31, 2003
                                  agree on that completely. while at full speed my still can produce more than 2liters per hour the actual take off lingers around 300 - 500 mL the resulting alcohol separated well from impurities has no taste and is very smooth when diluted to 40%

                                   

                                   "mwmccaw <mikemccaw@...>" <mikemccaw@...> wrote:

                                  Smudge,
                                  The main reason for storing at 96% (besides reduced volume to store)
                                  is that it gives you the freedom to make up any percent you need for
                                  a particular recipe.  Just today there was a discussion of noccio,
                                  and the fact that soaking the immature walnuts in 95% gave the best
                                  results.  To make a proper absinthe, you need 75% spirits, etc.

                                  I agree with you absolutely that % alcohol is NOT the final measure
                                  of purity, but it is a starting point.  A still that can make 96%
                                  will not necessarily make a good tasting spirit, because the
                                  congeners and tails are harder to separate from the ethanol than the
                                  water - HOWEVER, a still that is not capable of making 96% spirits
                                  can NEVER make a pure, tasteless spirit.

                                  It has always been a puzzle to me why people spend so much time
                                  trying to push stuff through their stills rapidly - then have to
                                  spend hours or days mucking about with activated carbon.  If they'd
                                  just slow down the takeoff and increase their reflux ratios, they
                                  could make spirits that require no carbon at all.

                                  (Of course, the previous paragraph does not apply to people using a
                                  pot still or trying to make flavored spirits!)

                                  Best regards,
                                  Mike




                                  --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "smudge311065 <smudge@b...>"
                                  <smudge@b...> wrote:
                                  > Can someone explain to me why they want to store alcohol at such a
                                  > high concentration?
                                  >
                                  > Dry ethanol has a high affinity for water. There is a chemical
                                  > reaction when they mix which is why heat is given off. It doesn't
                                  > seem to carbon filter well at that purity and I don't believe it
                                  ages
                                  > well either.
                                  >
                                  > Drinks mixed from 40% spirit seem to taste smoother than higher
                                  > strengths, even when mixed to equivalent proportions. I thought it
                                  > was all in my head until I read that some cognac producers take
                                  years
                                  > to dilute barrel strength down to 40% because of its affect on
                                  > flavour.
                                  >
                                  > I think this whole 96% thing is a "my still is better than your
                                  > still" pissing competition. I also question the accuracy of hobby
                                  > hydrometers, but that's not the point. This hobby is about making
                                  > good, drinkable alcohol. Off flavours can be detected in ppm
                                  (parts
                                  > per million) and it doesn't matter what % it comes out of a still
                                  at
                                  > if it tastes like shit.
                                  >
                                  > A still that can produce a high % output helps, but lets not lose
                                  > sight of our main objective. We are trying to make something that
                                  > mixes well with Coke, not something that mixes well with petrol.
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > Smudge


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                                  I can be wrong I must say.
                                  Cheers, Alex...



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                                • bob johnson
                                  how do u know when u have to treat it with carbon is it if it has a smell that u dont think should be there like a yeasty smell or something ? ...
                                  Message 16 of 27 , Jan 31, 2003
                                    how do u know when u have to treat it with carbon is it if it has a smell
                                    that u dont think should be there like a yeasty smell or something ?






                                    >From: "peter_vcb <viciousblackout@...>" <viciousblackout@...>
                                    >Reply-To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                                    >To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                                    >Subject: [Distillers] Re: 96% Alcohol
                                    >Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2003 11:28:20 -0000
                                    >
                                    >Hi Smudge
                                    >like the 2 Mikes said, i like to keep mine at 95% for storage
                                    >reasons. what nobody mentioned is that it is more of a fire hazard to
                                    >keep it at 95%. if it is pure enough that it doesnt need carboning i
                                    >wouldnt dilute it ever. i prefer more coke/fruit juice in my drink
                                    >than adding additional water, i normally drink doubles so i just
                                    >measure out 1 in a shot glass. i can keep a small bottle in my
                                    >(small) freezer which doesnt take up much room but will last all
                                    >week. i find smirnoff blue (50%) tastes better than smirnoff red
                                    >(37.5%) when in lemonade to the same strength (maybe smirnoff blue is
                                    >better quality and not just stronger though).
                                    >you say "I'm not suggesting % purity is of no importance, but the
                                    >other steps are of equal importance." i would not equate purity to
                                    >percentage, many on these forums tend to use the terms strength and
                                    >purity interchangeably. for instance, i would describe Johans bucket
                                    >still as making a "low strength" but "high purity" distillate which
                                    >requires little or no carbon treatment. you can have a still making
                                    >96% alcohol but if you dont make the correct cuts when collecting
                                    >your distillate you will end up with poor quality spirits. i think
                                    >many people measure percentages when still hot which gives readings
                                    >which are too high, i did this myself when i started and thought i
                                    >was getting 95% alcohol but now i reckon it was more like 93%. there
                                    >is truth in the "pissing competition" statement, "my columns bigger
                                    >than yours" yes but "its what you do with it that counts!". we have
                                    >nothing else really to compare our stills performance. we cant
                                    >describe taste or smell in numbers, all are subjective to the
                                    >individual. somebody may make spirits and say they are so good they
                                    >need no carbon, another may think the same spirits are low quality.
                                    >if there was a way of turning my 18% wash into a 10% beverage that
                                    >tastes good then i want to know about it. another reason for keeping
                                    >it at high %- smuggling it into music festivals or events which have
                                    >massive queues at the bar!
                                    >
                                    >cheers
                                    >
                                    >Peter
                                    >
                                    >--- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "smudge311065 <smudge@b...>"
                                    ><smudge@b...> wrote:
                                    > > Can someone explain to me why they want to store alcohol at such a
                                    > > high concentration?
                                    > >
                                    > > Dry ethanol has a high affinity for water. There is a chemical
                                    > > reaction when they mix which is why heat is given off. It doesn't
                                    > > seem to carbon filter well at that purity and I don't believe it
                                    >ages
                                    > > well either.
                                    > >
                                    > > Drinks mixed from 40% spirit seem to taste smoother than higher
                                    > > strengths, even when mixed to equivalent proportions. I thought it
                                    > > was all in my head until I read that some cognac producers take
                                    >years
                                    > > to dilute barrel strength down to 40% because of its affect on
                                    > > flavour.
                                    > >
                                    > > I think this whole 96% thing is a "my still is better than your
                                    > > still" pissing competition. I also question the accuracy of hobby
                                    > > hydrometers, but that's not the point. This hobby is about making
                                    > > good, drinkable alcohol. Off flavours can be detected in ppm (parts
                                    > > per million) and it doesn't matter what % it comes out of a still
                                    >at
                                    > > if it tastes like shit.
                                    > >
                                    > > A still that can produce a high % output helps, but lets not lose
                                    > > sight of our main objective. We are trying to make something that
                                    > > mixes well with Coke, not something that mixes well with petrol.
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > > Smudge
                                    >


