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distilling wine

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  • poserboy6
    Oh yeah one other question.. I make wine as well.. Generally in small 1 gallon batches.. I ve been playing around with buying a 5 gallon carboy. Would I run
    Message 1 of 24 , Jun 11, 2002
      Oh yeah one other question.. I make wine as well.. Generally in small
      1 gallon batches.. I've been playing around with buying a 5 gallon
      carboy. Would I run into any problems if I distilled a couple of
      those extra gallons. thanks again..
    • ups474@aol.com
      The wine has to be low to no sulfite to help prevent any sulfur flavors. Other than that, white wine is best (from grapes with high acid levels), the tannin in
      Message 2 of 24 , Jun 11, 2002
        The wine has to be low to no sulfite to help prevent any sulfur flavors.
        Other than that, white wine is best (from grapes with high acid levels), the
        tannin in red makes the finished brandy too astringent.
      • poserboy6
        Well I don t usually make grape wine... is apple white enough.. how are you to judge the amount of sulfite? ... flavors. ... levels), the
        Message 3 of 24 , Jun 11, 2002
          Well I don't usually make grape wine... is apple white enough.. how
          are you to judge the amount of sulfite?



          --- In new_distillers@y..., ups474@a... wrote:
          > The wine has to be low to no sulfite to help prevent any sulfur
          flavors.
          > Other than that, white wine is best (from grapes with high acid
          levels), the
          > tannin in red makes the finished brandy too astringent.
        • ups474@aol.com
          Apple is actually a perfect wine to turn into brandy- I love the stuff. As for the sulfite- I don t use ANY (better safe than sorry). If you used sulfite,
          Message 4 of 24 , Jun 12, 2002
            Apple is actually a perfect wine to turn into brandy- I love the stuff. As
            for the sulfite- I don't use ANY (better safe than sorry). If you used
            sulfite, try adding some copper and letting it soak in the wine (it might
            discolor it- don't worry, you'll distill it anyway.). A lot of copper in the
            still will also prevent problems- if you made your still, it's probably out
            of copper- you won't have a problem. If you bought your still- it's kind of
            tough to add enough copper to the premade models. Often, aging on wood will
            also help get rid of any sulfur flavors. Some homebrew shops sell something
            called "titrets" which check the amount of sulfite in wine- if it's over
            25ppm- soak the wine on copper to try and bring it down to below 10ppm, if
            you can.
          • happybamacpl
            I was thinking about making some wine and running it through my still at a low refux collecting to 92deg. What would be different in making wine? Is whiskey
            Message 5 of 24 , Jan 9, 2006
              I was thinking about making some wine and running it through my still
              at a low refux collecting to 92deg. What would be different in making
              wine? Is whiskey yeast ok? I'll be destilling it anyway. Also are
              there any other additives I may need? I hope to run it through fast
              enough to carry some wine flavor over, do you think this is possible,
              and has anyone tried this? Corn and barley works great, but looking
              for something different. The grain is a pain to get out of my keg I
              was fermenting it in.
            • sonum norbu
              I was a wine maker until I discovered the fun of distilling. I had about 100 bottles of fruit wines which I used to for my first run and it was a great spirit
              Message 6 of 24 , Jan 9, 2006
                I was a wine maker until I discovered the fun of distilling. I had about
                100 bottles of fruit wines which I used to for my first run and it was a
                great spirit having a general fruity, but very subtle flavour. I also had
                30 bottles of 15 year old honey head which was a bit sweet for my taste
                so I did another run with it and have just begun drinking a superb honey
                likker. As I live in the best wine producing region in Australia, I also
                obtain the lees from a few wineries and distill this making a fine grappa
                which this season I will turn into brandy. These days I tend to just use
                sugar or sometimes molasses and grain washes because I can't be bothered
                with the time lag associated with making wine. I guess the short answer
                is, yes you can use wines to make spirits, and I agree, the grain is a
                pain...blanikdog

                ----- Original Message -----
                From: happybamacpl
                To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: [new_distillers] distilling wine
                Date: Mon, 09 Jan 2006 23:27:16 -0000

                I was thinking about making some wine and running it through my still
                at a low refux collecting to 92deg. What would be different in making
                wine? Is whiskey yeast ok? I'll be destilling it anyway. Also are
                there any other additives I may need? I hope to run it through fast
                enough to carry some wine flavor over, do you think this is possible,
                and has anyone tried this? Corn and barley works great, but looking
                for something different. The grain is a pain to get out of my keg I
                was fermenting it in.





                New Distillers group archives are at http://archive.nnytech.net/
                FAQ and other information available at http://homedistiller.org




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              • happybamacpl
                So making a wine good enough to destill will take a lot longer than fermenting grain? What about using the whiskey yeast? Would that be alright, and would it
                Message 7 of 24 , Jan 9, 2006
                  So making a wine good enough to destill will take a lot longer than
                  fermenting grain? What about using the whiskey yeast? Would that be
                  alright, and would it ferment the same time as it were grain?

