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longtime listener/first time distiller

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  • weisst69
    I did my first ferment of molasses (1 part) to water (3 parts). Starting gravity was 1.076. I used a rum turbo yeast (no directions included). It took about a
    Message 1 of 12 , Jan 30, 2008
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      I did my first ferment of molasses (1 part) to water (3 parts).
      Starting gravity was 1.076. I used a rum turbo yeast (no directions
      included). It took about a week before I could tell any activity was
      there. Anyway, racked to a carboy today to let it settle and the
      gravity was 1.030. That is roughly (very roughly) 6%. That seems
      low. Any comments or advice would help.

      Next question. I find various camps that say both, "DO" and "DO
      NOT" stir the Yeast cake on top back into the ferment. What benefits
      or disadvantages have you found from experience?

      Last one (for now). I want to add backset/dunder or whatever
      different name everyone calls it after the first run. I am doing a
      stripping run. Do I take some of whats left from the stripping run,
      or wait until after the spirit run and use that?

      Please feel free to correct me on terms as well.

      Thanks (I'm workin' on my own sign off, just gimme a little time),
      T-
    • morganfield1
      Hi T, Starting gravity (O.G.) of 1.076 sounds about right, but it should have went down to around 1.01 or lower. Although molasses has alot of unfermentables
      Message 2 of 12 , Jan 30, 2008
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        Hi T,

        Starting gravity (O.G.) of 1.076 sounds about right, but it should
        have went down to around 1.01 or lower. Although molasses has alot of
        unfermentables in it. I think I would have let it go another week.
        That being said,
        A. Did you aerate the wash?
        B. Did you pre-start the yeast? Although you usually don't pre start
        turbos.

        I would only rack into another fermenter when the primary ferment is
        complete. Racking will help a yeast settle.

        I'm a "Do Not" stir the ferment guy. I don't like mucking around in a
        perfectly good looking ferment, but like you say, many say it's
        neccesary.

        If you're going to do it, add the "dunder" from the stripping run to
        your second run.
        And Dude, you gotta come with a good tail, like

        Tip one, Morgan

        --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "weisst69" <toddweiss@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > I did my first ferment of molasses (1 part) to water (3 parts).
        > Starting gravity was 1.076. I used a rum turbo yeast (no
        directions
        > included).
      • weisst69
        Thanks Morgan. I thought it should fermented a lot lower as well. I just wanted to add a couple of thoughts to yours. ... of unfermentables in it. I think I
        Message 3 of 12 , Jan 31, 2008
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          Thanks Morgan. I thought it should fermented a lot lower as well.

          I just wanted to add a couple of thoughts to yours.

          > Starting gravity (O.G.) of 1.076 sounds about right, but it should
          > have went down to around 1.01 or lower. Although molasses has alot
          of unfermentables in it. I think I would have let it go another week.

          The gravity had not changed over a weeks time. I took two readings
          about 1 week apart, and it remained unchanged.

          > A. Did you aerate the wash?
          No, other than pouring it into the fermenter.

          > B. Did you pre-start the yeast? Although you usually don't pre
          start turbos.
          Actually, I did pre-start the yeast. Harry said this might have been
          my problem. Unfortunately, mine didn't come with directions. Now I
          know. Do you think this was the whole problem?

          > And Dude, you gotta come with a good tail, like

          Dude, you can't leave me hanging... What were you going to say?

          Thanks again,
          T-

          --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "morganfield1"
          <morganfield1@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hi T,
          >
          > Starting gravity (O.G.) of 1.076 sounds about right, but it should
          > have went down to around 1.01 or lower. Although molasses has alot
          of
          > unfermentables in it. I think I would have let it go another week.
          > That being said,
          > A. Did you aerate the wash?
          > B. Did you pre-start the yeast? Although you usually don't pre
          start
          > turbos.
          >
          > I would only rack into another fermenter when the primary ferment
          is
          > complete. Racking will help a yeast settle.
          >
          > I'm a "Do Not" stir the ferment guy. I don't like mucking around in
          a
          > perfectly good looking ferment, but like you say, many say it's
          > neccesary.
          >
          > If you're going to do it, add the "dunder" from the stripping run
          to
          > your second run.
          > And Dude, you gotta come with a good tail, like
          >
          > Tip one, Morgan
          >
          > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "weisst69" <toddweiss@>
          > wrote:
          > >
          > > I did my first ferment of molasses (1 part) to water (3 parts).
          > > Starting gravity was 1.076. I used a rum turbo yeast (no
          > directions
          > > included).
          >
        • C D
          Do I aerate the wash? I don t make beer(yet), but I ve made wine for more than 20 years. I always fold in the cap on the must, twice a day. Fermenting,
          Message 4 of 12 , Jan 31, 2008
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            Do I aerate the wash? I don't make beer(yet), but I've made wine for
            more than 20 years. I always fold in the 'cap' on the must, twice a
            day. Fermenting, after all, is an aerobic process. Incorporating
            oxygen is a good thing at this stage.