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                                  • Ackland, Tony (CALNZAS)
                                    ... You only use carbon if you want to make the taste cleaner. If you dont mind what it already tastes like, then there is no need to use carbon. Tony
                                    Message 17 of 27 , Jan 31, 2003
                                      > how do u know when u have to treat it with carbon is it if it
                                      > has a smell
                                      > that u dont think should be there like a yeasty smell or something ?

                                      You only use carbon if you want to make the taste cleaner. If you dont mind what it already tastes like, then there is no need to use carbon.

                                      Tony
                                    • Mark M
                                      I admit that I m a lowly newbie compared to people of Nixon / BOKAKOB / etc s level, but: I ve been running a pot still for a pile of years, just got into
                                      Message 18 of 27 , Feb 1, 2003
                                        I admit that I'm a lowly "newbie" compared to people of Nixon / BOKAKOB /
                                        etc's level, but:

                                        I've been running a pot still for a pile of years, just got into high purity
                                        stills because a)I like blackberry / vodka mixes, b)it seemed to be a
                                        natural progression from pot stills, and c) BOKAKOB's design looked
                                        interesting.

                                        I agree with smudge. The product will be cut later with distilled water
                                        anyway. 95% vs. 85% just means more / less dillution later - ASSUMING all
                                        of the bad tasting distillate is removed.

                                        That said, I bet it IS fun to engage in "my still is better than your still"
                                        discussions.






                                        >From: "smudge311065 <smudge@...>" <smudge@...>
                                        >Reply-To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                                        >To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                                        >Subject: [Distillers] 96% Alcohol
                                        >Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2003 01:39:47 -0000
                                        >
                                        >Can someone explain to me why they want to store alcohol at such a
                                        >high concentration?
                                        >
                                        >Dry ethanol has a high affinity for water. There is a chemical
                                        >reaction when they mix which is why heat is given off. It doesn't
                                        >seem to carbon filter well at that purity and I don't believe it ages
                                        >well either.
                                        >
                                        >Drinks mixed from 40% spirit seem to taste smoother than higher
                                        >strengths, even when mixed to equivalent proportions. I thought it
                                        >was all in my head until I read that some cognac producers take years
                                        >to dilute barrel strength down to 40% because of its affect on
                                        >flavour.
                                        >
                                        >I think this whole 96% thing is a "my still is better than your
                                        >still" pissing competition. I also question the accuracy of hobby
                                        >hydrometers, but that's not the point. This hobby is about making
                                        >good, drinkable alcohol. Off flavours can be detected in ppm (parts
                                        >per million) and it doesn't matter what % it comes out of a still at
                                        >if it tastes like shit.
                                        >
                                        >A still that can produce a high % output helps, but lets not lose
                                        >sight of our main objective. We are trying to make something that
                                        >mixes well with Coke, not something that mixes well with petrol.
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >Smudge
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >


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                                      • mwmccaw <mikemccaw@earthlink.net>
                                        Something important is being missed in this debate - the fundamental difference between commercial and hobby practices. I first noticed this same divide in
                                        Message 19 of 27 , Feb 1, 2003
                                          Something important is being missed in this debate - the fundamental
                                          difference between commercial and hobby practices.

                                          I first noticed this same divide in homebrewing debates a decade
                                          ago, and the principal is every bit as true in distilling circles.

                                          Think about the forces that drive decisions in a commercial
                                          operation. Commercial distilleries exist for one primary purpose -
                                          to make money. They have a huge capital expense in plant, and large
                                          energy bills. They have to sell their product, and make money for
                                          their shareholders or corporate ownership. This FORCES them to do
                                          everything they can to squeeze the most production out of their
                                          equipment in the least possible time.

                                          It has been know and proven again and again that speed is the enemy
                                          of quality - this is the fundamental trade-off in distillation. The
                                          very processes that increase purity demand slower production, and
                                          the commercial distilleries could not produce an affordable product
                                          if they took that time.

                                          The hobbyist has an innate advantage - since scale is small, and
                                          labor is free, we can concentrate on quality issues rather than
                                          quantity and throughput ones. We can afford to slow our stills back
                                          and truly separate out the congeners. Commercial distillers would
                                          go broke. (Remember that the distiller really only gets a dollar or
                                          two a bottle - all the rest of the price is taxes).

                                          Carbon treatment will work, and will clean up the flavor of
                                          insufficiently distilled alcohol, and if you prefer to use it, by
                                          all means do! There are multiple ways to the end goal, and each
                                          person is free to choose the one that is most comfortable for him or
                                          herself.

