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Re: Still sizing?

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  • rye_junkie1
    ... I never really understood where the 17-20% numbers for low wines came from but I read it alot. My pot rig will consistently put out 40+ overall for low
    Message 1 of 8 , Nov 2, 2008
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      --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Dan" <ulynch@...> wrote:
      >
      > I'd like to make scotch, twice distilled, using a simple pot still. I
      > want to make approx 2-3 L per batch. How big should my still be?
      >
      > I've worked with the pot still purity calculator at homedistiller.org,
      > but am having trouble with the results.
      >
      > Assuming the wash goes in at ~8% ABV, low wines come out at ~17-20%,
      > and target of the final spirit run is ~65-70%. Starting with 20L, I
      > get about 125mL in the first 5 min of the spirit run.
      >
      > I'm obviously doing something wrong. Can anyone help set me right
      > please?
      >
      > - Dan

      I never really understood where the 17-20% numbers for low wines came
      from but I read it alot. My pot rig will consistently put out 40+
      overall for low wines running it up to 208F. And no issues on the
      Spirit run achieving 75% average for the middle run. My pot rig
      Consists of a 6" piece of 1" tube Tee'd off to 3/4" and straight to
      the liebig. Boiler is 8 gallon SS Stock Pot with Mixing Bowl
      attached. I generally strip 2-3 five gallon washes and then do a
      spirit or reflux run with those low wines. Since your going for a
      Whisky, the more Low Wines you can charge the Still with the better
      off you will be with a nice Middle run. A gallon of Low Wines from a
      single 5-6 gallon wash is simply not enough to adequately make good
      cuts unless of course you have been at this for a while. Just my
      opinion not trying to knock your skills. Which brings me to my next
      comment. This looks like your first post as you just joined today so
      it would probably be a safe bet that you are new to the Hobby? If so
      then Making Scotch is a very nice Goal ( I actually mashed up 3 five
      gallon batches of Malt and peat malt over the last 2 days for this
      purpose) but I would strongly recommend getting a few sugar washes
      under your belt before you take on such a task and spend alot of money.

      Mason
    • Dan
      ... money. ... Hiya Mason. Right you are, I am new to the group and the hobby. And right too, I plan on getting a few sugar washes run before I try producing
      Message 2 of 8 , Nov 2, 2008
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        --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "rye_junkie1" <rye_junkie@...>
        wrote:
        > then Making Scotch is a very nice Goal ( I actually mashed up 3 five
        > gallon batches of Malt and peat malt over the last 2 days for this
        > purpose) but I would strongly recommend getting a few sugar washes
        > under your belt before you take on such a task and spend alot of
        money.
        >
        > Mason
        >

        Hiya Mason. Right you are, I am new to the group and the hobby. And
        right too, I plan on getting a few sugar washes run before I try
        producing any really drinkable whisky. I don't want to spend a whole
        lot of money (got plenty of other hobbies and an ex wife to finance,
        dontcha know). I do lust after some of the copper alembics and the
        stuff at coppermoonshinestills.com though.

        Anyway, I'm a fan of scotch whisky, and would like to try to get
        something at least similar, all the way down peated malt and ageing
        in oak. But I don't want to make tiny quantities at the same time.
        I'd like to be able to get 2-3 L @ 65-70% ABV after double
        distilling. To do that, how much wash do I need to start?

        Thanks for the note!

        - Dan
      • rye_junkie1
        ... Hello again Dan, I am a fan of Scotch as well. Since you are doing sugar washes to start you should try XXX or even XXXX running that product into Neutral
        Message 3 of 8 , Nov 3, 2008
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          --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Dan" <ulynch@...> wrote:
          >
          > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "rye_junkie1" <rye_junkie@>
          > wrote:
          > > then Making Scotch is a very nice Goal ( I actually mashed up 3 five
          > > gallon batches of Malt and peat malt over the last 2 days for this
          > > purpose) but I would strongly recommend getting a few sugar washes
          > > under your belt before you take on such a task and spend alot of
          > money.
          > >
          > > Mason
          > >
          >
          > Hiya Mason. Right you are, I am new to the group and the hobby. And
          > right too, I plan on getting a few sugar washes run before I try
          > producing any really drinkable whisky. I don't want to spend a whole
          > lot of money (got plenty of other hobbies and an ex wife to finance,
          > dontcha know). I do lust after some of the copper alembics and the
          > stuff at coppermoonshinestills.com though.
          >
          > Anyway, I'm a fan of scotch whisky, and would like to try to get
          > something at least similar, all the way down peated malt and ageing
          > in oak. But I don't want to make tiny quantities at the same time.
          > I'd like to be able to get 2-3 L @ 65-70% ABV after double
          > distilling. To do that, how much wash do I need to start?
          >
          > Thanks for the note!
          >
          > - Dan