                  --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "sonum norbu" <blanik@o...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > I was a wine maker until I discovered the fun of distilling. I had
                  about
                  > 100 bottles of fruit wines which I used to for my first run and it
                  was a
                  > great spirit having a general fruity, but very subtle flavour. I
                  also had
                  > 30 bottles of 15 year old honey head which was a bit sweet for my
                  taste
                  > so I did another run with it and have just begun drinking a superb
                  honey
                  > likker. As I live in the best wine producing region in Australia,
                  I also
                  > obtain the lees from a few wineries and distill this making a fine
                  grappa
                  > which this season I will turn into brandy. These days I tend to
                  just use
                  > sugar or sometimes molasses and grain washes because I can't be
                  bothered
                  > with the time lag associated with making wine. I guess the short
                  answer
                  > is, yes you can use wines to make spirits, and I agree, the grain
                  is a
                  > pain...blanikdog
                  >
                  > ----- Original Message -----
                  > From: happybamacpl
                  > To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
                  > Subject: [new_distillers] distilling wine
                  > Date: Mon, 09 Jan 2006 23:27:16 -0000
                  >
                  > I was thinking about making some wine and running it through my
                  still
                  > at a low refux collecting to 92deg. What would be different in
                  making
                  > wine? Is whiskey yeast ok? I'll be destilling it anyway. Also are
                  > there any other additives I may need? I hope to run it through fast
                  > enough to carry some wine flavor over, do you think this is
                  possible,
                  > and has anyone tried this? Corn and barley works great, but looking
                  > for something different. The grain is a pain to get out of my keg I
                  > was fermenting it in.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > New Distillers group archives are at http://archive.nnytech.net/
                  > FAQ and other information available at http://homedistiller.org
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > -------------------------------------------------------------------
                  -----
                  >
                  > YAHOO! GROUPS LINKS
                  >
                  > * Visit your group "new_distillers" on the web.
                  >
                  > * To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                  > new_distillers-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                  >
                  > * Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of
                  Service.
                  >
                  >
                  > -------------------------------------------------------------------
                  -----
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > "Most of the troubles of the world are caused by human beings".
                  (Shakyamuni Buddha)
                  >
                  > SOARING, SAILING AND SKYDIVING web page
                  > http://www.angelfire.com/fl2/cloudbase/
                  > IRC server tessnet.cx
                  >
                  > --
                  > _______________________________________________
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                  >
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                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                • Derek Hamlet
                  Every yeast pulls out different characteristics of the material it is fermenting. As a winemaker I use many different kinds of yeast depending on the grape
                  Message 8 of 24 , Jan 9, 2006
                    Every yeast pulls out different characteristics of the material it is
                    fermenting.
                    As a winemaker I use many different kinds of yeast depending on the
                    grape variety.
                    Sometimes I will divide the crushed grapes and use different yeasts
                    on each batch and then mix them before bottling.
                    I can't speak for whisky yeasts in wine, but, I wouldn't do
                    it. Lalvin EC1118 is cheap and very universal and forgiving.
                    I'm assuming you will be using a kit, not grapes. It would probably
                    come with EC1118 yeast anyway. They all do.
                    Your end product will essentially be brandy after distilling.
                    At 03:27 PM 1/9/2006, you wrote:
                    >I was thinking about making some wine and running it through my still
                    >at a low refux collecting to 92deg. What would be different in making
                    >wine? Is whiskey yeast ok? I'll be destilling it anyway. Also are
                    >there any other additives I may need? I hope to run it through fast
                    >enough to carry some wine flavor over, do you think this is possible,
                    >and has anyone tried this? Corn and barley works great, but looking
                    >for something different. The grain is a pain to get out of my keg I
                    >was fermenting it in.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > New Distillers group archives are at http://archive.nnytech.net/
                    > FAQ and other information available at http://homedistiller.org
                    >
                    >
                    >Yahoo! Groups Links
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >

                    Derek
                  • Derek Hamlet
                    Good brandy comes from good wine. Good wine takes time. While true for hooch also, there are subtle chemical changes that take place long after fermentation
                    Message 9 of 24 , Jan 9, 2006
                      Good brandy comes from good wine.
                      Good wine takes time. While true for hooch also, there are subtle
                      chemical changes that take place long after fermentation is finished.
                      If red, oak is almost mandatory. If you like a soft mouthfeel then a
                      secondary malolactic ferementation is in order. Then there is just
                      time time time. I never bottle wine for at least a year sometimes
                      two during which it has sat in oak and then glass. I like my reds
                      with max body and character so I do not fine or filter. Just rack a
                      lot over the 1-2 year period.
                      At 04:04 PM 1/9/2006, you wrote:
                      >So making a wine good enough to destill will take a lot longer than
                      >fermenting grain? What about using the whiskey yeast? Would that be
                      >alright, and would it ferment the same time as it were grain?
                      >
                      >---

                      Derek
                    • happybamacpl
                      I don t know how much flavor I can carry over though. Running my still with the output wide open and the refux 3/4 closed I end up with 170 proof ( yes
                      Message 10 of 24 , Jan 9, 2006
                        I don't know how much flavor I can carry over though. Running my
                        still with the output wide open and the refux 3/4 closed I end up
                        with 170 proof ( yes measured at the right temp). I may have to pull
                        some of the copper packing out to get it down enough to pull some
                        flavor. I have been making shine at 120proof by cutting it with
                        distilled water, but I'd rather not cut the wine distillate b/c of
                        losing flavor. I am not using a wine kit, but the same as. I am
                        buying the concentrate or puree, and then my yeast. I was assuming
                        whiskey yeast would be fine b/c it would end up as a fruit flavored
                        liquor, and I have a lot of whiskey yeast packs. My thinking was
                        that it did not have to be a perfect wine since I would lose a lot
                        of flavor distilling it anyway, and it wont be drank until
                        destilled. I love the glass cider jugs with the hook on the end. I
                        am going to pick up a few just for the bottle, but was wondering if
                        the cider would make anything good, or if I could add it to my
                        concentrate. I am going to attempt a 14.5 gallon batch of wine by
                        the way.