                                          Discussions of different methods shouldn't be seen as "my still is
                                          better than yours". Every person's results are data available to all
                                          of us, to help us look at our own methods and see how we might
                                          improve them. If your primary goal is purity, you will tend to work
                                          smaller and slower, and may well never have to use carbon. If your
                                          primary goal is speed, you will almost certainly have to use carbon -
                                          unless you like the taste of congeners (and some people do) or are
                                          trying to make whiskey or brandy, and not vodka. If your primary
                                          goal is to build different types of equipment and see what they
                                          produce, then you get what you get, and are happy with it.

                                          Sorry for the length of this rant, but I think we need to remember
                                          that what the big boys do is not necessarily the best - you always
                                          have to examine what you are trying to achieve when you choose your
                                          methods.

                                          All the best,
                                          Mike McCaw
                                        • Frank <headcavedin@yahoo.com>
                                          Mike, Man I sure did enjoy reading this post. Hell I read it three times. To me this is what it s about. I was once told that this game was not worth the time
                                          Message 20 of 27 , Feb 2, 2003
                                            Mike, Man I sure did enjoy reading this post. Hell I read it three
                                            times. To me this is what it's about. I was once told that this game
                                            was not worth the time & effort messing with on a small scale. Ah m'
                                            Friends, it is to me. I have no doubt JD spills more product daily
                                            than I will produce in year. I got a little 5 gallon reflux that
                                            suits me fine. I have a hair over a Dozen good friends that just
                                            froth at the mouth waiting for me to tell them I have some product
                                            about to come off the age rack. That makes the time & effort to be
                                            paid in full. I work hard to make the best product I can and I work
                                            sloooooow and everything takes time. I do not use essence's or
                                            flavorings as I try to do it all the hard way, just something that
                                            matters to me. Looking at the finished product just makes it all
                                            worth while for me. Good Post mike, good post indeed. Be it right or
                                            wrong I posted a couple photos of my Label as I was inspired by this
                                            post.
                                            Frank


                                            --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "mwmccaw <mikemccaw@e...>"
                                            <mikemccaw@e...> wrote:
                                            > Something important is being missed in this debate - the
                                            fundamental
                                            > difference between commercial and hobby practices.
                                            >
                                            > I first noticed this same divide in homebrewing debates a decade
                                            > ago, and the principal is every bit as true in distilling circles.
                                            >
                                            > Think about the forces that drive decisions in a commercial
                                            > operation. Commercial distilleries exist for one primary purpose -
                                            > to make money. They have a huge capital expense in plant, and
                                            large
                                            > energy bills. They have to sell their product, and make money for
                                            > their shareholders or corporate ownership. This FORCES them to do
                                            > everything they can to squeeze the most production out of their
                                            > equipment in the least possible time.
                                            >
                                            > It has been know and proven again and again that speed is the enemy
                                            > of quality - this is the fundamental trade-off in distillation.
                                            The
                                            > very processes that increase purity demand slower production, and
                                            > the commercial distilleries could not produce an affordable product
                                            > if they took that time.
                                            >
                                            > The hobbyist has an innate advantage - since scale is small, and
                                            > labor is free, we can concentrate on quality issues rather than
                                            > quantity and throughput ones. We can afford to slow our stills
                                            back
                                            > and truly separate out the congeners. Commercial distillers would
                                            > go broke. (Remember that the distiller really only gets a dollar
                                            or
                                            > two a bottle - all the rest of the price is taxes).
                                            >
                                            > Carbon treatment will work, and will clean up the flavor of
                                            > insufficiently distilled alcohol, and if you prefer to use it, by
                                            > all means do! There are multiple ways to the end goal, and each
                                            > person is free to choose the one that is most comfortable for him
                                            or
                                            > herself.
                                            >
                                            > Discussions of different methods shouldn't be seen as "my still is
                                            > better than yours". Every person's results are data available to
                                            all
                                            > of us, to help us look at our own methods and see how we might
                                            > improve them. If your primary goal is purity, you will tend to
                                            work
                                            > smaller and slower, and may well never have to use carbon. If your
                                            > primary goal is speed, you will almost certainly have to use
                                            carbon -
                                            > unless you like the taste of congeners (and some people do) or are
                                            > trying to make whiskey or brandy, and not vodka. If your primary
                                            > goal is to build different types of equipment and see what they
                                            > produce, then you get what you get, and are happy with it.
                                            >
                                            > Sorry for the length of this rant, but I think we need to remember
                                            > that what the big boys do is not necessarily the best - you always
                                            > have to examine what you are trying to achieve when you choose your
                                            > methods.
                                            >
                                            > All the best,
                                            > Mike McCaw
                                          • smudge311065 <smudge@bigpond.net.au>
                                            Hi Mike, Yes, the structure of home distilling is without the same emphasis on cost. It is made viable because we avoid the hefty duties distilled alcohol
                                            Message 21 of 27 , Feb 2, 2003
                                              Hi Mike,

                                              Yes, the structure of home distilling is without the same emphasis on
                                              cost. It is made viable because we avoid the hefty duties distilled
                                              alcohol attracts, not because our processes are more efficient.

                                              It is true that we can focus on detail not possible in a profit
                                              making organisation, but I'm not sure that automatically amounts to
                                              quality, by whatever means you measure it.

                                              An alternate argument is that a business will fail when it cannot
                                              sell product. Many of the distillery houses have been around for
                                              years, so it can be assumed they are doing something right. They have
                                              access to production and testing equipment I can only dream of, real
                                              quality control, and customers willing to buy the stuff they produce.

                                              On the other hand, a hobby distiller can produce a terrible product
                                              year after year. Provided he (or she) can stomach it, there really is
                                              little impetus for change.

                                              You note that speed is the enemy of quality. Scotch producers agree,
                                              and scotch cannot be labelled "Scotch" without spending three years
                                              in a barrel somewhere. I don't know too many homebrewers who go to
                                              that much trouble.