            Once the yeast die and you rack the wine into the secondary fermenter,
            then it is advisable to install a bubbler. Beer should be the same
            process, no?
          • Harry
            Comments inline... ... ..........Yep. Yeast cells need air initially to multiply up so there s enough healthy cells to do the job. I don t make beer(yet), but
            Message 5 of 12 , Jan 31, 2008
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              Comments inline...

              --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "C D" <vette69@...> wrote:
              >
              > Do I aerate the wash?


              ..........Yep. Yeast cells need air initially to multiply up so
              there's enough healthy cells to do the job.

              I don't make beer(yet), but I've made wine for
              > more than 20 years.

              ...........The mashes we make for distilling are basic primary wines
              & beers (sans hops). This hobby is more forgiving of mistakes than
              what you're used to. :)


              I always fold in the 'cap' on the must, twice a
              > day.

              ..............If you're using open fermenters this is advisable (to
              a degree) but beware of introducing airborne bacteria. These may
              produce things (or not) that detract from your desired end-product.


              Fermenting, after all, is an aerobic process.

              ..............Au contraire. Cell division/propagation is aerobic.
              Very little alcohol is produced, just cells. Fermentation is
              anaerobic. Lack of oxygen forces the yeast to metabolise sugars
              differently. Alcohol is the by-product of this process.


              Incorporating
              > oxygen is a good thing at this stage.

              ........At initial yeast pitching.

              >
              > Once the yeast die and you rack the wine into the secondary
              fermenter,
              > then it is advisable to install a bubbler.


              ................In most cases the yeast doesn't 'die' per se. It
              goes dormant and settles out. This explains why it is possible to
              add sugars & nutrients to the sediment and start another
              fermentation (ala the 'sourmash' process of whiskies).

              ................If you are racking distillers beer/wine for the
              purpose of clearing, then yes, a bubbler and airtight cover is
              advisable to keep nasties out. You can achieve the same thing
              (clearing) in an overnight operation by refrigerating your
              beer/wine. Yeast goes dormant and drops out rapidly when chilled.
              If you don't have a coldroom, rack your primary into 2-litre PET
              bottles and refrigerate. To distil, decant the contents (sans
              dregs) into your still, enough for about a 2/3rds full charge.


              Beer should be the same
              > process, no?
              >

              ..................See above.


              HTH
              Slainte!
              regards Harry
            • Harry
              ... Further to my previous post, I need to explain why UN-holled beer is used in distilling. Distillation is BOTH a separation process and a concentration
              Message 6 of 12 , Jan 31, 2008
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                > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "C D" <vette69@> wrote:
                >
                > Beer should be the same
                > > process, no?
                > >
                >
                > ..................See above.



                Further to my previous post, I need to explain why UN-holled beer is
                used in distilling.

                Distillation is BOTH a separation process and a concentration
                process. Volatility is the active key.
                Distilling separates most of the water from the desired alcohol
                because the alcohol is more volatile than the water. Volatility is
                a word you need to understand fully. More volatile substances tend
                to boil off more readily and in larger quantities than less volatile
                substances. Hops and many congeners/flavinoids are also more
                volatile than water, hence they can be collected much more
                concentrated (less water to dilute them) in the end product. This
                is one of the main reasons we cut heads/tails. Nasty concentrates.

                Hops is used in beers as a bittering agent and a preservative to
                thump nasties because the alcohol strength is too low to kill things
                (humans notwithstanding). High strength alcohol as in spirits is
                its own preservative. Because hops is a bittering agent, it
                presents a problem in distilling. Would you like to drink the sum
                total of 20 litres of beer hops concentrated into 3 or 4 litres of
                whisky? Methinks not. Anyone who has tried it will vouch for how
                nasty it tastes.


