RE: [new_distillers] New to brew, you?
> Many sites not only recommend, but state as a requirement that IDo not use carbon if you want to keep the flavour of the fruit.
> filter with active carbon. In fact, the retailer storngly
> recommended I purchace one. The problem is I have to water the
> distillate down to 50% for the carbon to work. Well now, this
> defeats the purpose of producing high proof alcohol. Is carbon
> filtration necessary to produce a non-toxic liquor?
The idea of using carbon is to help clean up neutral alcohol, to make a clean vodka for use with essences etc. Thats what most of the commercial stills are targetting - they don't normally consider someone starting with other than a sugar-wash or wanting some flavour.
If you are starting with fruit/wine, and want to keep that flavour, do not use carbon.
More info at http://homedistiller.org/polish.htm
- 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
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
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.