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Coming out of the closet :)

Nihao from Beijing,

After lingering in the dark for a while and just absorbing loads of info here I thought it’s about to time to come out and let the world know – yes, I’m into distilling and I’m not ashamed of it! ;-)

I got into this whole world somewhere early last summer and started out with one of those cheapo Chinese pot still kits. Fast-forward a few months, a few liters of sheisty booze and thousands of postings read and boom I find myself on a south bound night train last Friday on my way to meet the man himself. I’ve been in contact with Lloyd for the last 2 months or so talking about my ideas and last weekend we made it a reality.

I looked around on the net for all kinds of stills, suppliers, even contacted some Chinese manufacturers myself but in the end SD is just the smartest approach to distilling I could find. The modularity of it is just pure genius….ah, I’m preaching to the choir here. You know what I mean. So, off to Yangzhou I go to meet the man, the legend, the Lloyd. We spent the whole day assembling my Baby Dragon hybrid and distilling on Lloyd’s setup. Of yeah, and we had a sip or two of his re-distilled oaked Baijiu. And if you ever had the pleasure (read: misfortune) to taste Chinese Baijiu you’ll be surprised at how much better it tastes after Lloyd’s done with it hehe…

But back to business – my goal for the next 6 to 12 months is to create a nice palatable 100% rice based Vodka. So this hybrid Baby Dragon should help me with that perfectly as I’m space-constrained living in a downtown Beijing CBD apartment. The still will fit nicely on our balcony or in the kitchen, depending on how cold/hot it’s outside – for me now finding space for fermentation of rice is a challenge. Hmm, maybe I need to tell my wife she can’t use the bathtub anymore…..

The still will be heated with a 2100kw induction plate, now I know that’s not perfect and will take time to heat my stock pot but gas is not an option and I’m (still) to clueless to deal with electric wiring for a milk can boiler with heating element. That might be the next step though…birthday towards the end of the year hehe…

I just wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself to this community and thank Lloyd & Tan for the great Saturday!




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  • Man, that's a nice rig you have there. Lots of good people here. Welcome.

  • Looks good, your setup is almost the same as mine, I don't have a glass section for packing, only a steel pipe, how are you planning on fermenting the rice? I've been looking for a good rice wash recipe for a long time :-)

  • Lucky you going to StillDragon Central for your new Baby!

    There are a lot easier paths (and less space requiring) to quality vodka than converting and fermenting rice. Check out sugar washes such as WPOSW, TPW, and DWWG. No starch conversion required.

    Once you get the stilling part figured out you can work on the more difficult starch conversion - fermentation parts. Would hate to see you get discouraged by jumping in too deep right away.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • @kapea Lloyd says he can buy the premade juice cheaper than he can ferment it ... so really all he has to do is redistill it to make the stuff he wants... they got it good both ways i think...

    @jotzilla Congrats on your new rig... and

    Happy Stillin,


  • @Anavrin & @Kapea - yes I'm aware of the difficulty of fermenting rice, I've tried it a few times and boy it was a lot of work for a little booze. Have tried sugar washes many times and was never too impressed with the result (a rice ferment smells just a million times better than a sugar wash) but I will certainly try it over again with my new rig! Once I got a decent recipe for rice fermentation I'll post it (it'll involve rice fungi - aspergillus orizae or so - koji) but I need to research online and among older Chinese homebrewes some more before...

    @FullySilenced - yeah you're right, you can buy 5 liters of 57% strong for about 53RMB that's about 6.5USD or so but for me that's not really an option. I want something that's 100% handmade from clean, controlled organic (as in - I know exactly what goes in it) ingredients....

    Btw I did a water boiling test with the stock pot on my 2100kw induction plate. Loaded up the pot with 20l of about 18C water and it took 75 minutes to boil. Not too fast, but for my hobby still OK and once there's alcohol in it the boiling point will be reached faster anyways.

  • I fiddled around with making sake for a while. My friend Fred Eckhardt talked me into giving it a try. Lots of work for a little return. You have to get your hands into it every day to make it right. Around here sake is very popular (shochu is too), so the selection of quality sakes and shochus at a reasonable price make brewing it myself not worth the effort.

    I'm more like I am now than I was before.

