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Re: [Distillers] 96% Alcohol

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  • 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 1 of 27 , Feb 1, 2003
    • 0 Attachment
      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 2 of 27 , Feb 1, 2003
      • 0 Attachment
        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 3 of 27 , Feb 2, 2003
        • 0 Attachment
          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 4 of 27 , Feb 2, 2003
          • 0 Attachment
            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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 of 27 , Feb 2, 2003
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                    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 9 of 27 , Feb 3, 2003
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                      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 10 of 27 , Feb 4, 2003
                      • 0 Attachment
                        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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