RE: [new_distillers] Tails
>In new distillers FAQ's you say to stop collecting when we see tailsI've posted the following from
>coming through. What indicators are there that tis is starting to
When to Finish
The general rule is to finish distilling when the vapour temperature near
the condensor is around 92-94 ? C.
One clue that you've gone too far is if the distillate takes on a
white/milky appearance. This is because the fusels (propyls, amyls &
butyls) are partialy/totally insoluble with the higher %alcohols. You won't
spot them if you keep your tails separate, as they are soluble within their
own family in a weak ethanol solution. You may spot them though by seeing
if a drop on the end of your finger gives a sun glint, and/or feels well
lubricated (the old moonshiners trick). You may also see a slight
film/slick on the surface of the distillate if using a clear container. If
you can see them, then you can probably smell them too.
Another indication that its time to finish is when the temperature begins
to fluctuate a bit. Tarvus writes :
...with my Stillmaker type reflux still, I notice that the temperature
holds steady until near the end of a cut. I should note that I use a
digital thermometer that registers to the nearest 1/10th of a degree
fahrenheit and refreshes itself every 10 seconds.
For example, near the end of the time the foreshots are exhausted and the
ethanol begins running, the temp will fluctuate dramatically after having
held rock steady until then. The same seems to happen at the end of the
ethanol run. When I see the temp starting to get squirrely, I stop the run.
Maybe I leave a bit of usable ethanol in the wash, but it's worth knowing
the stuff I collect is pure! :)
Let the distillate drop cleanly into the recieving vessel, so that it
splashes. This will help it lose any fusels that may be present. For the
same reason, it is better that the distillate is still warm to the touch,
not cold. Don't put the end of the tubing under the level of the liquid, as
this will cause any fusels that are coming out as vapours to condense (and
taint the flavour).
Greed is a bad thing. This is what gets your mates saying that your spirits
taste "off" (you stopped noticing a while back, but everyone else still
comments). You are either trying to rush things (good distillate requires
time & patience), or you're wringing the neck of the beast and taking the
run too far. You can't get ALL the available alcohol out of the wash. The
better your still (eg the more "theoretical plates" / smaller HETP it has)
the better your chances, but you still run the risk of contaminating your
clean spirit with the tails, and having it smell & taste bad. But heres a
few things to try ..
Segregate your distillate into 1L (or pint) bottles as you collect it. Work
out which of them are OK, and which aren't; eg the first 2-3L might be
fine, but you start noticing the tails in the last couple. Only keep the
first ones for drinking, but put the other bottles aside. Either toss these
in with the next wash as you go to distill it, or keep them from several
runs, dilute 50/50 with water, and give them a run through the still on
their own (see - you're not wasting it, just delaying when you get to keep
it). This will allow you to really push the end of the run, as you won't be
allowing it to contaminate your good drinking spirit (but don't get silly -
stop when you can notice the fusels !).
Get a better still (eg more packing, taller column, with greater reflux)
The tails won't appear until quite late in the run (eg may only have to put
the last 0.5L aside, not the last 2-3 L).
Be patient - take the time & run the still with a higher reflux ratio
(collect less, return more back down over the packing). Use more cooling
water in the reflux condensor section.
The still needs to run smoothly, with even temperatures. Stop it surging -
the distillate should be coming out nice & steady - either a thin dribble
or separate drops. Somethings wrong if its coming in spurts ; more even
temperature control needed, keep the packing clean (back-flush it after
every run), make sure the packing isn't too tight, have the right column
size for the amount of power you're putting it (a real skinny column with
heaps of vapour going up it), don't have cool breezes blowing on the
outside of the column giving spot cooling (keep the column insulated)
Take the time to polish neutral spirits well. Get a batch ahead of
yourself, and always have one sitting on carbon, until you need to use it.
A 20L wash (at 12%) should produce approx 3L of 75% ethanol via a basic
reflux still, or 2.3L of 95% ethanol via a fractionating reflux still.
- Hello folks
I have been doing this hobby for a while now. I have a few sugar and
corn runs under my belt. Since I started distilling I have saved my
heads and tails from all my batches. During my spirit runs I have
been adding my heads from previous runs back into the batch and
distilling normally, taking care of pulling my foreshots, heads
before I start to collecting the heart. After the heart I collect the
tails and set them aside.
On my last sugar run I did the strip run that went normal like the
rest I have done in the past. I collect the low wines in my second
still and added water and about 400ml to 600ml of heads from previous
The first time I did my strip run I had a cold. I was unable to smell
or taste my product during the run. So after a few days I got rid of
my cold and was able to taste my product. My god it tasted like crap.
FOOT in big bold black letters was all I could think of.
I must have messed up during my strip run and got some tails into the
batch so I just set it aside and waited until I had time to do the
spirit run again.
This weekend I did the spirit run again and this time I do not have a
cold. I was able to get my still head up to about 177F where it set
for about 4 hours. My drip into my collection jar was about 4 to 6
drops per second. The column I have is a 2in by 2ft SS. I used copper
scrubbers packed into the column to get a bit of reflux.
During the run I collected about 300ml of heads because I had added
about 400ml of heads to this run before I started. At about 183F I
had collected about 1.75L of 180 ABV. The next 300ml started tasting
like FOOT again so I started testing every 200ml so I could pin down
where my tails were comming in on my distillate.
I pull about 600ml at 70 ABV that was not bad tasting but could be
carbon filtered and be ok for mixed beverage. The next 400ml smelled
like the big FOOT again, I checked my temp and I am setting at 187F.
I decided to pull until I hit 190F. Within 5 minutes I had achieved
this and I shut down my still.
Now for the questions.
