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## 32189Re: Still sizing?

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• Nov 3, 2008
Just some simple calculations to consider:
(rounded for math, but the principles all apply)
You ferment 5 gallons of 10% wash.
That's 1/2 gallon (0.5 gal) of 100% alcohol.
Assuming your stripping run gets 90% of that, you'll have 0.45 gallons
of pure alcohol mixed with whatever remainder gives you your total
volume of low wines.

Let's use 1 gallon for the sake of example.
Conveniently, that leaves us with a 45% low wines (this isn't far off
from what I've collected, perhaps a smidge stronger).
So, assuming we do 5 separate, identical runs to acquire 5 gallons of
low wines. That's a total of 2.25 gallons of pure alcohol.

Again, assuming we collect a sum total of 90% of what's available,
that leaves 2.025 (let's just round to 2 even) gallons of alcohol
collected.
If we make a rough 1/4-1/2-1/4 (heads/hearts/tails) cut by alcohol
concentration, you get a rough 1/3-1/3-1/3 cut by physical volume.

So, assuming this, you wind up with about 2/3 gallon of hearts at
somewhere around 70% abv. Cut this down to 40% and you get somewhere
roughly around 1.15 gallons. Or, for the sake of generalities,
"between 1 ad 1 1/4 gallons."

On subsequent runs, when you start adding back the feints, these
calculations skew even more depending on how your runs are cut.

You'll notice that there are a lot of assumptions. This is an
imprecise art at best. You can set up your wash in the same fashion
as brewing beer by taking specific gravity readings before and after
the fermentation to verify what percentage your wash is, but in the
end, regardless of what it works out to be, what you get out of the
still is what you get. The theory only goes so far until you pitch
the yeast and let 'er rip. Same goes for putting the fire to your
boiler. Particularly with self-built rigs, there's no way to apply
the theoretical numbers to a piece of equipment that has no
quantifiable parameters to compare with a standard or benchmark. Only
by actually doing it will that benchmark be set...and YOU have the
privilege of setting it.
There's nothing wrong with running the numbers, but learning how (or
even if) they apply to your rig will only happen by doing. Don't
expend so many brain cells on what CAN happen when you really do have
to learn first hand what WILL happen in your particular set of
conditions. Not to mention, when you have a sugar run or nine under
your belt, you'll very likely see a light turn on with regards to what
was puzzling you initially with the calculations.

In other words, after a few runs, you'll be able to gauge the outcome
of a run based on what previous ones have yielded. You can also gauge
how to adjust that based on where you like to make your cuts between
heads, hearts, and tails.

Trid
-sorry, no numbers to apply to "art" and this is definitely an art in
the end
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