                HTH
                Slainte!
                regards Harry
              • morganfield1
                Hey T Actually, I think (and I mean think) lack of aerating was the problem. There are two ways to do this, the right way, and my way. The right way, as Harry
                Message 7 of 12 , Jan 31, 2008
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                  Hey T

                  Actually, I think (and I mean think) lack of aerating was the
                  problem. There are two ways to do this, the right way, and my way.
                  The right way, as Harry (and others in the know) will tell you, is to
                  use an aquarium air pump, run the air lines thru a "thumper" or water
                  pipe full of alchohol (to clean the air) and then to an aerator in
                  the bottom of your wash (sans yeast at this point). Run air into it
                  about 3 or 4 hours. This will give you a well oxigenated wash for the
                  yeast to start in.

                  What I do (and lazy bastards like me, you know who you are) is have
                  two sanitized pails (fermenters) handy. Before I pitch the started
                  yeast, I dump the wash between the two pails 5 or 6 times. Tough on
                  the back, but the end product keeps me going. This is faster, but the
                  downside is along with introducing air, you are also introducing
                  whatever airbourn bacteria is floating around into the wash. I have
                  never had a problem with this, but the potential is there

                  If you follow Harry's advise, you can't go to far wrong. Harry, Riku,
                  Blanik, and many others on these groups have forgotten more about
                  this hobby than I will ever know. Keep that in mind when you read my
                  posts.

                  Tip one, Morgan (the "Grasshopper")

                  > > A. Did you aerate the wash> No, other than pouring it into the
                  fermenter;
                  > Thanks again,

                  T
                • jamesonbeam1
                  Hey C D, Being an old time wine maker myself (almost 2 times your 20 years hehe:), theres a few things that are totally different from wine making and from
                  Message 8 of 12 , Jan 31, 2008
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                    Hey C D,

                    Being an old time wine maker myself (almost 2 times your 20 years
                    hehe:), theres a few things that are totally different from wine making
                    and from what I've learned about makin' likkers and sourmash.

                    First off, lets talk about stages of yeast development and fermentation
                    stages. The first stage, the aerobic stage is where the yeasties start
                    budding the daughter cells and mutiply and prosper. This stage, which
                    lasts about 36 - 48 hours is where the yeast nutrients come into play
                    and they multiply by quantum leaps - hundreds of thousand fold every
                    several hours.... This is the time where aerating and vigorous
                    stirring of the wash / mash comes into play.

                    The second major stage is the anarobic stage where they really start
                    shooting out the alcohols and flagulating out the CO2. During this
                    stage which, depending on the type of yeast, amount of nutrients, type
                    of ingredients and level of sugars can last anywheres from 3 days to a
                    week or more.

                    Alot of sourmash whiskey makers and rum makers ive read about or seen
                    (the professional, commercial types) dont wait more then 5 - 6 days or
                    so before they throw the wash / mash into their boilers. Us hobby
                    types can wait up to over a week or more. And of course, most of their
                    washes / mashes come out to less then an 8% - 9% abv.

                    During this period it is also advisable to stir the cap in - but not so
                    much as to induce addition oxygen into the fermentation. An added
                    benifit is to stir up the lees or "trub" as they call it here, since
                    most of the yeast sinks to the bottom and stirring brings them yeasties
                    back up into the sweet sugar environment.

                    A good (real, as in technical hehe) disertation on this can be found at:
                    http://maltosefalcons.com/tech/MB_Raines_Guide_to_Yeast_Culturing.php
                    by MB Raines-Casselman, Ph.D.

                    I believe there is also a discussion of this on Harry's Library at:
                    http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/

                    Anyways, thats about where the similarity between wine makin and likker
                    makin ends:):). There is no need to let the yeast die and put the
                    wash/ mash into a secondary fermenter with air lock, racking etc. As a
                    matter of fact, alot of us use some of the "trub" as a starter for the
                    next batch of wash / mash...

                    Hope this answers some of your questions.

                    Vino es Veritas,
                    Jim.


                    --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "C D" <vette69@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Do I aerate the wash? I don't make beer(yet), but I've made wine for
                    > more than 20 years. I always fold in the 'cap' on the must, twice a
                    > day. Fermenting, after all, is an aerobic process. Incorporating
                    > oxygen is a good thing at this stage.
                    >
                    > Once the yeast die and you rack the wine into the secondary fermenter,
                    > then it is advisable to install a bubbler. Beer should be the same
                    > process, no?
                    >
                  • Zapata Vive
                    Well, I dunno, how about it? Has any self affirmed hop-head tried distilling a hopped beer? I myself do like BEERS that have the sum total of 20 litres
                    Message 9 of 12 , Jan 31, 2008
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                      Well, I dunno, how about it?  Has any self affirmed "hop-head" tried distilling a hopped beer?  I myself do like BEERS that have " the sum total of 20 litres of beer hops concentrated into 3 or 4 litres".  Would a hopped beer make an IPA whiskey?
                       