                                              Its interesting you mention they add cogeners back to to commercial
                                              vodkas. I think all of us started down this path (distilling) because
                                              we wanted to make a version of our favourite drink. The flavours we
                                              seek are essentially the impurities early producers didn't have the
                                              technology to remove. (Kind of ironic that we try to emulate them
                                              while they were trying to emulate us)

                                              The last still I built (No. 5) makes very clean alcohol, but that was
                                              not what I originally set out to achieve. Clean alcohol is a little
                                              like a blank canvas, and making it is a matter of science and
                                              equipment. Making flavours, on the other hand, is art.

                                              The still I recently bought is a 5 litre pot still that I use to try
                                              and recreate those damn flavours.

                                              Who cares about the purity? Its the impurity that counts. The trick
                                              is getting the right ones.


                                              Smudge










                                              er >
                                              > I first noticed this same divide in homebrewing debates a decade
                                              > ago, and the principal is every bit as true in distilling circles.
                                              >
                                              > Think about the forces that drive decisions in a commercial
                                              > operation. Commercial distilleries exist for one primary purpose -
                                              > to make money. They have a huge capital expense in plant, and
                                              large
                                              > energy bills. They have to sell their product, and make money for
                                              > their shareholders or corporate ownership. This FORCES them to do
                                              > everything they can to squeeze the most production out of their
                                              > equipment in the least possible time.
                                              >
                                              > It has been know and proven again and again that speed is the enemy
                                              > of quality - this is the fundamental trade-off in distillation.
                                              The
                                              > very processes that increase purity demand slower production, and
                                              > the commercial distilleries could not produce an affordable product
                                              > if they took that time.
                                              >
                                              > The hobbyist has an innate advantage - since scale is small, and
                                              > labor is free, we can concentrate on quality issues rather than
                                              > quantity and throughput ones. We can afford to slow our stills
                                              back
                                              > and truly separate out the congeners. Commercial distillers would
                                              > go broke. (Remember that the distiller really only gets a dollar
                                              or
                                              > two a bottle - all the rest of the price is taxes).
                                              >
                                              > Carbon treatment will work, and will clean up the flavor of
                                              > insufficiently distilled alcohol, and if you prefer to use it, by
                                              > all means do! There are multiple ways to the end goal, and each
                                              > person is free to choose the one that is most comfortable for him
                                              or
                                              > herself.
                                              >
                                              > Discussions of different methods shouldn't be seen as "my still is
                                              > better than yours". Every person's results are data available to
                                              all
                                              > of us, to help us look at our own methods and see how we might
                                              > improve them. If your primary goal is purity, you will tend to
                                              work
                                              > smaller and slower, and may well never have to use carbon. If your
                                              > primary goal is speed, you will almost certainly have to use
                                              carbon -
                                              > unless you like the taste of congeners (and some people do) or are
                                              > trying to make whiskey or brandy, and not vodka. If your primary
                                              > goal is to build different types of equipment and see what they
                                              > produce, then you get what you get, and are happy with it.
                                              >
                                              > Sorry for the length of this rant, but I think we need to remember
                                              > that what the big boys do is not necessarily the best - you always
                                              > have to examine what you are trying to achieve when you choose your
                                              > methods.
                                              >
                                              > All the best,
                                              > Mike McCaw
                                            • Michael <god@perthmail.com>
                                              I like your labels. How did you do them? With Photoshop? I take it you are in a logging town? Judging by the stack of logs on the label. I agree with you
                                              Message 22 of 27 , Feb 2, 2003
                                                I like your labels. How did you do them? With Photoshop? I take it
                                                you are in a logging town? Judging by the stack of logs on the label.

                                                I agree with you both there. That is what I like about this hobby.
                                                I don't want to make 100,000 bottles of market grade whisky. I want
                                                to make *1* bottle of *my* grade whisky. Something that when *I*
                                                drink it, it makes me go "Damn I'm good. Am I good or am I good? I
                                                am so damned good." Simply because I did it myself.

                                                Michael (damn I'm good :D )

