Taste and Smell
- G'day all, I run a reflux with a 1500 mm X 50 mm copper column filled
with copper mesh on a 50 Lt SS keg and a 1500 watt heating element. i
have put through about 5 or 6 sugar washes and 3 molasses runs. The
Malasses is quiet good (I think it will get better when i Make my pot
connexion). BUT with my Neutral Spirits even tho I am achieving
around 93% to 94% with each run the spirits still have a smell and a
rather sharp afterBURN can anyone help.
My wash is as follows
12 Kg Sugar made up to 50Lt in fermenter Turbo Yeast at Recommended
amount. Bubble away for about 5 days at around 25 to 28 deg. Once
fermentation completed hit it with turbo clear to settle out the crap
Into the boiler and bring it to boil. When the temp at the top of the
column reaches 70C i turn it down and run it on full reflux for about
3/4 to 1 hour take off the first 100 mls then start collecting up to
85C then take what ever is left into tails for next run.
Anyone out there with some advice.
And yes I have been to Homedistiller.org (that is where i got the
plans for my rig) I have REad, Read and READ Again
- Hi Oblong,
Has your boiler element got any hard caked on lime scale? If it has,
has it at any stage been left to boil dry and knocked it's self off
via the automatic "boil dry" facility built into the base of all
modern electric elements these days?
You see a lot of people accidentally let their electric kettles
run dry, and a little safety switch between the two connection
terminals on the side (or base for cordless) of the kettle clicks
out. Because they don't know about this switch, they fill it up,
plug it in and the kettle doesn't work all because they haven't reset
the safety switch, so they buy a new kettle thinking it's busted.
This is when you and I get our hands on it and reset the switch and
don't de-scale it.
You see before the safety "boil dry" facility kicks in, the excess
heat can burn the lime scale or metal on the inside next to the metal
of the element, and every time you heat up there-after you will get a
scorched after burn taste/smell. It can make your cup of tea or
coffee taste like crap. Clean your element with some lime scale
tablets. It's a possible solution. Hope this helps, well it helped
me with my cuppa tea, it tasted better and was a cheaper solution
than a new kettle.
- as you have described your removal of product:
"take off the first 100 mls then start collecting up to 85C then take
what ever is left into tails for next run."
seems to me that your forgetting to remove the heads from the wash.
the first thing to be removed is foreshots. then heads. then hearts.
>"This first portion is often called the "foreshots". They aredifferent from the "heads". Ian Smiley
(http://www.home-distilling.com/) describes foreshots as "the low
boiling point compounds that come out of the still first. They contain
acetone, methanol, various esters and aldehyde's, and other volatiles.
Foreshots are to be considered poisonous and should be discarded."
Whereas heads "come out after the foreshots, and are almost pure
alcohol, except that they are contaminated with trace amounts of
unwanted cogeners ..."<
snip >These heads can still be used to make liqueurs, whisky, rums,
etc, or redistilled later if desired totally neutral. The only problem
with heads is their non-neutral taste.<
this comes from the site you've read homedistiller.org, "distilling"
tab, then "distilling the wash" tab, then "removing the methanol" tab
When the temp at the top of the
hope this helps
chillin and stillin
> column reaches 70C i turn it down and run it on full reflux for about
> 3/4 to 1 hour take off the first 100 mls then start collecting up to
> 85C then take what ever is left into tails for next run.
I have the same problem and I am using a PDA-1 and I rewired everything
in the boiler so I know its not the burning of the element I also have
removed the heads too. From some readings i have been seeing its the
Turbo that could be giving it the taste you are describing. I have
cleaned mine up with a soak in carbon for a week and some glyceriine.
However I think its time to try a different yeast. If any one has
suggestions especially another yeast to use I would greatly appreciate
- Thanks for the replys fellers,
The boiler has never boiled dry as it is a 50 Liter keg, I clean it out after every run and I
can't see any build up or calcification on the element and I turn it off when the temp hits
92C at the column head. I collect in 700 ml bottles and it doesnt seem to matter which
bottle I try there is still that Afterburn. The yeast suggestion may be the answer.
Does anyone hav any suggestions regarding yeast. I know Harry uses Dry Bakers Yeast in
his rum so I think that I might try this in my next Batch. I am also going to re-run my
current batch and see if this will clean it up.