                      Maybe steam distilling hops seperately and using that to flavor a whiskey would be a better idea.  I don't know, but many double IPAs have over 100 IBU's (measurement of hop bitterness), whereas "normal" beers are down in the teens.  Maybe IPA whiskey will be America's next contribution to the world of whiskey?  Or is it really just nasty?
                       
                      ¬°Tierra y Libertad!
                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: Harry
                      Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2008 3:53 PM
                      Subject: [new_distillers] Hops (was) Re: longtime listener/first time distiller

                      >
                      Hops is used in beers as a bittering agent and a preservative to
                      thump nasties because the alcohol strength is too low to kill things
                      (humans notwithstanding) . High strength alcohol as in spirits is
                      its own preservative. Because hops is a bittering agent, it
                      presents a problem in distilling. Would you like to drink the sum
                      total of 20 litres of beer hops concentrated into 3 or 4 litres of
                      whisky? Methinks not. Anyone who has tried it will vouch for how
                      nasty it tastes.

                      HTH
                      Slainte!
                      regards Harry

                    • bbornais
                      Informative Harry. The oils in hops are not more volatile than water though. What happens here is a steam distillation, much the same as essential oil
                      Message 10 of 12 , Jan 31, 2008
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                        Informative Harry.

                        The oils in hops are not more volatile than water though. What
                        happens here is a steam distillation, much the same as essential oil
                        extraction.

                        If you had a large hops amount and smaller amount of water, then you
                        would get a co-distillation (where you distill over two immiscible
                        components). The hops oil, then partly settles out on top of the
                        water distillate and can be separated easily by liquid/liquid
                        extraction, and sold to treat a variety of ailments.

                        End result is the same: highly concentrated hop flavour.

                        --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Harry" <gnikomson2000@...>
                        wrote:
                        >
                        > > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "C D" <vette69@> wrote:
                        > >
                        > > Beer should be the same
                        > > > process, no?
                        > > >
                        > >
                        > > ..................See above.
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > Further to my previous post, I need to explain why UN-holled beer
                        is
                        > used in distilling.
                        >
                        > Distillation is BOTH a separation process and a concentration
                        > process. Volatility is the active key.
                        > Distilling separates most of the water from the desired alcohol
                        > because the alcohol is more volatile than the water. Volatility
                        is
                        > a word you need to understand fully. More volatile substances
                        tend
                        > to boil off more readily and in larger quantities than less
                        volatile
                        > substances. Hops and many congeners/flavinoids are also more
                        > volatile than water, hence they can be collected much more
                        > concentrated (less water to dilute them) in the end product. This
                        > is one of the main reasons we cut heads/tails. Nasty concentrates.
                        >
                        > Hops is used in beers as a bittering agent and a preservative to
                        > thump nasties because the alcohol strength is too low to kill
                        things
                        > (humans notwithstanding). High strength alcohol as in spirits is
                        > its own preservative. Because hops is a bittering agent, it
                        > presents a problem in distilling. Would you like to drink the sum
                        > total of 20 litres of beer hops concentrated into 3 or 4 litres of
                        > whisky? Methinks not. Anyone who has tried it will vouch for how
                        > nasty it tastes.
                        >
                        >
                        > HTH
                        > Slainte!
                        > regards Harry
                        >
                      • bbornais
                        I am a serious home brewer myself (stemmed off of distialation theory, strangely enough), and would like to know the results of this expiriment. My assumption
                        Message 11 of 12 , Jan 31, 2008
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                          I am a serious home brewer myself (stemmed off of distialation
                          theory, strangely enough), and would like to know the results of this
                          expiriment.

                          My assumption would be that the aromatic flavours from the hops would
                          overwhelm what could have been a very balanced whiskey, and that
                          ageing would be a problem because you would ruin any barrel that you
                          put this concentrated hops whiskey into.

                          If you have made whiskey successfully before, and, as such, know the
                          process, then I think it would be an interesting experiment.

                          For ageing, do not use a barrel, use a glass carboy with disposeable
                          oak chips.

                          If you are an all grain brewer like me, then you will find this
                          experiment a great sacrifice to a hard day's work!