                        --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, Derek Hamlet
                        <derekhamlet@s...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Every yeast pulls out different characteristics of the material it
                        is
                        > fermenting.
                        > As a winemaker I use many different kinds of yeast depending on
                        the
                        > grape variety.
                        > Sometimes I will divide the crushed grapes and use different
                        yeasts
                        > on each batch and then mix them before bottling.
                        > I can't speak for whisky yeasts in wine, but, I wouldn't do
                        > it. Lalvin EC1118 is cheap and very universal and forgiving.
                        > I'm assuming you will be using a kit, not grapes. It would
                        probably
                        > come with EC1118 yeast anyway. They all do.
                        > Your end product will essentially be brandy after distilling.
                        > At 03:27 PM 1/9/2006, you wrote:
                        > >I was thinking about making some wine and running it through my
                        still
                        > >at a low refux collecting to 92deg. What would be different in
                        making
                        > >wine? Is whiskey yeast ok? I'll be destilling it anyway. Also are
                        > >there any other additives I may need? I hope to run it through
                        fast
                        > >enough to carry some wine flavor over, do you think this is
                        possible,
                        > >and has anyone tried this? Corn and barley works great, but
                        looking
                        > >for something different. The grain is a pain to get out of my keg
                        I
                        > >was fermenting it in.
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > New Distillers group archives are at http://archive.nnytech.net/
                        > > FAQ and other information available at http://homedistiller.org
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >Yahoo! Groups Links
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        >
                        > Derek
                        >
                      • Derek Hamlet
                        A wine yeast costs about $1US to produce 5 gallons of wine. Three packets would be required unless you make a good active yeast starter before innoculation.
                        Message 11 of 24 , Jan 9, 2006
                          A wine yeast costs about $1US to produce 5 gallons of wine. Three
                          packets would be required unless you make a good active yeast starter
                          before innoculation.
                          And yes, if you want flavor in the product you'll probably have to
                          reduce your packing.
                          At 06:21 PM 1/9/2006, you wrote:
                          >I don't know how much flavor I can carry over though. Running my
                          >still with the output wide open and the refux 3/4 closed I end up
                          >with 170 proof ( yes measured at the right temp). I may have to pull
                          >some of the copper packing out to get it down enough to pull some
                          >flavor. I have been making shine at 120proof by cutting it with
                          >distilled water, but I'd rather not cut the wine distillate b/c of
                          >losing flavor. I am not using a wine kit, but the same as. I am
                          >buying the concentrate or puree, and then my yeast. I was assuming
                          >whiskey yeast would be fine b/c it would end up as a fruit flavored
                          >liquor, and I have a lot of whiskey yeast packs. My thinking was
                          >that it did not have to be a perfect wine since I would lose a lot
                          >of flavor distilling it anyway, and it wont be drank until
                          >destilled. I love the glass cider jugs with the hook on the end. I
                          >am going to pick up a few just for the bottle, but was wondering if
                          >the cider would make anything good, or if I could add it to my
                          >concentrate. I am going to attempt a 14.5 gallon batch of wine by
                          >the way.
                          >
                          >--- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, Derek Hamlet
                          ><derekhamlet@s...> wrote:
                          > >
                          > > Every yeast pulls out different characteristics of the material it
                          >is
                          > > fermenting.
                          > > As a winemaker I use many different kinds of yeast depending on
                          >the
                          > > grape variety.
                          > > Sometimes I will divide the crushed grapes and use different
                          >yeasts
                          > > on each batch and then mix them before bottling.
                          > > I can't speak for whisky yeasts in wine, but, I wouldn't do
                          > > it. Lalvin EC1118 is cheap and very universal and forgiving.
                          > > I'm assuming you will be using a kit, not grapes. It would
                          >probably
                          > > come with EC1118 yeast anyway. They all do.
                          > > Your end product will essentially be brandy after distilling.
                          > > At 03:27 PM 1/9/2006, you wrote:
                          > > >I was thinking about making some wine and running it through my
                          >still
                          > > >at a low refux collecting to 92deg. What would be different in
                          >making
                          > > >wine? Is whiskey yeast ok? I'll be destilling it anyway. Also are
                          > > >there any other additives I may need? I hope to run it through
                          >fast
                          > > >enough to carry some wine flavor over, do you think this is
                          >possible,
                          > > >and has anyone tried this? Corn and barley works great, but
                          >looking
                          > > >for something different. The grain is a pain to get out of my keg
                          >I
                          > > >was fermenting it in.
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > > New Distillers group archives are at http://archive.nnytech.net/
                          > > > FAQ and other information available at http://homedistiller.org
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >Yahoo! Groups Links
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          > > Derek
                          > >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > New Distillers group archives are at http://archive.nnytech.net/
                          > FAQ and other information available at http://homedistiller.org
                          >
                          >
                          >Yahoo! Groups Links
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >

                          Derek
                        • sonum norbu
                          I should have added to this thread that the wine that I distilled was using a pot still. This would make quite a difference to flavour I understand...blanikdog
                          Message 12 of 24 , Jan 9, 2006
                            I should have added to this thread that the wine that I distilled was
                            using a pot still. This would make quite a difference to flavour I
                            understand...blanikdog

                            ----- Original Message -----
                            From: "Derek Hamlet"
                            To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: Re: [new_distillers] Re: distilling wine
                            Date: Mon, 09 Jan 2006 19:01:03 -0800

