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Re: distilling wine

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  • C D
    Same reason I built a valved reflux still. I ve found so far that it takes enough reflux to get the spirits to at least 70%ABV to remove the bad grape-y
    Message 1 of 24 , Feb 1, 2008
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      Same reason I built a valved reflux still. I've found so far that it
      takes enough reflux to get the spirits to at least 70%ABV to remove
      the bad grape-y taste. But that's my taste buds; yours may vary.
    • whackfol
      Hi, I m new to this. However, I have been making wine for a few years. This past year I did not properly adjust my grape must ahead of time and ended with a
      Message 2 of 24 , Jul 14, 2008
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        Hi, I'm new to this. However, I have been making wine for a few
        years. This past year I did not properly adjust my grape must ahead
        of time and ended with a wine with alcohol in the 17% ABV range. I
        have considered diluting with water and a lower alcohol wine, but
        neither with good results. I am now considering distilling.

        The highfalutin' brandy makers seem to use a simple pot still. As I
        have access to one, I plan to try my first batch with this.

        My concern has to do with the alcohol leve in my wine. Most articles
        talk of 8 - 12% for making brandy. I was wondering why this would
        make a difference. If I am only distilling the alcohol, how much
        impact would the non alcohol part play in my result? I figure, I'd
        just get close to twice as much from the same volume.

        I'd appreciate any input or advice. Are the heads and tail
        percentages the same with wine as most other fruit based washess? I
        was also looking at the plans for a reflux still. Since it
        continually reheats the vapor, would there be any advantage to it
        over multiple runs through a pot still. I have access to copper at
        work and can easily craft one to adapt to the top of a large pot (I
        can't remember which one it was but the lid is held down by office
        clips)

        Thanks
      • jamesonbeam1
        Well Welcome Wack, Im sure we all here can help you out. First let me introduce myself, Im Jim - co-moderator here along with Riku, Trid and of course Harry
        Message 3 of 24 , Jul 14, 2008
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          Well Welcome Wack,

          Im sure we all here can help you out.  First let me introduce myself, Im Jim - co-moderator here along with Riku, Trid and of course Harry the Owner here and at Advanced Distillers.

          To answer you questions, yes most brandies are made the old fashion way in pot stills, but some distillers use a combination of both.  I would recommend you starting off with a pot still.

          As far as your 17% ABV must goes, that should be no problem.  I assume you used a champagne yeast such as EC-1118 or some strain of Saccharomyces bayanus (the "killer" strain lol).  The reason they talk about distilling a lower alcohol content from the wine must is because too much alcohol will override the flavors of the wine  going into the brandy your trying to distill.  What I would do is dilute it down to 11-12% abv with other wines and some water and then distill it. 

          Your first run will be the "low wines", which you will take everything you can get from the pot still.  Keep distilling it till it starts to turn cloudy or does not have any taste of alcohol left.  You next take these low wines and dilute them to about a 30% ABV so as not to get too much alcohol again in your final run, called the "spirits run".  You then will need to age this on charred oak (American preferably) for a period of 6 months to several years, depending on how much patience you have hehe.  Or ya can just drink it as white dog or add some aged brandy to it.  The non-alcohol part of the wine is what will give you the flavors - this is the idea behind diluting you still charge.

          When you make you final run, you will have to take various cuts (usually collected in about 250 ml increments in small bottles or mason jars).   These will include the Heads, Hearts (Middle Run) and Tails.  You usually throw out the first 200 ml or so, since these are called the Foreshots with smell like nail polish remover do to some acetone  and methanol in them.  You will then take these various samples and mix them and match to your own taste.  The percentages of each run something like this:

          Foreshots (about 3%)

          Heads (about 17 - 20%)

          Hearts (Middle Run about 57 - 60%)

          Tails (about 22-25%)

          For a total of 100%.

          The type of still your talking about where the top is held down with clips is not a pot still, but a reflux still called a Bokakob Still like this>

          You can review the full design by going to Tony Ackland's site:  http://homedistiller.org/ and reviewing designs for pot stills and reflux stills.

          However, before taking this first step, I would go to the left side of this screen and look under the Links or Database section and go to the Information base.  Here you can read about the Introduction sections to distilling, including Safety, Leagality, Equipment and the various topics.  Please feel free to browse our resources and ask questions.