                          I would like to know myself for the simple fact that no one has aged
                          a hopped distillate before.

                          This brings about another expiriment, which would be a hopped pure
                          corn whiskey, that does not require ageing.

                          I am with you, because I know how tasty a nice fresh batch of hops
                          can be.

                          To conclude:

                          DOOO ITTTT!

                          Bryan.

                          --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Zapata Vive" <zapatavive@...>
                          wrote:
                          >
                          > Well, I dunno, how about it? Has any self affirmed "hop-head"
                          tried distilling a hopped beer? I myself do like BEERS that have "
                          the sum total of 20 litres of beer hops concentrated into 3 or 4
                          litres". Would a hopped beer make an IPA whiskey?
                          >
                          > Maybe steam distilling hops seperately and using that to flavor a
                          whiskey would be a better idea. I don't know, but many double IPAs
                          have over 100 IBU's (measurement of hop bitterness), whereas "normal"
                          beers are down in the teens. Maybe IPA whiskey will be America's
                          next contribution to the world of whiskey? Or is it really just
                          nasty?
                          >
                          > ¬°Tierra y Libertad!
                          > ----- Original Message -----
                          > From: Harry
                          > To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
                          > Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2008 3:53 PM
                          > Subject: [new_distillers] Hops (was) Re: longtime listener/first
                          time distiller
                          >
                          >
                          > >
                          > Hops is used in beers as a bittering agent and a preservative to
                          > thump nasties because the alcohol strength is too low to kill
                          things
                          > (humans notwithstanding). High strength alcohol as in spirits is
                          > its own preservative. Because hops is a bittering agent, it
                          > presents a problem in distilling. Would you like to drink the sum
                          > total of 20 litres of beer hops concentrated into 3 or 4 litres
                          of
                          > whisky? Methinks not. Anyone who has tried it will vouch for how
                          > nasty it tastes.
                          >
                          > HTH
                          > Slainte!
                          > regards Harry
                          >
                        • Trid
                          ... Gentlemen, *snicker* That of which your speak is not unheard of, nor unprecedented, nor bad (IMHO). Distilled hopped beer is known as Bierschnaps and if
                          Message 12 of 12 , Feb 1, 2008
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                            --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "bbornais" <bbornais@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > I am a serious home brewer myself (stemmed off of distialation
                            > theory, strangely enough), and would like to know the results of this
                            > experiment.
                            >
                            > My assumption would be that the aromatic flavours from the hops would
                            > overwhelm what could have been a very balanced whiskey, and that
                            > ageing would be a problem because you would ruin any barrel that you
                            > put this concentrated hops whiskey into.
                            >
                            > If you have made whiskey successfully before, and, as such, know the
                            > process, then I think it would be an interesting experiment.
                            >
                            > For ageing, do not use a barrel, use a glass carboy with disposeable
                            > oak chips.
                            >
                            > If you are an all grain brewer like me, then you will find this
                            > experiment a great sacrifice to a hard day's work!
                            >
                            > I would like to know myself for the simple fact that no one has aged
                            > a hopped distillate before.
                            >
                            > This brings about another expiriment, which would be a hopped pure
                            > corn whiskey, that does not require ageing.
                            >
                            > I am with you, because I know how tasty a nice fresh batch of hops
                            > can be.
                            >
                            > To conclude:
                            >
                            > DOOO ITTTT!

                            Gentlemen,
                            *snicker*

                            That of which your speak is not unheard of, nor unprecedented, nor bad
                            (IMHO).

                            Distilled hopped beer is known as "Bierschnaps" and if you tickle Mr.
                            Google just right, he'll reveal some commercially available varieties
                            of it. A brewer friend of mine and I got together a couple years ago
                            and ran 10 gallons of some ale that had been sitting around for too
                            long and tasted too ester-y for his taste. It's been sitting on
                            medium-dark toasted French oak since, and occasionally we'll draw a
                            sample from the gallon of final product we extracted. The hops gives
                            it a refreshing tartness that I rather like...not at all overpowering
                            or offputting.

                            Some tidbits and articles:
                            http://thespiritworld.net/2007/01/08/whiskey/
                            http://www.essentialspirits.com/products.asp?Id=esBS101
                            http://www.tastings.com/scout_spirits.lasso?id=179486

                            I like it well enough that I'll definitely be making more in the near
                            future. Although, I could see the hops shortage making this sort of
                            experiment expensive.

                            Trid
                            -just call me Hop-along
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