                            A wine yeast costs about $1US to produce 5 gallons of wine. Three
                            packets would be required unless you make a good active yeast starter
                            before innoculation.
                            And yes, if you want flavor in the product you'll probably have to
                            reduce your packing.
                            At 06:21 PM 1/9/2006, you wrote:
                            >I don't know how much flavor I can carry over though. Running my
                            >still with the output wide open and the refux 3/4 closed I end up
                            >with 170 proof ( yes measured at the right temp). I may have to pull
                            >some of the copper packing out to get it down enough to pull some
                            >flavor. I have been making shine at 120proof by cutting it with
                            >distilled water, but I'd rather not cut the wine distillate b/c of
                            >losing flavor. I am not using a wine kit, but the same as. I am
                            >buying the concentrate or puree, and then my yeast. I was assuming
                            >whiskey yeast would be fine b/c it would end up as a fruit flavored
                            >liquor, and I have a lot of whiskey yeast packs. My thinking was
                            >that it did not have to be a perfect wine since I would lose a lot
                            >of flavor distilling it anyway, and it wont be drank until
                            >destilled. I love the glass cider jugs with the hook on the end. I
                            >am going to pick up a few just for the bottle, but was wondering if
                            >the cider would make anything good, or if I could add it to my
                            >concentrate. I am going to attempt a 14.5 gallon batch of wine by
                            >the way.
                            >
                            >--- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, Derek Hamlet
                            ><derekhamlet@s...> wrote:
                            > >
                            > > Every yeast pulls out different characteristics of the material it
                            >is
                            > > fermenting.
                            > > As a winemaker I use many different kinds of yeast depending on
                            >the
                            > > grape variety.
                            > > Sometimes I will divide the crushed grapes and use different
                            >yeasts
                            > > on each batch and then mix them before bottling.
                            > > I can't speak for whisky yeasts in wine, but, I wouldn't do
                            > > it. Lalvin EC1118 is cheap and very universal and forgiving.
                            > > I'm assuming you will be using a kit, not grapes. It would
                            >probably
                            > > come with EC1118 yeast anyway. They all do.
                            > > Your end product will essentially be brandy after distilling.
                            > > At 03:27 PM 1/9/2006, you wrote:
                            > > >I was thinking about making some wine and running it through my
                            >still
                            > > >at a low refux collecting to 92deg. What would be different in
                            >making
                            > > >wine? Is whiskey yeast ok? I'll be destilling it anyway. Also are
                            > > >there any other additives I may need? I hope to run it through
                            >fast
                            > > >enough to carry some wine flavor over, do you think this is
                            >possible,
                            > > >and has anyone tried this? Corn and barley works great, but
                            >looking
                            > > >for something different. The grain is a pain to get out of my keg
                            >I
                            > > >was fermenting it in.
                            > > >
                            > > >
                            > > >
                            > > >
                            > > >
                            > > > New Distillers group archives are at http://archive.nnytech.net/
                            > > > FAQ and other information available at http://homedistiller.org
                            > > >
                            > > >
                            > > >Yahoo! Groups Links
                            > > >
                            > > >
                            > > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > > Derek
                            > >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > New Distillers group archives are at http://archive.nnytech.net/
                            > FAQ and other information available at http://homedistiller.org
                            >
                            >
                            >Yahoo! Groups Links
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >

                            Derek




                            New Distillers group archives are at http://archive.nnytech.net/
                            FAQ and other information available at http://homedistiller.org




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                            "Most of the troubles of the world are caused by human beings". (Shakyamuni Buddha)

                            SOARING, SAILING AND SKYDIVING web page
                            http://www.angelfire.com/fl2/cloudbase/
                            IRC server tessnet.cx

                            --
                            _______________________________________________
                            Surf the Web in a faster, safer and easier way:
                            Download Opera 8 at http://www.opera.com

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                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • Barra
                            ... Actually this is NOT the case. Brandy (Cognac Armagnac etc.) is made from rather mediocre sour white wine with a percentage of about 7. Its is used
                            Message 13 of 24 , Jan 28, 2006
                              > Good brandy comes from good wine.

                              Actually this is NOT the case. Brandy (Cognac Armagnac etc.) is made from
                              rather mediocre sour white wine with a percentage of about 7. Its is used
                              unfiltered and here lies the secret of good brandies together with batch
                              size (smaller is better) and storage.

                              Regards,

                              Barra
                            • Harry
                              ... made from ... is used ... batch ... Today s brandies are made as you say, from mediocre sour wine. But it wasn t always so. Before the phylloxera bug
                              Message 14 of 24 , Jan 28, 2006
                                --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Barra" <barra64@z...> wrote:
                                >
                                > > Good brandy comes from good wine.
                                >
                                > Actually this is NOT the case. Brandy (Cognac Armagnac etc.) is
                                made from
                                > rather mediocre sour white wine with a percentage of about 7. Its
                                is used
                                > unfiltered and here lies the secret of good brandies together with
                                batch
                                > size (smaller is better) and storage.
                                >
                                > Regards,
                                >
                                > Barra
                                >



                                Today's brandies are made as you say, from mediocre sour wine. But
                                it wasn't always so. Before the phylloxera bug all-but wiped out
                                the French vineyards in the 1860's, the grape varieties used were
                                much more flavourful than those in use now.

                                Today's varieties are chosen mainly because of their grafting
                                capability with robust American rootstocks, a process introduced
                                after the disease problem, whereas the original varieties, mainly
                                Folle Blanche (an acidic, aromatic grape) weren't suited for
                                grafting. So in Cognac, and now increasingly in Armagnac, the Folle
                                Blanche was replaced by the higher yielding, more amenable (and
                                markedly less characterful) Ugni Blanc.

                                Only a few distillers have the means and patience to try alternative
                                varieties, or to accept that a little Folle Blanche is better (even
                                if more expensive) than a lot of Ugni Blanc. The balance is a
                                delicate one: the Colombard grape, much favoured in Cognac in the
                                18th century, is a little too fragrant to be an ideal base wine.

                                The 'secret' to good brandy is oak, time, and blending (there's as
                                many as 50 blends in a good cognac). 'Small' batch production plays
                                a part, but the 'small' they use is 3,000 litres (30 hectoliters), a
                                bit different to what a hobbyist calls 'small'. :-)

                                Newly distilled Eau de Vie tastes raw, oily and unappetizing. The
                                key to its final quality is a more or less lengthy stay in oak
                                casks. Most of the qualities which make oak so suitable are
                                physical. For whatever the chemical qualities of the wood and the
                                reactions they induce when in prolonged contact with the spirit, it
                                is the porosity of the cask which allows the brandy to have a
                                steady, limited access to the air. The brandy gradually absorbs the
                                oxygen required to oxidize and thus soften the raw spirit.



