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RE: [new_distillers] Ideal Still for Apple Brandy

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  • John Chad Kinsey Sr.
    I produced a peach brandy this year with a very crude pot still with a thumper. I used mash in the thumper during each run. We used a 4 gallon pot with a
    Message 1 of 13 , Feb 4 2:29 PM
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      I produced a peach brandy this year with a very crude pot still with a thumper.  I used mash in the thumper during each run.  We used a 4 gallon pot with a maximum capacity of around 3 gallons (have to leave some room for expansion and boil over).  We made a 45 gallon wash but only ended up running about 15 gallons of it, this is extremely time consuming.  It took us about 4 hours to run off a 3 gallon run (over propane) and just short of one gallon of good high alcohol content off of it.  With this we reduced with about 25% distilled water to knock down the ABV a little.  We retained a good bit of the flavor.  I understand more flavor would have been retained without the thumper, but that would have almost guaranteed a second run to get the higher alcohol.  I was thoroughly pleased with the results and has everyone who sampled it.  The only drawback I found was the time needed.  You have to stay right with it when using propane burner.  Seemed that the temperature of the run off would fluctuate for no reason, so you had to sit right with the still or risk running it off to fast and getting some bad tastes.

       

        I too have two stainless kegs that I plan on having ready to us by next apple/peach season.  I hope this thread gets some good responses.  Maybe someone can give me some hints on making this less time consuming.

       

      From: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com [mailto:new_distillers@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of andyfnp
      Sent: Thursday, February 01, 2007 9:27 PM
      To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [new_distillers] Ideal Still for Apple Brandy

       

      Brand new to this but since this forum is for new distillers I don't
      feel too stupid asking these questions. Looking forward to everyone's
      feedback.

      I plan to exclusively produce apple and peach brandy. From what I've
      read, the reflux still strips out any flavor, so it doesn't sound like
      that's the still for me. I do want to maintain a balance of good flavor
      and high alcohol percentage, but would like to avoid two distillation
      runs if possible.

      I have the bottom ends for 2 stills: 15 gallon stainless kegs and plan
      to heat with propane burners. Undecided on the top ends at this point.

      The questions:

      Can I produce a high flavor/high alcohol content product with a single
      run with a pot still? If so, any design suggestions?

      Is there some hybrid design of the pot still with a smaller reflux so
      that good flavor is maintained along with high alcohol content?

      Thanks in advance, glad I found this group!

    • John Chad Kinsey Sr.
      By the way, for the mash, we did use yeast. To make that 45 gallons of mash we took 50 pounds of peaches from a local orchard. These were not Grade A
      Message 2 of 13 , Feb 4 2:34 PM
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        By the way, for the mash, we did use yeast.  To make that 45 gallons of mash we took 50 pounds of peaches from a local orchard.  These were not Grade A peaches.  Some had a bruise or some mold on them.  We simply pitted them and literally mashed them, skins and all.  The bad spots we cut off and we washed them thoroughly.  To that mashed up peach mush we added 30 pounds of simple table sugar and four packets of champagne yeast.  We let it ferment about two weeks.  This stuff made some heat too.  You could feel the heat coming off the barrel when you got next to it in the basement.  I stirred it daily the first week and then let the solids settle the second week.  We strained this through pillow cases to get our final mash run product.  But like I said, when we found out how much time this consumed with our small still, about 30 gallons of this was pour out in the woods.  We hated to do that, but we simply did not have the time needed.  This hobby in my point of view is not for a man who works 60 hours a week.  At least not on the scale we were wanting to do it in!!  LOL!! 

         

        I still hope to hear lots of good suggestions!!

         

        From: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com [mailto:new_distillers@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of andyfnp
        Sent: Thursday, February 01, 2007 9:27 PM
        To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [new_distillers] Ideal Still for Apple Brandy

         

        Brand new to this but since this forum is for new distillers I don't
        feel too stupid asking these questions. Looking forward to everyone's
        feedback.

        I plan to exclusively produce apple and peach brandy. From what I've
        read, the reflux still strips out any flavor, so it doesn't sound like
        that's the still for me. I do want to maintain a balance of good flavor
        and high alcohol percentage, but would like to avoid two distillation
        runs if possible.

