Rob, the brew is a mix of different chemicals in water. Each chemical boils at a different temperature. The mix boils at intermediate temperature of several components. So, when it starts boiling, the bigger share will evaporate with lower temperatures. Not that other things will absolutely not evaporate at early stage, very small fraction of heavier elements will be carried over as well - but it is negligeable. In the beginning mostly not very desirable fractions will evaporate. It usually happens in the beginning because those light fractions "get to exit" first. Ethanol is "lazy" compared to fractions that smell badly. So, after most of them are gone you will collect mostly (say 95% ;-) ethanol. If you keep on going then more heavy fractions start gathering at the "exit." Those fractions get cut off in order not to spoil the previous collection because they taste bad and they are much worse to your health than pure ethanol. Early things evaporate below 78*C, heavy fractions start
getting notably in the way at above 79*C It is clear?
The previous paragraph was meant to be for reflux stills. Pot stills dont have such sharp divisions between fraction in a single run. That is why pot distilled spirits get more pure with each distillation. One is used in crude spirits. Two is almost mandatory. Three is good. Few places bother do four distillations. It is clear?
How does one know when the head or tails are coming out? Can I collect everything in one jar? and do I need to discard the very fist bit that comes out?
I can be wrong I must say
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