                                Slainte!
                                regards Harry
                              • Barra
                                Thank you Harry for you most complete addendum to my (too) short reaction to Hamlets mail. I of course forget to mention blending as one of the parts that
                                Message 15 of 24 , Jan 28, 2006
                                  Thank you Harry for you most complete addendum to my (too) short reaction to
                                  Hamlets mail.
                                  I of course forget to mention blending as one of the parts that makes a good
                                  Cognac (brandy).

                                  I had a quick look at the Cognac pre 1860's still available!!!!
                                  What about € 14.600 a bottle (1812)!
                                  Although a 1846 can be had for a bargain € 1.905 (Mounié Grande Champagne).

                                  As you seem well informed you might be able to direct me to interesting and
                                  information rich Cognac websites, preferably with tasting notes and
                                  'reviews'.

                                  One last remark With small batches I indeed ment 3000 litres and less.
                                  Nowadays the larger Cognac houses use 10.000 litres plus batches and tanks.
                                  I read (yes it is all book knowledge), that smaller batches benefit the
                                  final quality.

                                  Barra

                                  > >
                                  > > > Good brandy comes from good wine.
                                  > >

                                  > Today's brandies are made as you say, from mediocre sour wine. But
                                  > it wasn't always so. Before the phylloxera bug all-but wiped out
                                  > the French vineyards in the 1860's, the grape varieties used were
                                  > much more flavourful than those in use now.
                                  >
                                  > Today's varieties are chosen mainly because of their grafting
                                  > capability with robust American rootstocks, a process introduced
                                  > after the disease problem, whereas the original varieties, mainly
                                  > Folle Blanche (an acidic, aromatic grape) weren't suited for
                                  > grafting. So in Cognac, and now increasingly in Armagnac, the Folle
                                  > Blanche was replaced by the higher yielding, more amenable (and
                                  > markedly less characterful) Ugni Blanc.
                                  >
                                  > Only a few distillers have the means and patience to try alternative
                                  > varieties, or to accept that a little Folle Blanche is better (even
                                  > if more expensive) than a lot of Ugni Blanc. The balance is a
                                  > delicate one: the Colombard grape, much favoured in Cognac in the
                                  > 18th century, is a little too fragrant to be an ideal base wine.
                                  >
                                  > The 'secret' to good brandy is oak, time, and blending (there's as
                                  > many as 50 blends in a good cognac). 'Small' batch production plays
                                  > a part, but the 'small' they use is 3,000 litres (30 hectoliters), a
                                  > bit different to what a hobbyist calls 'small'. :-)
                                  >
                                  > Newly distilled Eau de Vie tastes raw, oily and unappetizing. The
                                  > key to its final quality is a more or less lengthy stay in oak
                                  > casks. Most of the qualities which make oak so suitable are
                                  > physical. For whatever the chemical qualities of the wood and the
                                  > reactions they induce when in prolonged contact with the spirit, it
                                  > is the porosity of the cask which allows the brandy to have a
                                  > steady, limited access to the air. The brandy gradually absorbs the
                                  > oxygen required to oxidize and thus soften the raw spirit.
                                  >
                                  >
                                • Harry
                                  ... reaction to ... makes a good ... Champagne). ... interesting and ... less. ... and tanks. ... benefit the ... Hard to find much better than this one...
                                  Message 16 of 24 , Jan 28, 2006
                                    --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Barra" <barra64@z...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    > Thank you Harry for you most complete addendum to my (too) short
                                    reaction to
                                    > Hamlets mail.
                                    > I of course forget to mention blending as one of the parts that
                                    makes a good
                                    > Cognac (brandy).
                                    >
                                    > I had a quick look at the Cognac pre 1860's still available!!!!
                                    > What about EUR 14.600 a bottle (1812)!
                                    > Although a 1846 can be had for a bargain EUR 1.905 (Mounié Grande
                                    Champagne).
                                    >
                                    > As you seem well informed you might be able to direct me to
                                    interesting and
                                    > information rich Cognac websites, preferably with tasting notes and
                                    > 'reviews'.
                                    >
                                    > One last remark With small batches I indeed ment 3000 litres and
                                    less.
                                    > Nowadays the larger Cognac houses use 10.000 litres plus batches
                                    and tanks.
                                    > I read (yes it is all book knowledge), that smaller batches
                                    benefit the
                                    > final quality.
                                    >
                                    > Barra



                                    Hard to find much better than this one...
                                    http://www.charlesnealselections.com/

                                    A quick excerpt from the site...

                                    Folle Blanche
                                    In pre-phylloxera days, the staple grape for armagnac was the Folle
                                    Blanche. Its light- to medium-bodied wine is low in alcohol (7%-9%)
                                    and high in acidity, making it less than ideal at the table but
                                    perfect for distillation into fine brandy. Armagnacs made from high
                                    percentages of Folle Blanche offer seductive characteristics; they
                                    tend to be feminine and show especially well in their first fifteen
                                    years of life. They normally have a very fine texture and light,
                                    high-pitched aromatics (including budding vine flowers, white peach,
                                    dried apricot and orange peel). Unfortunately, the precocious Folle
                                    Blanche (known as Gros Plant in the Loire) gives low yields, is
                                    prone to mildew and rot and today comprises less than 3% of total
                                    vineyard plantings. Folle Blanche can perhaps be viewed as the
                                    soprano of armagnac grapes.

                                    Ugni Blanc
                                    Ugni Blanc, known as Trebbiano in Italy, is most famous in the
                                    Charente where it comprises 98% of the Cognac vineyards. Ugni Blanc
                                    is relatively easy to grow and gives high yields-in short, a big
                                    producer and wonderful investment for growers. It produces wines
                                    with elevated levels of acidity and low alcohol, yet is fairly
                                    neutral in taste. Ugni Blanc now comprises about 55% of the grapes
                                    used for the distillation of armagnac. At their best, armagnacs made
                                    with Ugni Blanc contain pleasing floral aromatics that tend to
                                    accentuate the spice notes from the oak in which they are aged. They
                                    are less powerful and less flamboyant than Bacco and, in comparison
                                    with Folle Blanche, less aromatic and less fine. The alto of
                                    armagnac grapes.