  • edited March 2015

    If you want to do some quick experiments before you start working with Koji, just use glucoamylase instead That's really the primary purpose of using aspergillus oryzae. Most Glucoamylase is manufactured through the use of aspergillus niger. You can use an alpha amylase/glucoamylase protocol to approximate the Koji without all the risk associated with managing your own Koji cultures.

    This is the second reason for installing direct steam injection in the mash tun.

  • The liquid enzymes work very well with rice.

    DAD... not yours.. ah, hell... I don't know...

  • @jotzilla Sugar Cane juice for a rhum agricole... or molasses/brown sugar/jaggery for a rum should be an easy thing both using basic bakers yeast...

    is an idea if your wanting organic

  • edited March 2015

    A day with @Lloyd priceless [the kiwis will understand this]

    The best I can hope for is one day to visit @punkin shed on a road trip to aussie..

    go for it @jotzilla I'm having a ball with my Ace..

    @punkin wat price for a glass tower like jotzilla got ? :bz

  • @jotzilla +1 on what the others have said about Rice & Enzymes.
    I have done koji (from the local chinese supply shop) and enzymes. For making a wash to turn into neutral the enzymes are the way to go - but a mountain of work for the return.

    As @kapea said, the likes of the wheatgerm/sugar recipes are hard to beat.
    No doubt about it though, rice does make a tasteless wash.

  • @jotzilla

    Can you please tell me which induction stove you use? type/model/maybe link?

    And where did you get that long glass cilinder for the hybrid section?

  • @buckshot said: And where did you get that long glass cilinder for the hybrid section?

    What you see in that picture was just a prototype. As good as it looks it turned out to be too expensive for just a packed section (because of the Baby Crystal Dragon end pieces), and in contrast to a bubble section there is not much to see in a packed section during operation anyway. That idea has been shelved for now, but if we are able to bring down production costs and see demand for such item we can have another look later this year.

    StillDragon Europe - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Europe & the surrounding area

  • @SDeurope Ok, thx for the info.

    In the waiting for the info from @jotzilla, maybe others can give me also some info about a good induction stove?

  • edited March 2015

    Wow, I knew this was the nicer distilling forum but didn't expect this! Thanks!

    @grim & @Kapea & @dellae - yes, I know it's a lot of work (actually I started thinking about outsourcing the fermentation to some countryside grandpa - here's my MBA kickin' in...) but that would be after I developed a good recipe. However, I gotta correct myself - I have not experimented with aspergillus oryzae but rather rhizopus oryzae which is a similar fungi also used to ferment, but intended for some sweet sticky rice dessert. I got that tip from on old local. I boiled the rice, let it cool down to lukewarm then added the rhizopus oryzae and close it up for a day, then add regular baker's yeast. I guess this fungus also creates some kind of saccharification because it certainly ferments. And smells delicious! Stuff's cheap as heck here, I attached a pic for your reference.


    I will most certainly try it out with enzymes and aspergillus oryzae and see how it works and what it yields.

    @FullySilenced - thanks for the organic tip, now if I only liked Rum ;-) sugar cane and it's juice are easily available here in Beijing in the summer times, year round in the south, and it's very cheap too. Might have to try it one day.

    @starkid101 the glass tower is nice huh? I'm pretty happy about it and feelin' real special right now as I'm apparently the only one with it so far! But @SDeurope is right, there's not much to see if it's packed with ss wool. I might buy some SPP on our summer trip to Poland/Germany and then pop that in there. Should look better, not sure wether it will provide more effect/distillations though.

    @buckshot - I bought a Supor which is a Chinese brand, for 300RMB, a link to their international site is here. Not sure if they sell internationally yet, so let me know if you want a link to a Chinese online store.

    rhizopus oryzae.jpg
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  • edited March 2015

    Yeah the Jiuqu starters are all very very interesting (the only place I've ever heard Rhizopus Oryzae used), can't help but want to draw parallels to the Belgian sour bug bombs (similar bacterial content - Brett, Lactobacillus, Bacillus, Pediococcus, etc), but it is so very different (using fungi/mold instead of malt).

  • my induction stove has 2800W, it heats up the stove pot in a bit more than 30 minutes. It is a built in kitchen stove.

