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32189Re: Still sizing?

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  • Trid
    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
      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.

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