                                    Colombard
                                    After distillation, Colombard's youthful aroma is slightly herbal
                                    and reminiscent of freshly mown hay. It never seems to develop the
                                    round flavors of Bacco or the delicate floral notes of Folle
                                    Blanche, nor does it provide the neutral foundation of Ugni Blanc.
                                    While the tenor is especially renowned in the opera world, it is not
                                    in armagnac. Most of the Colombard now makes its way into the
                                    region's delightful Côtes de Gascogne wines.

                                    Bacco 22-A
                                    Bacco 22-A is a hybrid between Folle Blanche (a grape of the
                                    vinifera family) and Noah, a labrusca grape. It was developed after
                                    the phylloxera and was very resistant to rot and mildew. It
                                    dominated the Armagnac vineyards between its invention in the 1920's
                                    and the 1970's, and most armagnacs on the market from that period
                                    are made with an overwhelming percentage of Bacco (occasionally
                                    spelled Baco). The end of Bacco is imminent, however, as the AOC
                                    board has decided hybrids will no longer be allowed within AOC
                                    regions after 2010. Obviously the bass, Bacco delivers an armagnac
                                    that is full-bodied, with plenty of fat and volume. With some age,
                                    it expresses itself with jammy dried plum notes, yet it can be
                                    somewhat rustic and lack finesse.

                                    <end>

                                    There's lots more, including distilling and tasting notes. Highly
                                    recommended.


                                    Slainte!
                                    regards Harry
                                  • Joe Becerra
                                    Any help or information about distilling wine ? I make wine and have some Im not happy with, thinking about distilling it. Reflux still. chilejo
                                    Message 17 of 24 , Feb 1, 2008
                                      Any help or information about distilling wine ? I make wine and have
                                      some Im not happy with, thinking about distilling it. Reflux still.
                                      chilejo
                                    • Derek Hamlet
                                      ... Definitely not reflux. You want flavor. Pull the packing and run it through hell bent for leather. Then run it again making careful cuts to get rid of the
                                      Message 18 of 24 , Feb 1, 2008
                                        At 02:36 PM 2/1/2008, you wrote:

                                        >Any help or information about distilling wine ? I make wine and have
                                        >some Im not happy with, thinking about distilling it. Reflux still.
                                        >chilejo

                                        Definitely not reflux.
                                        You want flavor.
                                        Pull the packing and run it through hell bent for leather.
                                        Then run it again making careful cuts to get rid of the foreshots,
                                        keep the hearts then make smaller and smaller cuts on the tails.
                                        Apply your distillers artisan magic to add back desired flavors from the tails.
                                        Put in your desired amount of toasted oak (i use chips). Shake every
                                        day for 30 seconds. I do this for 3-6 months.
                                        You can then filter and enjoy your very own brandy.
                                        I have a deal with my winemaker friends. I take their undesirable
                                        wine and do the above. They get 1/2 the product.


                                        Derek
                                        "From the cradle to the crypt it's a mighty short trip
                                        So you'd better get it while you can!"
                                        -from the Ballad of Carl Martin by Steve Goodman
                                      • C D
                                        Same reason I built a valved reflux still. I ve found so far that it takes enough reflux to get the spirits to at least 70%ABV to remove the bad grape-y
                                        Message 19 of 24 , Feb 1, 2008
                                          Same reason I built a valved reflux still. I've found so far that it
                                          takes enough reflux to get the spirits to at least 70%ABV to remove
                                          the bad grape-y taste. But that's my taste buds; yours may vary.
                                        • whackfol
                                          Hi, I m new to this. However, I have been making wine for a few years. This past year I did not properly adjust my grape must ahead of time and ended with a
                                          Message 20 of 24 , Jul 14, 2008
                                            Hi, I'm new to this. However, I have been making wine for a few
                                            years. This past year I did not properly adjust my grape must ahead
                                            of time and ended with a wine with alcohol in the 17% ABV range. I
                                            have considered diluting with water and a lower alcohol wine, but
                                            neither with good results. I am now considering distilling.

                                            The highfalutin' brandy makers seem to use a simple pot still. As I
                                            have access to one, I plan to try my first batch with this.

                                            My concern has to do with the alcohol leve in my wine. Most articles
                                            talk of 8 - 12% for making brandy. I was wondering why this would
                                            make a difference. If I am only distilling the alcohol, how much
                                            impact would the non alcohol part play in my result? I figure, I'd
                                            just get close to twice as much from the same volume.

                                            I'd appreciate any input or advice. Are the heads and tail
                                            percentages the same with wine as most other fruit based washess? I
                                            was also looking at the plans for a reflux still. Since it
                                            continually reheats the vapor, would there be any advantage to it
                                            over multiple runs through a pot still. I have access to copper at
                                            work and can easily craft one to adapt to the top of a large pot (I
                                            can't remember which one it was but the lid is held down by office
                                            clips)

                                            Thanks
                                          • jamesonbeam1
                                            Well Welcome Wack, Im sure we all here can help you out. First let me introduce myself, Im Jim - co-moderator here along with Riku, Trid and of course Harry
                                            Message 21 of 24 , Jul 14, 2008

                                              Well Welcome Wack,

                                              Im sure we all here can help you out.  First let me introduce myself, Im Jim - co-moderator here along with Riku, Trid and of course Harry the Owner here and at Advanced Distillers.

                                              To answer you questions, yes most brandies are made the old fashion way in pot stills, but some distillers use a combination of both.  I would recommend you starting off with a pot still.