          Hello again Dan,
          I am a fan of Scotch as well. Since you are doing sugar washes to
          start you should try XXX or even XXXX running that product into
          Neutral and try some of the Scotch Essences from Brewhaus or Mile
          High. It ain't Single Malt but it makes a nice Dram at the end of the
          day plus you dont have to wait 12 years to get it.
          As far as Wash Size and Yield, there are a lot of variables that can
          effect yield. Your biggest issues will be the size of the window you
          make your middle cut in and then those Pesky little Angels who love
          our product almost as much as we do. So your going to want to start
          the aging process in that upper 65-70% range. Aging properly allowing
          for some evaporation (Angels Share)and oxidation your going to lose
          200-300ml during the process Maybe. Aging is a Science we are all
          still playing with but conventional wisdom of late says that allowing
          the spirit to breath while on the wood is near a must. This is if you
          are aging in glass. If your going to spend the money for a Barrel
          then that a different story.
          Then There is the Variable of getting a good conversion in your grain
          mash so that you get all the starch converted to sugar. And do you
          want to add a bit of sugar (make a thin mash) to squeak out a percent
          or 2 more ABV in the wash and yield more low wines. As you are seeing
          it is not an exact science. Skip the grains and conversion all
          together and use DME(Dried Malt Extract).?
          14lbs of malt to six gallons water should give you just over a gallon
          of low wines so 3 of these batches should be plenty to give you what
          you are looking for. Maybe a little more. where I am from Malt is
          1.49/lb. Thats 62.60 for 3-4 liters of product or an average of
          17.88/liter. Sugar washes and essences are going to cost you about 7
          bucks/liter. Personally I like to do both. Sugar gives a good
          product faster in my opinion but there is still something to be said
          for the Purist who likes to do it the old fashion way: Grain,
          Fruit,Molasses,Pot Still,Oak and TIME.

          Mason
        • Dan
          ... And that s where I d like to go with this - as close to traditional methods as I can stand. I suspect there will some frustration with that approach, and
          Message 4 of 8 , Nov 3, 2008
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            --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "rye_junkie1" <rye_junkie@...>
            wrote:

            > Sugar gives a good
            > product faster in my opinion but there is still something to be said
            > for the Purist who likes to do it the old fashion way: Grain,
            > Fruit,Molasses,Pot Still,Oak and TIME.

            And that's where I'd like to go with this - as close to traditional
            methods as I can stand. I suspect there will some frustration with
            that approach, and temptation to take shortcuts (sugar wash,
            flavoring, reflux stills, etc), but right now anyway, my interest is
            as much in the craft and art of the hobby as in the final product.
            I'm looking forward to a lot of trial and error :-)


            > 14lbs of malt to six gallons water should give you just over a
            > gallon
            > of low wines so 3 of these batches should be plenty to give you what
            > you are looking for.

            So if I understand correctly, a second run of 1 gal of ~20% ABV low
            wines should result in about 1L of product at 65-70% ABV?

            So to arrive at 2-3L final output, I would need a still that can run
            about 18 gallons in the first distillation. Sound about right? My
            other option would be to make multiple runs in a smaller still.

            Thanks again for chiming in!

            - Dan
          • rye_junkie1
            ... Yes and No, In my experience running such a small amount would yield maybe 500-750ml of good product as the window for the middle run would be quite small
            Message 5 of 8 , Nov 3, 2008
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              --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Dan" <ulynch@...> wrote:
              >
              > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "rye_junkie1" <rye_junkie@>
              > wrote:
              >
              > > Sugar gives a good
              > > product faster in my opinion but there is still something to be said
              > > for the Purist who likes to do it the old fashion way: Grain,
              > > Fruit,Molasses,Pot Still,Oak and TIME.
              >
              > And that's where I'd like to go with this - as close to traditional
              > methods as I can stand. I suspect there will some frustration with
              > that approach, and temptation to take shortcuts (sugar wash,
              > flavoring, reflux stills, etc), but right now anyway, my interest is
              > as much in the craft and art of the hobby as in the final product.
              > I'm looking forward to a lot of trial and error :-)
              >
              >
              > > 14lbs of malt to six gallons water should give you just over a
              > > gallon
              > > of low wines so 3 of these batches should be plenty to give you what
              > > you are looking for.
              >
              > So if I understand correctly, a second run of 1 gal of ~20% ABV low
              > wines should result in about 1L of product at 65-70% ABV?

