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Re: Help With First Run of Pot Still

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  • tgfoitwoods
    Tom, First off, that blue run was caused by the combination of too high pH plus nitrogen-bearing yeast nutrients in your wash. That puts ammonia in the vapor,
    Message 1 of 11 , Jan 5, 2011
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      Tom,

      First off, that blue run was caused by the combination of too high pH plus nitrogen-bearing yeast nutrients in your wash. That puts ammonia in the vapor, which reacts with the copper of your still head to form Schweizer's reagent, that blue stuff. Because it needs yeast nutrients to make Schweizer's reagent, it should never happen on a 2nd (or more ) run. I think you did exactly the right thing.

      As for the apple wine, do not worry a bit about what tiny amount of methanol is in your spirit. Methanol was only a problem when bootleggers tipped the methanol can into the swill they sold. I'm told there is way more methanol in a glass of fresh orange juice than in a distilled pectin-bearing fruit.

      As for making the cuts, do it for flavor, not for imagined methanol control. For a first run like this, buy a case of pint canning jars at the grocery store, and collect the distillate (you're probably right about running at 677 Watts) sequentially in those jars, with vessel number, head temp in and out, and, if you have a parrot's beak, ABV in and out.

      Wait a day.

      Take jar #1, pull a tiny sample (I use 3ml syringes) and dilute to a standard drinking proof, say 80. Put a dab in a snifter (with your buddies if possible) and record your impressions on paper. Is it hot and harsh? Tastes like acetone? Tastes like fruity esters? Starting to get smooth and have a nice taste? Starting to taste like musty wet cardboard? Record all that for each sample, and decide which of those samples you want to mix into your final spirit, and then combine them for aging or diluting or drinking.

      The rules are pretty easy; if it tastes like something you'd like to drink, save it (presumably to drink). If you don't want to drink it, discard it into the junkahol carboy.

      The next time you run exactly the same wash, you can use the numbers from the fractions you saved to drink to make the cut, but the fist time for a given wash type, go by taste.

      Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller



      --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Tom" <tomhawk412@...> wrote:
      >
      > To One and All,
      >
      > I am a newbie. I have made several runs of JEM wash through an all copper VM reflux head over a stainless steel boiler with great success. The output tested at approximately 94.5% and was clean and sweet except for one run that come out blue. I treated the blue spirits with 10 grams citric acid per liter. It cleared up. I diluted the now-clear spirits with distilled water and ran it again. It came out clean, clear and sweet.
      >
      > I now have built an all copper pot-still head for my 15 gallon (56.8 liter) stainless steel, Sanky keg, boiler and have made 6 gallons (22.7 liters) of apple wine from fresh cider. The ABV is about 11.5% (I added a little white sugar before fermenting). The wine is clear and tastes great. I want to run it through the pot still to make calvados. Please suggest how best to run it. I will be able to run it only once as my boiler is heated with two thermal elements and needs approximately three gallons (11.3 liters) of charge to ensure that the elements are completely covered. If I run the wine once and collect all the ETOH, I should end up with about 56% ETOH (if I have read the Alcohol Vapor vs Temperature graph properly).
      >
      > Based on what I have read, there will be more than the typical amount of methanol in the first of the distillate due to the pectin in the apple juice. How should I make the cuts and how should I operate the still? I have the ability to run the heating elements at 677; 1,000; 2,000, and 3,000 watts. With the VM head in place I typically bring the charge up to temp using 3,000 watts and then reduce the power to 677 watts for the run.
      >
      > Thanks in advance for any help that can be offered. This site has been a real blessing to me. I have grown in knowledge thanks to help from members of the group. I have enjoyed the construction phase of the process and am now learning quite a bit about running my equipment. I am a beer and wine maker and enjoy monthly meetings of our wine making group during which we share the fruits of our labor and discuss techniques and results. It is a shame that this "process" has to be conducted singularly and in secret! Oh, it would be so much fun to be able to work together and learn as a group.
      >
      > Regards,
      >
      > Tom
      >
    • Tom
      Z Bob, Thanks for the advice. With your help, I think I m good to go! I can t wait to try out the new unit! Regards, Tom
      Message 2 of 11 , Jan 6, 2011
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        Z Bob,

        Thanks for the advice. With your help, I think I'm good to go! I can't wait to try out the new unit!

        Regards,

        Tom


        --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "tgfoitwoods" <zymurgybob@...> wrote:
        >
        > Tom,
        >
        > Snip

        > for aging or diluting or drinking.
        >
        > The rules are pretty easy; if it tastes like something you'd like to
        > drink, save it (presumably to drink). If you don't want to drink it,
        > discard it into the junkahol carboy.
        >
        > The next time you run exactly the same wash, you can use the numbers
        > from the fractions you saved to drink to make the cut, but the fist time
        > for a given wash type, go by taste.
        >
        > Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller
        >
        >
        >
        >
      • tgfoitwoods
        Tom, Keep us posted on how it turns out. I think fruit brandies are the most interesting things we can do. Good luck! Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller ...
        Message 3 of 11 , Jan 6, 2011
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          Tom,

          Keep us posted on how it turns out. I think fruit brandies are the most
          interesting things we can do. Good luck!

          Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

          --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Tom" <tomhawk412@...> wrote:
          >
          > Z Bob,
          >
          > Thanks for the advice. With your help, I think I'm good to go! I
          can't wait to try out the new unit!
          >
          > Regards,
          >
          > Tom
          >
          >
        • Tom
          Z Bob, I will dutifully report! I can comment that at the time I fermented the cider, I made two (2)identical six-gallon batches. To one of the batches I
          Message 4 of 11 , Jan 6, 2011
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            Z Bob,

            I will dutifully report!

            I can comment that at the time I fermented the cider, I made two (2)identical six-gallon batches. To one of the batches I added 1/4 cup of raw (partially unrefined or natural) cane sugar after it was completely dry. After priming it with the sugar, I bottled it in beer bottles. The second six gallon batch is the one that I will try to turn into Calvados. I can report that the batch that I put up in beer bottles went through a secondary fermentation, as intended, and after about six (6) weeks was lightly carbonated. It is absolutely wonderful!

            Next wear I plan to bottle-ferment at least 12 gallons of the same recipe.

            I sure hope the Calvados turns out. I ill report on the outcome

            Regards,

            Tom

            --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "tgfoitwoods" <zymurgybob@...> wrote:
            >
            > Tom,
            >
            > Keep us posted on how it turns out. I think fruit brandies are the most
            > interesting things we can do. Good luck!
            >
            > Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller
            >
            >Snip
          • gff_stwrt
            Hi, Tom and folks, You can run it a second time; just addd sufficient water to be sure the elements are still covered after all the alcohol is collected. As to
            Message 5 of 11 , Jan 11, 2011
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              Hi, Tom and folks,
              You can run it a second time; just addd sufficient water to be sure the elements are still covered after all the alcohol is collected.
              As to whether you would WANT to run it a second time, listen to Harry!
              Regards,
              The Baker

              --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Tom" <tomhawk412@...> wrote:
              >
              > To One and All,
              >
              > I am a newbie.

              snip

              I will be able to run it only once as my boiler is heated with two thermal elements and needs approximately three gallons (11.3 liters) of charge to ensure that the elements are completely covered.

              snip

              > Regards,
              >
              > Tom
              >
            • gff_stwrt
              Hi, Tom and hello folks, I would be terrified of adding sugar with the intent of causing a secondary fermentation, and bottling in BEER bottles. That is
              Message 6 of 11 , Jan 11, 2011
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                Hi, Tom and hello folks,
                I would be terrified of adding sugar with the intent of causing a secondary fermentation, and bottling in BEER bottles.
                That is exactly the method used for Champagne, and they bottle in strengthened bottles with wired-down corks.
                Regards,
                The (nervous) Baker

                --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Tom" <tomhawk412@...> wrote:
                >
                > Z Bob,
                >
                > I will dutifully report!
                >
                > I can comment that at the time I fermented the cider, I made two (2)identical six-gallon batches. To one of the batches I added 1/4 cup of raw (partially unrefined or natural) cane sugar after it was completely dry. After priming it with the sugar, I bottled it in beer bottles. The second six gallon batch is the one that I will try to turn into Calvados. I can report that the batch that I put up in beer bottles went through a secondary fermentation, as intended, and after about six (6) weeks was lightly carbonated. It is absolutely wonderful!
                >
                > Next wear I plan to bottle-ferment at least 12 gallons of the same recipe.
                >
                > I sure hope the Calvados turns out. I ill report on the outcome
                >
                > Regards,
                >
                > Tom
                >
                > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "tgfoitwoods" <zymurgybob@> wrote:
                > >
                > > Tom,
                > >
                > > Keep us posted on how it turns out. I think fruit brandies are the most
                > > interesting things we can do. Good luck!
                > >
                > > Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller
                > >
                > >Snip
                >
              • Tom Hawk
                Baker, Adding priming sugar is the accepted method used when making beer, which must be carbonated in the bottle.  A controlled amount of sugar produces
                Message 7 of 11 , Jan 11, 2011
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                  Baker,
                   
                  Adding priming sugar is the accepted method used when making beer, which must be carbonated in the bottle.  A controlled amount of sugar produces carbonation in the bottles.  The proper quantity (usually 1/4 cup of corn sugar or equivalent)  must not be exceeded.  The practice is established and is safe as long as the primary fermentation has completely finished before adding the priming sugar.
                   