    StillDragon Europe - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Europe & the surrounding area

  • @buckshot said: maybe others can give me also some info about a good induction stove?

    Spoke to a company doing inductions stoves for catering services yesterday. They also stated that such stoves usually do not come with a weight limit attached. With the way the chassis of such stoves are built, even with the cheap consumer types, 50+ kg should be absolutely no problem to put on (of course if you lift the weight carefully not to break the glass).

    Saw a really nice catering induction stove with just the right size for our 30L Stove Top Boiler, 3500W single phase, at a bargain of ONLY 3200 EUR. :-O

    Cheap one will have to do, I'd say, 1800W really is the lower limit, 2100W will do nicely, of course you will not have great heat-up times, but who really cares on a hobby level... ;)

    StillDragon Europe - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Europe & the surrounding area

  • @jotzilla @SDeurope @Sunshine thx for an already helpfull info

  • edited March 2015

    Pint has done a fair bit of playing with different molds... Substances @ AD

    There's a lot of info from various members scattered through Artisan where the koji is discussed, it saccharifies and ferments.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • @grim - in what way do they remind you of belgian sour beers? Simply because of the possibility to go without yeast? I've played around 3 times with jiuqu (but always added baker's yeast about 24hrs after, so to give saccharification a head start) now and it always smelled slightly sweet and aromatic during fermentation, nothing sour at all. I've never fermented belgian sour beer/geuze/lambics (never fermented any beers to be honest, just been drinking it since age 14 hehe) but drank it a few times and didn't really like it to be honest. I'd actually rather drink my rhizo rice ferment straight over those hehe...

    Having a Hoegaarden as I type - still my fav Belgian of all time!

    Anyways, will start running my rig Saturday with a Lloyd style cheap baijiu run and also prep rice ferment. Can't wait for some meaningful physical labor, I spend way too much time behind a desk making a filthy rich guy even richer ;)

    On that note - cheers!

  • @punkin - thanks for the link to AD, will have to go through that over the weekend and see what I can learn!

  • @jotzilla said: grim - in what way do they remind you of belgian sour beers?

    Not from a flavor perspective at all, but the process being reliant on the inclusion on microbes that are traditionally viewed as atypical - brett, lacto, bacillus, pedio, possibly acetobacter.

  • Here is a thread on sour mash starters.

    It's easy to do. And an educational read.

  • @grim right, gotcha.

    Thanks @fullysilenced will read through it these days!

  • edited March 2015

    For all those interested in induction as a heat source:

    I ran my baby with the 2.1kw induction plate...boy that was an up and down. It cycles on and off.....and after 2hours of continuous use it switched off completely. Halfway into the hearts.....So, I guess I'm gonna donate that thing to my ayi (cleaning lady)....

    Went to a F&B and hotel equipment dealership today and bought myself a 3.6kw pro induction cooker. double checked with the sales staff that this one doesn't cycle and will only switch off once it gets too hot (so will place it on 4 bricks to allow for sufficient air circulation underneath) - proper pro kitchen model. Schott ceramic plate from Germany, rest is made in Shanghai. 220V home use safe, goes in the same 3 pronged plug where our oven is plugged into, all the others are smaller and for less demanding equipment I guess.

    Link is here, cost of this baby was 1700RMB (250EUR/270USD). Learned my lesson - don't skimp on heating power ;)


    Ran it with cheapo baijiu to clean it out and foreshots, heads and beginning hearts came out between 93%-94.5% on the DragonFire alcometer, then it dropped off rapidly as the damn induction plate started cycling off in faster intervals :( When it switched off completely I was collecting in the low 80s%. Poured it all away, certainly had a shiny/oily film on top so didn't wanna keep/recycle it.

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  • I only had my vinegar run on our regular built in induction kitchen stove with multiple areas. Worked without a hitch, did not switch off, and did not observe any problems with the power cycling. Next time I'll leave the top drawer below the stove open and use my portable room fan for additional cooling. If that stove above has a built in fan, maybe it's not strong enough for that kind of use? Better cooling should make it possible.

    I consider myself a newbie - Thank you for your patience!

  • Yeah @Lovejoy I agree, that's why I will put it on 4 bricks to elevate and will look for a small fan to blow under it as well. I figure that should do the trick. Can't wait for the weekend to run it again hehe..

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