              Yes and No, In my experience running such a small amount would yield
              maybe 500-750ml of good product as the window for the middle run would
              be quite small and cuts very hard to distinguish the transitions.
              >
              > So to arrive at 2-3L final output, I would need a still that can run
              > about 18 gallons in the first distillation. Sound about right?
              My
              > other option would be to make multiple runs in a smaller still.

              As I mentioned before I use a 8 gallon boiler and employ your "other
              option" of multiple Strip runs to get the required amount of low wines
              for a spirit run. However if you can find and afford a boiler of 18
              gallon size go for it. On the other hand the advantage to a smaller
              6-8gallon pot rig is (if it and its condenser are efficient) you can
              do a strip run in 2-3 hours leaving the rest of the Day or night for
              enjoying as you please. Then take a Saturday or Sunday for a nice
              slow spirit run.
              >
              > Thanks again for chiming in!
              >
              > - Dan
              >

              Mason
            • Trid
              Just some simple calculations to consider: (rounded for math, but the principles all apply) You ferment 5 gallons of 10% wash. That s 1/2 gallon (0.5 gal) of
              Message 6 of 8 , Nov 3, 2008
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                Just some simple calculations to consider:
                (rounded for math, but the principles all apply)
                You ferment 5 gallons of 10% wash.
                That's 1/2 gallon (0.5 gal) of 100% alcohol.
                Assuming your stripping run gets 90% of that, you'll have 0.45 gallons
                of pure alcohol mixed with whatever remainder gives you your total
                volume of low wines.

                Let's use 1 gallon for the sake of example.
                Conveniently, that leaves us with a 45% low wines (this isn't far off
                from what I've collected, perhaps a smidge stronger).
                So, assuming we do 5 separate, identical runs to acquire 5 gallons of
                low wines. That's a total of 2.25 gallons of pure alcohol.

                Again, assuming we collect a sum total of 90% of what's available,
                that leaves 2.025 (let's just round to 2 even) gallons of alcohol
                collected.
                If we make a rough 1/4-1/2-1/4 (heads/hearts/tails) cut by alcohol
                concentration, you get a rough 1/3-1/3-1/3 cut by physical volume.

                So, assuming this, you wind up with about 2/3 gallon of hearts at
                somewhere around 70% abv. Cut this down to 40% and you get somewhere
                roughly around 1.15 gallons. Or, for the sake of generalities,
                "between 1 ad 1 1/4 gallons."

                On subsequent runs, when you start adding back the feints, these
                calculations skew even more depending on how your runs are cut.

                You'll notice that there are a lot of assumptions. This is an
                imprecise art at best. You can set up your wash in the same fashion
                as brewing beer by taking specific gravity readings before and after
                the fermentation to verify what percentage your wash is, but in the
                end, regardless of what it works out to be, what you get out of the
                still is what you get. The theory only goes so far until you pitch
                the yeast and let 'er rip. Same goes for putting the fire to your
                boiler. Particularly with self-built rigs, there's no way to apply
                the theoretical numbers to a piece of equipment that has no
                quantifiable parameters to compare with a standard or benchmark. Only
                by actually doing it will that benchmark be set...and YOU have the
                privilege of setting it.
                There's nothing wrong with running the numbers, but learning how (or
                even if) they apply to your rig will only happen by doing. Don't
                expend so many brain cells on what CAN happen when you really do have
                to learn first hand what WILL happen in your particular set of
                conditions. Not to mention, when you have a sugar run or nine under
                your belt, you'll very likely see a light turn on with regards to what
                was puzzling you initially with the calculations.

                In other words, after a few runs, you'll be able to gauge the outcome
                of a run based on what previous ones have yielded. You can also gauge
                how to adjust that based on where you like to make your cuts between
                heads, hearts, and tails.

                Trid
                -sorry, no numbers to apply to "art" and this is definitely an art in
                the end
              • Harry
                ... Lots of good advice, including... ... Agreed! This is true art , not painting by numbers . Slainte! regards Harry
                Message 7 of 8 , Nov 3, 2008
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                  --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Trid" <triddlywinks@...> wrote:
                  <snip>
                  Lots of good advice, including...

                  > -sorry, no numbers to apply to "art" and this is definitely an art in
                  > the end
                  >

                  Agreed! This is "true art", not 'painting by numbers'. <BG>

                  Slainte!
                  regards Harry
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