        I have the bottom ends for 2 stills: 15 gallon stainless kegs and plan
        to heat with propane burners. Undecided on the top ends at this point.

        The questions:

        Can I produce a high flavor/high alcohol content product with a single
        run with a pot still? If so, any design suggestions?

        Is there some hybrid design of the pot still with a smaller reflux so
        that good flavor is maintained along with high alcohol content?

        Thanks in advance, glad I found this group!

      • John Chad Kinsey Sr.
        Oh yeah, I was reading over this, I don t want to confuse you. To add the sugar we boiled it in untreated well water, to get the total 45 gallons of must or
        Message 3 of 13 , Feb 4 2:37 PM
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          Oh yeah, I was reading over this, I don’t want to confuse you.  To add the sugar we boiled it in untreated well water, to get the total 45 gallons of must or mash.

           

          From: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com [mailto:new_distillers@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of John Chad Kinsey Sr.
          Sent: Sunday, February 04, 2007 5:34 PM
          To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: RE: [new_distillers] Ideal Still for Apple Brandy

           

          By the way, for the mash, we did use yeast.  To make that 45 gallons of mash we took 50 pounds of peaches from a local orchard.  These were not Grade A peaches.  Some had a bruise or some mold on them.  We simply pitted them and literally mashed them, skins and all.  The bad spots we cut off and we washed them thoroughly.  To that mashed up peach mush we added 30 pounds of simple table sugar and four packets of champagne yeast.  We let it ferment about two weeks.  This stuff made some heat too.  You could feel the heat coming off the barrel when you got next to it in the basement.  I stirred it daily the first week and then let the solids settle the second week.  We strained this through pillow cases to get our final mash run product.  But like I said, when we found out how much time this consumed with our small still, about 30 gallons of this was pour out in the woods.  We hated to do that, but we simply did not have the time needed.  This hobby in my point of view is not for a man who works 60 hours a week.  At least not on the scale we were wanting to do it in!!  LOL!! 

           

          I still hope to hear lots of good suggestions!!

           

          From: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com [mailto:new_distillers@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of andyfnp
          Sent: Thursday, February 01, 2007 9:27 PM
          To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [new_distillers] Ideal Still for Apple Brandy

           

          Brand new to this but since this forum is for new distillers I don't
          feel too stupid asking these questions. Looking forward to everyone's
          feedback.

          I plan to exclusively produce apple and peach brandy. From what I've
          read, the reflux still strips out any flavor, so it doesn't sound like
          that's the still for me. I do want to maintain a balance of good flavor
          and high alcohol percentage, but would like to avoid two distillation
          runs if possible.

          I have the bottom ends for 2 stills: 15 gallon stainless kegs and plan
          to heat with propane burners. Undecided on the top ends at this point.

          The questions:

          Can I produce a high flavor/high alcohol content product with a single
          run with a pot still? If so, any design suggestions?

          Is there some hybrid design of the pot still with a smaller reflux so
          that good flavor is maintained along with high alcohol content?

          Thanks in advance, glad I found this group!

        • pint_o_shine
          I too make brandy with a pot still. I generally will run stripping runs and collect everything. I then run the low mixture again and make cuts on the second
          Message 4 of 13 , Feb 4 6:35 PM
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            I too make brandy with a pot still. I generally will run stripping
            runs and collect everything. I then run the low mixture again and make
            cuts on the second run. It is not unusual for 80% of the second run
            to be more than 70% ABV. This method has resulted in extremely good
            flavor.
            I also have a packed column with reflux.
            I can get the same results as a double run in a pot still in a single
            run with the reflux turned off. It preserves the flavor quite well
            even in the packed column.
            If I get a really bad batch of fruit, which happens sometimes when
            good fruit is hard to find, I can turn the reflux up and make a tasty
            vodka from the cider.
            The packed reflux column is very flexible if constructed for flexibility.
          • Link D'Antoni
            John, I usually use 3 - 5 lbs fruit per gallon. Even using my Alembic apple come out light on flavors. I run pot around 73-75%. But the peach is just right
            Message 5 of 13 , Feb 5 9:21 AM
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              John,

              I usually use 3 - 5 lbs fruit per gallon.
              Even using my Alembic apple come out light on flavors.
              I run pot around 73-75%. But the peach is just
              right even after diluting to 42%.
              For fluxuation of temp in pot you might put a few
              marbles in the boiler to break the bottom surface. It
              makes a racket but lends to a more consistant boil.