          Again welcome Aboard, we have a great group of members here with a wealth of experience.

          Enjoy and Be Safe.

          Vino es Veritas,

          Jim.

          PS>  You wouldn't be Irish would you?  Your nick reminds me of an old Irish song "Whiskey in the Jar":

          As I was going over the Cork and Kerry mountains
          I saw Captain Farrell and his money he was countin'
          I first produced my pistol and then produced my rapier
          I said "stand and deliver or the devil, he may take ya"
          <Chorus>
          Musha ring dum-a-do-dum-a-da
          Whack for my daddy-o
          Whack for my daddy-o
          There's whiskey in the jar-o

          Love the Clancey Brothers :).

          --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "whackfol" <whackfol@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hi, I'm new to this. However, I have been making wine for a few
          > years. This past year I did not properly adjust my grape must ahead
          > of time and ended with a wine with alcohol in the 17% ABV range. I
          > have considered diluting with water and a lower alcohol wine, but
          > neither with good results. I am now considering distilling.
          >
          > The highfalutin' brandy makers seem to use a simple pot still. As I
          > have access to one, I plan to try my first batch with this.
          >
          > My concern has to do with the alcohol leve in my wine. Most articles
          > talk of 8 - 12% for making brandy. I was wondering why this would
          > make a difference. If I am only distilling the alcohol, how much
          > impact would the non alcohol part play in my result? I figure, I'd
          > just get close to twice as much from the same volume.
          >
          > I'd appreciate any input or advice. Are the heads and tail
          > percentages the same with wine as most other fruit based washess? I
          > was also looking at the plans for a reflux still. Since it
          > continually reheats the vapor, would there be any advantage to it
          > over multiple runs through a pot still. I have access to copper at
          > work and can easily craft one to adapt to the top of a large pot (I
          > can't remember which one it was but the lid is held down by office
          > clips)
          >
          > Thanks
          >

        • whackfol
          Jim, Thanks for your welcome and you are the first in years to recognize the origins of Whackfol. I always enjoyed the Irish folk versions. However, in high
          Message 4 of 24 , Jul 15, 2008
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            Jim,

            Thanks for your welcome and you are the first in years to recognize
            the origins of Whackfol. I always enjoyed the Irish folk versions.
            However, in high school Thin Lizzy got my attention with their
            version. Now I'm just trying to put some whiskey in my jar.

            Now to my wine. Your first suggestion was to reduce the alcohol in
            my wine by diluting with water or wine. I have experimented with
            this in an attempt to save the wine. The water thins it out so much
            the taste is lost. Diluting with wine is impractical as the amount
            of wine I would need to add (most of which is not less than 12% ABV)
            is huge (I have over 100 gallons).

            Assuming water is used to dilute my wine, I will be adding over 30
            gallons of water to my 100 gallons of wine. Will this dilution
            reduce the flavors or will the water just act as an undistilled
            suspension during the distillation? I suspect the latter as you
            recommend adding water to dilute the low wine before final
            distillation.

            Secondly, I am confused about the second distillation. You say to
            dilute the low wine to 30% ABV so as not to get too much alcohol in
            my spitit run. I have no problem with the dilution. My question
            comes in how I will avoid too much alcohol. Will not most if not all
            of the alcohol distill out? Are you saying that while the
            temperature of my low wine is still below 100C., other flavors will
            be extracted? How much alcohol variance is there in the final
            alcohol level of a second distillation of any wash? If it is not in
            the 85+ percent range, where does the remaining alcohol go? In any
            event, if you have some sources for me to read on this subject, I'm
            open to suggestion.

            I do have access to a 40L alembic pot still. My question regarding
            the use of a reflux still had to do with the ease of making the
            Bokakob and its potential for testing.

            Finally, I must congratulate you and the other members on a great
            site. I have been lurking for a few months and have enjoyed the
            posts and the helpful manner they were answered. I have also read
            extensively from your files and links.

