- My boiling flask holds a gallon. How much of the foreshots should I
discard? How do I keep the fusal oils out of my brew? I am
interested in Schnapps, not pure alcohol, ie, I want flavor not
> My boiling flask holds a gallon. How much of the foreshots should IFor the first distillation of 20L of wash in a pot still, to be on the safe
side, you will want to discard 250 to 500mL. So for a gallon, discard
roughly 50 to 100mL.
> How do I keep the fusal oils out of my brew? I amI don't know how to eliminate fusel's out of the brew, if by 'brew' you mean
> interested in Schnapps, not pure alcohol, ie, I want flavor not
the wash. But since the fusel's come over at the end of a distillation run,
they're pretty easy to exclude from your spirits with a bit of practice. I'm
not sure what you mean by 'power', as you should always dilute your spirits
to 40%abv before you drink them regardless of the original ethanol
concentration of the distillate. I always distill my wines twice and find
that even so I get a lot of flavour. For the first distillation, I toss the
foreshots, as discussed above, and collect the distillate until the
concentration drops to 10%abv (note that I'm collecting a significant amount
of fusel's at the end of the first distillation). The average ethanol
concentration of the distillate from the first run is about 40%abv. The
cutoff of the second distillation is done with more care. At the start, the
distillate is usually just above 80%abv, and most of the stuff I collect is
about this same strength. Just at the end of the run does the purity start
to plummet and after the ethanol concentration drops to about 70%abv I make
the cutoff. At this point, I will continue collecting the distillate (until
it's less than 40%abv) but I divert it to a separate container marked
'tails'. The tails can be added to the next wash before distilling.
The exact cutoff point is determined by the onset of the 'wet cardboard'
smell of the fusel oils. Now I can't smell the fusel's while they are in
solution, but I've found that I can smell very small amounts of them on a
large surface from which the tainted spirits have evaporated. For example, I
collect the distillate in a small glass container that I periodically empty
through a funnel into a larger glass container. I shake excess liquid off
the funnel and let the spirits evaporate, and then if there are any fusels,
I'm able to smell them with ease.
- to be safe, the first 30ml out of a potstill for every gallon of mash/wine is
a good rule to follow- It's how I do it - my eyesight is just fine. To keep
fusel oils (tails, etc) out of the finished spirit, check the spirit you
collect with a proof hydrometer, when the spirit coming out of the still
drops to 40%, stop collecting the spirit as "drinking spirit", and set it
aside for distilling with another batch as "tails". If you "freeze
concentrate" your wine/mash (or do a "beer stripping run" - I prefer the
freezer- less work, fresher flavor), you'll get more "ready to drink spirit"
than tails out of the run. You can also just go by taste- when it starts to
taste bad when it comes out of the still, start putting it in a "tails"
container- the human nose can detect chlorine at 3 parts per million- trust
> If you "freezeWould you explain please, how you "freeze concentrate" your wash (temperature,
> concentrate" your wine/mash (or do a "beer stripping run" - I prefer the
> freezer- less work, fresher flavor), you'll get more "ready to drink spirit"
> than tails out of the run.
time, etc.)? I've never tried this, but maybe I should if it means a fresher
- Sure- Lemme 'splain:
After reading the "double distilling for whiskey, etc" section on Tony's site
(homedistiller.org), I found by trial and error the flavor on "double run"
whiskey wasn't as good as single run whiskey (although I got less whiskey
doing it that way- tighter middle cut). Instead of running my still twice, I
now use the technique that was/is used to make apple jack. I take my 5
gallon batch of mash/wine, and I fill 10, one gallon milk jugs half-full (one
half gallon being 2 quarts) of the liquid. I then put these jugs into the
freezer for two or three days, until they freeze into a solid block of ice.
I then set the jugs upside down on a one quart canning jar. The alcohol will
drip out as the ice melts (don't add any heat- let it go at it's own pace).
When the one quart jar is full, I put the liquid (in the jar) into my carboy
to let the yeast, etc settle out overnight. The block of ice in the jug is
washed down the drain with hot water- there is no alcohol in it. Since the
alcohol melts faster than the water, it tends to come out first- so instead
of 5 gallons of 7-10% mash/wine, I now have 2.5 gallons of 17-20% mash/wine.
It takes no real effort on my part, but gives the same results as a beer
stripping run, roughly doubling the alcohol content by cutting the volume in
half. It doesn't stale the flavor like distilling can do at all, quite the
contrary, it makes it stronger- this same method is used by some winemakers
to make fortified wines at home (like port, sherry, etc.), without using
distilled spirits. By cutting the volume in half, and doing it by freezing,
not distilling, the flavor is preserved a little better, but the alcohol is
high enough that a spirit run can be done. It typically takes one to four
hours for the quart jars to fill up- it depends on the starting alcohol
content- the lower it was at the start the longer it takes to melt out. It
saves a lot of time for me, since I have a lot of freezer space. When I make
my malt whiskey, it used to always foam over in the still- by freezing it
like this, then diluting the mash back to 5 gallons with water when I put it
in the still- the starches causing my foaming problem have been diluted to
the point that they can't lace together and foam up in the still. In the
potstill, it just saves me 4 hours of work on an extra run. While the stuff
is melting, I check my e-mail, work out, read, or whatever I feel like doing
that I can't do when running a still, because that requires all my attention.
Does this help?