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RE: [new_distillers] Moonshining

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  • Tony & Elle Ackland
    ... Life really is easier with a thermometer. If you are electronically bent, you might fix a thermocouple to the outside of the head and get a reasonable
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 2 10:30 PM
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      >Anyway is it possible to run a
      >safe operation and get a good moonshine product by other means. As in
      >throwing away the first portions and catching the middle? How do I know
      >when to stop catching the alcohol being distilled?

      Life really is easier with a thermometer. If you are electronically bent,
      you might fix a thermocouple to the outside of the head and get a
      reasonable reading (don't know, haven't tried it myself).

      Anyhow, for distilling without a thermometer (repeat - NOT RECOMMENDED)
      ......
      Always toss the first 50 mL/s if refluxing, 100+ mL/s if potstilling (per
      20L wash) regardless.
      To get the second cut, you resort to some fairly emperical measures -
      when the taste and/or smell changes, or when you see a little oil on the
      surface of the distillate, or feels oily when rubbed between the fingers,
      or you get a wee sun glint off the drops.
      Another way is by following the %strength as it goes - eg collect your
      distillate in 0.5 or 1L bottles and measure the strength of each with a
      hydrometer (good investment - about US$8). This is a fairly good practice
      anyhow - if you do get tails coming over, you don't end up contaminating
      the whole lot. Stop keeping it for drinking when below about 25% (but keep
      collecting it, and add back in to the next wash you do). Just remember to
      measure at the right temperature (may need to cool the sample)
      A very crude method is simply measuring the amount you have collected, and
      compare it against the theoretical calculation I've got at
      http://www.geocities.com/kiwi_distiller/pot_calc.htm .It would probably pay
      to set the internal reflux to 10-15% if you have a real pot still. If the
      volume/time stuff look ok, then all going well, so should the %purity -
      again - stop when you get to about 25%. This calculation is quite rough
      (its only off the top of my head) - but its a starting point for what you
      can expect. If you are uncertain of the power input (say you're using gas)
      - use the "time to heat up" as a bit of a measure - adjust the power until
      this looks about right.

      hope this helps,

      Tony
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