            Thanks
            Whackfol
          • Harry
            ... wrote: if you have some sources for me to read on this subject, I m ... For the type of brandy-making and distilling you are contemplating, may I
            Message 5 of 24 , Jul 15, 2008
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              --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "whackfol" <whackfol@...>
              wrote:
              <snip>

              if you have some sources for me to read on this subject, I'm
              > open to suggestion.
              >
              >
              > Thanks
              > Whackfol
              >


              For the type of brandy-making and distilling you are contemplating,
              may I suggest you study Prof. Kris Berglund's "Artisan
              Distilling"...in my Library...
              http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/artisan_distilling/index.htm

              There's a LOT more to capture your imagination in the
              Library...homepage here...
              http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/

              Slainte!
              regards Harry
            • jamesonbeam1
              Thank you Wack, Since me father (God Bless his Soul) was 50% Irish and played the madolin and fiddle and I have played in bands specializing in folk music
              Message 6 of 24 , Jul 15, 2008
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                Thank you Wack,

                Since me father (God Bless his Soul)  was 50% Irish and played the madolin and fiddle and I have played in bands specializing in folk music (guitar and banjo, in a prior life of course, since college:):), it was obvious to me.  If you sing that song with an Irish twang, it sounds like: "Wack fol me daddy-o, Theres ol'  Wiskey in me Jar:....  Not  - "Wack for me daddy-0, theres Whiskey in the Jar...."  :).

                Now to your situation.  If you dont want to dilute your wines then fine.  But if you run your final spirits run too high, flavors will be lost.  Alot of the flavors of a Brandy come from the Aging process on Charred Oak...

                Again please read up on the Aging Process.  Some distillers here say it adds up to 80% of the flavor to "brown stuff", but I dont quite see that since I usually drink it as "white dog".   You can run it at the 17% ABV but refer to a previous posting a few days ago:

                Hey T,

                The idea of diluting a still charge to 30 or so percent for the spirits run is to get the final ABV right.  If your making flaovored stuff like rum, whiskey or brandy it will allow you not to over power the flavors with alcohol. The more amount of alcohol that comes through, the less flavors from the grapes, molasses, grains, etc your going to get. 

                Think of taking it to the extreme.  If you distill your low wines to the azeotrope of 95.6 percent, then you will just end up with a neutral type distillation with no flavors......

                 Again here is a chart that Sherman (Pint O Shine and Harry) have put together:


                So if you want a final ABV of around 70% from a pot still, follow the purplish line across and you will see that from a dilutions of about 24% it will give you a distilled ABV of  70%  (again, just a ballpark figure).  Also read Harry's article on "Diluting the Still Charge" : http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/Diluting_the_still_charge/

                Vino es Veritas,

                Jim.


                --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "whackfol" <whackfol@...> wrote:
                >
                > Jim,
                >
                > Thanks for your welcome and you are the first in years to recognize
                > the origins of Whackfol. I always enjoyed the Irish folk versions.
                > However, in high school Thin Lizzy got my attention with their
                > version. Now I'm just trying to put some whiskey in my jar.
                >
                > Now to my wine. Your first suggestion was to reduce the alcohol in
                > my wine by diluting with water or wine. I have experimented with
                > this in an attempt to save the wine. The water thins it out so much
                > the taste is lost. Diluting with wine is impractical as the amount
                > of wine I would need to add (most of which is not less than 12% ABV)
                > is huge (I have over 100 gallons).
                >
                > Assuming water is used to dilute my wine, I will be adding over 30
                > gallons of water to my 100 gallons of wine. Will this dilution
                > reduce the flavors or will the water just act as an undistilled
                > suspension during the distillation? I suspect the latter as you
                > recommend adding water to dilute the low wine before final
                > distillation.
                >
                > Secondly, I am confused about the second distillation. You say to
                > dilute the low wine to 30% ABV so as not to get too much alcohol in
                > my spitit run. I have no problem with the dilution. My question
                > comes in how I will avoid too much alcohol. Will not most if not all
                > of the alcohol distill out? Are you saying that while the
                > temperature of my low wine is still below 100C., other flavors will
                > be extracted? How much alcohol variance is there in the final
                > alcohol level of a second distillation of any wash? If it is not in
                > the 85+ percent range, where does the remaining alcohol go? In any
                > event, if you have some sources for me to read on this subject, I'm
                > open to suggestion.
                >
                > I do have access to a 40L alembic pot still. My question regarding
                > the use of a reflux still had to do with the ease of making the
                > Bokakob and its potential for testing.
                >
                > Finally, I must congratulate you and the other members on a great
                > site. I have been lurking for a few months and have enjoyed the
                > posts and the helpful manner they were answered. I have also read
                > extensively from your files and links.
                >
                > Thanks
                > Whackfol
                >

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