                  Tom


                  From: gff_stwrt <gff_stwrt@...>
                  To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Tue, January 11, 2011 5:29:32 AM
                  Subject: [new_distillers] Re: Help With First Run of Pot Still

                   

                  Hi, Tom and hello folks,
                  I would be terrified of adding sugar with the intent of causing a secondary fermentation, and bottling in BEER bottles.
                  That is exactly the method used for Champagne, and they bottle in strengthened bottles with wired-down corks.
                  Regards,
                  The (nervous) Baker

                  --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Tom" <tomhawk412@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Z Bob,
                  >
                  > I will dutifully report!
                  >
                  > I can comment that at the time I fermented the cider, I made two (2)identical six-gallon batches. To one of the batches I added 1/4 cup of raw (partially unrefined or natural) cane sugar after it was completely dry. After priming it with the sugar, I bottled it in beer bottles. The second six gallon batch is the one that I will try to turn into Calvados. I can report that the batch that I put up in beer bottles went through a secondary fermentation, as intended, and after about six (6) weeks was lightly carbonated. It is absolutely wonderful!
                  >
                  > Next wear I plan to bottle-ferment at least 12 gallons of the same recipe.
                  >
                  > I sure hope the Calvados turns out. I ill report on the outcome
                  >
                  > Regards,
                  >
                  > Tom
                  >
                  > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "tgfoitwoods" <zymurgybob@> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > Tom,
                  > >
                  > > Keep us posted on how it turns out. I think fruit brandies are the most
                  > > interesting things we can do. Good luck!
                  > >
                  > > Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller
                  > >
                  > >Snip
                  >


                • Tom
                  To All, I should have stated that the usual dose of priming sugar, in my experience, is 1/4 cup of corn sugar or equivalent per five (5) gallons (19 liters) of
                  Message 8 of 11 , Jan 11, 2011
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                    To All,

                    I should have stated that the usual dose of priming sugar, in my experience, is 1/4 cup of corn sugar or equivalent per five (5) gallons (19 liters) of completely fermented beer.

                    Tom

                    --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, Tom Hawk <tomhawk412@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Baker,
                    >
                    > Adding priming sugar is the accepted method used when making beer, which must be
                    > carbonated in the bottle.  A controlled amount of sugar produces carbonation in
                    > the bottles.  The proper quantity (usually 1/4 cup of corn sugar or equivalent)
                    >  must not be exceeded.  The practice is established and is safe as long as the
                    > primary fermentation has completely finished before adding the priming sugar.
                    >
                    > Tom
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > ________________________________
                    > From: gff_stwrt <gff_stwrt@...>
                    > To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
                    > Sent: Tue, January 11, 2011 5:29:32 AM
                    > Subject: [new_distillers] Re: Help With First Run of Pot Still
                    >
                    >  
                    > Hi, Tom and hello folks,
                    > I would be terrified of adding sugar with the intent of causing a secondary
                    > fermentation, and bottling in BEER bottles.
                    > That is exactly the method used for Champagne, and they bottle in strengthened
                    > bottles with wired-down corks.
                    > Regards,
                    > The (nervous) Baker
                    >
                    > Snip
                  • tgfoitwoods
                    Geoff, Let me put your terrors at rest [:))] . As a long time beer brewer, I can tell you with certainty that carbonation in beer bottles by secondary
                    Message 9 of 11 , Jan 11, 2011
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                      Geoff,

                      Let me put your terrors at rest :)). As a long time beer brewer, I can tell you with certainty that carbonation in beer bottles by secondary fermentation is entirely safe IF the amount of sugar added is no more than 3/4 cup to 5 US gallons of beer, and IF the primary fermentation is entirely complete.

                      This kind of carbonation by fermentation in beers is called "bottle conditioning", is very commonly done, and is the only way most bottlers have to carbonate their beer. Although all my friends and relatives are keggers not bottlers, I'm still the holdout bottler (and mightily looked down on, I might add). My lifestyle and the amount I drink makes bottling the perfect solution.

                      You are quite correct that champagne bottles can hold way more pressure than beer bottles, and in a couple of weeks I'll be trying to bottle condition a kit Johannesberger Riesling in champagne bottles. I'm not going to try that silly-ass "methode champenoise" which looks like Laurel and Hardy winning Talledega; I'll just leave the conditioning yeast "mouse turds" in the bottom of the bottle. It won't travel for that reason, but you can't have everything.

                      Hope this helps you feel better:)).

                      Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

                      --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "gff_stwrt" <gff_stwrt@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Hi, Tom and hello folks,
                      > I would be terrified of adding sugar with the intent of causing a secondary fermentation, and bottling in BEER bottles.
                      > That is exactly the method used for Champagne, and they bottle in strengthened bottles with wired-down corks.
                      > Regards,
                      > The (nervous) Baker
                      >
                      > --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Tom" tomhawk412@ wrote:
                      > >
                      > > Z Bob,
                      > >
                      > > I will dutifully report!
                      ----snip----
                    • gff_stwrt
                      ... Thanks for that, Tom. The Baker
                      Message 10 of 11 , Jan 11, 2011
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                        --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, Tom Hawk <tomhawk412@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Baker,
                        >
                        > Adding priming sugar is the accepted method used when making beer, which must be
                        > carbonated in the bottle.  A controlled amount of sugar produces carbonation in
                        > the bottles.  The proper quantity (usually 1/4 cup of corn sugar or equivalent)
                        >  must not be exceeded.  The practice is established and is safe as long as the
                        > primary fermentation has completely finished before adding the priming sugar.
                        >
                        > Tom

                        Thanks for that, Tom.
                        The Baker
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