                                              As far as your 17% ABV must goes, that should be no problem.  I assume you used a champagne yeast such as EC-1118 or some strain of Saccharomyces bayanus (the "killer" strain lol).  The reason they talk about distilling a lower alcohol content from the wine must is because too much alcohol will override the flavors of the wine  going into the brandy your trying to distill.  What I would do is dilute it down to 11-12% abv with other wines and some water and then distill it. 

                                              Your first run will be the "low wines", which you will take everything you can get from the pot still.  Keep distilling it till it starts to turn cloudy or does not have any taste of alcohol left.  You next take these low wines and dilute them to about a 30% ABV so as not to get too much alcohol again in your final run, called the "spirits run".  You then will need to age this on charred oak (American preferably) for a period of 6 months to several years, depending on how much patience you have hehe.  Or ya can just drink it as white dog or add some aged brandy to it.  The non-alcohol part of the wine is what will give you the flavors - this is the idea behind diluting you still charge.

                                              When you make you final run, you will have to take various cuts (usually collected in about 250 ml increments in small bottles or mason jars).   These will include the Heads, Hearts (Middle Run) and Tails.  You usually throw out the first 200 ml or so, since these are called the Foreshots with smell like nail polish remover do to some acetone  and methanol in them.  You will then take these various samples and mix them and match to your own taste.  The percentages of each run something like this:

                                              Foreshots (about 3%)

                                              Heads (about 17 - 20%)

                                              Hearts (Middle Run about 57 - 60%)

                                              Tails (about 22-25%)

                                              For a total of 100%.

                                              The type of still your talking about where the top is held down with clips is not a pot still, but a reflux still called a Bokakob Still like this>

                                              You can review the full design by going to Tony Ackland's site:  http://homedistiller.org/ and reviewing designs for pot stills and reflux stills.

                                              However, before taking this first step, I would go to the left side of this screen and look under the Links or Database section and go to the Information base.  Here you can read about the Introduction sections to distilling, including Safety, Leagality, Equipment and the various topics.  Please feel free to browse our resources and ask questions.

                                              Again welcome Aboard, we have a great group of members here with a wealth of experience.

                                              Enjoy and Be Safe.

                                              Vino es Veritas,

                                              Jim.

                                              PS>  You wouldn't be Irish would you?  Your nick reminds me of an old Irish song "Whiskey in the Jar":

                                              As I was going over the Cork and Kerry mountains
                                              I saw Captain Farrell and his money he was countin'
                                              I first produced my pistol and then produced my rapier
                                              I said "stand and deliver or the devil, he may take ya"
                                              <Chorus>
                                              Musha ring dum-a-do-dum-a-da
                                              Whack for my daddy-o
                                              Whack for my daddy-o
                                              There's whiskey in the jar-o

                                              Love the Clancey Brothers :).

                                              --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "whackfol" <whackfol@...> wrote:
                                              >
                                              > Hi, I'm new to this. However, I have been making wine for a few
                                              > years. This past year I did not properly adjust my grape must ahead
                                              > of time and ended with a wine with alcohol in the 17% ABV range. I
                                              > have considered diluting with water and a lower alcohol wine, but
                                              > neither with good results. I am now considering distilling.
                                              >
                                              > The highfalutin' brandy makers seem to use a simple pot still. As I
                                              > have access to one, I plan to try my first batch with this.
                                              >
                                              > My concern has to do with the alcohol leve in my wine. Most articles
                                              > talk of 8 - 12% for making brandy. I was wondering why this would
                                              > make a difference. If I am only distilling the alcohol, how much
                                              > impact would the non alcohol part play in my result? I figure, I'd
                                              > just get close to twice as much from the same volume.
                                              >
                                              > I'd appreciate any input or advice. Are the heads and tail
                                              > percentages the same with wine as most other fruit based washess? I
                                              > was also looking at the plans for a reflux still. Since it
                                              > continually reheats the vapor, would there be any advantage to it
                                              > over multiple runs through a pot still. I have access to copper at
                                              > work and can easily craft one to adapt to the top of a large pot (I
                                              > can't remember which one it was but the lid is held down by office
                                              > clips)
                                              >
                                              > Thanks
                                              >

                                            • whackfol
                                              Jim, Thanks for your welcome and you are the first in years to recognize the origins of Whackfol. I always enjoyed the Irish folk versions. However, in high
                                              Message 22 of 24 , Jul 15, 2008
                                                Jim,

                                                Thanks for your welcome and you are the first in years to recognize
                                                the origins of Whackfol. I always enjoyed the Irish folk versions.
                                                However, in high school Thin Lizzy got my attention with their
                                                version. Now I'm just trying to put some whiskey in my jar.

                                                Now to my wine. Your first suggestion was to reduce the alcohol in
                                                my wine by diluting with water or wine. I have experimented with
                                                this in an attempt to save the wine. The water thins it out so much
                                                the taste is lost. Diluting with wine is impractical as the amount
                                                of wine I would need to add (most of which is not less than 12% ABV)
                                                is huge (I have over 100 gallons).

                                                Assuming water is used to dilute my wine, I will be adding over 30
                                                gallons of water to my 100 gallons of wine. Will this dilution
                                                reduce the flavors or will the water just act as an undistilled
                                                suspension during the distillation? I suspect the latter as you
                                                recommend adding water to dilute the low wine before final
                                                distillation.

                                                Secondly, I am confused about the second distillation. You say to
                                                dilute the low wine to 30% ABV so as not to get too much alcohol in
                                                my spitit run. I have no problem with the dilution. My question
                                                comes in how I will avoid too much alcohol. Will not most if not all
                                                of the alcohol distill out? Are you saying that while the
                                                temperature of my low wine is still below 100C., other flavors will
                                                be extracted? How much alcohol variance is there in the final
                                                alcohol level of a second distillation of any wash? If it is not in
                                                the 85+ percent range, where does the remaining alcohol go? In any
                                                event, if you have some sources for me to read on this subject, I'm
                                                open to suggestion.