                                                --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Frank <headcavedin@y...>"
                                                <headcavedin@y...> wrote:
                                                > Mike, Man I sure did enjoy reading this post. Hell I read it three
                                                > times. To me this is what it's about. I was once told that this
                                                > game was not worth the time & effort messing with on a small scale.
                                                > Ah m' Friends, it is to me. I have no doubt JD spills more product
                                                > daily than I will produce in year. I got a little 5 gallon reflux
                                                > that suits me fine. I have a hair over a Dozen good friends that
                                                > just froth at the mouth waiting for me to tell them I have some
                                                > product about to come off the age rack. That makes the time &
                                                > effort to be paid in full. I work hard to make the best product I
                                                > can and I work sloooooow and everything takes time. I do not use
                                                > essence's or flavorings as I try to do it all the hard way, just
                                                > something that matters to me. Looking at the finished product just
                                                > makes it all worth while for me. Good Post mike, good post indeed.
                                                > Be it right or wrong I posted a couple photos of my Label as I was
                                                > inspired by this post.
                                                >
                                                > Frank
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "mwmccaw <mikemccaw@e...>"
                                                > <mikemccaw@e...> wrote:
                                                > > Something important is being missed in this debate - the
                                                > > fundamental difference between commercial and hobby practices.
                                                > >
                                                > > I first noticed this same divide in homebrewing debates a decade
                                                > > ago, and the principal is every bit as true in distilling circles.
                                                > >
                                                > > Think about the forces that drive decisions in a commercial
                                                > > operation. Commercial distilleries exist for one primary purpose
                                                > > - to make money. They have a huge capital expense in plant, and
                                                > > large energy bills. They have to sell their product, and make
                                                > > money for their shareholders or corporate ownership. This FORCES
                                                > > them to do everything they can to squeeze the most production out
                                                > > of their equipment in the least possible time.
                                                > >
                                                > > It has been know and proven again and again that speed is the
                                                > > enemy of quality - this is the fundamental trade-off in
                                                > > distillation.
                                                > > The very processes that increase purity demand slower production,
                                                > > and the commercial distilleries could not produce an affordable
                                                > > product if they took that time.
                                                > >
                                                > > The hobbyist has an innate advantage - since scale is small, and
                                                > > labor is free, we can concentrate on quality issues rather than
                                                > > quantity and throughput ones. We can afford to slow our stills
                                                > > back and truly separate out the congeners. Commercial distillers
                                                > > would go broke. (Remember that the distiller really only gets a
                                                > > dollar or two a bottle - all the rest of the price is taxes).
                                                > >
                                                > > Carbon treatment will work, and will clean up the flavor of
                                                > > insufficiently distilled alcohol, and if you prefer to use it, by
                                                > > all means do! There are multiple ways to the end goal, and each
                                                > > person is free to choose the one that is most comfortable for him
                                                > > or herself.
                                                > >
                                                > > Discussions of different methods shouldn't be seen as "my still
                                                > > is better than yours". Every person's results are data available
                                                > > to all of us, to help us look at our own methods and see how we
                                                > > might improve them. If your primary goal is purity, you will
                                                > > tend to work smaller and slower, and may well never have to use
                                                > > carbon. If your primary goal is speed, you will almost certainly
                                                > > have to use carbon - unless you like the taste of congeners (and
                                                > > some people do) or are trying to make whiskey or brandy, and not
                                                > > vodka. If your primary goal is to build different types of
                                                > > equipment and see what they produce, then you get what you get,
                                                > > and are happy with it.
                                                > >
                                                > > Sorry for the length of this rant, but I think we need to
                                                > > remember that what the big boys do is not necessarily the best -
                                                > > you always have to examine what you are trying to achieve when
                                                > > you choose your methods.
                                                > >
                                                > > All the best,
                                                > > Mike McCaw
                                              • waljaco <waljaco@hotmail.com>
                                                95%abv is apparently readily available in Italy as many of the homemade liqueur recipes use it. If you want a pure limoncello for example, with only the lemon
                                                Message 23 of 27 , Feb 2, 2003
                                                  95%abv is apparently readily available in Italy as many of the
                                                  homemade liqueur recipes use it. If you want a pure limoncello for
                                                  example, with only the lemon peel dominating, a pure alcohol base is
                                                  ideal.
                                                  If you want a clear alcohol with flavor overtones from the mash, then
                                                  a 60-80%abv product is ideal - aging in oak can provide further
                                                  complexity.
                                                  In short - both paths are valid.
                                                  Having scorched my grain mash, the resulting 92%abv from my modified
                                                  SS Reflux did not taste as good as some of my 80% fruit based
                                                  distillates. I doubt whether even activated carbon would remove
                                                  that 'mescal' type flavor.
                                                  Wal

