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RE: [new_distillers] New to brew, you?

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  • Ackland, Tony (CALNZAS)
    Ray, ... Do not use carbon if you want to keep the flavour of the fruit. The idea of using carbon is to help clean up neutral alcohol, to make a clean vodka
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 5, 2004
      Ray,

      > Many sites not only recommend, but state as a requirement that I
      > 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?

      Do not use carbon if you want to keep the flavour of the fruit.

      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

      Tony
    • nanosleep
      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
      Message 2 of 9 , Jan 5, 2004
        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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