                                                I do have access to a 40L alembic pot still. My question regarding
                                                the use of a reflux still had to do with the ease of making the
                                                Bokakob and its potential for testing.

                                                Finally, I must congratulate you and the other members on a great
                                                site. I have been lurking for a few months and have enjoyed the
                                                posts and the helpful manner they were answered. I have also read
                                                extensively from your files and links.

                                                Thanks
                                                Whackfol
                                              • Harry
                                                ... wrote: if you have some sources for me to read on this subject, I m ... For the type of brandy-making and distilling you are contemplating, may I
                                                Message 23 of 24 , Jul 15, 2008
                                                  --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "whackfol" <whackfol@...>
                                                  wrote:
                                                  <snip>

                                                  if you have some sources for me to read on this subject, I'm
                                                  > open to suggestion.
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > Thanks
                                                  > Whackfol
                                                  >


                                                  For the type of brandy-making and distilling you are contemplating,
                                                  may I suggest you study Prof. Kris Berglund's "Artisan
                                                  Distilling"...in my Library...
                                                  http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/artisan_distilling/index.htm

                                                  There's a LOT more to capture your imagination in the
                                                  Library...homepage here...
                                                  http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/

                                                  Slainte!
                                                  regards Harry
                                                • jamesonbeam1
                                                  Thank you Wack, Since me father (God Bless his Soul) was 50% Irish and played the madolin and fiddle and I have played in bands specializing in folk music
                                                  Message 24 of 24 , Jul 15, 2008

                                                    Thank you Wack,

                                                    Since me father (God Bless his Soul)  was 50% Irish and played the madolin and fiddle and I have played in bands specializing in folk music (guitar and banjo, in a prior life of course, since college:):), it was obvious to me.  If you sing that song with an Irish twang, it sounds like: "Wack fol me daddy-o, Theres ol'  Wiskey in me Jar:....  Not  - "Wack for me daddy-0, theres Whiskey in the Jar...."  :).

                                                    Now to your situation.  If you dont want to dilute your wines then fine.  But if you run your final spirits run too high, flavors will be lost.  Alot of the flavors of a Brandy come from the Aging process on Charred Oak...

                                                    Again please read up on the Aging Process.  Some distillers here say it adds up to 80% of the flavor to "brown stuff", but I dont quite see that since I usually drink it as "white dog".   You can run it at the 17% ABV but refer to a previous posting a few days ago:

                                                    Hey T,

                                                    The idea of diluting a still charge to 30 or so percent for the spirits run is to get the final ABV right.  If your making flaovored stuff like rum, whiskey or brandy it will allow you not to over power the flavors with alcohol. The more amount of alcohol that comes through, the less flavors from the grapes, molasses, grains, etc your going to get. 

                                                    Think of taking it to the extreme.  If you distill your low wines to the azeotrope of 95.6 percent, then you will just end up with a neutral type distillation with no flavors......

                                                     Again here is a chart that Sherman (Pint O Shine and Harry) have put together:


                                                    So if you want a final ABV of around 70% from a pot still, follow the purplish line across and you will see that from a dilutions of about 24% it will give you a distilled ABV of  70%  (again, just a ballpark figure).  Also read Harry's article on "Diluting the Still Charge" : http://distillers.tastylime.net/library/Diluting_the_still_charge/

                                                    Vino es Veritas,

                                                    Jim.


                                                    --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "whackfol" <whackfol@...> wrote:
                                                    >
                                                    > Jim,
                                                    >
                                                    > Thanks for your welcome and you are the first in years to recognize
                                                    > the origins of Whackfol. I always enjoyed the Irish folk versions.
                                                    > However, in high school Thin Lizzy got my attention with their
                                                    > version. Now I'm just trying to put some whiskey in my jar.
                                                    >
                                                    > Now to my wine. Your first suggestion was to reduce the alcohol in
                                                    > my wine by diluting with water or wine. I have experimented with
                                                    > this in an attempt to save the wine. The water thins it out so much
                                                    > the taste is lost. Diluting with wine is impractical as the amount
                                                    > of wine I would need to add (most of which is not less than 12% ABV)
                                                    > is huge (I have over 100 gallons).
                                                    >
                                                    > Assuming water is used to dilute my wine, I will be adding over 30
                                                    > gallons of water to my 100 gallons of wine. Will this dilution
                                                    > reduce the flavors or will the water just act as an undistilled
                                                    > suspension during the distillation? I suspect the latter as you
                                                    > recommend adding water to dilute the low wine before final
                                                    > distillation.
                                                    >
                                                    > Secondly, I am confused about the second distillation. You say to
                                                    > dilute the low wine to 30% ABV so as not to get too much alcohol in
                                                    > my spitit run. I have no problem with the dilution. My question
                                                    > comes in how I will avoid too much alcohol. Will not most if not all
                                                    > of the alcohol distill out? Are you saying that while the
                                                    > temperature of my low wine is still below 100C., other flavors will
                                                    > be extracted? How much alcohol variance is there in the final
                                                    > alcohol level of a second distillation of any wash? If it is not in
                                                    > the 85+ percent range, where does the remaining alcohol go? In any
                                                    > event, if you have some sources for me to read on this subject, I'm
                                                    > open to suggestion.
                                                    >
                                                    > I do have access to a 40L alembic pot still. My question regarding
                                                    > the use of a reflux still had to do with the ease of making the
                                                    > Bokakob and its potential for testing.
                                                    >
                                                    > Finally, I must congratulate you and the other members on a great
                                                    > site. I have been lurking for a few months and have enjoyed the
                                                    > posts and the helpful manner they were answered. I have also read
                                                    > extensively from your files and links.
                                                    >
                                                    > Thanks
                                                    > Whackfol
                                                    >

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