                                                  --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "smudge311065 <smudge@b...>"
                                                  <smudge@b...> wrote:
                                                  > Hi Mike,
                                                  >
                                                  > Yes, the structure of home distilling is without the same emphasis
                                                  on
                                                  > cost. It is made viable because we avoid the hefty duties distilled
                                                  > alcohol attracts, not because our processes are more efficient.
                                                  >
                                                  > It is true that we can focus on detail not possible in a profit
                                                  > making organisation, but I'm not sure that automatically amounts to
                                                  > quality, by whatever means you measure it.
                                                  >
                                                  > An alternate argument is that a business will fail when it cannot
                                                  > sell product. Many of the distillery houses have been around for
                                                  > years, so it can be assumed they are doing something right. They
                                                  have
                                                  > access to production and testing equipment I can only dream of,
                                                  real
                                                  > quality control, and customers willing to buy the stuff they
                                                  produce.
                                                  >
                                                  > On the other hand, a hobby distiller can produce a terrible product
                                                  > year after year. Provided he (or she) can stomach it, there really
                                                  is
                                                  > little impetus for change.
                                                  >
                                                  > You note that speed is the enemy of quality. Scotch producers
                                                  agree,
                                                  > and scotch cannot be labelled "Scotch" without spending three years
                                                  > in a barrel somewhere. I don't know too many homebrewers who go to
                                                  > that much trouble.
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > Its interesting you mention they add cogeners back to to commercial
                                                  > vodkas. I think all of us started down this path (distilling)
                                                  because
                                                  > we wanted to make a version of our favourite drink. The flavours we
                                                  > seek are essentially the impurities early producers didn't have the
                                                  > technology to remove. (Kind of ironic that we try to emulate them
                                                  > while they were trying to emulate us)
                                                  >
                                                  > The last still I built (No. 5) makes very clean alcohol, but that
                                                  was
                                                  > not what I originally set out to achieve. Clean alcohol is a little
                                                  > like a blank canvas, and making it is a matter of science and
                                                  > equipment. Making flavours, on the other hand, is art.
                                                  >
                                                  > The still I recently bought is a 5 litre pot still that I use to
                                                  try
                                                  > and recreate those damn flavours.
                                                  >
                                                  > Who cares about the purity? Its the impurity that counts. The trick
                                                  > is getting the right ones.
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > Smudge
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > er >
                                                  > > I first noticed this same divide in homebrewing debates a decade
                                                  > > ago, and the principal is every bit as true in distilling circles.
                                                  > >
                                                  > > Think about the forces that drive decisions in a commercial
                                                  > > operation. Commercial distilleries exist for one primary
                                                  purpose -
                                                  > > to make money. They have a huge capital expense in plant, and
                                                  > large
                                                  > > energy bills. They have to sell their product, and make money
                                                  for
                                                  > > their shareholders or corporate ownership. This FORCES them to
                                                  do
                                                  > > everything they can to squeeze the most production out of their
                                                  > > equipment in the least possible time.
                                                  > >
                                                  > > It has been know and proven again and again that speed is the
                                                  enemy
                                                  > > of quality - this is the fundamental trade-off in distillation.
                                                  > The
                                                  > > very processes that increase purity demand slower production, and
                                                  > > the commercial distilleries could not produce an affordable
                                                  product
                                                  > > if they took that time.
                                                  > >
                                                  > > The hobbyist has an innate advantage - since scale is small, and
                                                  > > labor is free, we can concentrate on quality issues rather than
                                                  > > quantity and throughput ones. We can afford to slow our stills
                                                  > back
                                                  > > and truly separate out the congeners. Commercial distillers
                                                  would
                                                  > > go broke. (Remember that the distiller really only gets a dollar
                                                  > or
                                                  > > two a bottle - all the rest of the price is taxes).
                                                  > >
                                                  > > Carbon treatment will work, and will clean up the flavor of
                                                  > > insufficiently distilled alcohol, and if you prefer to use it, by
                                                  > > all means do! There are multiple ways to the end goal, and each
                                                  > > person is free to choose the one that is most comfortable for him
                                                  > or
                                                  > > herself.
                                                  > >
                                                  > > Discussions of different methods shouldn't be seen as "my still
                                                  is
                                                  > > better than yours". Every person's results are data available to
                                                  > all
                                                  > > of us, to help us look at our own methods and see how we might
                                                  > > improve them. If your primary goal is purity, you will tend to
                                                  > work
                                                  > > smaller and slower, and may well never have to use carbon. If
                                                  your
                                                  > > primary goal is speed, you will almost certainly have to use
                                                  > carbon -
                                                  > > unless you like the taste of congeners (and some people do) or
                                                  are
                                                  > > trying to make whiskey or brandy, and not vodka. If your primary
                                                  > > goal is to build different types of equipment and see what they
                                                  > > produce, then you get what you get, and are happy with it.
                                                  > >
                                                  > > Sorry for the length of this rant, but I think we need to
                                                  remember
                                                  > > that what the big boys do is not necessarily the best - you
                                                  always
                                                  > > have to examine what you are trying to achieve when you choose
                                                  your
                                                  > > methods.
                                                  > >
                                                  > > All the best,
                                                  > > Mike McCaw
                                                • Frank <headcavedin@yahoo.com>
                                                  I bought a program specifically for making Lables and run them off on my printer. The Photo I used is from this area long ago and that is my Grandfather on the
                                                  Message 24 of 27 , Feb 2, 2003
                                                    I bought a program specifically for making Lables and run them off
                                                    on my printer. The Photo I used is from this area long ago and that
                                                    is my Grandfather on the top of the stack. Yes this is a logging
                                                    community but not of course as much as it used to be. I guess to many
                                                    people had rather hug trees than live in a House made of wood, but
                                                    thats a nother story. I need to make this clear. I use a still from
                                                    Desti-Labs that has only a 16" column on it. I stripped out it's
                                                    insides and it makes an excellant pot still for me as this is about
                                                    all it's good for at it's short stature.

                                                    Frank



                                                    --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Michael <god@p...>" <god@p...>
                                                    wrote:
                                                    > I like your labels. How did you do them? With Photoshop? I take
                                                    it
                                                    > you are in a logging town? Judging by the stack of logs on the
                                                    label.
                                                    >
                                                    > I agree with you both there. That is what I like about this
                                                    hobby.
                                                    > I don't want to make 100,000 bottles of market grade whisky. I
                                                    want
                                                    > to make *1* bottle of *my* grade whisky. Something that when *I*
                                                    > drink it, it makes me go "Damn I'm good. Am I good or am I good?
                                                    I
                                                    > am so damned good." Simply because I did it myself.
                                                    >
                                                    > Michael (damn I'm good :D )
                                                    >
                                                    > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Frank <headcavedin@y...>"
                                                    > <headcavedin@y...> wrote:
                                                    > > Mike, Man I sure did enjoy reading this post. Hell I read it
                                                    three
                                                    > > times. To me this is what it's about. I was once told that this
                                                    > > game was not worth the time & effort messing with on a small
                                                    scale.
                                                    > > Ah m' Friends, it is to me. I have no doubt JD spills more
                                                    product
                                                    > > daily than I will produce in year. I got a little 5 gallon reflux
                                                    > > that suits me fine. I have a hair over a Dozen good friends that
                                                    > > just froth at the mouth waiting for me to tell them I have some
                                                    > > product about to come off the age rack. That makes the time &
                                                    > > effort to be paid in full. I work hard to make the best product I
                                                    > > can and I work sloooooow and everything takes time. I do not use
                                                    > > essence's or flavorings as I try to do it all the hard way, just
                                                    > > something that matters to me. Looking at the finished product
                                                    just
                                                    > > makes it all worth while for me. Good Post mike, good post
                                                    indeed.
                                                    > > Be it right or wrong I posted a couple photos of my Label as I
                                                    was
                                                    > > inspired by this post.
                                                    > >
                                                    > > Frank
                                                    > >
                                                    > >
                                                    > > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "mwmccaw <mikemccaw@e...>"
                                                    > > <mikemccaw@e...> wrote:
                                                    > > > Something important is being missed in this debate - the
                                                    > > > fundamental difference between commercial and hobby practices.
                                                    > > >
                                                    > > > I first noticed this same divide in homebrewing debates a
                                                    decade
                                                    > > > ago, and the principal is every bit as true in distilling
                                                    circles.
                                                    > > >
                                                    > > > Think about the forces that drive decisions in a commercial
                                                    > > > operation. Commercial distilleries exist for one primary
                                                    purpose
                                                    > > > - to make money. They have a huge capital expense in plant,
                                                    and
                                                    > > > large energy bills. They have to sell their product, and make
                                                    > > > money for their shareholders or corporate ownership. This
                                                    FORCES
                                                    > > > them to do everything they can to squeeze the most production
                                                    out
                                                    > > > of their equipment in the least possible time.
                                                    > > >
                                                    > > > It has been know and proven again and again that speed is the
                                                    > > > enemy of quality - this is the fundamental trade-off in
                                                    > > > distillation.
                                                    > > > The very processes that increase purity demand slower
                                                    production,
                                                    > > > and the commercial distilleries could not produce an affordable
                                                    > > > product if they took that time.
                                                    > > >
                                                    > > > The hobbyist has an innate advantage - since scale is small,
                                                    and
                                                    > > > labor is free, we can concentrate on quality issues rather than
                                                    > > > quantity and throughput ones. We can afford to slow our stills
                                                    > > > back and truly separate out the congeners. Commercial
                                                    distillers
                                                    > > > would go broke. (Remember that the distiller really only gets
                                                    a
                                                    > > > dollar or two a bottle - all the rest of the price is taxes).
                                                    > > >
                                                    > > > Carbon treatment will work, and will clean up the flavor of
                                                    > > > insufficiently distilled alcohol, and if you prefer to use it,
                                                    by
                                                    > > > all means do! There are multiple ways to the end goal, and
                                                    each
                                                    > > > person is free to choose the one that is most comfortable for
                                                    him
                                                    > > > or herself.
                                                    > > >
                                                    > > > Discussions of different methods shouldn't be seen as "my still
                                                    > > > is better than yours". Every person's results are data
                                                    available
                                                    > > > to all of us, to help us look at our own methods and see how we
                                                    > > > might improve them. If your primary goal is purity, you will
                                                    > > > tend to work smaller and slower, and may well never have to use
                                                    > > > carbon. If your primary goal is speed, you will almost
                                                    certainly
                                                    > > > have to use carbon - unless you like the taste of congeners
                                                    (and
                                                    > > > some people do) or are trying to make whiskey or brandy, and
                                                    not
                                                    > > > vodka. If your primary goal is to build different types of
                                                    > > > equipment and see what they produce, then you get what you get,
                                                    > > > and are happy with it.
                                                    > > >
                                                    > > > Sorry for the length of this rant, but I think we need to
                                                    > > > remember that what the big boys do is not necessarily the best -