Why did I get the big bad FOOT so early in my distillate? Is it
because I have reran and reran my heads thru so many spirit runs?
Any answers will be welcome.
The best for last
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Harry" <gnikomson2000@...>
> Your description is unclear. Is your 2nd still a potstill or reflux
> regards Harry
Both of my stills are pot stills. I have an 8 gallon SS pot still that
I can put a full 25 liters in and I use my second pot still 2.5 gallon
SS to collect in.
- --- In email@example.com, "daddyman00126"
> --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Harry" <gnikomson2000@>
> > Your description is unclear. Is your 2nd still a potstill or
> > still?that
> > Slainte!
> > regards Harry
> Both of my stills are pot stills. I have an 8 gallon SS pot still
> I can put a full 25 liters in and I use my second pot still 2.5gallon
> SS to collect in.Then that is partly the problem. No reflux. The riser section
(column) of your second still (a potstill) is nowhere near big enough
to give meaningful reflux.
The huge 20 foot tall Scotch potstills get reflux due to the vast
amount of surface area (riser or column) ABOVE the pot.
Without some method of metering product output (a valve, as in reflux
still designs) to allow total and/or partial refluxing in small
stills, there is little or no reflux. Therein lies the fundamental
difference between reflux stills & potstills for the hobbyist (small-
scale) producer. If you want/need cleaner product, you need a better
separator (still), or a better (few contaminants) starting
wash/mash/fermentation in the first place.
Purpose of reflux: To get better separation of ethanol from
contaminants. No reflux = most contaminants stay in the booze.
Purpose of copper mesh: twofold (depending on still design).
1) In potstills, to remove sulfides from the process fluids;
2) In REFLUX column, 1 above, AND to provide more surface area to
perform process fluids contact (vapors & liquids).
There is much to learn & consider when practicing spirits
manufacture. But it's like riding a bike; it becomes automatic after
a while. And it has pleasant rewards. :))
- Hi ddman
In the mean time (while you get a bigger column for a bigger/better
reflux) you may want to use some baking soda to get rid of the
nasties (esters) that are giving you a hard time. A few tbs per
stripped gallon is a begginning. Shake it well and let it be for a
day or two, then do your spirits run as usual.
--- In email@example.com, "daddyman00126"
> Hello folks
> I have been doing this hobby for a while now. I have a few sugar
> corn runs under my belt. Since I started distilling I have saved mythe
> heads and tails from all my batches. During my spirit runs I have
> been adding my heads from previous runs back into the batch and
> distilling normally, taking care of pulling my foreshots, heads
> before I start to collecting the heart. After the heart I collect
> tails and set them aside.previous
> On my last sugar run I did the strip run that went normal like the
> rest I have done in the past. I collect the low wines in my second
> still and added water and about 400ml to 600ml of heads from
> The first time I did my strip run I had a cold. I was unable to
> or taste my product during the run. So after a few days I got ridof
> my cold and was able to taste my product. My god it tasted likecrap.
> FOOT in big bold black letters was all I could think of.the
> I must have messed up during my strip run and got some tails into
> batch so I just set it aside and waited until I had time to do thea
> spirit run again.
> This weekend I did the spirit run again and this time I do not have
> cold. I was able to get my still head up to about 177F where it setcopper
> for about 4 hours. My drip into my collection jar was about 4 to 6
> drops per second. The column I have is a 2in by 2ft SS. I used
> scrubbers packed into the column to get a bit of reflux.tasting
> During the run I collected about 300ml of heads because I had added
> about 400ml of heads to this run before I started. At about 183F I
> had collected about 1.75L of 180 ABV. The next 300ml started
> like FOOT again so I started testing every 200ml so I could pindown
> where my tails were comming in on my distillate.smelled
> I pull about 600ml at 70 ABV that was not bad tasting but could be
> carbon filtered and be ok for mixed beverage. The next 400ml
> like the big FOOT again, I checked my temp and I am setting at 187F.
> I decided to pull until I hit 190F. Within 5 minutes I had achieved
> this and I shut down my still.
> Now for the questions.
> Why did I get the big bad FOOT so early in my distillate? Is it
> because I have reran and reran my heads thru so many spirit runs?
> Any answers will be welcome.
> The best for last
I want to thank everyone for their suggestions on what to do with the
tails. I might try to age a pint or two on heavy oak just to see what
it will do but most of it will go to killing the ant piles that persist
in my back yard.
Understanding that heads and tails are used to bring corn hooch to that
certain flavor before aging I now have a real taste of what tails can
do in moderation. I can now see that their is a place for heads and
tails in my future batches of corn whiskey that I will want to age on
some good oak.
I think that having some tails around left over from previous corn
batches and doing a taste test of the tails before I start my blending
process will give me a better idea of what I want out of the final
batch after oaking. Now I can see why master blenders are worth their
weight in gold.
I am cerious though, is there a set amount of tails that go into
finished spirit runs that the major distillers do. Like for every 25
gallons of corn hooch they would put in 1 gallon of tails???
What a good learning experence.
The best for last
- I cut heads and tails when I rerun tails . It Depends on the taste for me.Douglas French
Caballeros, Inc./ Scorpion Mezcal sa de cv
Cel: 951 508 1030
Enviar factura o comprobante de pago a: scorpionfactura@...
From: "dfboss1@... [new_distillers]" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Saturday, November 1, 2014 9:48 PM
Subject: [new_distillers] Tails
Just to be 100% sure. there is no need to "cut" or throw out anything when running a batch of just the tails from previous runs, Right?
- Is it really worth the effort? I save my tails and add them to the next wash I plan to distill, works fine. Unless you are using a very small apparatus, it would take a long time to get enough to distill on its own.