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39802Re: 1 inch Copper and 1 gallon barrels

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  • tgfoitwoods
    Dec 31, 2010
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      Gotmatt, replies in blue.

      --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "gotmatt" <silva.matt@...> wrote:
      >
      > Well then, I'm glad I posted.
      >
      > I finally (wrongly?) decided to go off Harry's Glenmorangie post for design, "...you can achieve a similar result by angling the lyne arm at the top of the neck to a 45° angle for about 60cm of length, then direct it downward to the condenser or worm..." I do like the heavier Scotches (Aberlour's Abunda comes to mind) so you're right to nix an upward angle.
      >
      > The length of riser was my calculation of area to achieve 2" pipe reflux with a 1" pipe, but I guess that isn't as important as velocity issues.

      It's my studied opinion that if you keep energy input low enough to avoid junk-containing aerosols in your vapor, you don't need or even want reflux in a potstill riser. The purpose of reflux is to separate the component liquids, and the extreme of that is tasteless vodka, which is not my goal. I've used ~18" risers for years, and while the spirit was always wonderfully clean and smooth, I feel my flavor intensity was not quite what I'd wish for.

      >
      > ZB said:
      > >>>I've got about 18" of 2" on a keg-based potstill, and I think even that much is costing me some richness of flavor.... I've got the copper to make a 2" head with almost no riser
      >
      > I haven't read this before in everything online. If I read this right, you'd prefer to move vapor from boil pot to collection vessel in the shortest (and simplest) possible distance to achieve greatest flavor in Whiskey?

      You read this right. That's what I think I'd prefer (of course I've been wrong before). If you look at classic scotch whisky stills, you'll see some that are "short-necked" in the way I describe.


      Should I assume 3 spirit runs with 3 small heart cuts to achieve 62% for aging?

      Not exactly. I use one stripping run times perhaps 3, to get enough low wines for a spirit run. Then one spirit run with the distillate fraction containers changed out as I detect flavor changes in the distillate. The next day, I take a sample of each fraction, dilute to 80 or 90 proof, and do the ol' lip, nose, palate, and snifter test. The good stuff that makes the cut, I mix and dilute to whatever proof is appropriate for aging for that spirit, typically from 110 to 130.

      I don't think selecting hearts by numbers is as reliable as selecting by flavor at the same proof. That may be just me, but that way I drink only what I like, and reject only what I don't like.

      >
      >
      > Final question:
      > I guess nobody has found value in aging in the (small) barrel?

      To age in barrels, you encounter a whole 'nother level of complexity. You'll have to at least know some cooperage skills and keep all the oak wet at all times (or have your precious spirits leak out on the floor), avoid infections, and periodically top off the barrel (to avoid that floor thing happening), and the smaller the barrel the faster these problems will bite you. Oh, and for bourbon, the barrel is only good once.

      On the other hand, aging on oak in glass is more reliable, more controllable (IMHO) and as far as I can tell, tastes every bit as good. As a beginner, I'd say go for the low-hanging fruit first, and go looking for trouble later.

      >
      >
      > -GM

      Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller
      >
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