                                                    > > > you always have to examine what you are trying to achieve when
                                                    > > > you choose your methods.
                                                    > > >
                                                    > > > All the best,
                                                    > > > Mike McCaw
                                                  • Michael <god@perthmail.com>
                                                    Previously Re: Good Post Mike McCaw, (My Lables) My home town too used to be a logging town. Logging the best wood you can get, Jarrah. Not the case anymore,
                                                    Message 25 of 27 , Feb 2, 2003
                                                      Previously Re: Good Post Mike McCaw, (My Lables)

                                                      My home town too used to be a logging town. Logging the best wood
                                                      you can get, Jarrah. Not the case anymore, but the town still lives
                                                      on. Now it's residential for the middle class. Although the
                                                      escarpment is for the rich.

                                                      I turned my Still-Spirits still into a compound still. But I still
                                                      want to make a pot still. I still have all the condenser and column
                                                      (likewise about 16"). If I get myself a new lid, I can re-use this
                                                      in a similar stripped out manner for whiskies. Something which is my
                                                      sole intention of distilling. I had been looking at making a whole
                                                      new still, but I like the sounds of re-using the old one more.

                                                      Is your element an immersed element? Do you have problems with
                                                      burning the wash? This is the main reason why I was thinking of
                                                      making a new still.

                                                      Michael
                                                      Drink long and prosh-hic!-per

                                                      --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Frank <headcavedin@y...>"
                                                      <headcavedin@y...> wrote:
                                                      > I bought a program specifically for making Lables and run them off
                                                      > on my printer. The Photo I used is from this area long ago and that
                                                      > is my Grandfather on the top of the stack. Yes this is a logging
                                                      > community but not of course as much as it used to be. I guess to
                                                      > many people had rather hug trees than live in a House made of wood,
                                                      > but thats a nother story. I need to make this clear. I use a still
                                                      > from Desti-Labs that has only a 16" column on it. I stripped out
                                                      > it's insides and it makes an excellant pot still for me as this is
                                                      > about all it's good for at it's short stature.
                                                      >
                                                      > Frank
                                                    • Frank <headcavedin@yahoo.com>
                                                      You Sir, made the comment below and it hit me as such.... I feel safe in saying that near to none of these patrons of these massive distilleries has had the
                                                      Message 26 of 27 , Feb 3, 2003
                                                        You Sir, made the comment below and it hit me as such.... I feel
                                                        safe in saying that near to none of these patrons of these massive
                                                        distilleries has had the privilege of say tasting Your product so
                                                        they got nothing else to compare with. Case in point: A starving
                                                        Etheopian can recieve a bowl of grewl that may make an American billy
                                                        Goat puke and rate it Nectar from their God and be very thankful for
                                                        it. Maybe the saying "ignorance is bliss applies" here, I don't know.
                                                        I used to Love JD, that was until I made my own that is.
                                                        Maybe not so much "doing something right" just doing whats always
                                                        been done and accepted from their public, Just thinking out loud.
                                                        Cheers m' Friend

                                                        Frank
                                                        "Many of the distillery houses have been around for
                                                        years, so it can be assumed they are doing something right"