Thanks again for the replys
- --- In email@example.com, "ublong" <ublong@...> wrote:
>it out after every run and I
> Thanks for the replys fellers,
> The boiler has never boiled dry as it is a 50 Liter keg, I clean
> can't see any build up or calcification on the element and I turnit off when the temp hits
> 92C at the column head. I collect in 700 ml bottles and it doesntseem to matter which
> bottle I try there is still that Afterburn. The yeast suggestionmay be the answer.
> Does anyone hav any suggestions regarding yeast. I know Harry usesDry Bakers Yeast in
> his rum so I think that I might try this in my next Batch. I amalso going to re-run my
> current batch and see if this will clean it up.Remember that bakers yeast will max out at about 13%abv. So don't
> Thanks again for the replys
use any more sugar than that. It's just a waste. (see
homedistiller.org for the calculators).
If you're going to try different yeasts, may I suggest that you get
all the other variables down pat first?
One of the biggest problems in making neutral spirits is to actually
make it NEUTRAL ie NO discernable flavour and NO smell other than
the smell of ethanol. People just don't get that one.
Smells can mostly be eliminated by carbon treatment, because smells
are usually caused by unwanted gases or their breakdown components.
However, there's only really one way to eliminate head & tail
components which are the cause of non-neutral spirits, that is to
judiciously cut them from the ethanol, or heart run. Sounds like
a 'no-brainer', but you'd be surprised how many don't get that one
It's a known fact that simple distillation won't effectively
separate substances with close boiling points. Even fractionating
distillation (similar to our so-called reflux rigs), needs very
careful monitoring to achieve this.
So what do you do with the situation we face, where Ethyl Acetate
(aka ester, nail polish remover, heads) has a BP of 77°C, only 1.5°C
lower than ethanol?
There are several things you can do. The easiest is to reduce the
occurrence or amount of the ester in the first place. Try some of
1. Reduce the acetic acid potential in your washes:
Ethyl acetate is obtained by the direct esterification of ethyl
alcohol with acetic acid. The reaction is reversible via
hydrolysis, where ethyl acetate reacts with water in an acid or base
Therefore choose a sugar source that is low in acetic acid, such as
white cane sugar or dextrose (recommended). Grains and other starch
sources like potatoes will produce more acetic acid than pure sugar,
but can be employed for GNS if a fractioning still is used. Fruit
mashes contain increased amounts of acetic acid, so are not
recommended for GNS alcohol production (they can be used, just need
much more processing).
2. Reduce or eliminate bacterial contamination of washes:
Some bacteria such as Clostridium can produce acetic acid directly
by metabolizing sugars. Remember acetic acid is basically vinegar.
Anything that can make vinegar (bacteria, fruit fly etc.) is to be
eliminated from the fermentation and its environment.
3. Take a much larger heads cut. This will ensure that you are
well into hearts with minimal cross-contamination. IOW, DON'T BE
4. Cut to tails earlier (assuming a reflux still), such as the
moment you see a shift upwards in the overhead temp. Same reasons
as (3) above.
5. Allow a longer equilibration time for your reflux still. Then
SLOWLY bleed off the heads.
6. Allow several months of 'aging' after dilution & before
drinking. That way any ethyl acetate that is present gets to react
with the dilution water and revert to alcohol and acetic acid.
It's all time, time, time, and careful attention to detail. But if
you want neutral alcohol, that's how you achieve it. Of course, you
could always just put up with the contaminants and mask them with
added flavourings like lemongrass or strawberry. That's what the
commercial outfits often do. They then market it as
ermmm...'flavored vodka'. :)
To get exceptional results in this hobby, you need to do the hard
yards. Often it would be cheaper to go buy a bottle of your
favourite tipple. But then you'd never have the satisfaction that
comes with saying "I made it myself". As a therapy, hobby, and for
the bragging rights, it's hard to beat distilling.
- Use the same amount of baker's yeast as you would with any other
yeast. The more yeast you use, the quicker it will ferment. However,
you may get some off flavors if you use too much. The only time that
you really want to dump a lot of yeast into a wash, is if you are
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, SLOUGHVIEW@... wrote:
> you know my question about baking yeast is how to you calulate how much
> yeast to use per gallon of wash?
> so many question.