- Hey Adam, Yes, some of the terminology can be a bit confusing here as well as redundant. Some terms are just different names for the same thing, while othersMessage 1 of 4 , Nov 28, 2010View Source
Yes, some of the terminology can be a bit confusing here as well as redundant. Some terms are just different names for the same thing, while others might describe more then one thing lol. Now that Ive got you totally confused, let me try and clarify this.
The standard terms that describe the various parts of a distillation are:
FORESHOTS - The first hundred ml. or so (depending on size of boiler) of distillate that contain low boiling point volatile compounds such as acetone and methanol, various esters and aldehydes (note: if you smell them you smell paint thinner mostly, which is the acetone, since there is not much methanol in normal fermentations). These should be thrown out.
HEADS - The next portion of the distillation (approx. 15 to 20%) that contains the highest amount of ethanol, but are tainted with cogeners and volatiles such as ethyl acetate. These are kept and depending on what is being made, some may be added to the final product for taste or kept seperately and re-distilled later.
MIDDLE RUN (HEARTS or sometimes called SPIRITS RUN) - the main portion of the distillation (approx. 60 to 70%) which contains the purist part of the fermentation and is mostly ethanol and desired flavors if making flavored liquor.
TAILS - The end portion of the distillation (approx. 15-20%) which contains some ethanol but also contains higher boiling point volatiles such as: 2-Propanol (rubbing alcohol) 82C (180F) , 1-Propanol 97C (207F), Butanol 116C (241F). Amyl alcohol 137.8C (280F) and Furfural 161C (322F). These alcohols are called fusel oils and sometimes the tails will take on a cloudy, oily appearance. Again depending on what is being made, some of the tails may be added to the final product or kept seperately and re-distilled later.
BACKSET - This is the leftover liquid in the boiler after distillation and all the alcohols have been seperated from it. Sometimes this is saved and re-used in new fermentations when making Sour Mash Whiskey or Rum. It can also be used to dilute a stripping run for added flavors when making flavored liquors.
Now on to some of the confusing terms...
"BACKINS" is an ol' timers term for the end of a distillation (usually whiskey) which is very low in ABV (alcohol by volume). This is basically the same as the TAILS portion.
"FEINTS" can mean a couple of things. Feints again are the same as the tails portion of a run, but sometimes when people say they are making a Feints Run, they mean they are re-distilling the combination of the leftover heads and tails kept from previous distillations. You can get quite a bit of ethanol out of these runs. You can also add your feints to your next stripping run or even spirits run.
"DUNDER" is another term with a couple of meanings. It is exclusively used in Rum making and may mean the yeast rich trub leftover in the bottom of the fermenter which is used to start new rum fermentations (especially Jamacian Rums). It also can mean the BACKSET from a rum distillation which is sometimes aged before it is added to new rum fermentations or to dilute a stripping run.
Now depending on what your making and the type of still your running, these different portions or "cuts" will have different percentages and may or may not be used in your product. This is where the "exerience" part of this hobby starts to kick in and it does take a bit of practice to know the diffenence between these cuts and how to mix and match them.
The standard way to start off is by taking and numbering about 10 or 12 pint size mason jars. After discarding the foreshots, distill about 300 ml. in each jar staring with number 1. You can then dilute a sample from each to drinking strengh and taste and compare. By mixing and matching these, you should come up with a nice product.
You could also do what ZB suggests and invite a few friends over and have a mixing and matching party so you can get several opinons. However, be careful - when I tried this one time, there wernt nothing left to bottle..... ROTF.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Adam F" <bluwater2828@...> wrote:
> After reading some of the archived messages I'm still alittle confused as to some of the terminology. What is the generaly accepted definitions of these terms. BACKINS, HEADS, TAILS, FEINTS, AND DUNDER.
> I know i'm getting the methanol out...easy as just removing the first part of the run (first 50ml of a 20L wash, i actualy remove the first 100ml)but i think i'm getting a mixture of the rest...after the first 50ml it all smells / taste the same to me and i seperate with pint mason jars. I use a reflux still well packed with scrubbers and ratchet rings. Am I getting good juice and just too inexperienced to know?