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Re: [Distillers] 96% Alcohol

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  • 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 1 of 27 , Jan 31, 2003
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      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 2 of 27 , Jan 31, 2003
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        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 3 of 27 , Jan 31, 2003
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          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 4 of 27 , Jan 31, 2003
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            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


            To unsubscribe from this group send an email to  distillers-unsubscribe@onelist.com

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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 5 of 27 , Jan 31, 2003
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              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 6 of 27 , Jan 31, 2003
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                > 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 7 of 27 , Feb 1, 2003
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                  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 8 of 27 , Feb 1, 2003
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                    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 9 of 27 , Feb 2, 2003
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                      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 10 of 27 , Feb 2, 2003
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                        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 11 of 27 , Feb 2, 2003
                        • 0 Attachment
                          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 12 of 27 , Feb 2, 2003
                          • 0 Attachment
                            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 13 of 27 , Feb 2, 2003
                            • 0 Attachment
                              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 14 of 27 , Feb 2, 2003
                              • 0 Attachment
                                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 15 of 27 , Feb 3, 2003
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  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 16 of 27 , Feb 4, 2003
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                                    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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