              Link
              ***
              WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may make you think
              you can logically converse with other members of the
              opposite sex without spitting.

              --- "John Chad Kinsey Sr." <cls912@...> wrote:

              > By the way, for the mash, we did use yeast. To make
              > that 45 gallons of mash
              > we took 50 pounds of peaches from a local orchard.
              > These were not Grade A
              > peaches. Some had a bruise or some mold on them.
              > We simply pitted them and
              > literally mashed them, skins and all. The bad spots
              > we cut off and we
              > washed them thoroughly. To that mashed up peach
              > mush we added 30 pounds of
              > simple table sugar and four packets of champagne
              > yeast. We let it ferment
              > about two weeks. This stuff made some heat too.
              > You could feel the heat
              > coming off the barrel when you got next to it in the
              > basement. I stirred it
              > daily the first week and then let the solids settle
              > the second week. We
              > strained this through pillow cases to get our final
              > mash run product. But
              > like I said, when we found out how much time this
              > consumed with our small
              > still, about 30 gallons of this was pour out in the
              > woods. We hated to do
              > that, but we simply did not have the time needed.
              > This hobby in my point of
              > view is not for a man who works 60 hours a week. At
              > least not on the scale
              > we were wanting to do it in!! LOL!!
              >
              >
              >
              > I still hope to hear lots of good suggestions!!
              >
              >
              >
              > From: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
              > [mailto:new_distillers@yahoogroups.com]
              > On Behalf Of andyfnp
              > Sent: Thursday, February 01, 2007 9:27 PM
              > To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
              > Subject: [new_distillers] Ideal Still for Apple
              > Brandy
              >
              >
              >
              > Brand new to this but since this forum is for new
              > distillers I don't
              > feel too stupid asking these questions. Looking
              > forward to everyone's
              > feedback.
              >
              > I plan to exclusively produce apple and peach
              > brandy. From what I've
              > read, the reflux still strips out any flavor, so it
              > doesn't sound like
              > that's the still for me. I do want to maintain a
              > balance of good flavor
              > and high alcohol percentage, but would like to avoid
              > two distillation
              > runs if possible.
              >
              > I have the bottom ends for 2 stills: 15 gallon
              > stainless kegs and plan
              > to heat with propane burners. Undecided on the top
              > ends at this point.
              >
              > The questions:
              >
              > Can I produce a high flavor/high alcohol content
              > product with a single
              > run with a pot still? If so, any design suggestions?
              >
              > Is there some hybrid design of the pot still with a
              > smaller reflux so
              > that good flavor is maintained along with high
              > alcohol content?
              >
              > Thanks in advance, glad I found this group!
              >
              >
              >
              >




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            • marquee.moon
              I make apple brandy (calvados) with a pot still, running it twice. I take just under a third off during the first run and end up with low wines (the first run
              Message 6 of 13 , Feb 8 8:06 AM
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                I make apple brandy (calvados) with a pot still, running it twice.

                I take just under a third off during the first run and end up with
                low wines (the first run product) at around 22%. I take the second
                run slower, collecting in separate jars until I'm happy I know were
                to cut. Each jar contains roughly 200ml. When the jar smells
                different to the previous jars, I make the cut. The second run
                finishes up around 65%.

                Were you cut the second run depends on taste, the specifics of your
                still and on your cider flavour. The cider flavour in turn relates to
                the apples used, your method of fermentation (on the pulp or off the
                pulp?) and your press efficiency (how much juice is left in the
                fruit?), as well as the type of yeast you use (I used EC1118)

                Unless you're REALLY good at making cider, you'll probably need to
                distil it shortly after the end of fermentation to stop it going bad.
                You can't use sulphite- the flavour carries over into the spirit. I
                make cider around 4 or 5 times between August and November. This
                means I need to distil the first batch before I've even picked the
                fruit for the last batch. Doing a strip run on each batch as soon as
                it clears results in a very clean flavour with no stale smells (a
                risk when wild yeast may be present). The stripping runs take very
                little time- a few hours each. The resulting low wine can be stored
                with no problems until you can combine the whole season's product in
                a second spirit run.

