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10124Re: New to brew, you?

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  • nanosleep
    Jan 5, 2004
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      My $0.03 (inflation)

      The process of distillation does not create poison. It simply
      separates compounds which already exist in your wine. If you feel
      comfortable drinking every last drop of your wine then you can drink
      everything that comes out of the still. There will not be any new
      poisons generated, however whatever is in the wine will be
      concentrated (and easier to consume in large quantities). While you
      *can* drink everything that comes out of the still and no be any worse
      off than drinking all the wine, you have the opportunity to remove
      some of the nastier components. Look at homedistiller.org for
      information on how to make cuts.

      "You can't get flavor from a reflux still" You've probably heard this
      before. It's not exactly true. A reflux is very good at it's job
      (separating compounds). The reflux still will separate the flavor
      components from the pure alcohol. The good part is that you can also
      collect the flavor. If you keep running the reflux still eventually
      everything that can boil into vapor will come out (alcohol, water,
      flavor compounds,..). The great thing about the reflux still over a
      pot still is that the compounds will come out in more distinct stages.
      The heads/main/tails stages on a pot still are blurred together.
      Your main collect will contain more of the heads and tails (flavor).
      On a reflux still the main collect will contain little of the
      heads/tails (no flavor). The benefit here is that you get to pick and
      mix which parts you want to keep and which you want to pour down the
      drain. Collect in small bottles and mix to your taste after the
      distillation is over. You probably want to improve your still so that
      it's capable of producing ~95% alcohol. This lets you produce a clean
      vodka when you want, and it lets you get even more distinct separation
      of the components/flavors.

      I've used blackberries. The wine was wonderfully fragrant. Very
      berry! The distillate has very little of this flavor. At first it
      had a 'wax' flavor, but that seems to be going away with age. I
      fermented the entire crushed berry. Did you use a wine press with
      yours?

      I've also used peaches. Again the wine was much more fragrant than
      the distillate. The peach does have more flavor than the blackberry,
      but it's still not as powerful as I wanted. At first the peach was
      somewhat bitter, but that seems to be improving with age. I fermented
      very thinly sliced with skins but no pits.

      I've done a batch with pears, but I messed up and burned the mash when
      I was distilling. The distillate smells of smoke and is undrinkable.
      From the few tastes I got before I burned it, I think it will make a
      very good drink. I'll definitely be doing more next season. I
      removed the core, sliced, ran them through the sausage grinder, and
      fermented.

      I don't use carbon on anything I make. For fruit and grain type stuff
      I don't want to remove the flavor. For clean vodka type stuff just
      put a longer column on your still and use better packing.
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