                                                        --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "smudge311065 <smudge@b...>"
                                                        <smudge@b...> wrote:
                                                        > Hi Mike,
                                                        >
                                                        > Yes, the structure of home distilling is without the same emphasis
                                                        on
                                                        > cost. It is made viable because we avoid the hefty duties distilled
                                                        > alcohol attracts, not because our processes are more efficient.
                                                        >
                                                        > It is true that we can focus on detail not possible in a profit
                                                        > making organisation, but I'm not sure that automatically amounts to
                                                        > quality, by whatever means you measure it.
                                                        >
                                                        > An alternate argument is that a business will fail when it cannot
                                                        > sell product. Many of the distillery houses have been around for
                                                        > years, so it can be assumed they are doing something right. They
                                                        have
                                                        > access to production and testing equipment I can only dream of,
                                                        real
                                                        > quality control, and customers willing to buy the stuff they
                                                        produce.
                                                        >
                                                        > On the other hand, a hobby distiller can produce a terrible product
                                                        > year after year. Provided he (or she) can stomach it, there really
                                                        is
                                                        > little impetus for change.
                                                        >
                                                        > You note that speed is the enemy of quality. Scotch producers
                                                        agree,
                                                        > and scotch cannot be labelled "Scotch" without spending three years
                                                        > in a barrel somewhere. I don't know too many homebrewers who go to
                                                        > that much trouble.
                                                        >
                                                        >
                                                        >
                                                        > Its interesting you mention they add cogeners back to to commercial
                                                        > vodkas. I think all of us started down this path (distilling)
                                                        because
                                                        > we wanted to make a version of our favourite drink. The flavours we
                                                        > seek are essentially the impurities early producers didn't have the
                                                        > technology to remove. (Kind of ironic that we try to emulate them
                                                        > while they were trying to emulate us)
                                                        >
                                                        > The last still I built (No. 5) makes very clean alcohol, but that
                                                        was
                                                        > not what I originally set out to achieve. Clean alcohol is a little
                                                        > like a blank canvas, and making it is a matter of science and
                                                        > equipment. Making flavours, on the other hand, is art.
                                                        >
                                                        > The still I recently bought is a 5 litre pot still that I use to
                                                        try
                                                        > and recreate those damn flavours.
                                                        >
                                                        > Who cares about the purity? Its the impurity that counts. The trick
                                                        > is getting the right ones.
                                                        >
                                                        >
                                                        > Smudge
                                                        >
                                                        >
                                                        >
                                                        >
                                                        >
                                                        >
                                                        >
                                                        >
                                                        >
                                                        >
                                                        > er >
                                                        > > I first noticed this same divide in homebrewing debates a decade
                                                        > > ago, and the principal is every bit as true in distilling circles.
                                                        > >
                                                        > > Think about the forces that drive decisions in a commercial
                                                        > > operation. Commercial distilleries exist for one primary
                                                        purpose -
                                                        > > to make money. They have a huge capital expense in plant, and
                                                        > large
                                                        > > energy bills. They have to sell their product, and make money
                                                        for
                                                        > > their shareholders or corporate ownership. This FORCES them to
                                                        do
                                                        > > everything they can to squeeze the most production out of their
                                                        > > equipment in the least possible time.
                                                        > >
                                                        > > It has been know and proven again and again that speed is the
                                                        enemy
                                                        > > of quality - this is the fundamental trade-off in distillation.
                                                        > The
                                                        > > very processes that increase purity demand slower production, and
                                                        > > the commercial distilleries could not produce an affordable
                                                        product
                                                        > > if they took that time.
                                                        > >
                                                        > > The hobbyist has an innate advantage - since scale is small, and
                                                        > > labor is free, we can concentrate on quality issues rather than
                                                        > > quantity and throughput ones. We can afford to slow our stills
                                                        > back
                                                        > > and truly separate out the congeners. Commercial distillers
                                                        would
                                                        > > go broke. (Remember that the distiller really only gets a dollar
                                                        > or
                                                        > > two a bottle - all the rest of the price is taxes).
                                                        > >
                                                        > > Carbon treatment will work, and will clean up the flavor of
                                                        > > insufficiently distilled alcohol, and if you prefer to use it, by
                                                        > > all means do! There are multiple ways to the end goal, and each
                                                        > > person is free to choose the one that is most comfortable for him
                                                        > or
                                                        > > herself.
                                                        > >
                                                        > > Discussions of different methods shouldn't be seen as "my still
                                                        is
                                                        > > better than yours". Every person's results are data available to
                                                        > all
                                                        > > of us, to help us look at our own methods and see how we might
                                                        > > improve them. If your primary goal is purity, you will tend to
                                                        > work
                                                        > > smaller and slower, and may well never have to use carbon. If
                                                        your
                                                        > > primary goal is speed, you will almost certainly have to use
                                                        > carbon -
                                                        > > unless you like the taste of congeners (and some people do) or
                                                        are
                                                        > > trying to make whiskey or brandy, and not vodka. If your primary
                                                        > > goal is to build different types of equipment and see what they
                                                        > > produce, then you get what you get, and are happy with it.
                                                        > >
                                                        > > Sorry for the length of this rant, but I think we need to
                                                        remember
                                                        > > that what the big boys do is not necessarily the best - you
                                                        always
                                                        > > have to examine what you are trying to achieve when you choose
                                                        your
                                                        > > methods.
                                                        > >
                                                        > > All the best,
                                                        > > Mike McCaw
                                                      • Harley Daschund
                                                        If JD(Jack Daniels?) wont make a Billy Goat puke....nothing will....: ) ... _________________________________________________________________ The new MSN 8:
                                                        Message 27 of 27 , Feb 4, 2003
                                                          If JD(Jack Daniels?) wont make a Billy Goat puke....nothing will....:>)

                                                          >From: "Frank <headcavedin@...>" <headcavedin@...>
                                                          >Reply-To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                                                          >To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                                                          >Subject: [Distillers] Re: 96% Hey Smudge!
                                                          >Date: Mon, 03 Feb 2003 21:01:26 -0000
                                                          >
                                                          > You Sir, A starving
                                                          >Etheopian can recieve a bowl of grewl that may make an American billy
                                                          >Goat puke and rate it Nectar from their God

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