                The only problem is having patients to wait until the spirit run is
                complete…

                I put a stainless steel scrubber in the boiler to break the boil.
              • bill
                ... From: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com [mailto:new_distillers@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of marquee.moon Sent: Thursday, February 08, 2007 11:07 AM To:
                Message 7 of 13 , Feb 8 8:28 PM
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                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com [mailto:new_distillers@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of marquee.moon
                  Sent:
                  Thursday, February 08, 2007 11:07 AM
                  To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: [new_distillers] Re: Ideal Still for Apple Brandy

                   

                         Nice to know  someone else enjoys  one of the best fruit spirits  as I do & my friends.  Pot distilled, run it twice,

                   

                        Then cut with  CLEAR  apple juice.  On mild toasted oak till color is right add the calvados essence to enrich it

                   

                        Even more.  Most guys just sip it straight, Women love the High Ball with ginger ale.  NO  Compliments, Just

                   

                        Threats  on cleaning out my stock.   Sometimes you just get TIRED of making  Vodka……………Bill.



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                • andyfnp
                  Thanks to all for your replies, lots of useful information. Sounds like the majority of you use a pot still with two runs for brandy. Pint o shine, I m
                  Message 8 of 13 , Feb 9 9:43 PM
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                    Thanks to all for your replies, lots of useful information. Sounds like
                    the majority of you use a pot still with two runs for brandy. Pint o
                    shine, I'm interested in hearing more about your success with a reflux
                    still and preservation of fruit flavor. Here in the north GA mountains
                    we have "shine" and brandy. The better brandy is very potent with a
                    very good apple flavor and pleasant after-taste. The stills I have
                    seen a VERY simple and crude but clean, and produce excellent brandy.
                    All report 2 runs and very time consuming. I'm willing to go that route
                    for a superior tasting and intoxicating product but if there is a
                    possibility of a single run in a reflux still with good flavor, I'm
                    willing to build a reflux still. Any opinions on this out there??
                  • andyfnp
                    Parrothead, do you plan on building pot stills or reflux stills out of those SS kegs for brandy production?
                    Message 9 of 13 , Feb 9 9:45 PM
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                      Parrothead, do you plan on building pot stills or reflux stills out of
                      those SS kegs for brandy production?
                    • andyfnp
                      Parrothead, what is the advantage to using mash in the thumper as opposed to plain water?
                      Message 10 of 13 , Feb 9 9:58 PM
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                        Parrothead, what is the advantage to using mash in the thumper as
                        opposed to plain water?
                      • countrytime_still
                        I made some great Apple Brandy last fall, no sugar was added eather. My still is a 2.5 gallon mini beer keg. A friend welded a head to the top (I don t
                        Message 11 of 13 , Feb 10 7:51 AM
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                          I made some great Apple Brandy last fall, no sugar was added eather.
                          My still is a 2.5 gallon mini beer keg. A friend welded a "head" to the
                          top (I don't rember what it was off of) and I fill it with marbles. I
                          use a lot of the tails and cut it down to 100 Proof. I then added
                          French oak chips.
                        • donald holcombe
                          The whole idea up the thumper is to distill the mash in the boiler and the thumper at the same time . Its a time and energy saver Plus it helps double distills
                          Message 12 of 13 , Feb 12 4:10 PM
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                            The whole idea up the thumper is to distill the mash in the boiler and the thumper at the same time . Its a time and energy saver Plus it helps double distills the mash. Water would be a waste of time in a thumper!

                            ----- Original Message ----
                            From: andyfnp <andyfnp@...>
                            To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
                            Sent: Saturday, February 10, 2007 12:58:10 AM
                            Subject: [new_distillers] Re: Ideal Still for Apple Brandy

                            Parrothead, what is the advantage to using mash in the thumper as
                            opposed to plain water?




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